Letv is a new entrant in the Indian Smartphone market. They launched two devices in India in January this year i.e Letv Le 1s and Letv Le Max.  Le 1s is targeted at entry-level or mid range smartphone consumers in India and promised to disrupt the existing players.

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Letv Le 1s

Today we review the Le 1s smartphone which is priced at Rs. 10,999 and available exclusively at Flipkart. Our review is based on almost two weeks experience with Le 1s as our primary smartphone with dual Sim cards (one for 4G data connection and other for Voice calls). Check out if Le 1s is worth the hype and should you buy it?


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Brief Technical Specifications

  • Display : 5.5 inch Full HD in-cell display, 500 nits brightness
  • OS : Android Lollipop based EUI 5.5
  • CPU : 2.2 GHz Octa-Core Mediatek Helio X10 (MT6795T) processor
  • GPU : PowerVR G6200
  • RAM : 3 GB
  • Camera  : 13 MP rear with LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, ISOCELL sensor, PDAF, 4K video at 30 fps, 720p at 120 fps and 5 MP front-facing Samsung S5K5E2 sensor with 85-degree wide-angle lens
  • SIMs : Dual Sim (Nano + Micro)
  • Storage : 32 GB eMMC 5.0 with no Micro SD Card support
  • Connectivity : 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n (2.4GHz / 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0 with APT-X, GPS, USB 2.0 Type C, MHL 2.0
  • Battery : 3000 mAh embedded
  • Dimensions: 151.1x 74.2 x 7.5mm
  • Weight: 169g
  • Misc : Dolby audio,  Dirac HD audio technology, OTG Support, IR blaster

Design and Build Quality

Le 1s just on the first look gives a feel of an expensive premium smartphone and not a mid range smartphone. The Letv Le 1s is all around metal with just two plastic stips at top & bottom sides. The 3.5 mm audio jack and the IR blaster are placed symmetrically at the top and USB c port at the bottom centre. The speaker grills are located next to USB C port on one side, yet grills are provided on other side too, to keep up symmetry it seems.

The front of the smartphone comes with the black screen almost panning till the end of sides and at the top, proximity sensor & the 5 MP front camera placed symmetrically with the speakers in the middle of the two. A LED indicator is placed at one side which is visible only when you got some notifications.

The back panel places the 13 MP camera with LED flash at top left corner along with noise cancelling mike at centre. The fingerprint sensor is placed in the middle just above the Letv logo. The fingerprint sensor comes with shiny silver finish just like a mirror.

The SIM card tray (Nano + Micro Sim) is at one side whereas the Volume rockers & the power button on the other side just like most smartphones.

Check out the Le 1s device shots below to understand better.

It weighs 169 gms which is few grams heavier compared to other mid range smartphones, thanks to the metallic build.

It comes with physical menu button at the bottom, but they are not lit or visible unless you tap them. Just tap and they will get back-lit instantly. The battery at the back is embedded and cannot be removed.

Being 5.5 inch in size, one-hand usage is not that easy, but it does offer some workarounds like offering you one-sided number pad on the screen to unlock your screen based on the hand you are holding the phone automatically.

Display, Performance and Benchmarks

The phone sports a 5.5-inch full HD IPS Display with 500 nits brightness protected by Gorilla Glass. The display appears great even under bright sunlight with good color reproduction and brightness. It also comes with great viewing angles, letting you view the screen even at steep angles.

Letv Le 1s is powered by a 2.2 GHz Octa-Core Mediatek Helio X10 (MT6795T) processor & PowerVR G6200 GPU with 3 GB of RAM. 3 GB RAM is slowly becoming the standard even in the mid range price segment.  It comes with 32 GB of internal storage which is a great offering as most smartphone offer a 16 GB variant in the mid range price segment. There is no expandable storage support via Microsd card though it does support USB OTG if you have a USB C type of adapter that can be used with the USB.

Performance of the phone was great. Everything that we threw at it, ran smoothly without any issues. There were no lag or hang or crashes during our entire review period. We played some heavy graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8, Unkilled etc on it simultaneously with many apps / games open and yet didn’t encounter any lag or stuttering.

Gaming performance was great with good color reproduction and no frame drops or lag under default graphics settings. Even in terms of heating, the heating was negligible even after playing games continuously for 20-25 minutes. It appears that the metal body is able to dissipate the heat generated quite effectively.

Check out our Youtube Gaming Review below for more details.

The call quality during voice calls was pretty clear without any issues. The dialer app also gives you an option to record calls without installing any additional app or rooting the device. Usually, in most devices, you need to root your device first and then install an additional paid app to record calls.

The AnTuTu benchmark score for Letv Le 1s comes out to be about 52,000+ which is pretty awesome for any smartphone that is priced just Rs. 10,999 and it reflects in the performance of the smartphone in various conditions.

Camera

The phone comes with a 13 MP rear camera with LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, ISOCELL sensor, PDAF, 4K video at 30 fps, 720p at 120 fps and 5 MP front Samsung S5K5E2 shooter with 85-degree wide-angle lens. We tested the camera under different lighting conditions.

The camera produced some great images under normal lighting conditions, but it wasn’t so good in low light conditions or under artificial lighting. Noise starts to creep in the moment we start shooting in low light. The default mode does falter a bit if you are looking for too much details in the shots. But overall if  in good lighting conditions, the camera produced good quality shots and can be called a good camera for a normal consumer in this price range.

The front 5 MP front Samsung S5K5E2 shooter with 85-degree wide-angle lens did produce some good selfies under normal lighting conditions. The wide-angle lens lets you capture a lot more area than you can do in many other smartphones. We can say, it’s a good camera with wide-angle lens for clicking some great selfies.

The camera app comes with some basic options and modes such as night mode, HDR mode, Square Mode and Scene Mode. The settings though appear a bit hidden and unless you are observant, you won’t find them. It also comes with some real-time filters such as Instagram.

Even though there is no manual mode, yet you can adjust settings like exposure, saturation, white balance, ISo etc. It also comes with a Slow motion mode which is rare in smartphones priced in same range.

Camera samples

Checkout the images below taken under different light conditions and different modes. Click on the images for full resolution images on Flickr.

Fingerprint Sensor

Fingerprint is one of the selling points of this smartphone. The fingerprint sensor at the back comes with silver mirror finish, but we were not that much impressed with it as:

  • It was not as accurate or fast as it should be. You need to use your finger at a particular angle or way with a specific pressure, otherwise it won’t recognise.
  • You can use the fingerprint only to unlock the device or use it to capture pictures by tapping, provided your camera app is already open.
  • Even though you can add five fingers, yet you cannot customise them to do different jobs. Customisation should be possible so that each finger can be used for different functions such as opening an App or dialling a contact or any other custom function.

Coolpad Note 3 lite fingerprint sensor beats Le 1s fingerprint sensor by miles.

Battery

The battery performance of Le 1s was good or you can say better than an average battery performance. Even with heavy use of the device, we were able to keep it away from charger for almost full day easily. During our normal usage, it lasted for more than one and half days. Keep in mind that we always had a working 4G connection during the day or WiFi during the evening and night.We were able to get a SOT (Screen on time) of 3-4 hours on an average.

Another good thing, Le 1s supports fast charging too which means that you can charge it very fast as and when you need it.

Operating System and UI

The Letv Le 1s is powered by Android 5.0.2 Lollipop based eUI 5.5. As we keep saying it, we prefer a stock Android OS and hence an app drawer too. The user interface appears quite clean without any bugs, as we didnt encounter crashes or lag when we used the device for almost two weeks. If we forget the app drawer, it seems to have better integration with Android’s UI and doesn’t feel like a different or new user interface.

Also, it is clean and simple compared to those from other OEMs. It offers some decent options and a better designed multitasking interface which combines different toggles, the multitasks and access to some handy features. Just tap on the multitasking button and you will see what we mean (Check out the first image at the start of this post to understand what we are saying). All the toggles can be customised easily.

It also comes with some color modes such as Letv, Vivid, Natural and Soft which you can switch to as per your requirements.

The smartphone doesn’t come with bloatware which is usually the case with most of the budget smartphones.

Review on Youtube

Conclusion

Letv Le 1s performs great in every department including Design & build quality, performance, battery life and gaming performance. For a price of Rs. 10,999 this one is a steal. Even though it doesn’t support microsd card, yet 32 GB storage is more than enough for most consumers. We hope that Letv can improve the fingerprint sensor function a bit more using any OTA update in future and make it a near perfect device at this price.


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