The LeEco Le Max2 (4GB/32GB variant) was at the time of its launch the cheapest 820-Snapdragon-chipset-powered flagship in India. With a Rs 5000 price cut ahead of the grand online Diwali sale, which the company has now retained, it has reclaimed that title again and, at Rs 17999, is selling on a par with the Lenovo Z2 Plus.
A big phone
The Le Max2 sports a metal unibody design like most other phones in its bracket. The chamfered edges, thin body and excellent finish make it a well-designed phone. With its 5.7-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display, it is, though, on the bigger side. At 185 grams, it's also among the heavier phones around. One-handed use is not for everyone.
The rear camera's 21-megapixel lens juts out. So, be extra careful while putting your phone down.
The fingerprint scanner is placed right below the camera. The infra-red (IR) blaster that helps you remotely control devices like your AC and TV is at the top. Below the screen are the backlit capacitive buttons. A sim tray supporting two nano sims - both of which can be 4G - is on the left. The volume and power buttons are on the right, while the mono speaker and the mic are at the bottom with the USB Type-C port sandwiched in the middle (more on that later).
The phone boasts of a 2K quad HD display (2560x1440 pixel, 515 ppi), which makes viewing videos and gaming on it pleasant. Colours are true to life and the contrast is excellent. Sunlight visibility is also reasonably good.
The 820 Snapdragon chip coupled with the 4GB LPDDR4 RAM ensures the phone is a true powerhouse. It navigates through everything, including the heavy games, with ease and without overheating.
The 21-MP rear camera (with Sony IMX 230 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, phase detection auto focus, optical image stabilisation and dual-tone LED flash) and the 8-MP selfie camera shoot excellent images in daylight. The detailing is top notch, the colour reproduction is very good as is the dynamic range (how it captures the details in the brightest and the less-brighter areas of a picture). It does well under artificial lighting too. Low-light photos are decent. These can be improved to an extent in the HDR mode.
The videos turn out well both in sunlight and artificial light. The sound captured during recording is also good.
The sound quality and volume - with and without the speaker turned on - is crisp and clear. The call quality is excellent.
The phone comes with a charger supporting quick charge 2.0. This helps you charge the phone fully in around 90 minutes.
There is also LeEco's free-one-year content package that sees them offer movies from partners such as Eros Now, live TV channels from YuppTV and music.
LeEco has ditched the 3.5mm audio jack on their new phones and gone for just one Type-C port. While Continual Digital Lossless Audio (CDLA) technology might ensure richer digital audio on CDLA headphones, this means buyers can't use their headphones when the phone is being charged. For other users, there is the added bother of having to carry a Type-C adapter (bundled with the phone) if they want to use their existing earphones.
Like on other LeEco phones, there is no expandable memory on the Le Max2. Also missing are the FM radio and NFC.
The 820 Snapdragon chip and a quad HD display tax the non-removable 3100 mAh battery and severely at that under heavy use. Carry a power bank along if you intend to watch a bunch of movies, game or snap a ton of pictures on trips.
Reliance Jio users not on the latest version of LeEco's EUI software - 5.8.016S - will find that their phone does not latch on to Jio's 4G data connection. Fixing it would require either updating the UI to the latest version and restarting the phone, or doing this:
Go to Settings>>Dual SIM&Mobile Networks>>Jio>>APNs>>New APN. Once there, add Jio besides 'Name:' and jionet besides 'APN:'. Click done on the top right corner. Restart the phone to activate your Jio data connection.
The latest software update has also made the fingerprint sensor more accurate, but there's still room for improvement.
The LeEco Le Max 2 offers great specs and performance. The camera can capture excellent images in good lighting conditions. Gaming on the phone is smooth. Yes, there are the few tics that we have listed above. Considering the price and the package on offer, however, the Le Max 2 is a definite buy for those looking for a powerhouse that is easy on the wallet. If you are looking for a better overall phone in the sub-Rs 30000 range, there's the OnePlus 3, but then that is Rs 10000 dearer.
* 5.7" IPS display of 515ppi; Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels; Brightness: 450 nit
* 64-bit Snapdragon 820 chip: quad-core Kryo processor (up to 2.15GHz), Adreno 530 GPU, 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
* 21MP Sony Exmor RS IMX230 camera sensor with a dual-tone LED flash, phase-detection auto focus (PDAF), optical image stabilisation. 4k video recording at 30 fps (frames per second).
* 8MP front-facing camera with 1080p@30fps video recording
* 32GB of built-in storage
* Dual SIM supporting 4G
* Cat. 12 LTE (600/150Mbps); Dual SIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.2; NFC; IR blaster; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou; USB 2.0 Type-C port
* Supports all cellular networks in India
* Rear-mounted ultrasonic fingerprint scanner
* 3100 mAh battery that can support Quick Charge 3.0. Bundled charger though supports only quick charge 2.0.
* Software: LeEco's customised EUI on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow