The Leagoo M5 has been very popular even before its launch. It was called as the first shockproof pure metal phone under $90. But once it was released the Leagoo M5 fans divided into two groups. The first group of people was satisfied with the design, performance and software, while the next one was claiming the manufacturer had thrown them. The latter was related with the fact some people had been waiting to acquire a top-notch device for $90 or less, and when they got their hands on a budget-friendly and mid-range smartphone, it turned out the company had lied to them. To avoid such situations let’s call the thing by their names – if it is an ultra-budget smartphone, be ready to meet some disadvantageous features on it. This absolutely doesn’t mean we can’t acquire a good device for a little money. Vice versa, if looking for good deals or reading proven reviews you can realize which model is worthy to be bought or not. As for the Leagoo M5, the company decided to solve the problem by launching an enhanced version of this phone dubbed simply as the Leagoo M5 Plus.
Today we are going to explore everything about the Leagoo M5 Plus, but you have to know many customers are still disappointed with this model, because as they claim some weak features remain the same. This makes us be more attentive and dig deeper.
Probably not that many people are aware of Leagoo and the fact it has become an official sponsor of the English Premier League. The first bunch of fresh smartphones was unveiled on October 15 at Etihad before the match between Manchester City and Everton. As for the Leagoo M5 Plus, it was launched just a few days back, on October 29 at The HawThorns stadium before the match between West Bromwich and Manchester City. As you see, the manufacturer is doing its best to make this phone as popular as possible. Not in vain the Leagoo M5 Plus was called as the best ultra-budget smartphone of the year. But I recommend you not to hurry to make assumptions, because we still have to find its key features and explore where the company has failed. At last, there is the Blackview E7 with the same title. So let’s see which of them is better.
Leagoo M5 Plus Design
The first thing we have to keep in mind is we are dealing with a phablet. Therefore its dimensions should be bigger and they are. The Leagoo M5 Plus comes at 76.2 mm x 151.7 mm x 8.5 mm and weighs 178 grams. The back panel is removable and it is made of plastic, while the bezels are made of metal. The battery is not that large, so it remains mystery why this phone is so heavy.
As I said the back panel is removable like all other budget-friendly smartphones such as the Uhans A101 or the Cubot Manito. But what makes many people disappointed is the glossy back cover. When I see handset with such a covering I associate it with a refrigerator or other appliances. It is not acceptable in terms of ergonomics as well. Moreover, as we are dealing with a phablet, it is already uncomfortable to use by one hand. Now it will be more difficult to interact with the phone due to such a back panel.
Anyway, once the back panel is removed we can see a 2500mAh battery, which is little for a phablet. But when compared to other similar handsets, we can say this is common. Say the same Blackview E7 comes with a 2700mAh battery. There are also dual SIM card slots and a TF card port for memory expansion. As for the buttons and interfaces, the 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top, the mini USB port for charging and data transfer is on the bottom, and the volume rocker along with the unlock button are on the right side. There are no physical buttons on the front, as Leagoo uses its custom-designed touch button located right under the screen. The front panel also carries a speaker, front camera and a standard set of sensors. The back panel carries a rear camera with a single flash, a fingerprint scanner and an additional speaker.
Though the overall design is better than what we have seen on the original Leagoo M5, it is still a deal breaker. The only feature that can save this situation is the screen. The Leagoo M5 Plus sports a 5.5-inch IPS touchscreen at a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. The latter is not the best display we have ever seen, but it works smooth and displays the content with rich and vivid colors. There are some picture distortion when viewing on different angles, but it is quite acceptable for such a phone. Moreover, this screen supports up to 5 fingers multi-touch, which is quite nice for a budget smartphone. And finally, the selling point of the Leagoo M5 Plusis the presence of Gorilla Glass 4 technology that makes this phone shockproof. The original Leagoo M5 comes with an identical feature, but it doesn’t work for that phone. Fortunately, the manufacturer has enhanced this feature for the Leagoo M5 Plus, and it is an actual shockproof smartphone.
Leagoo M5 Plus Performance
The manufacturer has replaced the old MediaTek MT6580M with the newer MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz. Yes, it’s not the best choice, but it supports 4G LTE, which is the second selling point of this phone. As you remember, the Leagoo M5 comes only with a 3G support, which is a real lack.
Well, the CPU is not the best one, but it is paired with an ARM Mali-T720 MP2 dual-core GPU clocked at 550MHz, a 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB of internal memory. To understand what this SoC can do, look at the Antutu score that is 29.151.
Thus we are dealing with a mid-range CPU that is capable of implementing many functions, but there are real lags when interacting with the Freeme OS 6.0. I mean as the processor works slow, the UI is not capable of providing a smooth performance. I think many will say this is the fault of the UI, but almost all Chinese budget smartphones coming our way from Doogee, HomTom, Leagoo and so on have one UI vendor. And if the software works smoothly on other models, this is the problem of Leagoo itself.
As it’s come to the UI, the developers have tried not to change many things in the operating system (the Leagoo M5 Plus runs on Android 6.0), so this interface looks like an original Android. I mean you won’t see many interesting and custom-made features what makes MIUI so popular. For example, there is a separate fingerprint scanner app on homescreen, while other UI developer would put it into settings.
Leagoo M5 Plus Camera
One of the main disappointments related with the original Leagoo M5 was related with cameras – both cameras capture photos and record videos at insufficient quality. There are a 13MP interpolated camera module on the back, and a 5MP interpolated camera on the front. Sounds well, but the rear camera comes at f/2.2 aperture, which doesn’t allow to record high quality videos and shoot photos.
It is capable of recording videos at 1280 x 720 pixels and 22.86 fps (audio: 48000Hz/stereo). As for the front camera, things look blue – it record videos at 720 x 480 pixels and 11.27 fps. Thus do not use the cameras for capturing memorable moment. But it’s a sin to think we can acquire a cameraphone for $80, right?
After all those considerations we can say the only real difference of the Leagoo M5 and M5 Plus is the 4G support conditioned with the processor replacement. The rest remains almost the same but the dimensions. Well, there are not many features that can be enhanced keeping the same price range. But the manufacturer has made the Leagoo M5 Plus as a shockproof handset and it is actually is very solid. So if we want to describe this device we can say this one of the best options when it comes to shockproof 4G phablets coming under $80.