LeEco LePro 3 review

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THE GOOD: The LeEco LePro 3 has a long battery life, is both fast and competitively priced.

THE BAD: The phone is heavy, has an unrefined interface and its video streaming service has no compelling content right now.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The extremely affordable LeEco Pro 3 is a satisfactory phone, but its unpolished UI makes the OnePlus 3 the better, safer bet.

If the LeEco LePro 3 were the only $400 (or about £320 and AU$530, converted) phone in town, I’d say you should buy it, no problem. At that price, many of the qualms I have with it would be offset by its lightning-fast speed and long battery life.

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Unfortunately for LeEco, it isn’t the only game in town. Though it’s certainly a capable handset for the company to court its new US market with, its problematic interface and underwhelming camera keep it from besting the OnePlus 3 (and the upcoming 3T), or even the Motorola Moto Z Play — all of which hit that sub-$450 price range. The LePro 3’s streaming video platform, which is tied to LeEco’s overall media ecosystem, is also nothing to be too excited about.

That’s not to say that these other companies shouldn’t be worried. For some countries, this is LeEco first high-end phone and if it continues to push out low-priced, high-end devices to market, it could soon become a top contender for the budget market. But for now, the LePro 3 is not the standout choice.

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It’s well-made, but heavy

The LePro 3 has a solid, unibody construction, a sharp display and its angled edges keep it from falling out of my hand. The edges also have a different finish than the rest of the phone, so it catches the light in interesting ways.

But despite being solidly made (it certainly doesn’t feel cheap), it looks uninspiring. The brushed-metal finish feels outdated, and it’s heavy. Also, don’t expect it to fit comfortably in your pants pocket. Even if it does, it will weigh you down. The camera also has a noticeable, unsightly bump. And finally, there’s no headphone jack. Just like the Apple iPhone 7 and the Motorola Moto Z (excluding the aforementioned Z Play), you’ll have to listen to music using either a headphone dongle or wireless Bluetooth headphones. Ugh.

It’s super fast

The LePro 3 has a Snapdragon 821 processor, one of the most advanced mobile processors available right now (it’s the same used in the Google Pixel and the OnePlus 3T). Day to day tasks like launching the camera, quitting apps and calling up the keyboard were smooth and fast, and I didn’t experience any stuttering or lag. On paper, the LePro3 edged out its other Android competitors — even the OnePlus 3, which has been leading the scores in these tests. (Keep in mind that the OnePlus 3 has an 820 processor, and we have yet to test out the upcoming 3T’s 821 chipset).

As for its big nonremovable battery, during our lab test for continuous video playback on Airplane mode, it lasted 16 hours and 25 minutes. Though I expected it to last even longer than that (theSamsung Galaxy S7 Edge, for example, lasted 19 hours with an even smaller battery and the Moto Z Play’s 3,510mAh battery lasted more than 23 hours). Still, 16 hours is nothing to shake a stick at, and it gives you time to watch a whole downloaded TV season or so.

The camera is good, but not amazing

The back camera works quickly, and for your casual photo needs,takes good, steady shots. I also like how whenever you turn on a certain setting (like HDR or Night Mode), a small onscreen dialogue pops up that’ll let you turn off the mode if you decide you actually didn’t want it. It also does 4K recording, slow-mo video, photo filters and burst shots.

Closeups and low-light shots weren’t really impressive though. Images weren’t as focused or well defined compared to the OnePlus 3. Night shots looked muddier and grainier. However, if I was in a well-lit environment, the LePro 3 took sharp bright photos with accurate colors. For more on photo quality, check out our photos below and be sure to click on each image to see it at its full resolution.

 

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