le max2

We’re in China this week to bring coverage of today’s LeEco (previously known as LeTV) event in Beijing at the company’s own LeSports arena. Known in China for its content services and partnerships and more recently for its TVs, smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, and other hardware, the Chinese conglomerate is growing quickly in a smartphone market that’s constantly driving quality up and prices down. Now, the company has announced its next phones, the Le2, Le 2Pro, and Le Max2…

If you’ve by chance used any of LeEco’s offerings from the last couple of years (or any of Huawei’s phones, like the Nexus 6P, Mate 8, Mate S, or P9), then you’re already familiar with the feel of these three new devices. They’re all built around a smooth all-metal unibody design in a variety of colors, sporting attractive chamfered bezel-less edges. If you want to know what these devices feel like in the hand, just grab a Nexus 6P. That’s more or less what you’re getting with these, with the exception of the glass “visor” at the top of the phone’s rear replaced by a more usual camera bump.

First up is the Le 2, which is the most affordable and lowest-specced of the phones announced today. As far as specs, there’s not much here that really sets this phone apart from its competition. But, like the Honor 5X that Huawei launched back at CES, the phone’s attractiveness comes in what you get for the price. The Le 2 has has a 5.5-inch FHD display, 3GB of RAM, a pair of 16MP and 8MP cameras, and support for a wide variety of wireless bands, all powered by a Helio X20 2.3 GHz deca-core processor. All of these are substantial upgrades over the phone’s predecessor, the Le 1s. And the phone is going to ship in China for around the equivalent of about $200.

The second phone that LeEco is launching today is the slightly-more-powerful Le 2Pro, which it categorizes as “top-end”. This phone is an upgraded and physically identical version of the Le 2, sporting a better Helio X25 deca-core processor, the same 5.5-inch display, 4GB of RAM, a 21MP main camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera. Just like the Le 2, the Le 2Pro has USB Type-C for data and charging, LeEco’s own fast charging tech, and an “ultra-light, triple anodized” unibody.

Le Max2

Le Max2

The last smartphone that LeEco announced today — and perhaps the most exciting for those who are accustomed to top-of-the-line specs and performance — is the Le Max2. While its physical design is very similar to its siblings, the Max2 has a 5.7-inch 2K display, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of flash memory, support for Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, all powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip. The phone uses a Sony sensor that brings 21MP images and supports optical image stabilization. All of these specs were built with VR support in mind, and the Chinese company also introduced a VR headset that’s coming in May of this year (for the China market at least).

One thing that’s worth noting is that all three of these phones inexplicably forgo a 3.5mm headphone jack despite having plenty of room for one. This feels a lot like an attempt to beat Apple to the punch without real reason. It might — yes, might — be justifiable for the Cupertino company to push its users to Bluetooth and Lightning-only, but I just can’t see how the target audience of Le’s newest phones (which are intensely affordable) would be happy with needing to use the included USB-C to 3.5mm converter. Le says the phones have the “world’s first Type-C audio connector,” but beating Apple isn’t very beneficial if your audience isn’t going to appreciate the move.

Be sure to keep your eyes on 9to5Google over the next several hours as we have hands-on video and more details on the new phones coming soon.

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About the Author

Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.