Leagoo isn't a brand name that would strike your mind when talking about smartphones. It's a Chinese brand, but not as popular as Xiaomi, LeEco, Lenovo and others that have made a niche for themselves in globally. Leagoo, on the other hand, has been around for a while now and like others it has a range of affordable Android smartphones.
Leagoo had launched the Elite 1 last year, catering to the growing demand for good-looking budget smartphones in China. The company's international presence is limited, hence the availability of the Elite 1 comes via GearBest. Priced at $170, it can be shipped anywhere in the world. For Indian consumers, the handset would cost roughly Rs. 11,200. Is it really worth spending so much for a smartphone that hasn't been heard of when there are options like Lenovo K4 Note, LeEco Le 1s and others? We are going to find out.
Before we get started on the review, here are the key specifications of the Leagoo Elite 1:
Display: 5-inch Full HD with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 441ppi
Processor: 1.3GHz 64-bit MediaTek octa-core CPU
Camera: 13MP Sony IMX214 primary sensor with dual LED flash and 13MP front snapper
Software: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Add-ons: Fingerprint scanner, HiFi music, Smart Button, dual SIM, 4G LTE.
Leagoo has managed to keep the design of the Elite 1 at a premium level by focusing on slightest details. At first glance, the handset looks like another iPhone doppelganger, but there are some key elements that make it unique.
The metal frame of the Elite 1 sandwiched between the glass display and mirror-surfaced rear panel makes it durable. Holding the phone in the hand is quite comfortable and it is not slippery even with single hand use. However, the handset can be easily exposed to scratches, so it is advised to use it with a protective case, which will also protect the device from accidental falls.
Apart from the usual button set-up, there is a Smart Button at the lower end of the right side panel of Elite 1, much like in the Sony's Xperia series. The dedicated button, as one can imagine, launches camera and snaps photos without having to look for the camera icon in the menu. The convenience of accessing the camera is mainly because the Elite 1 has an appreciated camera.
Leagoo Elite 1's Full HD display offers good viewing angles, colour accuracy and brightness levels. The colour saturation is placed at the right levels. The display has 441 pixels per inch, which makes the picture quality vivid and crisp.
After using the phone for over a month now, we found the display's touch accuracy lags at certain points like the corners of the phone. The touch inaccuracy hinders the typing experience, which is an area of improvement for the Elite 1.
The camera specification of the Elite 1 caught our attention, so we tested the photography capabilities in different lighting conditions. Elite 1 did not seize to surprise us with excellent results in low light, an area where most phones in this price range suffer. Under good lighting, the Elite 1 was on par with most phones in its price range, so there is nothing really standing out on that front.
Leagoo Elite 1 can capture the details and deliver almost accurate colours. There are various camera modes, such as HDR, which was slow while shooting but returned good results. The selfie camera, which is accompanied by a front flash, does a good job in outdoor shooting, but shoots average photos in low-light conditions.
Below are some camera samples shot from Elite 1 during our review: [Slideshow]
Leagoo Elite 1 is a performer, nonetheless. There were some lags while playing high-intensity games, but it delivers good performance almost all the time. Running multiple apps did not cause the phone to slow down or hang. In fact, some apps, such as Facebook, launched sooner and performed smoother on the Elite 1.
During our review, we found the common heating problem occur in the Elite 1 while charging the device, which usually takes a long time. However, there was bearable heating while using the handset even for long hours. We ran benchmark tests on the phone and found some impressive results. Below are the screenshots of various benchmarking tests we ran on the device:
Leagoo Elite 1 has a physical home button at the bottom of the display, which has an integrated fingerprint sensor. We have mixed reactions to the security sensor as it sometimes scans the finger in one go, but can get frustrating at times despite multiple attempts. It's worth noting that the fingerprint scanner fails to read in the presence of moisture on the finger, but it can bypass the presence of lotion.
Leagoo Elite 1 has a 2,400mAh battery, which is standard for a smartphone of its specs. But it is an important area of focus for Leagoo as Elite 1 barely pushes through the day with average use of calls, data and browsing. Also, the handset takes quite a lot of time to fully charge. Sometimes, even charging the device for more than an hour gives around 75 percent of battery. The phone eats up a lot of battery when idle.
In order to overcome the battery woe, the Elite 1 comes with battery saving options, which works to add a few extra minutes before the phone needs another charge. But you cannot rely on the battery saving modes ignoring the actual battery life and the time it takes to charge fully.
Leagoo Elite 1 is, overall, an impressive device and brings some freshness to the monotonous smartphone market. But its limited availability makes it a challenge for buyers to consider options that are available in their country. The handset also raises concerns over the after-sales service while shipping it internationally.
Leagoo might have a similar luck like its Chinese rivals in emerging markets such as India, but the company's plans to enter India are unknown at the moment. If we are considering the handset, the Elite 1 is certainly worth buying, but the price could be lower. Indians have options such as Lenovo K4 Note, LeEco Le 1s and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 in that price range, which would make it tough for the Elite 1 to succeed.
The camera of the smartphone is quite impressive and the display is good, but the company needs to work on the battery of the Elite 1. A few touch-ups on the OS and user interface could be a welcoming addition.