After making a name for itself in the premium smartphone market, LeEco is stepping up its game in India. The Chinese internet conglomerate introduced its LeEco Membership in India last week and launched a new Superphone, Le 1s Eco, which serves as a medium for the entertainment programme.
LeEco announced its Le 1s Eco, which comes with free one-year of the "Supertainment" membership, which alone costs Rs. 4,900. As a bundle, the Le 1s Eco is priced at Rs. 10,899, but the company further slashed the price down to Rs. 9,999 for the first 100,000 units during the first flash sale on May 12.
We received the review unit of Le 1s Eco, which looks identical to the original Le 1s except for the bundle of entertainment package that comes with it. After playing around with the handset for a while, here are our first impressions of the Le 1s Eco.
Look, feel and performance
LeEco Le 1s Eco is not quite different from its predecessor, Le 1s, which was unveiled in January. The design of the Le 1s Eco is almost identical to the original model, except for a matte lining around the handset instead of mirror finish. The dimensions, display size and resolution, camera configuration are all same in both Le 1s and Le 1s Eco.
The only difference in the Le 1s Eco is its toned-down processor – a 1.85GHz MediaTek Helio X10 CPU. The rest of the specifications such as 3GB RAM, 32GB storage and a 3,000mAh battery remain unchanged. Even the handset's camera configuration is the same as the Le 1s, which is a 13MP f/2.0 aperture sensor at the back and a 5MP front snapper. There is no Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and 4K recording support, which is still a minor setback.
LeEco Supertainment Membership
The main motive behind launching the Le 1s Eco appears to showcase LeEco's all-new entertainment package. The LeEco Membership, which includes all the entertainment features plus additional benefits, comes preloaded in the Le 1s Eco. The membership programme alone costs Rs. 4,900 a year, but Le 1s Eco buyers get it for free.
At this point, you might question is it worth buying a phone just for its entertainment package. Frankly, it is too soon to tell, but our short-term experience with the content so far hasn't been disappointing.
LeEco has partnered with YuppTV to offer the gamut of content that comes with the membership. Users can access the entire live TV catalogue of YuppTV. There is a dedicated "Live" button on the main screen to enable quick access to the content. Levidi is another entertainment app that allows access to Bollywood and regional movies.
The content on both apps is extensive, but lack consistency. Some movies on Levidi play seamlessly, while others return an error when tried to play. On Live launcher, there is a wide range of channels in Hindi, English and regional languages powered by YuppTV. It works seamlessly on the Le 1s Eco, making it worth your while. Catching up on shows while on-the-go could never be easier. Existing users of Le smartphones will get the content ecosystem through an OTA software update within May this year.
LeEco is not yet done adding spice to your entertainment. We are eagerly waiting for Le Music, which is expected to go live in the third quarter this year. Le Music is said to offer more than 3.5 million songs from 25 different languages, which will be powered by Hungama.
LeEco is also offering 5TB of free cloud storage for its members, which will also be available to users in Q3 2016. In our view, the content that LeEco is offering with Le 1s Eco is a solid reason for buyers to opt for this phone as they would get free content for a year. But the specifications of the Le 1s Eco are same as the Le 1s, so it really doesn't make a huge difference on which smartphone buyers choose.