back to article LeEco Le Pro 3: Low-cost, high-spec Droid takes on the big boys with a big fat batt

In October, the Chinese firm LeEco announced bold plans to storm the American market with a range of consumer electronic devices, ranging from smartphones to a futuristic electric car. The firm's CEO Jia Yueting has since said he's scaling back his plans as a little too ambitious, but some LeEco products are available online …

  1. SW10
    WTF?

    Inch perfect

    the...rear camera does stand out a few millimeters from the casing.

    On the basis that 'a few' is more than 'a couple', that's more than surprising.

    Or did the El Reg standards Soviet redefined the millimetre while I wasn't looking?

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Inch perfect

      I must admit that I am one of those people that do not trust any phone designed and developed in China.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Inch perfect

        Or "all of them" as everyone else calls that.

  2. MrRimmerSIR!

    Battery Life

    Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 also has 4000MaH battery, and I get a good 2 to 3 days from a single charge. I think there are a couple of other makes with decent capacity, one is the Oukitel K10000 which has, funnily enough, a 10000MaH battery. It also has crappy Mediatek SoC so not to be trusted.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Battery Life

      Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 also has 4000MaH battery, and I get a good 2 to 3 days from a single charge.

      Battery life depends entirely on how you use your phone. I have an original Moto G (now running Cyanogenmod) which has (I believe) a 2,000mAh battery, and when I recharged it last night it had been nine days since the previous recharge. I get worried if it's been under a week.

      But then I only turn on the WiFi or the data or the GPS if I'm actually using them and (crucially) the phone gets an occasional reboot. There are one or two apps that once loaded, even if no longer in use, seem to drain the battery. Rebooting is a good way to kick these out.

      A side-effect of fewer recharges is probably also longer battery life as Lithium batteries are limited by recharge cycles.

      That suits my own use of the phone - for phonecalls and texts and the occasional snapshot or a bit of web browsing (I won't count tethering as doing so via USB doesn't drain the battery). I realise others make much more use of their phones' fancy functions, so of necessity use more juice.

      M.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Battery Life

        Turing off 'Mobile Data' when in areas of very low signal makes a massive difference to how long the battery lasts.

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Battery Life

          Dave noted "Turing off 'Mobile Data' when in areas of very low signal... [saves battery]..."

          Agreed, often true, but also inexplicably daft.

          If you put (for example) an iPhone into an area with weak or zero cell signal (dormant, just sitting there), the iPhone remains calm and the battery lasts as long as it normally lasts. It singularily fails to be daft.

          In contrast, many (but not all) Android phones in the same circumstances go freaking insane. They get hot and the battery is dead in two hours. My coworkers with such phones have to remember to switch their idiotic phones to Airplane Mode, and then remember to switch it back later. A manual work around.

          Hey often-Android Baseband Chipset programmers:

          You're doing it wrong.

          Your baseband chipset isn't capable of "waking up" a nearby cellphone tower that you've assumed is in need of a shout. So stop trying. Just calm down and stop transmitting when it's pointless. You friggen idiots !!!

          As noted, not all Android phones have this moronic design flaw. But many do, based on the sample of my coworkers' phones.

      2. MrRimmerSIR!

        Re: Battery Life

        Of course, after reconditioning an old Moto G(2) for the missus, I left it on without a SIM in it but connected to WiFi. Forgot about it then picked it up 6 days later with 20% battery remaining. *My* usage model would see that gone in a day and a half - and no I don't have much SOT but data or Wifi is on 24x7 with a pebble attached via BT.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Battery Life

          My S7 Edge isn't too bad. Admittedly I don't use it very much. The occasional SMS, streaming audio over bluetooth for an hour or so most days. Occasional incoming emails. I'm currently getting five days out of a charge. It seems to lose about 4% overnight when my WAP (and if the events run so is the phone's wifi(*)) is off and I live in a low-signal area (one or two bars). Then another 9% during the day typically.

          But one thing annoys me (a lot). When I first got the phone email response was patchy to non-existent and it couldn't sync my contacts. I eventually discovered it was caused by the new Doze feature. Despite whitelisting my mail client it still failed. Eventually I found app called 'Disable Doze' and now my mail client maintains its IMAP connection.

          What irks me (aside from the hassle of figuring this stuff out) is that despite disabling Doze my battery consumption is the same. So it seems the Android developers have gone to all that trouble and all they achieved is nearly destroying functionality I've been relying on for several years. Absolutely no battery savings from it for me at all. And now I hear that Nougat has an even more aggressive version of Doze. I might be about to end up with a phone that can't notify of new emails when they arrive.

          (*)The event timer seems to still be a vicitim of Doze somehow.

  3. Alan Denman

    re -90 to 100%

    Don't worry,

    once the phone gets itself confused into thinking it only has 40% battery, feeling safe to fast charge,you will get to 100% in an explosive flash.

    A bit like the Note 7, ha ha.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: re -90 to 100%

      >Getting from 90 per cent charged to 100 per cent took an hour

      Don't charge to 100%. It's not good for the lifespan of the Li-ion battery. My source is 1, a Reg article a few years back about how to care for your Li-ion battery*, and 2, Sony phones used to have an option to stop the phone charging once it had reached 90%. MacBooks and some other laptops also manage their power so that they don't sit at 100% when plugged in.

      *Other bits of advice to extend lifespan of the battery: don't regularly run the battery all the way down, don't let it get too hot, ideally just use it in the 85%-60% range, if not using the battery for some time, make sure that there is at least 40% charge in it.

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Headphone volume warning...

    ... is bloomin' irritating. I'm safely parked up, and select a podcast to listen to through my car's 3.5mm input. Podcast starts playing through the car speakers, I drive off. Suddenly, the audio drops in volume. Grr. I have to then find a safe spot to pull in, unlock my phone, dismiss the 'Listening to music at high volume for extended periods can damage your hearing' dialogue, turn the volume up again and set off on my journey again.

    Thankfully it hasn't happened for a while. Perhaps the phone is programmed to only issue the warning a few times?

    EDIT: I'm encountered this on Sony and Huawei handsets, so it certainly isn't unique to this LeEco phone.

    1. Mooby Dick
      WTF?

      Re: Headphone volume warning...

      The headphone volume nag is an EU requirement, I'm afraid, and is now built-in to Android.

      You have to warn the user when the electrical output level goes above a certain amount and it requires a positive confirmation to go further. The music player (for it affects all such devices) must repeat the nagging for every 24 hours of music listened to.

      Now, this obviously takes no account of how efficiently your headphones convert 'leccy into noise, nor if they are powered 'phones. God knows it took us an age to argue that it was irrelevant for BT devices... but PLEASE, won't somebody think of the children? ;-)

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Headphone volume warning...

        Nag should be as follows...

        "Such high volume levels on headphones may cause shaking of nearby cubicals. Also, there's dust falling from the ceiling, and the people in the building across the street have called the cops."

        Anyone else ever get pulled over (on a divided highway!!), due to one's car stereo being "too loud"? At least that's what I think he said, my ears were still ringing and I had to lip read.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Headphone volume warning...

        >The headphone volume nag is an EU requirement, I'm afraid, and is now built-in to Android.

        Ah yeah now you mention it, I remember flashing Korean firmware onto MP3 players (or else just selecting a non-EU country) back in the day when MP3 players were still discrete gadgets.

        >Now, this obviously takes no account of how efficiently your headphones convert 'leccy into noise, nor if they are powered 'phones.

        Or if I'm feeding it into another device, such as a car stereo or home amplifier, that has its own effing volume control. Actually, the issue here is my much loved £50 car stereo from Lidl - it's evidently been designed to take AUX input at headphone level, and not at line-level (and even then, it outputs the audio at a lower level than it would if playing off SD card or USB stick). Back in the day, CD Walkmans, MD players and early MP3 players all had two 3.5mm outputs, one of which was line level - but my Lidl stereo was designed about a decade after that ceased to be the norm.

      3. TeeCee Gold badge
        Meh

        Re: Headphone volume warning...

        The headphone volume nag is an EU requirement

        Er, no. The EU still hasn't done this (outside of a Daily Mail editorial), although they've talked about it a lot. It is a Chinese government requirement, which is why you tend to see this on quick 'n dirty ports of a Chinese build of Android.

        1. Graham Dawson

          Re: Headphone volume warning...

          It's in aosp. My lg g3 does it.

          The source is a regulatory change in 2013. All personal audio devices sold in the eu must have a cap of 85dB. It can be overridden to 100dB, but must reset every 24 hours.

        2. Mooby Dick

          Re: Headphone volume warning...

          Wow... mention an EU rule and you get straight in with a 'Daily Mail' knee jerk.

          Fair enough. Looking up EN60950-1:2006 / A12 (annex Zx if you're keen) which is compulsory for any music player product that displays a CE mark is probably a bit too hard.

          Have a tissue: you've left some flecks of spittle on your monitor.

    2. Alan Hope

      Re: Headphone volume warning...

      Blame EU legislation.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Low cost?

    Sorry, but $400 is not low cost. It might be "low cost" to those of us who seem to think that flagship phones somehow offer value for money when they cost more than a laptop, but some of us regard £10 to £15 on PAYG as the price point of a low cost phone.

    If you're going to call it low cost, please at least make sure it's less than £100 without a contract.

    ps.. discovered the cost of getting an iphone 5 battery changed in the official way out of warranty the other day:- it's an eye-watering £76. My last android phone cost just over half that (on the high street, in a shop run by my network) without a contract!

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Low cost?

      Agreed.

      E.g. Asus ZenFone 3 Cdn$429 = US$322. I got it for Cdn$386 = US$290 due to a slight discount.

      And it even includes a headphone socket!!

      US$400 is no longer a "low cost" price point. Distinctly mid-range.

      There are many similar nice phones at this price point.

      BTW. 1080 x 1920 pixels on a 5 or 6 inch screen "should be enough for anyone." Or as Apple would say, 'retinal'.

  6. Richard Barnes

    Still not hugely competitive

    I still can't see why you'd spend $400 on this compared to the GBP189 for a Motorola Moto G4 which can take a second sim plus a removable memory card. What extra are you getting with LeEco?

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Some points

    1) the refuseniks will cite

    - Non removable battery

    - No SD card slot

    as reasons why this will fail

    IMHO, they need to get a life. This does not need a second battery and apart from dual sim phones there is very little need for this extra storage if the maker offers a decent amount to begin with.

    2) There have been a number of Hacks that think that grey or gold are so passe and that matt black is the only colour in town. These seem to be mainly from the USA where there does seem to be a penchant for Matt Black cars.

    3) the points about the UI would be enough to make me say no, I'll pass on this. Why do these companies think that theyt need to reinvent the wheel?

    4) This is not a low cost phone. It is a 'mid-range' phone in terms of cost.

    5) Does this 'phone home to China' with all your details? In this day and age this sort of thing does need to be covered in reviews. How secure is it.

    6) The fingerprint reader being on the rear is an odd choice. Does it really work and do you get false positives when you pick up the phone?

    Other than the fact that the backer seems to be having severe money problems (read the reports about the delays etc to his plans to be the Chinese Elon Musk) it seems to be nice alternative to Samsung.

    Samsung are supposed to be getting out of the low end device market. This leaves it wide open to the Chinese.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Some points

      As regards battery, let's try a car analogy. Non removeable wheels and tyres. If you have a puncture or a worn tyre you're obliged to have the manufacturer's agent service them, assuming they haven't decided to end the service life of that model, or replace the car whichever is cheaper.

      As to the software phoning home, after recent revelations about Chinese Android builds, like you, I'd expect this to be part of any review from now on.

      1. PNGuinn
        Mushroom

        Re: Some points - let's try a car analogy

        Not quite fair on the phone makers.

        The bastards in that particular cesspit have rapidly gone from a proper spare wheel to a to spare on a cheapo rim to the equivalent of a moped wheel to nothing at all.

        They'd make all the wheels optional if they could get away with it.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Some points

      Reasons to fail missed out the headphone jack being usbc

      As for me - I would not use fingerprint sensors & not bothered about camera quality (I have a proper camera for "planned" photos on visits to new places, as long as a phone can take a quick snap of something unexpected it will do)

      Disclosure: I have a backup cheapo Chinese android (no finger sensor), but removable battery, dual SIM, additional SD slot, 3GB RAM, 16 GB flash, quad core cpu, marshmallow. That was around 100 quid when purchased n- which is my idea of low cost spare phone.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some points

      The lack of expandable memory is not as moronic as you seem to think. As noted in TFA Netflix is starting to allow downloading of content for use offline & that will quickly deplete the onboard limited storeage capacity of even the largest capacity devices. It is far easier to insert a large capacity SD card, put all your media on it, & save the devices own space for more important things. Don't poopoo the inclusion of expandable storeage as moronic, just ignore it if it's not what you want in a phone. The rest of us that feel such capabilities are mandatory can vote with our wallets.

      The lack of a removeable battery is just as much of a requirement to those of us having gotten screwed over by manufacturers that make it a permanent fixture, charge almost more than the phone is worth to officially replace it, & cause any support null & void if we dare to have it replaced unofficially. I don't want a phone to become a brick after a year because they used cheap components sourced from a battery vendor that cut so many corners it should be illegal. If we can remove/replace the battery then we can get third party units to extend the life of our kit rather than having to add it to a landfill with all the rest. Some of us don't like "having" to buy replacements every (other) year just to get a device that works as it did when we bought it.

      It all boils down to planned obsolescence. The manufacturers plan it so short that we're sick & fekkin tired of *having* to replace what are otherwise perfectly useable devices. If there's no expandable storeage then we can't improve what we might carry with the phone: if everything else comes with 64GiB but this one only has 16 then tough shit. If we can't remove/replace the battery then we can't extend the life of the device by buying a second one, we've got to ask the manufacturer if they're willing to do the task & hope the answer is yes. Why do you think our disgust & anger over such practices is moronic? YOU might be fine with dropping ~400-500 every (other) year to replace your phone but some of us aren't as comfortable doing so.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oops. Close but no cigar.

    No expandable memory, no removeable battery, & no headphone jack? Sorry but No Sale.

  9. batfastad

    Massive

    Why are all phones from the last 12 months absolutely massive? I'm not interested in anything with a 5.5" screen.

    Still rocking an original Moto G here and would like something a bit bigger, actually thicker and heavier would be fine as well if that can cram in a larger battery.

  10. Dave Lawton
    Coat

    Where do they get their ideas ?

    No expandable memory, no removeable battery, & no headphone jack.

    Three times the price of the Wileyfox Swift which has all the above.

    Mine lasts 4 days on one charge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where do they get their ideas ?

      I have a Wileyfox Storm phone with a broken screen. Would really like to have it fixed, but no one on-line or locally offers a screen. No response from Wileyfox despite their support page saying "We’re committed to provide customer services that’s as good as our phones. Feel free to get in touch – we’d love to hear from you." No replies after two weeks of trying. They obviously like to hear but not respond.

      On the other hand, my daughter Motorola G (4th gen) fixed inside three days. I think I know what I'll be buying next time.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crappy phone has big battery. Gets good review

    I guess size DOES matter

  12. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Does it have NFC, and a Gyro? Is it possible to slip this into something like Google Cardboard, and have something on the cheep to dick 'round with this VR thing?

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