LeEco Le 2, Le 2 Pro and Le Max 2: No headphone socket for Chinese flagship “superkillers”

“Flagship killer” and “flagship superkiller” were the English phrases used on stage during the launch of three new LeEco smartphones in Beijing today. The target is Apple, but the Chinese company isn’t aiming to match the US giant’s prices, rather bring top-quality hardware to the middle and bottom tiers, with handsets that boast sizeable specs for modest prices.

LeEco Le 2, Le 2 Pro and Le Max 2: No headphone socket for Chinese flagship “superkillers”

The smartphones in question are the LeEco Le 2, the Le 2 Pro and the high-end Le Max 2. I had some hands-on time with the devices at the launch event and, from first impressions, liked what I saw.

So, how do the “superkillers” fare? First up, the LeEco Le 2. This looks and feels a lot like Huawei’s Honor 5X, with a 5.5in 1,920 x 1,080 screen tucked between ultra-thin bezels beneath an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. On the back are a 16-megapixel main camera, a built-in flash and a fingerprint sensor.

Inside is one of MediaTek’s new deca-core, “tri-cluster” processors – the Helio X20 – backed up by 3GB of RAM and a 3,000mAh battery.

No headphone socket

The second take comes when you look at the phone’s edges: there’s not a headphone port in sight. Instead, the Le 2 has a USB Type-C port with a separate adapter for headphones. It’s a move Apple is rumoured to be pursuing with the iPhone 7, but Apple is in a position to say “jump” and wait for customers to follow.

LeEco Le 2: look, no headphones!

LeEco, while enormous in China, is relatively unknown in the west, so it remains to be seen how getting rid of the port will play out, should the Le 2 eventually makes it to our shores.

Next up is the Le 2 Pro, which looks and feels near-identical to the Le 2, but comes with the slightly more powerful MediaTek Helio X25 processor (also deca-core) and 4GB RAM, as well as better front and rear cameras (8 megapixels and 21 megapixels respectively).

LeEco Le 2 Pro

Finally, there’s the bigger and more powerful Le Max 2, which comes with a 5.7in 2K display that has been “optimised for VR” (think Samsung Gear VR), a 3,100mAh battery and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip with a whopping 6GB RAM.

LeEco Le 2, Le 2 Pro and Le Max 2: Prices and early verdict

All the new phones feel suitably lithe in-hand, and the specs are strong, but the main weapon for these self-professed flagship killers is price. In China, the Le 2 is launching at 1,099 yuan (£118) and the Le2 Pro at 1,499 yuan (£161). The Le Max 2 comes in at 2,099 yuan (£226) for the 4GB model and 2,499 yuan (£269) for the 6GB model.

The hope for LeEco is that combining quality internals with a budget price tag will disrupt the top end, namely Apple and Samsung, and convince buyers to get more for their money. On the evidence of the Le 2, the Chinese company might just do that. LeEco is eyeing up a US launch for the Le 2, but there’s no word yet on whether the phones will come to Europe. We’ll keep you posted.

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