Hands on: Letv Le Max Pro

Letv's Le Max Pro is a gleeful glimpse of the super phones coming this year

Letv will be a familiar name to anyone in China, but to most outside of the country — even those who know the smartphone industry — it’ll be an absolute unknown. That’s going to change in 2016, if Letv’s ambitious plans come to fruition, and one of the first things we’ll be paying attention to is the Le Max Pro — a whopper of a phablet that’s the first to be announced with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 inside.

Everything about the Le Max Pro — and Letv, actually — is absolutely gigantic. The Snapdragon 820 returns to quad-core territory for Qualcomm, but the benchmark results published so far blitz everything else out there. The Le Max Pro flies, even in our quick tests. There’s not a hint of slowdown, just all-dominating power that’s almost tangible, regardless of whether you’re snapping pictures or playing a game. Having 4GB of RAM doesn’t hurt either.

We can’t help but get excited about the phone, and listen intently to Letv’s huge global plans.

The Sharp-produced screen is 6.33-inches in size, with a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution, housed in an aluminum body that’s clearly reminiscent of the iPhone. It’s a bit of a shame Letv didn’t go in a slightly different direction with the design, which is derivative, but thankfully not ugly. It’s finger-stretchingly massive, and impossible to juggle with one hand. Use two, and it’s comfortable and surprisingly lightweight.

Although the first use of the Snapdragon 820 is grabbing the headlines, the fingerprint sensor is equally unique at the moment. It’s Qualcomm’s 3D ultrasonic sensor, and promises to be more secure and reliable than capacitive sensors, like the one found on the iPhone. Letv called it sweat and lotion resistant. I slathered my Vegas-dried fingers in moisturiser and tried it out. Even moderately coated, the scanner recognised my finger. My print is visible on the sensor itself afterwards, showing there was a liberal dollop of lotion still coating my finger. It’s also ultra-fast, going from black screen to home screen with no perceptible delay. It’s really impressive.

Letv’s Le Max Pro isn’t done with firsts yet. It also uses the new 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard, which boosts bandwidth and lowers latency for more reliable 4K content streaming and online gaming. Other specs include a 21-megapixel camera, USB Type-C, and 64GB of internal memory. Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s installed with a few changes. There’s no app drawer, the notification pane only holds notifications, and the device controls and open apps are all found using the menu soft key under the screen.

Letv-Le-Max-Pro_9838
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

What’s the reason behind all this speed and size? Letv’s got a plan, which involves putting its primary business in front of you at all times. Letv runs a streaming video, gaming, and media network, and it’s placed front-and-centre on the phone. The Le Max Pro is just part of Letv’s ecosystem, which includes a range of very cool televisions. Proving its intentions, and technical ambition, Letv’s in the process of making autonomous cars that will drive us to work, while we sit back and watch a movie through the Letv media app.

Letv wants you to buy into its ecosystem and needs a very special phone to entice the world away from the company it continually references as its main rival: Apple. The Le Max Pro is undeniably special, and packed full of the latest tech, but we can’t buy it yet, and have no idea how much it’ll cost when it arrives. Letv says it’ll be out in the United States — along with other Letv media products, and sold through the lemall.com online store — later this year.

We can’t help but get excited about the phone, and listen intently to Letv’s huge global plans; but until we can actually buy one, the Le Max Pro is just another tech tease from a company that desperately needs brand recognition if it’s to succeed outside China. Letv’s confidence says it’s not going to wait around and let this happen organically, and with more news promised in January, it obviously has no intention of hanging around.

Highs

  • Latest and greatest processor
  • Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner
  • Huge high-resolution screen
  • Type C USB

Lows

  • Unknown price
  • Not available in the U.S. yet
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Wearables

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Mobile

Give Rachael Ray a run for her money with these 13 recipe apps

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to make a killer meal, you just need an easy to follow recipe app. We’ve compiled our 13 favorite cooking apps for Android smartphones and iPhones, including countless recipes to suit any taste.
Mobile

You forgot all about these 6 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.
Mobile

Why Honor’s new screen is the hole-y grail in quest to ditch the notch

Honor will release a smartphone with an in-screen camera in the new year, a trend which is gathering momentum in the industry. Honor said it has cracked the formula, and explains what's special about its All-View Display.
Mobile

T-Mobile is giving away free iPhone XRs and Galaxy S9s for the holidays

T-Mobile is celebrating the holiday season with a series of deals for customers who want an iPhone XR, Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6T, LG V40, or LG G7. There are terms and conditions to the deals, but they are still worth considering.
Smart Home

These activists are hacking housing problems in NYC using apps and data

There are 1.2 million people living in "deficient" housing in New York City and now these coders are making easy-to-use, intuitive apps designed to give tenants a fighting chance against unscrupulous landlords.
Mobile

Google Assistant will alert you if it thinks your flight will be delayed

Google Assistant will soon be able to alert you if your flight is delayed. Using historical flight status data and machine learning, the service can even predict a flight delay before it's been officially confirmed.
Mobile

Forget 3 being a crowd, 4 is the magic number on the Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei's sequel to the P20 Pro, the P30 Pro, has already started to leak ahead of its 2019 announcement and release. The company is likely to improve even further on the P20 Pro's excellent camera.
Deals

Here are 19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…
Mobile

How to use Samsung’s Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.