If names like Huawei and ZTE sound exotic to you, Letv will probably elicit only a blank stare. The Chinese company is known in its homeland for online video (think YouTube and Netflix), but over the past year it acquired a taste for smartphones. Big, powerful, flashy smartphones.
The latest in Letv’s arsenal is the Le Max Pro, a device that incorporates no fewer than three industry premieres.
As announced on stage at CES 2016 by Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf, the Le Max Pro is the first smartphone to run on the brand new Snapdragon 820 processor. The successor to the much maligned Snapdragon 810, the 820 is supposed to deliver 40% higher graphics performance at 40% lower power consumption. It’s a win-win made possible by the use of a smaller manufacturing process (14nm) and the use of custom Kryo cores for the CPU, as opposed to ARM’s default Cortex option.
This quad-core processor, integrating an Adreno 530 GPU, will power most high-end Android devices in the next year, starting with variants of the Galaxy S7, the Xiaomi Mi 5, LG G5, and the next HTC One. It doesn’t matter too much who announced a Snapdragon 820 device first, but for a relatively obscure brand like Letv, the ability to say “first!” is a coup.
It doesn’t stop there: the Le Max Pro is the first commercial device to feature Sense ID, another piece of Qualcomm technology that we expect to see in more phones in 2016. Sense ID is an ultrasonic-based fingerprint scanner, that’s supposed to deliver better performance when compared to the capacitive sensors found on many smartphones today. We’re yet to test out Sense ID on a commercial device, but we look forward to testing Qualcomm’s tall claims in the close future.
The Le Max Pro also features support for the WiFi 802.11ad standard. Operating in the 60 GHz band, WiFi 802.11ad enables very high data transmission rates (8 Gbps), with a big caveat: the range is very small and you need direct line of sight between devices. In short, this standard is useful for transmitting heavy data streams, like uncompressed video, between a smartphone and, say, a hi-res TV. Given its main business, Letv is very interested in this application, but it’s safe to say that very few users will be able to use WiFi 802.11ad in the next couple of years.
Industry premieres aside, the Le Max Pro is a very capable smartphone, featuring a refined, if very Huawei-esque design. Besides the Snapdragon 820 chip, specs include a huge 6.33-inch display, 32, 64 or 128GB of storage, a 3,400 mAh battery with QC 2.0, a 21MP camera, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Letv wants Le Max Pro to be its first device that is available in the US market, though there is no official info on its price and availability.
We look forward to taking the Le Max Pro and its tech pizazz for a spin at CES 2016. Are you impressed with this device?