While the smartphone manufacturer LeEco had joined forces with Coolpad for the CoolEco Cool 1, it now also cooperates with the well-known Russian company “REE” (Russian and Eastern Europe). Information on this is very rare or not available at all. The result is LeEco LeRee Le 3, which looks almost the same as CoolEco Cool 1. We have examined the cheap device for you and will tell you in the following review whether an investment is worthwhile or whether you should rather keep your hands off it.
Design / build quality / scope of delivery
As already mentioned, the LeRee looks very similar to CoolEco Cool 1. The CoolEco again resembles the smartphones of LeEco. This has saved costs and benefits from the older models already published. It is available in the colours “Gold” and “Grey”. The LeRee consists partly of plastic and aluminium. Thus, the unibody casing is extremely light. The aluminium rear cover nestles around from the rear to the display and is not susceptible to fingerprints at all. The rest of the casing is a complete unit made of polycarbonate or similar material. Don’t worry: Despite a little plastic, the smartphone looks very positive. This is also due to the fact that most of the surface is matt lacquered and forms a beautiful contrast with the glossy, slightly rounded corners. Due to the choice of material it weighs 173g. The smartphone measures 74.8 x 152.0 x 8.5 mm. Thus, the device is very handy and fits comfortably in almost every trouser pocket.
On the rear side, below the dual camera in the middle, there is the reflecting fingerprint sensor and the dual LED flash. The camera protrudes about half a millimeter. Personally, I prefer the fingerprint sensor being on the rear. On the one hand this saves space on the front of the display and on the other hand you hold the phone anyway in your hand and have your index finger on the rear. Unlocking with your finger is much easier. Others, on the other hand, may find it impractical when the smartphone is lying on the table, as you have to take it in your hand every time you need to unlock it. But that’s just a matter of taste. The Dual LED flash glows in 2 different white tones: The upper flash glows in bright, cold white, as known from the doctor’s office. The lower LED, on the other hand, glows in a beautiful warm “living room white”. 🙂 The rear cover is interrupted by a plastic element at the top and bottom. In addition, the lettering of “LeRee” is printed below.
The LeRee has a 5.5-inch display. In typical LeEco style, the sensors and the front camera are located above the earpiece to the left and right. If you look at the display from the front, you assume that LeRee has not installed a notification LED. Wrong! It is located next to the front camera and lights up directly below the colored/lacquered display area. Below the display are the soft-touch buttons. These are slightly illuminated for a short time after switching on. The operation is therefore mostly blind, but this is not a problem. Volume control and power button are on the right side of the casing. They have a pleasant pressure point and do not wobble much. The SIM card slot is located on the left-hand side. The headphone jack is located on the top, together with the infrared transmitter. The USB-C port is located at the bottom in the middle. Behind each of the 6 openings to the left and right you find loudspeakers and microphone.
The scope of delivery of LeEco LeRee 3 contains:
- USB-C charging cable
- charging adapter
- operating instructions
In terms of design, the LeRee is by no means a novelty. Without knowing it, the first time you see the smartphone, you will surely notice that it somehow is made by LeEco. It’s not a bad thing, though. For example, LeEco has conjured up a piece of jewelry with the similar-looking Le Pro 3. Here, too, the build quality is at a very high level. With the LeRee you get what you expect.
The LeRee has a 5.5″ IPS display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, resulting in 400 PPI. The image is sharp so that individual pixels are not visible. The big advantage over larger displays with possibly available 2K resolutions is, of course, the power saving. According to the specifications, the display is not protected by Gorilla Glass. The screen-to-body ratio is 73.3%. At least the display edges are slightly rounded thanks to 2.5D glass. When switched off, the display appears completely bezel-less. As soon as you switch on the display, however, you can see an approx. 3mm bezel.
A maximum of 10 touches are registered simultaneously. The multi-touch screen reacts very well and without delay. The display lights up bright enough to be able to read all contents even in daylight. In the upper display range it reaches a maximum of 505 Lux, a very good value. In the middle of the screen we reach 542 Lux and in the lower part of the display still a good 509 Lux. The viewing angle stability is excellent. The colors are strong and the user can also choose between 4 preset color modes (“Color Mode”) in the display settings.
In summary, the display does not fail and proves to be very solid. The display convinces in every respect despite the missing Gorilla glass: Great colour representation & top viewing angle stability.
The LeEco LeRee 3 houses a Snapdragon 652 SoC, consisting of 4 x Cortex A72 cores with a maximum of 1.8 Ghz and further 4 x economical Cortex A53 cores with a maximum clock speed of 1.4 GHz. This processor should deliver a good performance with low power consumption due to the high clock rate. The more economical (1.4 GHz) cores are available for simple tasks. A 3 GB LPDDR3 memory is built into the single-chip system. In the benchmark, it reaches different values, depending on the time of measurement. Up to 8.7 GB/s are achieved when cold. If the test is performed during extensive use of the LeRee, “only” 5.8 GB/s flow through the RAM. Still a very respectable value.
Graphics calculations are done by the integrated Adreno 510 chip, which clocks at 600 MHz. This GPU is more in the mid-range. With the Adreno 430, which is included in the Snapdragon 810 for example, there are significantly faster alternatives, but these are then also located in a different price range. In terms of performance, the Snapdragon 652 naturally cannot keep up with higher class models like 820 or 835, even in terms of features. But it is much cheaper and in everyday life the differences are hardly noticeable. The SoC offers enough performance for all tasks. Asphalt 8, which we use over and over again, for example, runs very fluently at the highest graphics settings! The LeRee does not get particularly warm even after longer gaming sessions.
LeRee has a total of 32 GB main memory. However, this cannot be extended. The SIM tray has a maximum of 2 Nano SIM cards for parallel use of 2 mobile phone numbers. The internal memory achieves a reading speed of 196 MB/s and a writing speed of 152 MB/s.
Our test benchmark results are as follows: in the Antutu benchmark, the phone scored an impressive 94,723 points. In the Geekbench benchmark the LeRee scores 3146 points in multi-core and a respectable 1410 points in single-core. The Nubia Z17 mini also houses the Snapdragon 652 and scores similarly in the benchmarks.
The LeEco LeRee 3 performs all standard tasks such as surfing, WhatsApp, Social Media Apps and Co. without delay. The performance of the systems is completely fluid. Enough resources for multitasking are also available. Even when many apps are opened, your phone won’t stumble. Although the Snapdragon 652 is no longer Qualcomm’s newest offspring, nor is it the non-plus-ultra in terms of performance, it offers more than enough power for the money despite the weaker Adreno 510 GPU.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
LeEco has been in a serious financial crisis for a long time and so the software is also in a crisis. The LeRee runs with Android 6.0.1 with LeEco’s EUI user interface, which is reminiscent of Apple’s iOS here and there. The security patch for the device is from April 2017, and here’s the problem with LeRee. Well, “problem” may be a bit exaggerated, but smartphone buyers should be aware that the device will no longer receive updates unless you manually access a customs ROM, which may be based on a more recent Android system. In the forum of the colleagues of XDA developers there is a link to a newer software version of the Chinese counterpart CoolEco Cool 1 for the device available. But you still have to wait for real custom ROMs.
It is also quite likely that more custom ROMs will be released for the LeEco, as the devices are well received by the community. Lineage OS on the smartphone would be cool of course, but there are no news about it yet.
Fortunately, all standard Google Apps are pre-installed on the phone as standard. However, the EUI system does not have an app drawer. If you can’t cope with the loss, you can easily install another launcher from the App Store and set it as the default launcher. In addition, wallpapers and other designs can be downloaded to customize the system to your needs. At least theoretically… according to the notification that appears every time you try to download a theme, there is no network connection, which simply wasn’t true. It didn’t work in the Wi-Fi either.
The EUI surface is beautiful, runs very smoothly and stable. Furthermore, it can even be customized. Fortunately, the malware test was also negative. A nice feature can be found in the “Gallery”-App. Deleted images and videos are first pushed into the recycle bin and must therefore be removed twice for final deletion. In addition, the smartphone can be switched off and on again at set times.
A useful security feature is the ability to lock any app. The application is then only opened after successful pattern or password entry or after identification of the fingerprint. Apparently the LeRee Wake-Locks contain apps that cannot be easily found without root. This means that one or more programs prevent the phone from switching to “sleep mode” when the display is off. In the background the SoC is “awakened” again and again, which leads to a senseless loss of battery power. During the continuous operation of 1 day and 16 hours, an impressive 31% of capacity was lost.
The phone includes an app called “Push Service”, which repeatedly asks for authorization to make and manage phone calls. Although all tests for malware were negative, we recommend to deny the permissions. The same applies to the in-house browser app. Here, too, you will be unnecessarily asked for sensitive permissions. There are many other and above all safer alternatives available in the Google Play Store.
Overall, LeRee offers a very good and stable system with useful and additional functions, even if the browser app and push service leave a dubious impression.
The LeRee houses a 13 MP dual camera by Sony (IMX258) with an aperture of f/2.0. Unfortunately dual cameras are quite a sensitive topic for me. I can’t see these run-of-the-mill Bokeh fake filters anymore. I had already given up hope of ever enjoying a real dual camera if the LeEco LeRee Le 3 didn’t appear. Indeed… no dummy, no fake! Finally a real dual camera…and what a camera! Taking photos, or editing the dual lens photos, is really fun. The photos look great, whether standard or dual camera photos. With some dual-camera photos, however, the transitions between the blurred and sharp areas of the photos are not always completely clean. That’s quite alright, though.
The camera app offers a “Pro mode” in which ISO, saturation and contrast values or even macro shots can be set or selected manually. Top of the line! There is also an HDR mode. The autofocus is also fast and reliable. One thing is certain: with the LeRee, every Newbee will become a hobby photographer. LeRee even offers the user the possibility to create his own animated GIF’s. Sure, of inferior quality, but still funny. You can choose between the standard 4:3 and 16:9 format. The maximum resolution of videos is 1920 x 1080 pixels (full HD) and offers a good overall picture. A slight image noise can be seen, however. Slow-motion videos are also possible. However, their resolution is only limited to standard HD (1280 x 720).
The front camera with the OV8865 sensor by Omnivision has a maximum resolution of 8 MP. Here it is recommended to switch off the HDR function. The self-portraits otherwise appear somewhat too “unrealistic”, or get an excessive red cast in poor lighting conditions. In addition, there is the beauty mode already known from other China mobile phones in which the protagonist’s face can be “embellished” via a filter. A total of 5 beauty levels can be selected. However, it’s use is somewhat limited. Just skip the filter or use it only minimally! Otherwise the quality of the selfies is not outstanding but in the higher midfield. If you zoom in, certain inconsistencies or image noise becomes visible.
Considering the very low price, the camera of LeRee’s is just awesome! A (working!!!!!!) dual camera for just about 100$… where can you still get quality at such an affordable price? I still have to wipe the tears of happiness off my face as I write this review. Certainly the cameras of the premium models take even better pictures and as usual, the lighting conditions should be right, but the camera app itself offers the hobby photographer so many adjustment possibilities that the photographs become a real pleasure. We are thrilled!
Connectivity and communication
The LeEco LeRee Le 3 supports all important networks. The network reception is almost impeccable. The device uses GPS, A-GPS, Beidou and GLONASS for navigation and location determination. Navigation by car is absolutely reliable and accurate. When using the pedestrian navigation with Google Maps, the position arrow may not always be displayed in the viewing direction. However, this is not excessively problematic.
The device supports Bluetooth 4.2 and the WiFi standard 802.11a/ac/b/g/n in the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz range. The WiFi reception is very good, just as expected. The connection to the router only broke off when I was about 20m away from the building on the street below (router on the 5th floor).
The LeRee offers a wide range of sensors. In addition to accelerometer, brightness and proximity sensors, a compass, a gyroscope, magnetic field and echo sensor are also included. All sensors perform their tasks without any problems. The fingerprint sensor is simply great. I could have tested the phone for days without even a single error detection. After 20 consecutive unlock attempts, I aborted the test. My finger was promptly recognized each time and the device was unlocked fast. There is no physical confirmation (vibration) that the finger has been detected. When testing with another, unregistered finger, the user is signaled the failure of the unblocking by a single vibration.
The high call quality offers no reason for criticism at all. The interviewer can be understood loud and clear. The sound of the speaker is satisfactory. It reproduces sounds and music clean and clear, but is very tinny. Bass-heavy music therefore sounds less good. Well, this is firstly bearable and secondly also nothing new.
As it was the case with other LeEco models, the manufacturer deserves praises. The Chinese manufacturer has managed to pack a 4000mAh battery into a compact 5.5″ smartphone. The advantage of smaller displays is of course the reduced power consumption. With normal use, it is almost impossible to have to charge the LeRee on the same day in the evening. In the Work 2.0 Battery Life Test, the great smartphone lasted for 8 hours at 50% display brightness. If you watch an 1-hour HD video on YouTube, you lose 8% battery power. Great! With normal use, it takes 2 days until the smartphone craves new energy.
The phone is charged with a 5V/2A charger via standard USB-C connection. Full recharging from 2 to 100% takes exactly 3 hours. During this period 3900mAh were fed into the phone, confirming the battery capacity specifications.Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours