LeEco's LePro 3 Promises High-End Specs for a Midrange Price
Unless you spend a lot of time in China, you're likely unfamiliar with LeEco. The Chinese tech giant wants to change that, starting with a pair of smartphones, including one that promises premium specs at a mid-range price tag.
That would be the LePro 3, a 5.5-inch Android phone that costs $399. You can knock $100 off the price if you preorder it during a Nov. 2 flash sale and sign up for LeEco's LeRewards program. The unlocked phone works on GSM bands in the U.S., so you'll use it with carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket or MetroPCS.
Don't let the price tag or LeEco's low U.S. profile make you think this is some sort of mid-range phone. The metal body LePro 3 runs on a Snapdragon 821 processor — the same chip you'll find in the just-released Google Pixel. The phone also features 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a full HD display. It's powered by a beefy 4,070 mAh battery, which should provide more than enough juice to get you through the day.
The LePro 3 doesn't skimp in the camera department, either, with a 16-megapixel rear shooter. There's an 8-MP camera up front for snapping selfies.
You will not find a headphone jack on the LePro 3, however. Instead, you'll need to plug in your headphones into the phone's USB-C port.
The other phone announced by LeEco today (Oct. 19) is the more midrange Le S3. It's also a 5.5-inch smartphone with a full HD display and 16-MP camera, but it uses a Snapdragon 652 processor and features 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It will cost $249, but you can also grab that $100 rebate on Nov. 2.
Both LeEco phones run the company's EUI skin over Android. That skin includes a lot of preloaded LeEco apps, which the company claims will direct you to engaging content. The included Live app, for example, links to LeEco's video streaming service.
Whether that will be enough to help LeEco make a name for itself in the U.S. smartphone market remains to be seen. There's certainly demand for spec-rich phones at lower prices, but that's a market already being staked out by the likes of OnePlus with its OnePlus 3, ZTE with its Axon 7 and Huawei with its Honor 8, among others. All three of those phones cost about the same as the LePro 3 and feature comparable specs, and enjoy a head start on LeEco in winning over U.S. customers.
LeEco has a big universe of products — it bought TV maker Vizio for $2 billion earlier this year and today's launch event in San Francisco included talk of VR headsets, bicycles and electric cars that all make up the LeEco ecosystem. But smartphones shoppers will likely be more interested in whether a device can deliver the goods; we'll find out in November whether the LePro 3 can meet that standard.