After a long round of leaks, teases and false starts LeEco has finally released the Le Pro 3 AI Edition. An incremental design update over last years Le Pro 3, the real differentiator is the hardware it packs inside and the AI assistant that LeEco have provided it with. The other major selling point are the dual-camera sensors at the rear, one lens shoots in colour and one in Black-White.
Design and Hardware
The LeEco Le Pro 3 AI Edition looks a lot like its predecessor, the Le Pro 3 from last year. In-fact if you look at the front, it is difficult to tell the two apart. Dominated by the 5.5-inch full-HD (1080 x1920) IPS panel with minimal side bezels but a prominent chin and forehead. There is no physical home button up-front as it is now a virtual affair now. Flip the phone over though and the differences become apparent. The most obvious being the dual 13-megapixel camera module along with its dual-LED flash which look like Gingerbread Man. Beneath it sits the fingerprint scanner. Another redesign is the radio antenna which uses the same fused-edge design as found on the Apple iPhone 7.
The Le Pro 3 AI Edition comes in two variants one featuring a MediaTek Helio X23 deca-core SoC and the Eco Edition packing in the Helio X27 deca-core SoC. Both models have 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of on-board storage. The dual-cameras in the rear have an f/2.0 aperture, support PDAF and have the capability to record 4K (2560 x1440) content @30fps and HD (1280 x720) video @120fps. Selfie duties up-front are carried out by an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and 76.5° wide-angle lens. The smartphones run on EMUI 5.9 which is a skinned custom ROM based on Android, v.6.0, Marshmallow. To power all this, the battery is a 4000mAh non-removable unit which can be topped up with the USB Type-C port.
The Le Pro 3, now with AI
As stated earlier, apart from updating the SoC, adding dual-camera models the device also features a voice-based AI assistant, named Lele. Lele is voice activated and can be used even if the screen is off. The assistant is integrated with various pre-installed apps on the device and is autonomous enough to suggest bringing up payment option(s) during shopping. Over time it studies usage patterns and gradually improves its functionality. This places LeEco in company with a handful of other industry behemoths which have their own voice-based AI assistant, like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Samsung.
For connectivity, LeEco has provided the device with a USB Type-C port for charging and accessories since the phone omits a 3.5mm audio jack. Apart from the hardware interface, the Le Pro 3 AI Edition features 4G LTE support for its dual-SIM’s (Nano), WiFi 802.11 up-to ac standard (2.4GHz and 5GHz bands), Bluetooth v4.2, NFC and infrared sensors.
Summing up the Le Pro 3 AI Edition
The Le Pro 3 AI edition starts at ¥1,799 (~$260) for the base model with the higher end Eco Edition featuring the MediaTek Helio X27 variant is tagged at ¥2,399 (~$350) in the Gold, Rose Gold and Black colour options. The phone is up for pre-order now and will start being available for pick up from the 14th of April.
LeEco might have lost a couple customers with the choice of its SoC but at that price point one cannot really argue. The device currently fits a great niche where it cannot be easily dismissed. This might change though as Xiaomi is gearing up to launch the Mi 6 and Mi 6 Plus on the 19th of this month. Featuring Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 and coming in at ¥100 cheaper for cheapest model, it also comes running a more recent version of Android. The LeEco device wins out in the camera department though, featuring a dual-rear sensor on all variants and packing a slightly larger battery.
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