The Malaysian smartphone industry is definitely at its most interesting stage right now. With the explosion of Chinese phone manufacturers available locally – Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei, Vivo, Zopo, and now Leagoo, you can easily get your hands on a budget Android handphone at a very reasonable price. Leagoo is the latest Chinese player in our market and has just launched the Lead 5, a very affordable mid-range Android smartphone.
The Leagoo Lead 5 features a 5” IPS display with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, and is powered by a quad-core MediaTek processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of expandable storage. It has all the basic features required in a smartphone, such as an average 5MP rear camera, 3MP front camera, 2800mAh battery and runs on Android 4.4.2 out of the box.
The Lead 5 features a pretty slim design measuring at only 7.9mm thin. While the device is generally made out of plastic, it has an aluminium frame that gives it a very sturdy feel.
The phone has a pretty curvy design – the top and bottom is rounded, while the back is slightly curved to give it a better grip – after all, plastic can be pretty slippery so it’s nice to have something that fits into your palm nicely. The top features a microUSB slot, and right next to it is a 3.5mm audio jack. The bottom of the phone looks very clean with a little hole that acts as a microphone, and a little slot to make it easier for you to remove the back cover.
The front of the device is dominated by the large 5” display and right below that is the capacitive buttons. The back has a slightly protruded 5MP rear camera paired with an LED flash, a shiny Leagoo logo, and a speaker grille right at the bottom.
The display isn’t very impressive. With a resolution of 854 x 480, the pixel density is a poor 196ppi, so don’t expect to be blown away by it. That said, it’s still an IPS display so it still has good viewing angles, and is still visible under sunlight.
The speaker on the Lead 5 is pretty loud; however, the sounds produced are slightly muffled. We have a nagging feeling this is due to the design of the speaker grille on the back cover, because audio quality is slightly better with the cover taken off.
The Leagoo Lead 5 is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MTK6582 processor paired with 1GB of RAM. In my short period with the Lead 5, it has hung on me once when I tried to add my Facebook account in via the settings menu. I’m not quite sure what happened there, but I cleared all my tasks and tried again, and it worked. It took a few seconds for Facebook to load, but worked nonetheless.
Under normal usage like rearranging icons in the home screens, downloading apps, scrolling through the web and such, the Lead 5 tends to be slightly sluggish and not as responsive. Then again, I guess you can’t be too fussy with a smartphone that costs less than RM400.
The Lead 5 has a 5MP rear camera on board and a 3MP front camera. As you would imagine, you shouldn’t expect too much from it. The rear camera is decent and has all the basic features of a camera – auto focus and LED flash on the rear camera with multiple modes such as beauty, panorama, multi image and even HDR. The front camera on the other hand isn’t very selfie-friendly as it does not have any camera modes, that means no beauty mode and no fancy touch up features. Moreover, the front camera is a bit too close for its own good, if you want to take a selfie, you’ll need to extend your hand way out.
The Lead 5 runs on Android 4.4 Kit Kat out of the box and a very basic custom skin by Leagoo. Unlike other Chinese phones we’ve used before, there’s no name for the custom skin and there isn’t any themes store. In fact, apart from the usual settings you find on Android smartphones, the only thing extra on the Lead 5 is gesture controls.
+1 point for the Lead 5 for having one of our team’s favourite widget (first seen in the i-mobile IQXA)
Very similar to what Oppo has on its ColorOS, gesture control allows you to wake the screen and open a pre-defined app simply by “drawing” on a blank/sleeping screen. It works just as advertised, but feels a bit too slow.
Desperately need an Android smartphone for yourself or even your parents, but only have RM400 in your pockets? In our short hands on, the Leagoo Lead 5 is a decent phone to get. However, there are some very obvious shortcomings in terms of hardware, which makes it a better idea to spend just a little bit more for a better smartphone experience.
Nevertheless, it is a promising start for Leagoo in Malaysia, and with their vision to be “stylish, practical, affordable”, it’ll be interesting to see what the Chinese company has in store for the Malaysian market in the future.