We’re going to start this review off with a little warning about some of the Chinese Android smartphones we’re reviewing lately. These reviews are probably better suited to our overseas readers in India, China and areas like that. While many of these Chinese phones are great quality and super fun to use, many of them will not support U.S. LTE bands and other frequencies. While most of them will support HSPA+ and 3G, many of us have become used to LTE and would rather have an LTE capable phone. That being said, the Leagoo T1 Plus is a hell of a nice budget minded Android phone so read on for the review!
Leagoo T1 Plus Specifications
- Mediatek MTK6737 CPU
- 1.3GHz, Quad Core
- Mali-T720 GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB ROM
- External Memory TF card up to 128GB (not included)
- Wireless Connectivity 3G,4G,Bluetooth,GPS,GSM,WiFi
- WIFI 802.11b/g/n wireless internet
- Network type GSM+WCDMA+FDD-LTE
- 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
- 3G WCDMA 900/2100MHz
- 4G FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz
- 2.5D Arc Display
- Display size 5.5 inch
- Screen resolution 1280 x 720 (HD 720)
- Back-camera 8.0 (SW 13.0MP) with AF and intelligent two-tone flashlight
- Front camera 8.0 (SW 13.0MP)
- Auto Focus
- Media Formats – BMP,GIF,JPEG,PNG
- Music format – AAC,M4A,MKA,MP3,WAV
- Video format – 1080P,ASF,AVI,FLV,MKV,MP4,RMVB,WMV
- I/O Interface 2 x Micro SIM Card Slot,3.5mm Audio Out Port,Speaker,TF/Micro SD Card Slot
- Bluetooth version V4.1
- Sensor Ambient Light Sensor,Gravity Sensor,Proximity Sensor
- FM radio
- Battery Capacity (mAh) 2660mAh Built-in
Many of these Chinese smartphones have taken on similar design languages and the Leagoo T1 Plus is no different. That doesn’t make it a bad design, it just makes it a safe design. The looks of the Leagoo T1 Plus remind of Huawei’s smartphones. Around the right of the device is the power button, placed in a nice spot where your thumb nestles on it nicely. The dual sim card/microSD card tray is right above the power button. Around the left of the device is the volume rocker which is separated into up and down and not one single button with ridges. I kind of prefer this design over the single switch with ridges, the volume rocker is much like the iPhones.
At the bottom the MicroUSB port is placed to the right of the device instead of center, which could make using third-party docks and accessories more of a challenge. I also would have liked to see USB Type-C instead but I’m sure costs played a part here. The microphone is also at the bottom right next to the charging port. On the top, one of my least favorite features on any smartphone: the top mounted headphone jack. I really hate top mounted headphone jacks but I realize not everyone does. Around the back you have the fingerprint sensor, the flash, noise-cancelling microphone, speaker, and camera module.
The aluminum chassis feels premium enough though you can feel the grade of aluminium used is probably a little cheaper than an iPhone or Nexus 6P. The Leagoo branding and logo is very well done on the back as well, very subtle and doesn’t feel like a second thought. Overall this is a well designed smartphone with good looks and decently premium materials considering the sub $150 price point.
Before you start screaming that the display is only 720p I personally think 720p isn’t bad for a smartphone. The only reason I would complain that a 720p screen was in a smartphone would be if that phone costs as much as an iPhone or Nexus. These sub $150 phones will for the most part have a 720p display and that’s just fine. This screen is vibrant and colorful with oversaturated colors much like what Samsung likes to do on their Galaxy phones. Text is crisp and clear and I had no issues enjoying the display for what it is.
The Leagoo T1 Plus also ships with a screen-protector pre-installed. Many of these cheaper Chinese Android phones will not come with Gorilla Glass protection but the Leagoo T1 Plus does have Gorilla Glass 4 which is a huge bonus. Overall the display is great, for a 720p resolution it does a good job indoors and in lower light though it can struggle a bit in bright sunlight. But many smartphones, even high end ones, can be challenged by direct sunlight.
If you’re familiar with using Chinese Android phones you’ll know most all of them ship with their own custom ROM’s. The Leagoo T1 Plus is no different in that regard as it ships with a Leagoo skin right over Android 6.0 which essentially gets rid of the app drawer. Users in India, China, and other countries prefer this look better than stock Android and it emulates the iPhone more closely. You can install a custom launcher and get your app drawer back so it really isn’t a big issue that the skin is in place.
Leagoo also includes a bevy of other pre-installed apps you may or may not like. Such as Leagoo Beauty, Leagoo Share, Power Saver, Sim Toolkit, Backup and Restore, and Dual Tag, none of which are uninstallable. You can disable these apps in settings but they are system level apps and uninstall is not possible. Android 6.0 runs nice and smooth here and this is one of the first phones at this price range I have seen ship with Marshmallow. Many other Chinese phones are shipping with Lollipop only. It’s also important to note that upgrading to the latest Android version will be a hit or miss with these Chinese companies. Some of them do update to newer versions of Android and give you routine security patches but many do not. It is part of the price you pay for buying a budget phone from China.
While there are some trade-offs with the Leagoo T1 Plus the overall software experience is very much Android like, even without a custom launcher. You have full access to Google Play so you can install anything you normally would on any other Android phone so it will all be very familiar. There are also other goodies like Smart Wake, Smart Motion, and Smart Gestures which allow you to control different aspects of your phone (much like HTC or Samsung have). I could have done without some of the pre-installed apps and its a bummer you can’t uninstall them but having Android 6.0 installed out of the box is a nice bonus for a budget phone.
Mediatek processors are the CPU of choice in most all budget minded Chinese smartphones and the Leagoo T1 Plus is rocking the Mediatek MTK6737 1.3Ghz quad-core processor. While the Mediatek processors are a step down from Qualcomm’s processors, they have improved over the past year or so. In the past, Mediatek processors were nearly unusable under intensive load. But with time have come improvements in stability and load handling. This Mediatek didn’t have any issues doing daily smartphone things and it did very well while playing games but did lag a bit under graphic intensive games like Asphalt 8.
Scrolling in browser and in apps is smooth and pretty much lag free, though I did get an occasional hiccup here and there it wasn’t anything intolerable. Pinch to zoom and touch responsiveness is great, no issues at all. The screen accuracy is pretty good for such a budget priced phone, I didn’t feel like I had to keep tapping to get my input registered. Overall the Meditek CPU and Mali GPU do a fantastic job paired together pushing Android 6.0. I suspect that improvements in Android have much to do with Mediatek processors being better equipped to handle the processes thrown at it now. Overall, for a budget phone, this thing performs admirably.
The back mounted speaker is good for voice calls/speakerphone and it works in a pinch for YouTube videos. But you are going to want to get a good pair of headphones if you want quality sound. The included earbuds are decent but still just a slight improvement over the speaker. Highly suggest investing in some better audio delivery system.
Before you keep reading remember that this is a $129 budget phone. The Leagoo T1 Plus has two 8.0MP (SW 13.0MP) cameras, one in the front and one in the back. These are both billed as 13MP cameras though that is with software help. Native megapixels stand at 8.0MP and the software is kind of like what HTC does with its Ultrapixels. The cameras aren’t bad for a $129 phone but they’re obviously not on par with high end smartphone cameras like the iPhone and Nexus 6P. But for what you’re paying here, these cameras do fairly well. In good lighting you’ll get some decent shots, head into low light and the cameras do struggle becoming grainy. But you can’t argue too much about the lower quality sensors here due to the price being where it’s at.
One area I’ve noticed these Chinese phones excel at is reception and especially call quality. Call quality was excellent on the Leagoo T1 Plus and both ends could hear and understand each other perfectly.
With a 2660mAh non-replaceable battery built in, I had no issue getting through the day on a charge. Battery life will vary dependent on use but my use was normally moderate and consisted of browsing, email, social media, a game or two, the occasional YouTube video, and of course talk and text. Battery life is good and only if you’re an extremely heavy user should you need to charge before the end of your day.
$129.99, an absolute steal for the hardware, design, and Android 6.0 on the Leagoo T1 Plus. This really is a great phone but sadly it won’t be for U.S. users who want LTE services.
Worth the price, but consider the coverage before you buy if you’re in the U.S.