Living With A Legend: The LePhone (Part 1)

Author xlxmarketing 30.9.2010. | 13:00

Chinavasion Partner With Lenovo To Give You A Chance To Make History As One Of The First Customers To Own The LePhone!

 

A Different Kind Of Phone, A Different Kind Of Experience

Who are Lenovo? Just because they aren’t a household name in the West doesn’t mean they are a lesser brand (to be fair I had a Lenovo laptop in the UK years ago and it was great).

Lenovo was the outcome of Legend Holdings, China’s biggest PC maker buying IBM’s PC division. In the early part of this century, Lenovo started making cellphones and today they are currently China’s best selling brand. This means that 100’s of millions of users have a Lenovo. Not shabby at all.

They are looking to expand their mobile phone sales outside of China, but they know that whatever they offer the West has to be competitive with the likes of Apple’s iPhone, the HTC range and other mobile giants like Nokia and Samsung.

What are they joining the fight with? The LePhone. Read on to learn more about your next phone!

 

Living With A Legend

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a test model to live with for the last week, so I’m going to give you an informal review of what it’s been like to live with the LePhone. Remember, you can get in-depth product information for the LePhone in Chinavasion’s smart phone category.

Under The Hood

The LePhone is more powerful than many of its competitors, with a 1GHz ‘Snapdragon’ processor (as used in the HTC Desire and Google Nexus 1) and 1/2 a Gig of RAM, it’s basically a mini-PC in your pocket. It has a true 3MP auto-focus Camera, WiFi and voice and data connectivity through WCDMA/HSPA 3G (850/1900/2100 MHz) and quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900).

There’s no point in having a really powerful smart-phone if it doesn’t have enough memory to store all of your media, but the LePhone’s got it covered with 1/2 a Gig of memory on board and an external 8 Gig SanDisk micro SD card (which is included for free!).

It is also running Google’s excellent Android OS, which makes it very easy to look after all of your online activity in one place. We’ve said a lot about Google Android recently and are big fans here at Chinavasion, you can read more about Chinavasion’s Android phones in this Android blog.

Finally it has a generous battery with up to 7.5hrs talk time and up to 400hrs standby. Being honest I didn’t achieve these figures, but I was still impressed with the battery’s life-span.

Most Android phone users will browse the net, collect email and watch movies as well as calling and texting, so that’s just what I did! I found that with mixed usage (a bit of everything mentioned above) I could achieve about 2 days between charges, which isn’t bad for a smart-phone.

Do remember to turn of bluetooth, WiFi and dim the screen when not using the phone. This will do wonders for its battery life!

 

Looking Good

How does the LePhone look and feel?

Heavenly Body: The LePhone is clearly very well put together with a very strong, fashionable black and chrome metal casing which is cold to touch and substantial. I like the chrome screen-surround and the scores on the rear casing which make it easy to grip and push apart the casing to expose the battery compartment. I think a metal casing really makes a difference with a smart-phone as it really feels quality, and when you spend as much time with a phone as you do with a smart-phone this feeling is really important.

It is also pleasingly heavy, which makes it feel so right in your hand, not like a fragile device that could break at any moment; however it’s actually smaller than an iPhone 3GS so it’s not a huge brick by any means. I am also convinced that with its sturdy construction and weight it could be used in an emergency as a cosh to fend off muggers and other ne’er-do-wells.

A slight drawback for me would be the USB connection’s cover which, although being magnetic, isn’t connected to the phone. So when you take it off (the left hand side of the phone) to charge the phone or connect it to your computer, just be really careful to keep an eye on the little cover!

Sharp As A Knife:The screen itself also doesn’t disappoint as it is a large 3.7″ AMOLED capacitative touch screen. What does this mean to you? It’s big, bright, sharp and a joy to operate.

Unlike some older phones which have resistive touch screens where you have to create pressure and drag along your finger, the LePhones screen is a pane of glass which simply reacts to the the presence of your finger (it can sense the electrical field given off by your body – cool!).
I found this to be good as it was very accurate and sensitive and I very rarely had to tap twice or pressed incorrect letters when texting which was sadly a more common occurrance with resistive screens.

The screen is excellent for viewing movies and TV. Eyestrain is never going to happen because the screen is large, sharp and bright with a 800×480 resolution. HD it’s not, but it IS very sharp. My advice is to tilt the screen to landscape position and watch movies and surf by holding the LePhone like a PSP between two hands.

Used And Abused

The Interface

As lovely as the LePhone’s hardware is, the user experience mainly comes from its software – the mighty green Droid.

I’m no stranger to Google Android having used one of our excellent Excalibur Android Smart-phones for several weeks, but the LePhone’s Android OS is a little bit different.

The standard Android has a very simple layout, so it took me a while to get used to the LePhone’s Android OS which has a very Lenovo flavour to it. It has a ‘Clover’ system, where the icons on the ‘home’ screen are small clover leafs. This very ‘pretty’ display is quite typical of Chinese products and although it isn’t as immediately as intuitive as ‘pure’ Android, it is absolutely fine once you get used to which buttons do what:

 

Click to expand this image and see what the home screen has to offer
On my phone there were two ‘spare’ icons on the right. You can manually attribute whichever app to these that you like by holding the icon down and then choosing whichever function you’d like to be placed there from the ensuing pop-up menu. Angry Birds need only ever be 1 push away!

One function that I love on the LePhone is its multitasking ability. You can open multiple apps and flick between pages by drawing your finger left or right along the black touch area beneath the screen to go forward or back. As you do it a little white icon should appear.

Below you can see the multitasking display – your open apps are displayed as smaller screens which will scroll left or right depending on the direction you sweep your finger below the screen. To open up the one you like just tap it, or double tap the white icon below. Try it!

 

Above you can see the LePhone’s multitasking in action.
 

The LePhone is a pandora’s box of useful features and cool apps, so don’t forget to check out part 2 of my LePhone review where I tackle its apps, internet browsing and calling and texting. I’ll also continue to share tips with you.

Author xlxmarketing 30.9.2010. | 13:00
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