What Is It? – You’ve probably never heard of LeEco or the Chinese billionaire who owns it – and who heads a related company that runs video streaming and cloud computing services, plus makes a series of smart TVs for the Chinese market. Now his LeEco company is trying to break into the US market with its own smartphones, one of which is the Le Pro3 Ecophone, an unlocked Android phone that will work with any of the GSM/LTE carriers, meaning virtually everyone but Verizon or Sprint. The Pro3 has a 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass display, Snapdragon processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage space, but no slot for additional storage on an SD card. The brushed aluminum case and its innards weigh in at 6.24 ounces, which is really not that much considering the Pro3 contains a heavy duty 4,070mAh battery – which means it can last up to 318 hours in standby, or more practically, more than a full day in heavy use – before it needs a recharge. The Pro3 runs the latest Android operating system, includes front and rear facing cameras, as well as a fingerprint reader on the back. There’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, all the usual stuff. It comes with Google and other apps, plus what LeEco refers to as it’s “ecosystem” – hence the phone’s full name – which will link you to the parent company’s services, which start out free, and then you’d have to subscribe. The phone has only a USB-C port, but the package includes an adapter for headphones, as well as a clear plastic protective case for the back and edges of the phone, something usually sold as an “extra.”
Is It 50+ Friendly? – The Le Pro3 has nothing special for older users, but it is certainly not too large or too heavy compared to other Android phones. The long battery life is a big plus.
Frustration Factor? – The fingerprint reader proved elusive to set up, never seeming to complete that important first read of my fingerprint no matter how long and steady I held by finger there. The Pro3’s cameras are just OK, and unlike some recent higher-end phones, the Le Pro3 is not water-resistant.
Is It Worth It? – The long battery life and low price make the Le Pro3 a good buy, and in fact, its performance is reportedly better than some more expensive Android phones. If you’re not tied to Verizon or Sprint, you can purchase this unlocked GSM/LTE phone at Amazon, Best Buy or Target, and it’s also available at its full $400 price on the company’s website, but they have been offering $100 “instant rebates,” so you might want to check for that.