Leagoo Shark 1 Review

25 March, 2016, 15:09:14

Leagoo Shark 1 ReviewLeagoo Shark 1 is the latest smartphone of Leagoo - a brand owned by China-based Shenzhen OTEDA Technology Co., Ltd. The model has been announced in February and is the first from Leagoo's Shark series of smartphones. The brand has two other series named Elite and Alfa, respectively, which include devices with more moderate specifications and even more affordable price tags. Obviously, the Shark devices aim to provide better performance, while retaining reasonable rates. The Leagoo Shark 1 can be a serious competitor of the UleFone Power and other smartphones with similar specs and design. With a 6-inch display, mid- to high-end specifications and a serious battery capacity, the phablet might turn out a great buy for everyone, who is looking for a reliable device with a big screen that is also budget-friendly.
The review unit has been provided by GearBest.com

Specifications

Leagoo Shark 1 features a big, 6-inch LTPS display by LG with a 1080p IPS panel that has a pixel density of 368 ppi. Protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the 5-point multi-touch screen is scratch-resistant. It also has 2.5D curved edges for seamless design and improved grip. Under the hood is placed a MediaTek MT6753 chipset with an octa-core CPU clocked at 1.3GHz and a tri-core 450MHz Mali-T720 MP3 GPU. It is coupled with 3GB of single-channel, 800MHz LPDDR3 RAM and 16GB of internal memory. The latter is expandable with up to 64GB. The camera department includes a 13-megapixel primary shooter with the classic Sony Exmor RS IMX214 sensor combined with a 5-element lens that has a 77.9-degre wide-viewing angle and an f/2.8 aperture. The sensor is 1/3.06" large. The rear camera also has a dual-tone LED flash, auto focus and is capable of recording FHD video @ 30fps. The front camera packs a 5-megapixel GC5024 sensor, an f/2.8 lens and an LED flash. The model also has an integrated AWINIC K6 amplifier with output voltage of up to 5.8V and maximum effective power reaching 1.65V for an improved sound experience. Leagoo Shark 1 is powered by a 6300 mAh, non-removable battery with LGQC 3.0 Quick Charge, which ensures up to 72 hours of talk time. On the back of the device is placed a fingerprint sensor with Fingerprint ID 3.0, which provides 360 degrees recognition angle and has a 508 ppi recognition resolution. It is capable of unlocking the smartphone in 0.39 seconds. An IR blaster is also on board, turning the handset into a universal remote control compatible with more than 20000 products of around 200 manufacturers. Leagoo Shark 1 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Leagoo OS 1.2 on top. The new OS offers a new power saving mode, new smart mode, new floating gesture, etc. The device has a dual-SIM card slot and supports 2G GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), 3G WCDMA (900/2100MHz) and 4G FDD-LTE Cat. 4 (800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz) networks along with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi HotSpot, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG. Here's the list of full Leagoo Shark 1 specifications.

What's in the box

Leagoo Shark 1 arrives in a rectangular black box with Leagoo's logo in silver on top. Inside are placed the smartphone itself and under it - the quick charger, a micro USB cable, a screen protector, a set of in-ear headphones, a pin for the SIM tray and a user manual in English and Chinese.

Design and build

The strongest assets of the Leagoo Shark 1 are the display and the battery. Leagoo has obviously started with the display and created all else around it. For the screen the company has chosen an LTPS active matrix LCD by LG. Low Temperature PolySilicon displays are faster, thinner and capable of supporting large resolutions and pixel densities. We will dig more on this in the Display section. Further, the screen is made scratch-resistant by adding a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 layer. The 2.5D curved edges, not only add up to the elegant look and feel, but also protect the display from breaking after accidental hits as they seamlessly merge with the frame. The frame is made from a combination of aluminum base and high-quality poly-carbonate lining. The same poly-carbonate is used for the back case. There are no crevices, holes and all parts bond tightly. The only thing we've noticed is that if you press strongly with fingers the back case, it flexes and you can feel the chassis under it. The smartphone does look stylish and despite the large-capacity battery and phablet size, it is not very heavy, either. It weighs 241 grams, which is quite reasonable, and measures 158.6 mm in height, 82.8 mm in width, and 8.5 mm in depth. The sheer size of the smartphone makes it look thinner than it actually is. Ergonomics could be a problem to people with smaller hands and despite software solutions for one-hand operation, some might find it difficult to handle the device. This, combined with the fact that the body is mainly plastic, means that you must get a protective case in order to be on the safe side. The model is available in three colors - black, silver and gold. We are reviewing the black variant.

Controls

The controls layout of the Leagoo Shark 1 is rather classic, with one exception - the device has well-lit on-screen home, back and menu buttons. Those who cherish aesthetics might like this feature. It's quite convenient as well, once you get used to it, especially when coupled with the Floating Gesture. Still, others might find it inconvenient, so do have it in mind. On the front of the smartphone, above the display from left to right are placed an the front camera with an LED flash, the earpiece, the LED notification light, and the ambient light sensor. On the back of the smartphone are placed the rear camera and LED flash (at the top) and the round fingerprint sensor, while the speaker grill is below the removable back cover, which has the Leagoo logo imprinted on it. On the top side of the smartphone are the 3.5mm headphone jack and the IR blaster. On the bottom side are the micro USB port and microphone. On the right hand side are the power and volume buttons, while on the left is the hybrid dual-SIM tray with the second tray being capable of housing a microSD card.

Display

As mentioned earlier, the Leagoo Shark 1 is equipped with an LTPS IPS display by LG. It has a 6-inch diagonal size, Full HD (1080 x 1920) resolution, and a pixel density of 368 ppi. It is precisely the large screen, resolution and pixel density, which make the choice of an LTPS active matrix LCD screen excellent. There are two other techs for such active matrix displays - a-Si (Amorphous Silicon) and IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide). However, the Low Temperature PolySilicon tech allows the electrons to flow faster through the grains of polysilicon, compared to the other two. More specifically, compared to the a-Si (Amorphous Silicon), they move 100 times faster. This makes possible achieving larger resolutions. Larger than 200 ppi pixel densities are possible due to the fact that the wiring between the pixels is reduced and they can be placed closer to one another as the driver electronics are integrated onto the glass substrate. Moreover, the screen consumes 20% less power than standard displays of the same size, while providing 30% brightness improvement, according to Leagoo. Indeed, the Leagoo Shark 1 display is very bright with the maximum luminance (100%) on a white background being 445.4 cd/sq.m., while the black value is 1.16 cd/sq.m. Additionally, the lowest brightness (0%) white value is 18.1 cd/sq.m. and the black value measures 0.08 cd/sq.m. The static contrast ratio in both cases is 384:1 and 362:1, respectively. Because of the high black values the contrast ratio is not high. The color temperature of the white point at maximum brightness is 7008K, that is it is neither warm, nor cold.
The IPS panel ensures good viewing angles - 178/178 degrees on the horizontal and vertical as per standard. The 5-point multi-touch display is amazingly responsive in all areas and is perfect for reading and previewing graphic content. Under direct sunlight it performs pretty well, too. Protection against scratches is ensured by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It is also supported by MediaTek's MiraVision, which is a picture quality enhancement technology for displays, providing crispier videos, better responsiveness, intuitive automatic adjustment of the brightness and contrast levels depending on the surrounding environment, etc.
Brightness White luminance Black luminance Contrast Color temperature
100 % 445.4 cd/m2 1.16 cd/m2 384 : 1 7008 K
75 % 346.7 cd/m2 0.89 cd/m2 390 : 1 7188 K
50 % 241.4 cd/m2 0.63 cd/m2 383 : 1 7007 K
25 % 133.3 cd/m2 0.35 cd/m2 381 : 1 6994 K
0 % 18.1 cd/m2 0.05 cd/m2 362 : 1 7204 K

OS, UI and software

Leagoo Shark 1 arrives with Android 5.1 Lollipop on board, topped by the company's own Leagoo OS 1.2. This is the latest variant of the UI, which offers six themes and has more than 200 items re-designed compared to the previous edition. Again, there is no special app tray - all apps are accessible straight away, and what we generally like in Chinese smartphones - there are no excessive apps pre-installed. With the exception of Leagoo Share, Opera Mini, and Google PlayStore, all other apps are pretty standard and ones that you actually use. The new Leagoo OS also includes many new functions such as a new Float Gesture, Power Saver Mode, Smart Mode, etc. Similar to the Oukitel K10000, the Leagoo Shark 1 has a Float Gesture, which provides quick access to the lock screen, home key, gesture recognition, float video, and float music. The smartphone offers various options for gesture-based interaction with it, including the Smart Gesture and Smart Motion menus.
Having in mind the big size of the display, Leagoo have provided a special menu, which customizes the layout of several features, making them suitable for one-hand operation such as the dialer and the navigation bar. As mentioned earlier, the navigation bar is on-screen. It is managed by a special menu, allowing you to customize the arrangement of the buttons and other features. There are also several security software features such as the Visitor Mode, which hides call logs, text messages and does not allow desktop editing, in case someone else uses your phone. A second security feature is the mobile anti-theft one, which deletes all sensitive data in case your device is stolen or lost. Of course, the software allows you to customize the LED notification light colors according to various events - missed calls/messages, fully charged/depleted battery, etc. A Scheduled on & off function is also on board.

Networks, calls, connectivity and navigation

Leagoo Shark 1 is equipped with a hybrid dual-SIM tray for two micro-SIM cards or one micro-SIM card and a microSD card. It supports quad-band 2G GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), dual-band 3G WCDMA (900/2100MHz) and penta-band 4G FDD-LTE Cat. 4 (800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz) networks. During the test days reception has been excellent at all times with phone calls being of perfect quality - clear voice on both ends, no drops, no side noises. The model's connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi HotSpot, and Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG. Connection to local Wi-Fi networks has been easy, no lags. Using the device as a Wi-Fi HotSpot also works fine. We managed to connect a Bluetooth headset for calls without problem as well. The USB OTG functions means you can hook peripheral devices such as keyboards, mice, HDD, etc. to the smartphone. MediaTek's analog of the NFC - HotKnot - is included as well and functions properly. Another connectivity option is provided by the IR Blaster, which turns the smartphone into a universal remote control. There is a dedicated app with information of about 20000 products from more than 200 manufactures, which are compatible with the handset. The radio works fine, the only problem with it is that it does not display the information about the stations, only the frequencies, so it most probably does not support RDS. In terms of geo-location and navigation, Leagoo Shark 1 supports all major satellite systems - GPS/A-GPS, Beidou, Glonass, Galileo, and navigation works fine.

Performance

Leagoo Shark 1 relies on a 64-bit MediaTek MT6753 chipset. According to AnTuTu, this is the "T" variant of the chipset, which is not very widely used. By standard, it has eight Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at 1.5GHz and a 695MHz, tri-core ARM Mali-T720 MP3 GPU. However, in this smartphone both the CPU and GPU are clocked to 1.3GHz and 450MHz, respectively, so showing MT6753T could be a mistake of the AnTuTu test. For example, CPU-Z shows MT6753. The total AnTuTu score of Leagoo Shark 1 is 36451. The LPDDR3 RAM is quite generous, measuring 3GB. It is single-channel and has a clock rate of 800Hz. Coupled with the chipset, it ensures flawless experience, no matter whether you're browsing, watching video or playing games. Opening apps and browsing through the device itself is flawless, there are no lags, stuttering or interruptions whatsoever. However, we played Asphalt 8 and gameplay was not smooth. After decreasing the "Visual quality" parameter from the settings of the game, the frame rate increased, but still the game did not run smoothly. It did not improve even at the "Very low" level of the "Visual quality" parameter. The on-board storage measures 16GB, of which 12.23GB are available to the user. Leagoo Shark 1 is also quite generous in terms of sensors. It features a Hall sensor, Magnetometer, Accelerometer, Light, Proximity and G-sensor, but the most interesting one is the fingerprint sensor placed on the back. It has a round shape and is combined with the latest Fingerprint ID 3.0, which ensures 360 degrees recognition angle and 508ppi recognition resolution. Thus the sensor is capable of unlocking the device in 0.39 seconds. From the menu of the smartphone, you can add your fingerprint ID(s) and assign tasks such as unlocking the screen, taking photos, opening/closing applications, unlocking black calibration. Indeed, fingerprint set-up and recognition is easy and quick.

Cameras

Leagoo Shark 1 has a mid-tier camera department, which includes a primary shooter with the classic 13.13-megapixel Exmor RS IMX214 sensor by Sony. With a size of 1/3.06", this stacked CMOS sensor provides images with resolution of 4864 x 2736 pixels. It supports HDR video imaging, panorama shooting and is capable of recording 1080p video at 30fps. The sensor is combined with a 5-element lens that has a 77.9-degree wide viewing angle. Please note that the aperture is not f/2.0 as listed everywhere. The system tools and the sensor's specifications reveal that it is f/2.8. The rear camera has a dual-tone LED flash and auto-focus as well. The front-facing snapper is equipped with a 5.3-megapixel GC5024 sensor with a size of 1/4" and a pixel size of 1.4 Ојm and provides images with resolution of 3072 С… 1728 pixels. The front-facing shooter's lens has an f/2.8 aperture as well. Both cameras and the images they take are managed and edited via the Ultimate Beautification 4.0 software suite of Leagoo. Image quality is pretty decent and covers expectations. In good light conditions, the cameras make acceptable photos.

Primary camera

Secondary camera

Audio

Leagoo Shark 1 has an integrated AWINiC K6 amplifier with output voltage of up to 5.8V with maximum effective power reaching 1.65V. Coupled with the Audio Enhancement software on board, it is meant to provide a sound experience, which is better than average. We made an audio test using the RightMark Audio Analyzer software and the RME Babyface audio interface. The results are published below. Note: The high-pass at the low frequencies (-1 dB at 30 Hz) is a part of the input stage and is designed to be like that by the RME Babyface audio interface. As a result, the RightMark software rates the frequency response of the device lower than it should be.
Test Value RMAA rating
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.04, -0.56 Good
Noise level, dB (A) -93.9 Very good
Dynamic range, dB (A) 93.9 Very good
THD, % 0.021 Good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -71.0 Average
IMD + Noise, % 0.030 Good
Stereo crosstalk, dB -79.0 Very good
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.024 Good
General performance   Good
Frequency response
Noise level
Dynamic range
THD + Noise (at -3 dB FS)
Intermodulation distortion
Stereo crosstalk

Battery

The second strongest asset of Leagoo Shark 1 is its non-removable, Li-Pol battery with a capacity of 6300 mAh. It arrives with a fast charger and the LGQC 3.0 Quick Charge tech, which allows you to charge the battery from 0 to 100% in 3 hours. During our testing it took 2 hours and 40 minutes to charge the battery from 0 to 100%. According to specifications provided by the manufacturer, 30 minutes of charging will provide a whole day worry-free use of the device. If charged at 100%, the battery ensures 72 hours of talk time, 49 hours of music playing time, 770 hours of standby time (when only one SIM card is on).
The large battery capacity allows you to use the Leagoo Shark 1 as a power bank, with which you can charge two devices simultaneously. You can optimize your battery's performance by using several power saving modes and features. The first is the Standby intelligent power saving, which is switched on by default. Then there is a whole Power Saver menu, which includes a Power Saving Mode and a Smart Saving Mode coupled with a Power Monitor. They allow you to configure your device in such a way as to take the most of its battery. We ran the PCMark battery test and it showed a result of 11 hours and 12 minutes work battery life. The test was performed with the screen brightness set at 200 cd/sq.m. as recommended by Futuremark. We also ran the Geekbench 3 battery test, despite the fact that we didn't like the test during the K10000 review because of the running limitation of 1000 minutes it has. So we ran it for 12 hours to see the remaining charge level after the test is through - the same we already did with the other reviewed devices. The "Dim screen" option was left enabled. Leagoo Shark 1 scored 4800 points and the percentage of remaining battery power was 31%.

Final thoughts

Leagoo Shark 1 will appeal to those of you who are looking for a smartphone with a 6-inich FHD display and a big battery, which provides reliable autonomy - and all this for less than USD 200. The choice of 6-inch phablets with mid-range specs around this price mark is very limited, so it is only logical to consider this model, if you're on the search for a device with similar specs and features.