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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 – The Best Budget Smartphones of 2016?

by Linus 0

Both Xiaomi and Letv had a great year of 2015 as the companies released plenty of awesome phones. The Redmi Note 3 and the Le 1s are the latest offerings in the budget or in affordable midrange smartphone categories. Find out which device is better in a full comparison review.

Please check out Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 review and Letv Le 1s review.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 VIDEO REVIEW:

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: DESIGN

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Both phones are quite huge due to their 5.5” displays but they both sit comfortably in the hand.
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On the front top, both devices have 5MP shooters, a usual set of sensors and LED notification lights. The Xiaomi phone has an edge here as its LED light can be highly customised.
Both Letv and Xiaomi devices have nicely backlit capacitive keys, which also have exactly the same layout.
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Both companies chose some premium materials designing their phones as both devices sport premium all-metal design except for the plastic top and bottom parts for antennas.
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As far as optics, we are looking at 13MP shooters with PDAF but only the Redmi Note 3 has a dual tone dual LED flash. Right below the cameras you can find fingerprint scanners and both of them are equally easy to setup, fast, accurate and work straight from the standby mode.
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The Redmi Note 3 has the speaker on the back whereas the Le 1s has implemented it on the bottom, where you can also find a mic and the USB Type-C port. However, the Xiaomi phone still uses the regular micro USB port.
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The Le 1s is a slightly thinner phone as it measures at 7.5mm whereas the Redmi Note 3 measures at 8.7mm. The button placement is the same on both phones and the keys have a great tactile feedback.
Both phones have dual SIM card slots, which are located on the left and both devices have 4G LTE support.
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On the top both devices have a headset jack and the IR blaster.
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Overall, both the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the Letv Le 1s have great design, excellent build quality and premium choice of materials. However, the Le 1s is more attractive to me but it all comes to a personal taste.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: SPECS

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3:

Display
5.5″ 1080p (Full-HD)
Processor
Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10, 64-bit, octa-core (up to 2.0GHz)
RAM
2GB/3GB (review unit is a 2GB model)
Camera
5MP Front/13MP Back, PDAF
Connectivity
Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-SIM.
Battery
4.000 mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions
150 x 76 x 8.7 mm (5.91 x 2.99 x 0.34 in) / 164g
OS
MIUI 7 (v. 7.0.16.0) (based on Android 5.0.2)
Storage
16GB – 2GB RAM model (our review unit), 32GB – 3GB RAM model
Letv Le 1s:
Display
5.5″ 1080p (Full-HD)
Processor
Mediatek MT6795T Helio X10, 64-bit, octa-core (up to 2.2GHz)
RAM
3GB
Camera
5MP Front/13MP Back, PDAF
Connectivity
Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-SIM.
Battery
3.000 mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions
151.1 x 74.2 x 7.5 mm / 169g
OS
eUI 5.5 (based on Android 5.0.2)
Storage
32GB (non-expandable)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: DISPLAY

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Both phones have 5.5” 1080p panels and they are great to look at. The displays are sharp, vibrant, have excellent viewing angles but both panels could be a little bit brighter and they have just average sunlight legibility.
The Redmi Note 3 has an edge as it has a bit brighter panel. Still, I would call it a tie as both phones have great displays.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: UI

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3:
When it comes to the user interface of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 we have MIUI 7 out of the box, which is built on top of Android 5.0.
First of all, I am really happy to see a huge improvement over the MIUI 6 in terms of speed, performance, power and RAM management.
Everything is running smoothly with lots of apps running in the background, there are no major hiccups or lags. There have been a few times that apps loaded a bit longer but it hasn’t been much of an issue worth complaining about.
If you are not yet familiar with the MIUI, it has tons of customisation options, which include a wide choice of themes, wallpapers, fonts and so on. Also, you can customise the LED light, assign different tasks to capacitive buttons and so on.
All in all, I have to say that Xiaomi finally got the it right and although the Redmi Note 3 is not yet perfect but the overall user experience is mostly positive.

Letv Le 1s (unofficial International ROM. The device was tested with both official and unofficial ROMs and the conclusions are based on the official one):

Official eUI 5 Letv ROM:
As far as the Letv Le 1s,  we have the eUI 5, which is also built on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop.
My review unit shipped with the unofficial international ROM, which has Google Play and multi-languages pre-installed, the Chinese apps removed but there are quite a few annoying apps that you can’t delete.
It is very easy to flash the original Chinese ROM back and if you want to see how it looks like, I will leave the links in the description of the previous Letv smartphones I’ve reviewed.
eUI is a highly customised version of Android and it usually runs smoothly without any hiccups or lags.
There are plenty of customisation options as it has become a standard on the Chinese phones.
Also, there are quite a few similarities with iOS, e.g. if you swipe from the top, you will open only the notification shade.
Pressing a left capacitive key triggers a window where you can access your recent apps or close them, quick settings menu, music player, shortcuts to some apps and so on.
All in all, LeUI is very fast and clean looking user interface with some great features and customisation options.
However, I’ve tried both official Chinese ROM (the only official version currently available) and this unofficial ROM.  I have to say that you should stick with the official one.
The unofficial ROM is slower, it does not support OTA updates but most importantly it has some really annoying apps that you can’t simply delete like battery boosters, cleaners and so on, which simply slow your phone down.
All in all, the eUI is a bit faster user interface when it comes to daily performance. However, the difference is negligible. If I had to choose which UI I prefer for everyday use, I would probably pick the MIUI 7 as it has more customisation options, it is more user-friendly for international users and it has bigger international online community. However, this may change when Letv releases the official international ROM for its devices.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: BENCHMARKS

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3:

Letv Le 1s:

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

Both smartphones have very similar specs as they have Mediatek Helio X10 chip, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of non-expandable storage. However, my review unit of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is a lower-end model, which is cheaper but it comes with only 2GB of RAM and 16GB of non-expandable storage.
The 3D games run absolutely fine on both phones. The graphics look good, there are no hiccups or lags and the performance is identical. Also, there are no overheating issues on neither phone.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: MULTIMEDIA

Consuming media is a great experience on each device and there are no issues watching full HD or 4K content.
As far as the sound via loudspeakers, both phones have good implementations for budget phones. However, the Redmi Note 3 has slightly clearer and less tinny sound than the Le 1s.
Once you plug in the earphones, the sound quality is comparable and it is pretty good. Again, the Redmi Note 3 excels here with the slightly louder volume output.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: CAMERA

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3:

The camera app on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is fast and easy to use, and there are a few shooting modes and settings to play with.
 Letv Le 1s:
When it comes to the camera app of the Le 1s, we have the same app we’ve already seen on other Letv phones and it has a lot of inspiration from iOS. It is fast and responsive and it is very easy to use.
Also, both smartphones are equally fast when it comes to the capture speeds.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: IMAGE QUALITY

When it comes to the image quality, both cameras are capable of producing images with a decent amount of details in good lighting conditions. However, in one situation, the Redmi Note 3 captures more details while Le 1s manages to do it better in another shot. Still, I compared the images side by side on the 40” 4K monitor and the Le 1s tends to capture more details.
The colours tend to be a bit oversaturated on the Le 1s in some shots but in most of the images they look natural and similar to the colours reproduced by the Redmi Note 3’s camera.
As far as other aspects like contrast, dynamic range and so on, the images are pretty much comparable.
Most of the indoor shots are comparable in terms of the overall quality. However, Letv phone usually captures much better macro shots with more details and better sharpness.
When it comes to the night shots, the Redmi Note 3 is usually much better except for a few shots when it struggled with focusing. The images have more details and significantly less noise. However, the Le 1s has a more powerful LED flash for pitch dark environments.
The 5MP selfie snappers will definitely do the trick for social media but the Le 1s excels here as it has wider lens, meaning that you can fit more into the shot. On the other hand, the Redmi Note 3 has a better colour reproduction and higher quality sound recording for video chats.
As far as 1080p video quality, the Le 1s’s footage has more details. On the other hand, the sound recording quality is worse than the one found on the Redmi Note 3. Colour reproduction and auto-exposure is comparable on each phone.
Overall, both phones have one of the best cameras for the price but they are far from perfect. While the Xiaomi phone excel in one area, Letv phone is better in another.  If you tend to take lots of daylight images, the Le 1s appears to be a better performer but the difference is not always significant. However, the night images shot by the Redmi Note 3 look much better. Finally, you have to consider how you usually use your phone’s camera before choosing either of this device.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: CONNECTIVITY

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All the connectivity options like Wifi, GPS, Bluetooth and so on work fine on each device and I have no complaints.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: BATTERY LIFE

The Redmi Note 3 has a 4000mAh battery and I have to say that it performs very well. I could get almost 5 hours of screen on time (hereinafter – SOT) even though I used the phone quite intensively. If you are a light user and you mainly do basic tasks, you may even get over 6 hours of SOT. Finally, a great battery performance was confirmed by Geekbench 3 battery test as the phone managed to achieve over 10 hours of SOT with dim screen feature off.
The 3000mAh battery of the Letv Le 1s could perform better. I could get only around 3 hours of screen-on time (SOT) in real life conditions while using the phone mainly for daily tasks. The SOT time is a bit better in the Geekbench 3 battery test, where the phone was able to achieve over 5 hours of SOT with max. auto-brightness and dim screen features off.
A good thing is that the phone supports fast charging feature and you will love using it.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 vs Letv Le 1s X500 Comparison Review: CONCLUSIONS

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So there you have it, two of one the best budget smartphones of 2015 and of a huge part of 2016.
Both Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Letv Le 1s have great all-metal design and good build quality, nice and sharp displays, and great overall performance.
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While the cameras on each device are very good for the price, they both have their ins and outs. The Le 1s tends to take better images in one situation while the Redmi Note 3 excels in another. However, the difference is not always that significant.
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One area where the Xiaomi phone is much better than the Le 1s is the battery life and that is thanks to a much larger capacity. On the other hand, the Le 1s comes with the quick charging feature which definitely comes handy once you have to charge the Letv phone more often.
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At the end of the day, both smartphones are great choices for the money and you will make no mistake choosing either of them. However, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 seems like a better overall package, especially if you care about a great battery life, better low-light camera performance and more customisation options in the user interface.

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