Leagoo M5 Plus is a decent entry-level smartphone that features a capable fingerprint sensor - one of the best in its price range
Leagoo has been in the market for the past few years, building a reputation as an affordable smartphone maker. I personally have been checking out the devices from this brand for the past couple of years and so far the company has done a decent job of releasing value for money smartphones. A few months back, Leagoo released one of the best entry-level handsets in the market, the Leagoo M5 Plus and today, I have finally got my hands on the M5 Plus for a review.
In the Box:
Before we start this Leagoo M5 Plus review, I will have to mention that the phone came with all the usual stuff that you get in a smartphone box. So, there’s the phone itself along with the charger, scratch guard (already installed on the display) and a manual in English. It is worth noting that you get headphones in the box as well, which isn’t good, but it’s still a bit decent than other stock headphones provided in the box.
Earlier, budget segment offered very little when it came to built and looks. However, things have taken a turn for the good in 2016, as now we have phones that compete with the likes of the premium segment despite having a cheap price tag. Leagoo M5 Plus comes in the above category and I must say that the company has done a wonderful job with the phone’s design.
The Leagoo M5 Plus is built using a combination of metal and plastic, which has become a norm these days. The quality of workmanship is top notch and plastic as well as the metal parts feel premium. Even in the front, thanks to the 2.5D curved glass, the M5 Plus manages to grab your attention. So, you will definitely be happy with the phone’s looks.
The phone is beautiful and heavy. Now, the latter part is pretty evident in your everyday usage as it weighs more than many other mid-range smartphones in the market today. While 170 grams may not be too heavy for some, it definitely takes some time getting used to. And if you are someone who texts while lying on the bed, make sure you never lose grip as the phone meeting your face won’t be a pretty sight.
The buttons are on the right, made out of metal that blends well with the metal frame. They are built well and feel tactile. There’s a camera on the front and a few sensors, and at the bottom of the display, you have three capacitive buttons. The left side of the phone is clean, the top features a 3.5mm headphone jack while at the back, you have a standard MicroUSB port.
I got the white model and the back texture is glossy. But it’s not the gloss that attracts fingerprint. So, your fingerprints won’t become a part of its subtle texture. The single LED flash, camera, speakers, as well as fingerprint are located on the back.
One thing to note in the Leagoo M5 Plus is that it’s back panel is fixed firmly. I found it hard to get the back panel off to access the SIM card and MicroSD slots.
PERFORMANCE & BENCHMARK:
The Leagoo M5 Plus comes with MT6737 1.3GHz quad-core chip which is the latest entry level chipset from the company. It’s a decent processor for an entry level device and manages to sail through the Freeme OS without major hiccups. For $90, that’s pretty decent. Opening up apps usually take a second, which is also decent.
In the AnTuTu benchmark, the phone scores: 28942
The phone runs on FreemeOS and I have to say that it does a pretty decent job powering the UI. It’s easy to work with stock UI because it’s lighter but with FreemeOS, there are a lot of themes, icons, and animations that the phone has to power, and it’s good to see MT6737 manage this well. It may not be the smoothest UI implementations on a phone in the segment, but I personally felt very limited lag on the device.
I have tried streaming youtube videos on the device and it was pretty smooth. The app opens up quickly and the video loads almost instantly as well. As for the browsing experience, it takes a second or two to load the entire page but once it’s loaded the scrolling and pinch to zoom all work smoothly. I had only a few tabs open on Chrome and switching between them didn’t bring any issues or lag.
One feature I was particularly impressed about the Leagoo M5 Plus was its fingerprint sensor. Once I saved my fingerprint, the phone unlocks with a touch on the sensor almost instantly. Given that it is such a cheap smartphone, I am definitely impressed by its super fast sensor.
Some of the UI features are shown in the images below:
Camera is never usually the selling point of low-cost Chinese smartphones, but in the past few months things have seen a bit of an improvement. Of course, it’s nowhere close to what you get from $200+ smartphones, but for a couple of occasional shots, the Leagoo M5 Plus should be enough.
What I personally found was that the 13MP camera at the back of the phone captured just average photos. Most of the times the images were slightly washed out and the colors were dull. I, personally expected the camera to perform better, at least in terms of color reproduction, but was disappointed on most occasions. And when you manage to get good colors on the image, the sensor for some reason decides not to focus properly resulting in grainy and unfocused images.
Moral of the story: You need very good lighting to capture decent images with the M5 Plus. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very lucky to get extremely good lighting in my pictures, which is why the rear camera samples don’t look too good.
Now, this should give you an indication that the M5 Plus is also not a selfie expert. But I managed to get a couple of decent ones with a little bit of effort.
The samples have been added to my Google Drive. You can check them out from here.
Battery is yet another area where the Leagoo M5 Plus doesn’t shine too much. Well, this isn’t exactly surprising given that you get a small 2500mAh battery inside, which really brings you to the big questions — why is the phone so heavy?! For such a small battery phone, it’s really a pity that the M5 Plus weighs so much. The body isn’t beautiful enough to justify its weight.
Despite its small battery, note that the phone lasts about a day, thanks to the efficient MT6737 quad-core chip inside.
If it was early 2016, the Leagoo M5 Plus would have been something that I could recommend. Heck, if they managed to bring down the weight of the phone, I would have considered the phone. But with the phone being unnecessarily heavy along with the less than impressive camera, it’s very hard to recommend the Leagoo M5 Plus. It’s yet another story of what could have been a great smartphone ruined by small factors.
Despite the above-mentioned issues, I would not take away its positive points. The Leagoo M5 Plus comes with attractive and appealing looks, the freemeOS can be called as visually pleasing for most users and finally, the fingerprint sensor works great. Yes, it’s fast and accurate almost all the time.
If you are ready to ignore the fact that the phone is super heavy, the Leagoo M5 Plus turns out to be a decent entry level handset.
Gearbest is currently selling the phone for less than $90 and you can check out the listing from here.