Leagoo M9 Review: 18:9 Smartphone With 4 Cameras
Leagoo is now introducing smartphones with features that follow the major market trends. Devices with 18:9 displays, double front and rear cameras, and displays that cover almost the entirety of the phone’s front surfaces. Other features include fingerprint readers and modern forms, all offered at competitive prices.
Following our review of the Leagoo Z7, we’ve taken a look at the Leagoo M9: an 18:9 smartphone with 4 cameras, currently on offer on Geekbuying.
The packaging is firm, with a print of a city overlapping the edges of the smartphone on the front, to show the thinness of the phone’s edges. The overall packaging is well thought-out; much more so that the other tried-and-tested Leagoo devices in this price bracket.
Inside the box,you’ve got a USB / microUSB cable, a wall plug with USB connection and a transparent TPU cover. The quality is pretty standard, with no branding on the accessories. The only real shame is the lack of headphones; considering the phone boasts integrated FM radio, they would have been a good addition.
|Processor||MediaTek MT6580A quad-core 1.3gHz|
|GPU||Mali-400 MP2 500MHz|
|Display||18:9, 5.5″, IPS qHD+(640 x 1.280), Gorilla Glass 3|
|ROM||16GB, microSD input, max 32GB|
|OS||Android 7.0 Nougat, Leagoo OS 3.0 Lite|
|Front Camera||Double 5MP+2MP with LED flash|
|Rear Camera||Double 8MP+2MP, with dual LED flash|
|Sim||Dual SIM, microSIM+nanoSIM|
|Connectivity||3G, WIFI, Bluetooth, GPS|
|Battery||2850mAh removable battery|
|Other||Fingerprint scanner, Radio FM|
|Dimensions||148 x 71.2 x 9.5 mm, 153 grams|
It’s clear from the outset that the technical spec is low budget. The processor isn’t particularly powerful compared to modern standards, with minimum ROM / RAM. On a positive note, the front is mostly covered with Gorilla Glass 3. The resolution isn’t particularly good, but the Miravision technology makes the images clear. The four cameras are more a feat of marketing than functionality, which is typical of the price range. Meanwhile, the front and rear LED flashes don’t do much to improve the performance.
The resolution, although not very high, makes the images clear, Miravision technology improves the result. The four rooms are more marketing than functionality, as usually happens in this price range. The LED flash is present at the front and front, this usually happens to improve the performance of the front camera is not really good. The integration of FM radio is nice, but you’ll need to use your own headphones.
The on-board Operating System is Android 7.0, with a version modified by Leagoo itself called “Leagoo OS 3.0 Lite”, but there’s no app drawer and very limited customisation options.
There are no front keys on the Leagoo M9, and the display covers about 80% of the front surface. At the top, in addition to the sensors, there are two front cameras, the receiver and one LED flash.
The display has a slight rounding along the entire edge, which gives a good, sleek feel. The display mount does have a few imperfections though, which you can feel as you run your finger around the edge.
Unlike most smartphones, the Leagoo M9 only has a speaker and microphone at the bottom, so the charging port is found at the top, alongside the headphone jack.
The left side is completely bare, with no keys or slots; on the right side you find the power and camera buttons, and the volume keys. The power button is the only metal button, with a distinct design for ease of identification. The volume keys are plastic, but the overall pressure sensitivity is good, albeit with a slight lag.
The back is made of plastic and the cover is easily detachable, for removal of the battery and insertion of the sim / microSD cards.
Just above centre on the back of the phone is the double rear camera with fingerprint reader, with two LED slightly square, protruding LED flashes on the right.
The device sits well in the hands and the 18:9 dimensions make for a generous display, albeit not one that stands out from the hundreds of other devices in this price range. The removable battery isn’t a new feature for Leagoo, but the idea of replacing it within this price range doesn’t seem plausible either.
The display is a positive of the Leagoo M9. The Gorilla Glass is high quality and sturdy to the touch. The display is 5.5 “IPS with a 640 x 1,280 pixel resolution., with 80% coverage, resulting in thin edges – but not overly so. The display colours are nice and bright, with a good angle. The blacks do tend to grey easily though, especially if you’re looking at the screen side on. There is a little too much distance between the display and the protective glass, but this is still acceptable for the price range.
The rear camera is 8MP + 2MP, with the lower 2MP sensor reading the depth of field for when the two cameras are being used combined. The main camera is equipped with autofocus, with the second being fixed focus.
In general, the shots are OK. With good lighting, the results are good, albeit low on detail and with background skies uite heavily washed out, even with plenty of light. The HDR is ineffectual, and any moment after taking a photo can cause blurring.
Like almost all devices in this price range, the double camera really only serves a marketing purpose. In fact, by activating the blur mode and covering the second sensor, there is absolutely no difference. The blurring effect created is in fact circular. There is the possibility to choose the degree of blurring, but this results in a fake effect.
The front camera, also double, has its own flash for further illumination, although I didn’t notice any difference when using it. If you do decide to activate it, you get two flashes before the photo is taken. If the depth effect is used, the results are poor, rendering the front camera almost completely useless. Generally though, the photos are passable and the subject is identifiable, even with washed out colours.
Both cameras have a range of shooting options, such as “blur” and “beauty”, although the addition of two beauty options is a bit strange; one activating the effect in real time with the other applying it post-shot. The rear camera also has a panoramic mode.
On a call, the device behaves well. The sound is good and you can make yourself heard comfortably. With regards to the speaker audio though, it is a bit under-powered. For the price, I wasn’t expecting high quality, but a bit more volume would have been good. In a quiet room there are no problems, but background noise from a TV is enough to drown out the phone’s sound on the highest volume setting. The frequencies are almost exclusively high too, with an almost complete absence of bass.
The battery is 2850mAh and guarantees a good life. In times of heavy usage, you get about 3 and a half hours of screen on time. During daily use though, you get over 4 hours of screen time. Generally speaking, I would get home from a day of heavy use with about 20% battery left.
Unfortunately, this price range doesn’t go beyond Android Nougat, with no standout features. There isn’t much attention to detail, and there are a few wording errors on the interface. The only noteworthy feature is the Duraspeed function, which enhances the app in the foreground, while reducing the activity of those in the background.
In general, the device can be used during the day. There are times when it is not completely fluid and you have to bear with its response times. You aren’t buying a Ferrari though, so you should expect to wait a few extra seconds for responses.
The device is designed specifically for people who need a second smartphone or for those who do not really need much from their phone. Overall, Leagoo M9 works as well as some more expensive phones from other brands.
The things that impressed me were the display, the manageability, the cost and the general construction. But you have to put up with quality of the cameras, the audio and the overall performance.
Notably, 4G connection is missing, but on a device of this size it would have made little sense to include it anyway. I also noticed that in areas where other devices were being used, it always struggled a bit more for reception.
If you are interested in the Leagoo M9, we recommend purchasing from Geekbuying, a Chinese store that we have found to be really great for reliability and prices.
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