The T5 is a decent phone that comes in at a fairly affordable price point.
Leagoo is one of the smaller brands coming out of China that are producing Android smartphones, but even though it may be a much smaller company than what most consumers are used to seeing when it comes to electronic mobile devices, the phones from Leagoo shouldn’t be completely dismissed. Sure, you might be hard-pressed to find anything coming from Leagoo that will be able to hold a candle to flagships, and maybe some mid-rangers coming from bigger brands like Samsung, LG, Motorola, Lenovo and others, but as many other companies have already proven, it’s become increasingly easy to grab a smartphone with some decent hardware at a fraction of the cost of high-end phones. It’s no longer a requirement that customers pay a high price tag to get a good experience on smartphones. Leagoo’s T5, which is one of its latest, is what we’ve been testing for days now and it has a lot to offer for those that may be shopping for a new phone on a budget, like dual rear cameras, a fingerprint sensor, a slim build and a metal body for a more premium feel. Let’s take a closer look at the Leagoo T5 and see what all it has to offer.
For starters and probably as expected with devices that have launched at this point, the T5 comes with Android 7.0 Nougat software, which means it can use things like multi-window and it should have better battery life because of things like improved doze mode. Moving beyond the software, the T5 comes equipped with a 5.5-inch Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and 401 ppi. It’s powered by a MediaTek 6750T octa-core processor which is paired with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage space, which is also expandable via a microSD card for those that need more room.
For the cameras the T5 is carrying a Sony 13-megapixel sensor plus an OV 5-megapixel sensor on the back for the dual camera setup, while on the front it features a 13-megapixel sensor for selfies and video chat. It supports Dual SIM dual standby, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, and has a fingerprint sensor on the back, with motion sensors and proximity sensors. It’s also got an internal, non-removable battery with a capacity of 3,000 mAh which seems to be about standard these days for many smartphones especially those coming out at around this price range, which is about $150. Overall the specs on offer are respectable and while not earth shattering by any means, they’re certainly a pretty good setup for the cost.
In The Box
What you get in the packaging with the T5 is pretty common with a lot of the devices coming from Chinese vendors. You’ll find the phone, the user guide, the charging cable and wall adapter, and a free clear silicone case for protecting the device. It also comes with a free screen protector although this is already applied to the display before opening. Not a lot of extras, but then again many phones don’t come with anything so it’s still a good value to get even just the case and screen protector as you won’t have to buy these items if you’re someone who tends to get them for your devices.
Hardware & Design
I’ll say it from the beginning. The Leagoo T5 is a nice looking phone. It’s not absolutely gorgeous, as the bar has now been set pretty high by some of the bigger OEMs, but the T5 definitely isn’t a cheap looking smartphone which is another testament to the fact that you don’t have to pay a whole lot just to get something that functions well and looks good. That being said, the design is also very similar to quite a few other phones out there so it may not be too surprising to see it and then think you may have already seen the design somewhere else. It features a metal unibody design all the way around so it definitely feels good in the hand, and it’s nice and slim so it doesn’t take a lot of extra room in your pocket. It also doesn’t feel too heavy which is nice, though it is a bit more weighty than some other phones that are in this category.
One the front you have the fingerprint sensor which doubles as a back button if you tap it, as well as on-screen navigation buttons so there’s no capacitive keys to mess with here. Above the display you’ll find the front-facing camera and a front-facing LED flash to help with selfie images in lower light situations. As is also pretty standard with a lot of phones these days, the power and volume buttons are both on the right side of the device while the SIM card tray is on the left. The phone has one speaker, which is located on the bottom to the right of the micro USB charging port, and to the left of the charging port is a 3.5mm audio port for headphones. If you flip the phone over, you’ll find a mostly bare design with the Leagoo logo in the middle towards the top, and the dual camera module in the top left corner next to the rear-facing LED flash. As mentioned above, a nice looking phone but nothing out of the ordinary or otherwise striking. All around it’s a somewhat boring design that feels a little uninspired as there are so many phones now which look almost the same, but again, it still looks good which is the ultimate takeaway.
Once you’ve seen an HD display in this day and age it seems like you’ve seen them all, as the screen on the T5 is nothing amazing but it isn’t bad either. It’s simply not something which was unexpected. Perhaps this is more of a good thing though because it means that the display is actually decent. Being Full HD picture quality is nice and crisp and one thing that I tend to always look at are the icons for apps. Edges are nice and smooth and the graphics of the icons look sharp, with the screen putting some good color contrast and decent viewing angles making it easier to see in direct sunlight. That said the display is a little more glossy, so you may need to turn the brightness up a bit more than you’re used to to help with glare.
The digitizer seems good as I didn’t have any issues with the display bugging out or not recognizing my fingers when touching the screen to interact with it, so overall the functionality seems good. It doesn’t appear as though there is any light bleeding out from any parts of the edges of the panel, which you might expect from a less expensive phone like this, so it’s always nice to see when a phone that won’t cost you a whole lot is able to execute this particular aspect well. Light bleed also isn’t something which will bother every single user, but it can be annoying as it subtracts from the visual appeal a little bit. To sum things up the display is decent and while it might not be the best display on the market, there are really no complaints about it, as it looks good and it has served its purpose without issue during our time with it.
With an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM on board the T5 was bound to have performance that was certainly respectable to a degree. It’s definitely more than capable of handling most tasks like browsing, emails, messages, streaming music and video, and even games without a hitch for the most part. It does these things pretty well and unless you’re someone who is used to having the most high-end devices on the market, chances are you won’t notice a huge difference in performance between past devices.
Of course looking at the benchmarks, which we’ll get into in the benchmarks section of this review, you’d probably think differently since it didn’t exactly come away from the tests with the best results. That said benchmarks are only a glimpse at what real-world performance is like and the best way to gauge a device’s performance is by using it day in and day out for at least a few days to a week to see how it handles your normal usage habits. In most cases I didn’t notice any major issues beyond the occasional stuttering a tiny bit of lag here and there, which was most likely due to me having too many apps running at once while attempting some of the more strenuous tasks, like gaming or using the multi-window feature. This will also vary based on what apps you personally use, but when it comes down to it the T5 really shouldn’t give anyone problems with performance. That could of course be different if you’re a heavy user and we can’t speak to how well the performance stands up after long-time use, meaning after it’s at least more than a few months old, but based on early use it seems like it would hold up pretty well for its lifespan.
As fingerprint sensors go the one on the Leagoo T5 works great. It’s fast, accurate, and seems to hold up well even after extended use. I wouldn’t expect this to change over time either, and I don’t recall it giving me any issues even once during my time with it. This is yet another sign that as time goes on, decent smartphones with good hardware are becoming much easier and less expensive to get a hold of. Sadly, if I had one complaint it’s that like many of the other budget smartphones coming out of China, as well as other regions, there is no NFC on board so the fingerprint sensor can’t be used for mobile payments, which really is a shame especially for me as I tend to use these extremely often. If you’re not one to use mobile payments though or you don’t mind not having them, then you shouldn’t be disappointed with the general quality of the fingerprint sensor that’s on offer.
As mentioned earlier the benchmark results for the Leagoo T5 weren’t exactly outstanding, but then you have to remember that this is an entry-level device so they shouldn’t be expected to result in high scores. That said the scores are just fine when compared to other devices in this price range so there’s not a whole lot to worry about. As with all phone reviews we ran the T5 through AnTuTu, Geekbench 4, and 3DMark for benchmark testing, and if you’re interested you can see the results from those tests in the gallery of images below.
Leagoo is boasting some pretty good battery life for the T5, showing about 10 days of standby time, 36 hours of normal use, 20 hours of continuous calling, and 8 hours of video playback. While battery life is going to vary for each user as everyone uses their devices differently, battery life should be pretty good for all but the heaviest of users who are on their phones constantly throughout the day. On average we got almost 4 hours of screen on time with the device and not quite 36 hours of normal use, but more like 26 hours before needing a recharge. We also ran the device through PCMark’s battery test to see how it would stand up and the results show that you should get nearly 5 hours of screen on time before needing to plug it in. I’m a heavy user so I didn’t quite get this, and for a 3,000mAh battery we really would have expected the battery life to be longer here. Instead it’s more middle of the road so if you need a device to last you at least a couple of days, you may need to pay more attention to what you use on this device or simply opt for something that will either have a bigger battery or last longer. This isn't that bad for battery life, but it's not great either.
While not the absolute best audio on the market, the Leagoo T5 really did have ok sound, and this is despite it having just one speaker. Though, it is worth noting that many phones still use a single speaker for audio so this isn't something that is too out of the ordinary. That said, the audio would always be better if it were stereo, but there has to be some compromises at this low of a cost and the speakers is one of those areas, as putting in two would generally mean that Leagoo would either have to use lower quality speakers to keep both and keep the cost down, or charge more for the phone. All said and done though, the audio here is passable and for some it won't even make a difference, especially if you tend to use headphones any time you use the phone audio anyway.
Phone Calls & Network
As an unlocked GSM phone the Leagoo T5 will certainly work internationally and in many regions around the world, but it won’t work in the U.S. based on the network frequencies that it supports. According to Leagoo’s webpage, the T5 supports the listed frequencies below.
4G FDD-LTE: 800/900/1800/2100/2600
Not quite stock Android, the Leagoo T5 does have some elements to stock software but is definitely more akin to the sort of setup you’d see on an iPhone as the apps sit on the home screen and don’t go into an app drawer when you install them. This is a more popular style of UI in China which is why you’ll see it more often on phones that come out of the region. That said things still feel like Android though and while the home screen UI is certainly different than what many will be used to, it shouldn’t be too strange to the point where you won’t know how to use the device.
You’ll still have the slide down notification shade with all of your quick settings toggles and on top of that Leagoo has inserted a number of enhancements to the software that add some life to the device. For instance, there are a small number of gestures that can be enabled in the settings menu under the Intelligent Assistant options, like the Pocket Mode, which will allow the volume to increase when you have the phone in your pocket so it’s harder to miss a call. You can also rearrange the navigation bar order, and tap the screen with three fingers to take a screenshot. While not listed in this menu, there are also two gestures that can be accessed on the home screen that will bring up a device-wide search for apps and other things. To bring this up you swipe down on the home screen. If you swipe up, you’ll get the menu to change out the wallpapers and widgets, as well as change the theme and the transition effect when moving between home screen pages. It’s a basic set of gestures, sure, but it’s more than a lot of Android devices have. The UI also supports changing the temperature color of the display if you find that the colors are either too warm or too cold, and this can be accessed from the display menu inside of the phone settings.
When it comes to the camera the user interface definitely looks basic but it’s more than meets the eye as there are quite a few different shooting modes available. There’s no Pro Mode, but you do have the normal mode, naturally, as well as an HDR mode, an SLR mode which is supposed to mimic an SLR, a panorama mode, as well as modes for adding watermarks to your images, a beauty mode, a child mode, a night mode, and a pose mode. In normal mode you also have a button which switches between color shots and black & white.
As for the actual image quality itself, the T5 is using a Sony 13-megapixel sensor for the main images, so it’s certainly decent and perhaps better than you could expect from an entry-level device. Color reproduction of the pictures is good but not great, and the camera is capable of taking some decent shots in low-light situations though it could be better. Even in the best lighting there still ends up being a little bit of noise in the images so they come out a tiny bit grainy, though this might not matter much to anyone who just wants a camera that puts out a decent enough image to make out most of the main details. That said, if you want top-quality images and the absolute best color with a wide spread of different features, there are probably better smartphone choices out there for the job. Overall the camera was a bit lacking but not too bad for a phone that costs $150.
Pretty good performance
Fast and accurate fingerprint sensor
Pretty good build quality
Black and white camera mode
Camera quality could be better overall
Battery life didn’t last as long as we would have expected for a 3,000 mAh battery
No USB Type-C
These days any phone that performs its functions without too many hiccups and isn’t costing a whole lot of money is a decent phone worth some consideration. The Leagoo T5 certainly fits the bill, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its drawbacks. It doesn’t provide NFC which means no mobile payments, it doesn’t use USB Type-C so it won’t charge as fast as phones that do, and most importantly it doesn’t work in the U.S. which makes this a phone you can’t use in the states despite it being an unlocked GSM phone, which more or less makes this a deal breaker for anyone looking to use this as their main phone in the U.S. That said it still works well outside the country so it’s a good phone for travel and especially because it won’t cost you an arm and a leg, so if anything happens to it you aren’t out a whole lot of money.
Should you buy the Leagoo T5?
If you’re buying it for use outside of the U.S. and you just want something that works and works well with some added benefits, it’s hard to overlook the T5, as it is a decent phone that comes in at a fairly affordable price point. It’s not a phone that we’d recommend to anyone who is used to nicer smartphones, though, so you’ll want to weigh out what features are important to you before buying.
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