Finally after spending two weeks with the Leagoo Shark 1, I am ready to share my thoughts on the smartphone with a class-busting 6300 mAh battery.
Let’s get the most important aspect out of the way; while the phone’s 6300 mAh battery certainly endows the user with an endurance that lasts more than a full day of heavy use, I am afraid that like many other phones, it misses the advertised mark of “72 hours of general usage” and “25 hours of video”. In a mixed-use scenario where I surfed and used social media apps such as Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram, watched some YouTube videos, the phone can barely make it past two days. No surprises here, since other smartphones with 2600 mah to 3500 mah last for about a day, the Shark 1 with double the battery juice should just hit about twice that duration.
The charging time with the bundled quick charging power adapter takes slightly more than 2.5 hours to completely charge the enormous battery, and it takes about one hour to go from less than 5 per cent battery to about 40 per cent, which is much faster than the regular 5V/2A chargers.
For heavy users who are constantly running out of battery on their smartphones, the enormous battery in the Shark 1 is a god-send, albeit at the expense of heft. Weighing about 240 grams, the phone is no light weight and combined with the 6-inch screen size, it often felt unwieldy in my hand.
The positioning of the fingerprint on the rear frees up screen real estate on the front and optimizes the already large dimensions for the Shark 1. The sensor works sufficiently well although the accuracy and speed falls behind the other smartphone leaders like the iPhone.
When used with the Leagoo phone case however, the accuracy of the sensor seems to take a hit and I usually require a few attempts to unlock the phone. This case design seems to prevent the finger to rest fully on the sensor, causing delays and accuracy in reading the fingerprint.
Leagoo phone case
I am a phone case advocate because phones are no longer the virtually indestructible tanks like they once were during the Nokia era, and shattered smartphone screens are expensive to replace. However, I very much prefer a naked Shark 1. Here’s why:
The Leagoo flip-cover phone case for the Shark 1 makes the large phone more unwieldy than it should be. With the fingerprint sensor on the back, the ergonomics suggests a one-handed use, however the flip-cover and heft of the phone compels a two-handed operation. The screen displays an analogue clock in the cover cut-away, which I felt was under-used; other phone notifications could be implemented in the cut-away.
The 13 MP sensor on the camera may have been let down by either the lenses or software implementation. Although the Shark 1 shoots competent photos under optimal lighting conditions, I found the photos to lack decent dynamic range, and tend to be over-exposed with blown out whites. Details in the photos also seemed to be lacking with rather muddy compression.
The “pro” mode in the camera software lacks important manual settings such as aperture, shutter and focusing choices. The focus lock was fun to play with, however I had trouble getting focus especially with close-up subjects. There was also a slight lag which I feel should not be present in a phone running a mid-tier processor like the MT6753T.
The LTPS 6-inch screen is impressively bright. At 50 per cent brightness, it is as bright as my Oneplus One at full brightness. The colours are vibrant and the while it is only FHD, I think the resolution is crisp enough for all except pixel peepers. Watching videos or playing games on the large 6-inch screen is a joy.
The eight-core Mediatek MT6753T being a mid-tier CPU SoC means some compromises. It may not have the raw power for the most demanding games or processing 4K videos, however it works well enough most of the time; I didn’t feel significant lag on social media apps such as Facebook or Instagram, and even on popular games like Clash of Clans.
Bells and Whistles
The speakers are loud and satisfyingly clear even at the top end of the volume. The rear-firing grills work best when the phone is placed on a solid surface for the resonant effect to boost the sound qualities. The addition of the universal IR blaster also means I can use my phone to operate my fan without looking for the often misplaced remote control.
The feature of having a dual SIM or single SIM with microSD card expansion capability to improve the versatility for the phone is severely marred by the unacceptably small native 16 GB storage. Having a 16 GB storage with a 13MP camera and a large screen size is akin to giving someone the keys to an SUV and no parking space – frustrating.
Shark 1 Software
Finally, the user experience of a phone hinges often on the operating system and software design. In this aspect, much effort can be seen in Leagoo’s implementation of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Gesture controls such as swiping to activated apps or double tapping to wake screens are well implemented, customizations such as navigation bars options, one-handed dialer, assistive touch options, notification LED light colours options are some of the main examples of this effort.
I am slightly annoyed by the grammatical errors in some of these user interface implementations, no doubt due to Chinese background of the developers. While feature-rich, some of these issues in the interface still reflect a lack of polish in the Android design.
I am heartened then to receive a software update even though it has only been a few weeks since I got the phone. Frequent updates reflect a continued support and improvement to the software and user experience for the Shark 1. I just hope the Leagoo team can keep it up for the life of the phone.
All in all, the Shark 1 certainly makes a splash with its impressive battery endurance and mix-bag of features. While no flagship killer, the Shark 1 presents a viable option to users who place emphases on battery life, large screen, features and price. At S$399 though, it is not the apex predator in the water and there are other bigger fishes that may critically endanger the survival of the Shark 1. Meanwhile, whether the Shark 1 sinks or swims depends on how fast the software team can iron out the bugs and issues in the interface design.
it have the nice screen and Should feel good,so beautiful the model.
Recently, I saw on a video of VKWorld T1 Plus, in which hit the nail, the phone’s screen is very hard, no little damage I am really looking forward to this machine