The 'Netflix of China' just barged into the US with two high-value smartphones

Chinese tech firm LeEco made its grand entrance into the US market on Wednesday, and among the various gadgets it showcased are a pair of new smartphones: the $399 LePro 3, and the $249 Le S3.

Both devices appear to be good value for the money. The LePro 3 looks to follow in the footsteps of similar $400 flagships from other Chinese companies like OnePlus, Huawei, and ZTE.

It’s got a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 821 processor (the same that’s in Google’s high-end Pixel phone), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a sizable 4,070mAh battery. A 16-megapixel main camera and 8-megapixel rear camera join that, and the whole thing is cased in an aluminium, relatively slim design.

The Le S3, meanwhile, appears to be equally competitive for the lower midrange market. That also comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p panel, but brings the internals down to a weaker Snapdragon 652 chip, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage.

There aren’t many immediately apparent weaknesses on those spec sheets, but one thing you won’t find on either phone is a headphone jack. LeEco beat Apple to the punch by ditching the jack on these phones’ predecessors, but you’ll still have to use Bluetooth, a dongle, or one of the few USB-C headphones on the market to listen to music. We’ll also have to see how far LeEco’s “eui” skin goes in modifying Android.

LeEco has been dubbed the “Netflix of China” in the past, but it’s spent aggressively over the years to expand well beyond its “LeTV” video streaming service. Today, it’s in everything from televisions — a segment it bolstered after acquiring TV maker Vizio earlier this year — to self-driving cars.

It formally entered the smartphone market just last year, but now it’s now making a big push beyond its home country. These first two phones do look appealing, but LeEco didn’t announce any plans to buy them through a carrier. That should limit their popularity, considering that’s the dominant form of purchasing for most smartphone buyers in the US. For now, both the LePro 3 and Le S3 will be available through LeEco’s online store on November 2.

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