Leagoo Shark 1 review: Connectivity and extra features

The Leagoo Shark 1 bucks the trend for budget Android phones with the inclusion of an IR blaster. Other features such as the dual-SIM dual-standby functionality, microSD support and fingerprint scanner are above and beyond when compared with budget UK phones, yet fairly standard in China. Also see: Best dual-SIM phones 2016.

Pleasingly, the Shark 1 will work with all three UK 4G LTE bands - 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz - though users from elsewhere should check the specification before purchasing. Here’s how to tell whether a phone is supported by your network.

You get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS, but one thing that is missing is NFC. There’s HotKnot, which is the MediaTek equivalent, but that won’t help you if you want to make use of Android Pay.

Leagoo Shark 1

Leagoo Shark 1 review: Cameras

The cameras are fairly standard for a budget Chinese phone, with a 13Mp, f/2.0 Sony camera with dual-tone LED flash and PDAF at the back, capable of 1080p video, and a 5Mp, f/2.4 front camera - interestingly, complete with a front flash to help with low-light usage. See all smartphone reviews.

We quite liked the colours in our test shots (which you can admire first in Auto mode and second in HDR below), but there seems to be rather a lot of sharpening going on - especially in HDR mode - and the loss of detail is evident even without viewing at full-size. They’re nice photos for a budget smartphone, though, and you can’t really expect a lot more.

Leagoo Shark 1

The Camera app is not the standard Google version, since this phone is running Leagoo OS 1.2 over Android 5.1 Lollipop. It’s simple to user, though, and with a swipe up or down the screen you can switch between video, auto and pro modes. Varous other modes including HDR, Panorama, Multi-angle, Motion Track, PIP, Face beauty and Watermark can be selected from the menu. Three dots onscreen offer access to the Settings menu, face detection and real-time colour effects.

When using the selfie camera you can turn on or off the mirror effect, but you don’t see the results until you take the photo. And we weren’t overly impressed with its beauty mode, which simply blurs your face. But the front flash is a nice, reasonably rare, feature. Also see: Best camera phones 2016.

Leagoo Shark 1

Leagoo Shark 1

Leagoo Shark 1 review: Software

We’re disappointed to find the Leagoo Shark 1 runs Android Lollipop rather than the newer Marshmallow, but it doesn’t actually look anything like Lollipop. The app tray has been removed, with all your apps now shown on various home screens. A music player sits a swipe in from the left of the main home screen, and a gallery timeline is a second swipe away. You’ll also find differences in the layout of the drop-down notification bar, and in the Settings menu, which defaults to a Quick setting pane for access to the most common controls, while General settings are found on a second tab.

As we mentioned several times earlier the Shark 1 is a huge phone, and as such Leagoo has implemented some software tweaks to make navigation - particularly in one hand - easier. The standard Android back, home and recents buttons sit onscreen (not at all times - you can flick up from the bottom of the screen if they aren’t visible), and are joined by a fourth control that pulls down the notification bar without you needing to stretch your thumb to the top of the screen. In single-hand mode these buttons are squashed up into the right half of the screen to make pressing them even easier, although you can’t move these over to the left for left-handed users. Also see: Best Chinese phones 2016.

Likewise, One Hand-Operate mode can reduce the size of the phone dialpad, but here you can opt to have it sit on the left or right of the display.

Leagoo Shark 1

Assistive Touch places onscreen a floating button with options to lock the screen, go home, float video or music, or open a pop-up window into which you can draw a gesture to open a certain app (created by you in the Gesture Builder). You can also draw letters on screen from standby to wake the phone and automatically launch an app (this is customisable).

Various other gestures, such as flipping the phone to mute a call or answering by putting it to your ear are also supported, plus there’s a Game Mode that disables the back and menu keys, and Smart stay which prevents the screen timing out when you’re looking at it, perhaps when watching a video. The LED notification light can also be colour-customised so you know whether you’ve missed a call, text or other type of notification before you pick up the phone.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2016.

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Specs

Leagoo Shark 1: Specs

  • 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6753 (ARM Cortex-A53) 64-bit octa-core processor
  • Mali-T720 GPU
  • 3GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • up to 64GB microSD (at expense of second SIM)
  • 6in full-HD (1920x1080, 368ppi) LG LTPS display with 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3
  • Android 5.1 with Leagoo OS 1.2
  • 4G LTE (FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz)
  • dual-SIM dual-standy
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • GPS
  • OTG
  • IR blaster
  • Micro-USB
  • rear-mounted fingerprint scanner (0.39s recognition speed)
  • 13Mp, f/2.0 Sony rear camera with dual-tone flash and PDAF, 1080p video @ 30fps
  • 5Mp, f/2.4 front camera with flash
  • 6300mAh non-removable lithium-polymer battery with LQC 3.0 quick charge support (up to 3A)
  • 158.6x82.8x8.5mm
  • 241g
  • available in Midnight black, Galaxy white or Champagne gold
  • performance: Geekbench 3: 2228 (multi-core)
  • AnTuTu: 34,423
  • GFXBench: 12fps (T-Rex), 4fps (Manhattan)
  • JetStream: 18.778
  • Geekbench 3 battery life: 11:03/4237