Leagoo Shark 1: The First Smartphone That Lasts
Batteries & Smartphones
Smartphones are a big part of our lives, and we use it wherever we go. On the train, on the bus, while sitting on the toilet, while lying in bed even while having sex. However, the only thing that differentiates a useful phone and one that is basically just a paperweight is the battery. If the phone battery runs out, you are dead.
Almost everyone carries a portable power bank these days. We do not trust our smartphones to be able to last us through the day. Gone were the days where our phones can last for days without charging. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t that the battery technology is not catching up. Modern lithium-polymer batteries pack energy way more densely than the NiMH batteries found in Nokia phones which lasted for days. We are simply consuming an unprecedented amount of electricity through our portable devices.
It also doesn’t help that slim, sexy devices sell. Fat, bulky devices don’t. A larger battery adds weight and bulk. To make sure their hardware are slim and sexy (as well as to cut costs), manufacturers try to get away with as small battery capacity as possible. Heck, the iPhone 6S, the largest iPhone in existence, only packs a 1,715mah battery to maintain its form factor. This is why iPhone users are often inseparable with their power banks. Flagship Android phones, such as the latest Samsung Galaxy Note or Huawei phones pack batteries with more than double the capacity of iPhone 6S. However, batteries still barely last over a day.
What if we enter a parallel universe? Where manufacturers focus on giving us more battery life instead of trying to produce a slim, lightweight and sexy mobile phone? Enter the Leagoo Shark 1.
The Leagoo Shark 1
The Leagoo Shark 1 is world’s largest battery capacity smartphone. Remember when I told you that the iPhone 6S only packs a 1,715mah battery? The Shark 1 packs a 6,300mah battery. That is 3.67 times the capacity of the iPhone 6S.
I’d like to say that the Leagoo Shark 1 is what happens when manufacturers decide to heck the size and build the largest battery capacity in a phone, but that is not true. The Leagoo Shark 1 is slim. Despite its gigantic battery, the Shark 1 is only slightly thicker than my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or my Nexus 6P. I suspect that the phone’s larger width and length (justified by its beautiful 6 inch LCD display) helps maintain the slim profile of the phone. The only hint of the phone’s higher battery capacity is its weight – 240g (the iPhone 6S weighs 143g, in comparision).
With that much going for it, you would have thought that the Leagoo Shark 1 costs a bomb. Nope. Just S$ 399. Massively affordable.
Unboxing The Shark
Unlike other budget phone manufacturers that cheap out or even omitted the earphones, the Leagoo Shark 1 comes with a decent sounding earphone out of the box.
Does It Last?
I’m a notoriously heavy smartphone user. My regular phone is the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which packs a 3220mah battery. With my heavy usage, the Note 4 barely lasts half a day on one charge. I put the Leagoo Shark 1 through its paces starting on a Friday night, doing a little bit of browsing before I sleep. I was able to get the phone to last till Sunday late afternoon before the low battery warning kicks in. A total of nearly six hours screen on time.
Beyond the large battery, the Shark 1 is well-built. It feels solid in the hand, with a metal frame all round. The glass covering the screen is curved at the side, giving the phone a premium and polished feel. It certainty does not look like a S$399 phone.
The Shark 1 even comes with a fingerprint scanner, much like the one on recent Nexus devices. However, in my tests, finger recognition was a little slow and a hit-and-miss, though I am not sure if that is because of the software, hardware, or the fact that I didn’t calibrate my fingerprint as well as I should.
On the software front, the phone felt fast and responsive. Leagoo did apply a skin over the stock Android experience, but nothing that I feel could clutter the user experience. I did run into a strange issue with the software – the square on screen button at the bottom meant for task switching triggered the app menu to popup instead. I’m sure there is an option somewhere to change this behavior, but I gave up looking for it after some time.
The 6-inch screen is gorgeous. After using the Shark 1 for the weekend, I find myself squinting when I switch back to my Galaxy Note 4 with its pathetic 5.7-inch screen. Yes, the difference those 0.3 inches make is huge!
In conclusion, the Shark 1 is a phone that delivers on its promises. You want a phone with a large battery? You get it. On top of that, the phone has excellent built quality, which is rare at this price range. The Shark 1 does have some software kinks, but nothing that can’t be fixed in future firmware upgrades. For S$399, it is completely worth every dollar.