altek Leo Preview
We have to start this section with a relative disappointment. The altek Leo is running Android 2.1, probably because that's what was available when the company conceived the idea. It is skinned, though, with nice graphical decisions for both the homescreens and the icons. The default green/orange/brushed metal grey color combo looks very good, too.
The 800MHz chipset delivers fluid performance in the interface, but when we ran Quadrant it gave us graphics chip and OpenGL support warning, and returned the very low score of 219. It is most likely due to the prototype version of the device we had, with not all the drivers, such as those for the GPU, fully functioning yet.
Now we have to disappoint you again – no Android Market or Google Maps are present on the altek Leo from the box, as it is not a true “with Google” device, just uses Android for its own purposes. The phone carries the Leo PC Sync software, though, which you can instal when connecting it for the first time. It has an App Installation option, where you just drop the .APK files, and they appear as apps on the phone.
Since you have Android 2.1, don't expect Adobe Flash support in the browser, although navigation there is smooth and responsive. The phone supports European/Asian 3G GSM frequencies, and has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
The focal point of the altek Leo is, of course, the camera, with the largest resolution on an Android handset to date, and overall on smartphones to date. It uses the latest Sunny 9 DSP from Altek, and the imaging sensor size is 1/2.3", which is akin more to standalone cameras, than smartphones, with the notable exception of the Nokia N8, which has a larger 1/1.8" sensor.
The camera interface has all the goodies you'd expect from a standalone point-and-shoot, actually be careful when you enter it by pressing the button, or launching the camera apps, since the lens starts coming out, and might catch you by surprise if you are still holding the altek Leo in your palm with the screen facing you.
The camera interface has large, easy to press buttons, and offers a Smart Scene mode, where it automatically chooses the exposure and other adjustments, and also Smile shutter, Swift panorama, Self portrait, Handheld night shot, and P mode. A number of scene modes are also in play, like High ISO, Sport, Macro, Landscape, Night, Portrait, Museum, Snow, Sunset, Fireworks, Beach, Candle light, Foliage, Baby, Kids and pets, Text, Backlight and Frame composite, which places the object in eight frame designs.
Overall, the choice of scene modes is way above your average smartphone, and we wouldn't expect anything less from the altek Leo. The color effects are just the basics, but there is also face-detection, burst mode, where a few photos are taken in quick succession, and also white balance, focus and flash adjustments.
The pictures themselves are very good, as if they've been taken with a point-and-shoot camera. Detail is plenty, focus and exposure metering are spot-on, and the colors are vivid, without being oversaturated. Just hold the phone very steady, otherwise the results are blurred.
altek Leo Sample Video:
The gallery and music player are skinned with the brushed metal look, which is pretty nice, but other than that, and a few basic editing functions for the pictures and videos, they are the default Android apps. You can set up your Facebook and Flickr accounts in Settings, so that you upload multimedia straight to these sites from the Gallery. The loudspeaker is of average quality when playing music, and it doubles as the earpiece. The video player runs MPEG-4 files up to the screen's resolution.
All in all, the altek Leo is an intriguing foray into the world of convergence devices with Google's mobile OS Android. It looks and feels more like a small camera than a smartphone (it's definitely not as good-looking as a phone), but yet you are able to call people with a decent voice quality, at least if you judge by our protoype unit.
It is not your typical “with Google” handset since you have to jump through hoops to install apps, but it has 3x optical zoom, unlike any other contemporary smartphone.
To recap, if you needed to take two devices before on your vacation or event – your cell phone and a small camera, with the altek Leo you need one. The same can be said for the Nokia N8, however, but it doesn't run Android.
In that case, after you do some legwork to make Android apps appear on the Leo (looks like only free ones for now), you will be very satisfied with the picture and video quality of that peculiar cameraphone, called altek Leo.
altek Leo Video Preview:
This is our preview based on a preproduction unit, expect the review soon.
1. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Forget that the N8 doesn't run Android, Symbian is just fine.
2. mereko (unregistered)
Sold my N8 because of Symbian. It made using the phone too frustrating.
3. Ashton (unregistered)
they should made a comparison of picture quality taken between the N8 and Altek Leo''
my bet is on N8,
5. rocky7st (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)
If you aren't too fussed about the thickness then this phone really is that dream phone. With 14MP and 3x optical zoom you finally have a phone that can replace the standard digital cameras. I'm still yet to put the camera through it's paces but the optical zoom works nicely.
Phone wise, I haven't found any problems with it apart from the small ROM size. I managed to get Android Markets and the google apps which was one of the things putting me off the phone. Running apps and navigating around the phone is quite smooth with no noticeable lag.
6. falisar (unregistered)
I'm thinking of getting one from eBay for 263€, where did you get yours? More importantly where did you get the missing Android Markets and Google Apps from? According to other reviews, the user interface is a little laggy and the display inaccurate, is that true for your device? Does it support internet tethering or personal hotspot? I would be very thankful for a reply, thank you
7. LordBonztie (Posts: 51; Member since: 14 Nov 2011)
To recap, if you needed to take two devices before on your vacation or event – your cell phone and a small camera, with the altek Leo you need one. The same can be said for the Nokia N8, "however, but it doesn't run Android"
phone racism? :))
8. EricMC (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2012)
How easy would it be to use this Taiwanese device on a standard UK network - say T-Mobile or Orange? Would it all work smoothly? Or are the Cellphone standards different? Sorry; I don't know much about mobile technology - especially 3G.
9. EricMC (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2012)
I mean, just because Orange don't offer it on contract doesn't mean it won't take their SIM or that they can't communicate with it, right?
10. frannixa (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
I already have one altek leo A14 cameraphone but the problem is that the battery doesn't last the whole day and i have searched through ebay and the entire internet where to buy a strong battery that will last, in fact i even sent a message through to the person that i bought it from on ebay and there was no reply, please if any body knows where i can get the battery should please send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks
11. jackflap (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Jan 2013)
frannixa, I had the altek leo, and found that the real battery drainer was the mobile data.
by turning off mobile data when i wasnt using it, the battery-life extended up to over a day