Leagoo Shark 1 review: One of the best battery life phones
The Leagoo Shark 1 is all about power - battery power. With a huge (world-leading) 6,300mAh battery and quick-charge technology, it could well be the phone to buy if you’re looking for a best battery life phone. Also see: Best budget smartphones 2016.
Also see: Best Black Friday Phone Deals
You can pick up the Leagoo Shark 1 from GearBest, where it costs £121.18 with free delivery to the UK, but note that you may have to pay import duty - see our advice on buying from China. If you’re in the US, GearBest offers the Shark for $169.99.
Leagoo Shark 1 review: Is this the best battery phone?
Yes, and no. For now, the Leagoo Shark 1 does (to our knowledge) contain the highest-capacity battery of any smartphone on the market at 6,300mAh. Do note that Oukitel will shortly be launching a phone with an incredible 10,000mAh battery - check out the Oukitel K10000.
Of course, having the highest-capacity battery doesn’t necessarily mean it is the longest lasting, because actual runtime depends on what you do with the phone, and on how energy-efficient is the software and hardware. Leagoo claims up to 770 hours on standby, 72 hours of general usage, 25 hours of video or 49 hours of music.
In our tests of various smartphones we were intrigued to find that although the Shark 1 has by far the biggest battery, both the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 have been able to perform better in the Geekbench 3 battery life test. Not that we should do down its incredible 11-hour, three-minute score in this benchmark. Also see: Best Android phones 2016.
Arguably just as important as how long the Leagoo’s battery lasts is how fast it is to charge. Leagoo specifies quick-charging technology known as LQC 3.0. This is not the same thing as Quick Charge 3.0, which is for Qualcomm processors (the Shark 1 has a MediaTek chip), but it is fast, able to boost the charging current accepted by the phone from 2A to 3A.
Leagoo markets the Shark 1 with the slogan ’30 mins to charge, 1 day to enjoy’. Obviously you aren’t going to charge the entire 6,300mAh battery in 30 minutes, but you could get enough runtime for a full day’s use from a 30-minute charge. When the battery is full (or even when it’s not if you’re feeling really generous), OTG support means you could potentially use the Shark 1 as a power bank for charging another phone, helping both get through a full working day. For this you’ll need an OTG adaptor, though, which is not supplied in the box.
Note that the battery inside the Leagoo Shark 1 is a non-removable lithium-polymer unit, which does not support wireless charging. Also see: Best smartphones 2016.
Leago Shark 1 review: Design and build
Given the size of the battery inside the Leagoo Shark 1, its width of just 8.5mm is incredible. Of course, this has been made possible partly because the phone itself is so big: with a 6in screen you could find the Shark 1 rather unweildy to use in a single hand - especially when you take into account its 241g weight. There are some provisions within the software to make handling easier, which we’ll come to later.
Leagoo has done what it can to shrink down the size of the Shark 1, with narrow screen bezels, onscreen navigational controls and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The edges are slightly rounded at the rear, and the 2.5D curved glass adds to that streamlined finish, but we think Leagoo could have gone a little further in the rounding of this device to make it easier to hold. A matt surface wouldn’t have gone amiss either; while the metal rear plate looks good it doesn’t have any grip.
The Shark 1 is built around a metal frame, but unlike its marketing would have you believe it is not a metal unibody phone. At the rear you’ll find plastic panels at the top and bottom - most likely to help avoid signalling issues - and you’ll clearly feel the difference as you run a fingertip across the back. The camera sensor and dual-tone flash sit in the top panel, almost entirely flush with the casing, while a speaker grille is found in the bottom panel. We aren’t usually enamoured by rear-facing speakers, but Leagoo has at least added two little plastic protrusions either side to keep it from lying completely flat on a desk or other sound-muffling surface. Also see: Best audio phones 2016
The Leagoo logo is etched on to the middle panel, at the bottom of which sits the usual legends, European Conformity logo and so forth. The ‘Huge Battery 6300mAh Smart Phone’ legend did make us grin.
Something that is becoming increasingly rare is the IR blaster found on the top edge of the Leagoo, opposite the 3.5mm headphone jack - and you’ll find a camera flash on the front, too. On the right side sits a volume rocker and power button, and Micro-USB for charging and data transfer at the bottom. AA SIM tray sits at the top-left edge, able to accommodate either two Micro-SIMs or one SIM and one microSD card for storage expansion.
The screen is possibly the second-best feature following this phone’s huge battery. While it’s way too big for my personal tastes, there are a lot of customers out there looking for large-screen phones. Whether you have poor eyesight, wish to use the phone as a satnav, or maybe it’s just your thing, the Leagoo Shark 1 is a huge 6in on the diagonal.
This is an LTPS display made by LG with a full-HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, equating to a pixel density of 368ppi. That’s pretty sharp - sharper than the iPhone’s Retina Display - and it also offers reasonable brightness and realistic colours. Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display from damage, helping to protect this beast of a smartphone should it slip out your hand.
Leagoo Shark 1 review: Core hardware and performance
If you’re after battery power the Leagoo Shark 1 has it in spades, but for general processing- and graphics power it’s nothing special. That’s a good thing for runtime, since there’s nothing here to drain the battery, but it won’t be too happy when tasked with overcomplicated 3D games and multiple duties. You can compare its performance to all the phones we’ve recently tested in our article What’s the fastest smartphone 2016?
Leagoo has fitted a 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6753 64-bit octa-core processor, which is based on the ARM Cortex-A53 and builds in Mali-T720 graphics. There’s also 3GB of DDR3 RAM, plus 16GB of storage. That might not sound like a generous amount of space for your files and media, but remember that this is a £120 phone, and many UK budget phones still come with just 8GB. And, as we mentioned earlier, you can add up to 64GB using microSD at expense of a second SIM. Also see: Best phablets 2016
There isn’t a huge gap in performance between this Shark 1 and the smaller (5in screen) Leagoo Elite 1 we reviewed previously, although the Elite does have the edge for processing power.
We ran the Shark 1 through our usual benchmarks and recorded 2228 points in Geekbench 3 (multi-core) and 34,423 points in AnTuTu 3D, suggesting the Leagoo is up to the daily needs of most users.
Graphics performance is less impressive, with just 12fps in GFXBench T-Rex and 4fps in Manhattan. You won’t be able to play the most intensive games, but that 6in full-HD screen will still be useful for casual games and video streaming.