Review: The triple-SIM feature stands out in Coolpad Mega 3

Coolpad’s new smartphone is far from perfect, but at the price it’s selling it has no competition


Coolpad Mega 3 is a well built smartphone with a plastic exterior.
Coolpad Mega 3 is a well built smartphone with a plastic exterior.

One of the most active phone makers in India, Coolpad, has launched several smartphones over the past few months. One of them was a budget smartphone Mega 2.5d, which was launched in August at Rs6,999. Now Coolpad has come up with its successor, the Mega 3, which too is priced at Rs6,999. Though selling at the same price, the successor is a much better device in many ways. It is available only on Amazon.in.

Design: Solid and handy

Coolpad Mega 3 is a well built smartphone with a plastic exterior. The plastic cover on the back is removable and good quality materials ensure it doesn’t feel flimsy. The coarse finish over it feels and grips better in the hand than phones with a glass or glossy back. Though the flat back design gives it a slab-like appearance, it doesn’t have sharp corners. The edges have been slightly curved to take care of that. The volume keys (on the left) and the power button (on the right) are made of metal and stand out in the white exterior. Their separate positioning gives users a better idea of where each of them are exactly placed. The phone tips the scales at 170g but doesn’t really feel hefty when you are holding it.

Display: Big but not the sharpest

The smartphone’s 5.5-inch IPS display has a resolution of 1,280x720p which is common in big-screen phones at this price point. The display handles colours well, but lacks the punch that one requires for watching HD movies or playing games. If you have used a big-screen phone with better resolution screen, you will find it dull. Visibility from odd angles is good and so is the legibility under bright sunlight.

The display lacks any colour customisation options that can come in handy for users and is quite common in big-screen phones these days.

Software: New Android with a custom UI

The Mega 3 runs Google’s Android 6.0 with its custom UI, called the Cool UI. It looks similar to the UI on Xiaomi and Gionee smartphones.

There is no app drawer in Cool UI, which means all app icons will show on the home screen itself. However, you can create separate folders for apps that you use frequently. The UI allows users to change the look and feel by applying new themes and wallpapers.

It also allows users to add or remove options in the Quick settings panel making the settings they require instantly available to them. You can also change wallpapers by simply tapping on a button or shaking the phone.

Performance: Sluggish when stressed

Driving the phone is a modest MediaTek 1.2GHz MT6737 quad-core processor which combines well with the 2GB RAM on the phone to deliver a smooth performance until stressed.

However, with 6 to 8 apps open, the odd lag was clearly visible while switching between apps and during heavy tasks like gaming.

In terms of storage, a user gets 16GB of internal storage and the option to add another 32GB through a microSD card. The phone’s battery backup is adequate for day-to-day use. The 3,050mAh battery can muster a full day’s backup at most on modest use, which is not a raw deal for a big-screen smartphone at this price point.

One of its unique features is that it can accommodate three 4G-ready SIM cards at a time.

Camera: A mixed bag

Like in most budget smartphones, the phone’s 8-megapixel camera is not its strongest points. Daytime shots look detailed enough for social, media posts, but if you zoom in, the noise becomes apparent. Also, it got most colours right but struggled when it came to lighting up the background properly. In low-light shots, colours look good, but the overall picture looks dull and washed out. The selfie camera is also an 8-megapixel affair but delivers good-looking selfies even in indoor conditions.

Verdict

Coolpad Mega 3 is ideal for casual users looking for a big-screen smartphone without spending much. Despite its limitations, it looks impressive as there are no solid alternatives to it at its price. If you are willing to spend a little more, you should go for Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which offers better display, superior camera, has a better battery backup and can handle heavy tasks a lot better.

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