Review: Coolpad Cool 1 ticks most of the checklist
Coolpad is one of the few Chinese phonemakers that has been experimenting a lot with its software. Most of its phones use the proprietary Cool UI, but they bucked the trend when the Note 3s (Rs10,999) ran on a near plain version of Android. Now, their latest smartphone called Cool 1 rather interestingly uses a custom UI made by a rival phone maker LeEco. Priced at Rs13,999, Cool 1 is full of surprises, but is it good enough to be considered over the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (4GB+64GB) which is selling at Rs12,999?
Design: Handy and stylish
Coolpad Cool 1’s lustreless metal finish and flat side panel makes it stand out in the crowd of metal-clad phones with a curved side panel. This not only looks different but also feels better in the hand. It is available in silver and gold colour options.
The back includes a sometimes slow to respond but accurate fingerprint sensor and a dual camera module that juts out a little. The speaker and the USB Type-C standard are placed on the lower side panel.
For a phone that packs in a 4,060mAh battery, Cool 1 is surprisingly slim (8.2mm) and weighs just 167g. The Redmi Note 4, which also has a metal finish and flat side, and weighs 175g.
Display: Big and colour accurate
The smartphone’s 5.5-inch display has a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. It doesn’t look very bright, but was able to reproduce colours in games and videos very well. Legibility in bright light is a bit poor due to the reflective nature of the display. The phone offers some built-in display settings such as Colour mode which allows users to switch to a slightly yellowish looking Warm tone. It can reduce stress on the eyes. The phone also offers the option to adjust the size and distribution of content displayed on the display in the Screen View mode.
Software: Uses LeEco’s UI
The Cool 1 runs on LeEco’s proprietary custom UI called EUI over Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). It feels a lot more polished than Coolpad’s own Cool UI and has very few preloaded apps. You can apply new themes and change the app icons and wallpapers, but the options are limited compared to Xiaomi’s MIUI. To keep things simple, the quick settings has been separated from the notification panel. To open it, you have to tap on the multi-tasking button once and you can see your quick settings and active apps. We like it more than MIUI for its clutter-free look.
Performance: Smooth and lag free
The smartphone runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor with 4 GB RAM. It is a powerful mid-segment chip and has been used in a number of mid-range devices like the Xiaomi Mi Max Prime (Rs19,999) and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro (Rs29,990).
The phone’s performance doesn’t feel nippy when it comes to switching between apps, but was able to handle most graphic-intensive games such as FIFA 16 and Asphalt Xtreme better than most similarly priced devices. The phone offers 32GB internal storage and does not have a microSD slot, which might be a bit limiting if you tend to keep a lot of music or movies stored in the phone. The 4,060mAh battery can deliver about a day and half on one charge.
The Redmi Note 4 runs on a slightly superior Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM, which also shows the slightly better performance.
Camera: Dual camera impresses
The Cool 1’s other talking point is the dual 13-megapixel cameras. It works on similar lines as the dual camera seen in Honor 8 and Honor 6x smartphones and allows users to manually fine-tune the depth of field in images. The camera is fast and locks focus on objects instantly. In terms of picture quality, it is a mixed bag, though. Colours looks realistic but the image doesn’t feel crisp. Low-light shots are average in terms of overall quality. The camera offers plenty of live filters and camera modes such a Night, Beauty, Pro, Watermark, Long exposure and Slow video as add on.
Coolpad Cool 1 is a notable addition to the budget Android smartphone segment. It has the looks of a more expensive phone, and runs powerful enough hardware for acceptable performance. You can consider it for its rather interesting UI, USB type-C connector, good looks and smooth performance. However, where the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 has an advantage is with the gorgeous black colour variant, which also offers 64GB internal storage and supports microSD cards.