Review: Coolpad Note 3s is not primed to compete with Xiaomi and LeEco

Coolapd’s new smartphone misses out on some critical elements in the battle against Redmi Note 3 and LeEco Le2


Unlike other Coolpad smartphones, which run a new custom Cool UI, the new Note 3s runs a plain Android interface.
Unlike other Coolpad smartphones, which run a new custom Cool UI, the new Note 3s runs a plain Android interface.

Coolpad has added a new phone to its line-up in India, and the highlight is a slightly different take on the software. Unlike other Coolpad smartphones, which run a new custom Cool UI, the new Note 3s runs a plain Android interface. Priced at Rs10,999, the new smartphone looks good and delivers a steady performance, but is it enough to overlook the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Rs9,999 onwards) and LeEco Le2 (Rs11,999 onwards)?

The gold finish and the shiny back, almost feels like metal
The gold finish and the shiny back, almost feels like metal

Design: Premium design, poor grip

Coolpad Note 3s is a well-built phone with a unibody plastic body. The gold finish and the shiny back almost feels like metal. While this boosts its looks, the glossy surface makes it a little slippery and also prone to smudges. At 8.3mm and 163g, the Note 3s is slightly slimmer yet weighs as much as Redmi Note 3’s 8.7mm and 164g form-factor. The Le2 is thinner at 7.5mm and weighs only 153g.

The buttons and fingerprint sensor on the Note 3s are easily accessible. The volume buttons are placed on the left, the power button on the right and the fingerprint sensor is positioned on the back right under the camera. It’s quick and spot in terms of accuracy on most occasions.

The SIM tray, placed at the top, can accommodate two nano SIM cards or one nano SIM card and a microSD card side by side.

Display: Handles colours well

The Coolpad Note 3s has a 5.5-inch display with screen resolution of 1,280x720p, which is a bit low for this screen size. While colours in games, photos and movies look rich, lack of resolution gives it a slightly inferior look than the Full HD display on the likes of the Redmi Note 3 and LeEco Le2. Also, the screen is a bit too reflective but the phone’s auto brightness handles fluctuations in ambient light well. Unlike Redmi Note 3 and Le2, the Coolpad smartphone doesn’t have any options to customise the display colours.

The interface looks familiar and offers very few software customisations. Coolpad has added very few apps on the phone
The interface looks familiar and offers very few software customisations. Coolpad has added very few apps on the phone

Software: Runs plain Android

The Note 3s runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with stock Android interface instead of the Cool UI, which the phone maker uses in all its smartphones. The interface looks familiar and offers very few software customisations. Coolpad has added very few apps on the phone. One of them, Cool Service, which shows the location and contact details of all the customer care centres of the company in the country will come in handy for users in case they detect issues with the phone afterwards. The Redmi Note 3 runs a older Android 5.1 but offers plenty of cool options that the Coolpad smartphone doesn’t have.

Performance: Surprisingly smooth

The Note 3s runs on a modest Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 processor, paired with 3GB RAM, yet manages to run most tasks and games with ease. Though you can’t play the graphical ones like the F1 2016 on it, but the likes of Asphalt Xtreme and FIFA 16 played well. There was no overheating on the back while gaming or camera usage. The phone offers 32GB of internal storage and up to 32GB of expandable storage.

The Redmi Note 3 runs on a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core processor with 2GB RAM in the 16GB model and 3GB RAM in the 32GB unit. The Le 2 runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM. It is available in 32GB and 64GB variants.

Battery: Average backup

The Coolpad smartphone packs in a 2,500mAh battery that barely lasted a day of moderate use. The Redmi Note 3 has a slight upper hand with its 4,000mAh battery that gives a day and half on one charge. The Le2 is powered by a 3,000mAh battery.

Lighter colours look a bit faded though. Indoor and low-light shots look mostly blurry and washed out.
Lighter colours look a bit faded though. Indoor and low-light shots look mostly blurry and washed out.

Camera: Inconsistent results

The 13-megapixel camera on the Note 3s was able to produce good amount of detail in landscape shots and even got most of the dark colours accurately. Lighter colours look a bit faded though. Indoor and low-light shots look mostly blurry and washed out. Also, the camera is a little sluggish—image processing takes a bit of time and you need to hold the camera still to get the focus right.

Verdict

With the Coolpad Note 3, the Chinese phone maker is nowhere close to the overall experience and specifications of the Redmi Note 3 and LeEco Le2, because it has an inferior display, camera, battery life, software features and audio quality.

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