Chinese phone brands have truly changed the budget segment. The likes of Xiaomi and LeEco are raising the bar further with devices like the Redmi Note 3 (Rs.9,999 onwards) and the LeEco Le2 (Rs.11,999). Another Chinese phone maker Coolpad looks set to join the league with its new phone Coolpad Note 5. Priced at Rs.10,999, the phone is a solid alternative to the Xiaomi and LeEco smartphones.
Design: High on style and comfort
The Coolpad Note 5 has the dimensions of an average 5.5-inch screen phone— it is 152mm tall and 75mm wide. The phone’s weight is a bit on the higher side, though. At 173g, it does feel a bit hefty.
What lifts it above the rest is the metal casing that covers the back and the side panel.
The metal finish adds solidity and a dash of premiumness, while the matte finish guards against scratches or smudges. The back is slightly curved, as well, allowing it to snuggle well in the palm. The volume and screen unlock keys are placed a little towards the higher side along the side panel.
The phone also has a fingerprint scanner at the back. It adds an additional layer of security. It can be configured with up to five finger prints and is accurate most of the time.
Display: Big screen looks crisp
The 5.5-inch display has a screen resolution of 1,920x1,080p and pixel density of 401ppi, which is impressive for a phone selling around Rs.10,000. While the display looks bright and handles colours very well, one could have used the option to customise colour tone of the screen which would have basically allowed user to switch to warmer tone and reduce stress on eyes. Colours in games and videos look good which makes it ideal for movie buffs and gamers. Visibility from wide viewing angles is good and the screen doesn’t feel smudgy even after elaborate use.
Software: Plenty to play around with
The Coolpad Note 5 runs Android 6.0 (marshmallow with a layer of Cool UI over it. It is a typical Chinese phone interface with no app drawer, plenty of custom tools and some handy apps. The quick settings have been separated from the notification panel to reduce clutter. It shows up by swiping upwards. The dual app mode allows user to login to one social networking app with two accounts simultaneously. It works with Facebook and WhatsApp only. With the permission manager one can stop apps from snooping upon your mails and messages. You can also change the look and feel of the interface by applying new themes from the phone’s theme store.
Performance: Meets most expectations
The phone runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM in tow. It is a powerful device and doesn’t struggle when stressed. Switching between apps was smooth even when we had more than 10 apps running side by side. Even the most graphic intensive games like Asphalt 8 and FIFA 16 played out without a niggle or signs of heating up on the phone’s metal chassis. The smartphone offers 32 GB internal storage and can accommodate microSD cards up to 128GB. What complicates matters is that you can’t use the microSD slot if you want to use both SIM slots together as the micro SD slot is incorporated on one of the nano SIM card slots. Both slots are compatible with all 4G networks and support VoLTE calling as well.
Coolpad Note 5 has managed to incorporate a large battery without affecting the phone’s overall thickness and size, a feat very few phones have been able to accomplish. It comes with a 4,100mAh battery which can clock in a day and a half of backup on a single charge.
Camera: Works best in daytime
The 13mp camera supports touch to focus and provides a number of cool modes and live filters. The live filters shows what a shot would look like before you take a shot. The camera modes on offer includes a night mode which lights up darker areas in images albeit with a little more noise, beauty mode which irons out marks on face, and long exposure which increases the shutter speed to capture shots of moving objects. The camera is fast and the picture quality looks good, especially in daylight shots. Colour reproduction and detailing in close-ups is impressive. Landscape shots showed a slight amount of noise on bigger screen, though. In low-light the colours look accurate but noise is easily detectable.
Coolpad Note 5 is notable for its top notch looks, build quality, stutter-free performance and long lasting battery. The only reason we can think of to recommend the Redmi Note 3 over it, is the display on account of options such as Sunlit display, night mode, display customisation. The LeEco Le 2 can be picked up for the freebies worth Rs 4,000 from YuppTv and Eros Now and the stunning audio output in the CDLA earphones.