The Coolpad Note 3 Lite is the latest entry-level smartphone from Coolpad, after the popular Coolpad Note 3. With the previous launch of Note 3, Coolpad was able to create some buzz around the device as it breached the price range of Rs. 10,000 and made available a smartphone with a fingerprint sensor for a price of just Rs. 8,999. Note 3 Lite aims to move a bit further and breaches the price point of Rs. 7,000 and becomes the most affordable smartphone with a fingerprint sensor. We tested the device for almost ten (10) days as our primary device and this review is based on that ten days experience that we had.

Coolpad Note 3 Lite - Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review

The variant that we reviewed came with the Model No. CP8298_100, white color. The device is available exclusively on Amazon.in for a price of Rs. 6,999 only. Let’s see, if it is worth the hype?

Brief Technical Specifications

  • Display : 5.0 inch HD IPS with Scratch-resistant Glass
  • OS : Android 5.1 (Lollipop) with Cool UI 6.0
  • CPU : 1.3 GHz Quad-Core 64-bit MediaTek MT6735 processor
  • GPU : Mali-T720
  • RAM : 3 GB
  • Camera  : 13 MP rear with LED Flash + 5 MP front-facing
  • Dual Sim (LTE+ LTE)
  • 16 GB ROM + Micro SD Card support up to 64 GB
  • OTG Support
  • Battery : 2500 mAh embedded

Design and Build Quality

The Coolpad Note 3 Lite looks pretty decent and not a cheap one. The metallic frame all around the device gives it a bit of premium looks. It is curved at the four corners and the plastic cover at the back comes with a textured matte finish which gives it a good look and helps in solid grip for the device while in hands. Coolpad has chosen not to play with the conventional button design. The power button is placed at right side while the volume rockers on the left. The fingerprint sensor is placed below the 13 MP camera at the back which is almost perfect position as user fingers are almost at same place while holding the smartphone.

The device weighs 152 grams and hence neither heavy nor light. The device feels compact to hold and good for one hand operation due to the screen size of 5 inches.

The menu buttons at the bottom of the screen are not back-lit, which makes it a bit uncomfortable to use them in the dark. The speakers are at the bottom back side of the device with a grill in centre. Even though you can open the back cover, the battery is not removable but embedded.

Display

It sports a 5.0 inch HD IPS Display with resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and comes with Scratch-resistant Glass, but not the Gorilla Glass. The display appears great in most conditions and its brightness adapts itself well if the surroundings changes. It works quite well even in outside sunlight in most cases except few rare ones when the Sun is at its peak. It comes with great viewing angles, letting you view the screen even at steep angles. We didn’t face any issues while viewing the device at steep angles.

And yes, the display is a just a HD screen and not full HD which can be justified considering the price of just Rs. 6,999. So you should not compare it with a full HD screen or a super amoled screen. Obviously both of those screens will look superior than the HD one.

Performance, Gaming and Benchmarks

Coolpad Note 3 Lite is powered by a 1.3 GHz Quad-Core 64-bit MediaTek MT6735 processor & Mali-T720 GPU with 3 GB of RAM. Presence of 3 GB of RAM is rare for a device priced below Rs. 10,000 and at even lower Rs. 7,000 price point, Note 3 lite becomes the only smartphone that comes with 3 GB of RAM (As far as we know of smartphones launched in India, Correct us if wrong).

The device performs quite without any issues irrespective of what we threw at it. It was able to to multitasking & run graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8 etc. smoothly. We couldn’t produce a single lag irrespective of how many or how heavy apps are running. The graphics details in the games and HD videos was good enough but not too good though.

Heating Issue or Not?

In terms of heating while playing games such as Asphalt 8 for quite long time, we did encounter a small amount of heating as the temperature of the device increased about 7-10 degrees, but it got stabilized at that maximum temperature. It remained at almost same temperature even if we kept playing for more. Also, it wasnt bad as our hands didn’t feel the heat while we played.

Note 3 Lite comes with 16 GB internal storage with support for Micro SD cards. The operating system and preloaded apps take around 5 GB of storage and hence the end user gets only about 10 GB of internal storage. Apart from Micro SD cards, it also supports USB OTG and hence you can use an external USB storage to add more capacity to the device on the go.

The call quality during voice calls was pretty clear without any issues. The dialer app also gives you an option to record calls by pressing finger against the fingerprint sensor without installing any additional app or rooting the device. Usually, in most devices, you need to root your device first and then install an additional paid app to record calls. By default, this feature is turned off and you need to enable it if you need to record your calls.

The AnTuTu benchmark score for Coolpad Note 3 Lite comes out to be about 31,000 points which is quite impressive for a entry level smartphone and beats most of the devices priced under Rs. 10,000.

Fingerprint Sensor

Note 3 lite boasts of an accurate Fingerprint sensor and during our review, it turned out to be exactly as per the company claim. The sensor was accurate almost >95% times irrespective of how you are putting your finger. It was able to detect the fingerprint in almost all directions, pressed at any pressure or what not. Apart from the accuracy, it was fast and unlocks the device instantly.

Apart from locking unlocking, the fingerprint provides other features also that can be customised. You can use five of your fingerprints and can map each finger print to perform a customised tasks. The tasks that each of the fingerprint can be customised to include:

  • Unlock the screen
  • Open Any custom app
  • Dial any number / contact that you set
  • Quick Capture

Even though these features appear just decent, once you start using them then there is no going back. We started missing the fingerprint sensor features the moment we switched to a different phone after we were done with the review. The best thing, all this comes in a phone priced at Rs. 6,999.

Camera

The phone comes with a 13 MP main rear camera with dual-LED real tone flash with laser focus and a front 5 MP front camera. The camera app is good and comes with loads of options including a PRO mode. We tested the camera under different lighting conditions. The camera was decent under normal lighting conditions, but it wasn’t good in low light conditions or if you are standing in some shade with heavy sunlight around. The colors appear to be washed out often. But overall if  in good lighting conditions, the camera produced good quality shots.

The PRO mode was available for both the front and main rear camera which is a good addition. But unless the user knows how to manage those settings, they should stick to the default mode.

The camera app comes with loads of modes such as Face beauty, HDR, Dimlight shot, Smile Shot, Panorama and a gesture mode.Gesture mode is interesting as the camera clicks automatically (with a countdown of 3 seconds) itself by detecting “V” sign made by fingers by users.

The front 5 MP camera is decent enough to click some good selfies only.

Camera samples

Checkout the images below taken under different light conditions and different modes. Click on the images to enlarge to original full size image. Full resolution images on can be found on Flickr.

Battery

Coolpad Note 3 battery life didn’t impress us much. The battery performance was decent (better than average) with dual SIMs, one of them on Airtel 4G always on connection and other on 2G.The battery did lasted for a day with moderate use, but if you are one of aggressive user then you need to charge it before the day ends. In terms of SOT (Screen on time), we managed to get 3.5 – 4 hours SOT on an average.

Coolpad Battery Life - Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review

Operating System and UI

Coolpad Note 3 Lite runs on Android 5.1 (Lollipop) with Coolpad Cool UI 6.0. Our disappoint started the moment we started using some of the apps and keyboard in specific. The phone comes with lot of preloaded bloatware, a default Xploree keyboard which is like a running adware showing you offers from different sites, some bloat placed in the form of widgets and even a Coolpad app store.

Note 3 Lite Keyboard presto - Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review

Our recommendation to users, just switch to Google keyboard which comes pre-installed but needs to be selected. Next, get rid of bloated widgets as soon as you can. Rest of the bloatware though can’t be uninstalled.

We just wish that Coolpad avoided these bloats.

If we leave these two issues aside, the Operating system comes with loads of option, a clean UI and even multitasking option that can be enabled and customised. If you have used custom ROMs, you will find similar options in this operating system and can customise them as per your needs.

Review on Youtube

Conclusion

Coolpad Note 3 Lite is a great device to buy and performs in almost all departments except few issues that we talked about. Also, if you need a perfect fingerprint sensor for an entry-level price, go grab this one. It short, it offers excellent value for money with good overall performance, good gaming performance, decent battery life and an accurate & fast fingerprint sensor with loads of customisation.

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