Coolpad has managed to launch few good smartphones in the competitive entry-level and mid range smartphone market in India. Some of these devices that created a niche for themselves include Note 3 Lite (Read Review) and Note 3, whereas Coolpad Mega 2.5D (Read Review) was launched few months back for the entry-level smartphone market, but without a fingerprint sensor. The latest smartphone from the company comes as Note 5 which is priced for a mid range smartphone segment with a price of Rs. 10,999 and comes with some decent hardware specifications & premium build. We tested the review unit for almost ten (10) days as our primary device and this review is based on that experience.
The variant that we reviewed came with the Model No. Coolpad 3600I, Royal Gold color variant. It is available exclusively on Amazon.in for a price of Rs. 10,999 only. Let’s see, if it is worth the hype?
Brief Technical Specifications
- Display: 5.5 inch Full HD 1080p, 401 PPI, 78% screen to body ratio
- Processor:1.5GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952
- Operating System: Cool 8 UI based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- RAM: 4 GB
- GPU: Adreno 405
- Storage: 32 GB internal + expandable memory via a microSD card + USB OTG
- Rear Camera: 13 MP, Dual LED Flash, Auto Focus, 5P Lens, CMOS Sensor, f/2.2 aperture
- Front Camera: 8 MP, LED Flash, 5P Lens, 80 degree FOV, f/2.2 aperture
- Security: Fingerprint Scanner
- Battery: 4010 mAh
- Connectivity: 4G LTE FDD LTE (B1,B3,B5) TDD LTE B40, VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Dual SIM, GSM, WCDMA
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Geomagnetic sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor
- Dimensions: 152 x 75.7 x 8.85 mm
- Weight: 173.4 gm
- Colors: Royal Gold, Space Gray
Design and Build Quality
The Coolpad Note 5 looks pretty premium with full metal unibody design with matte finish, which is slowly becoming a norm for entry-level smartphones. It is curved at the four sides corner at back, but a bit thick at middle thanks to the bigger battery. The buttons are placed just like any other conventional smartphone, with the SIM tray placed on the other side. The fingerprint sensor is placed below the main rear camera at the back.
The device weighs 174 grams and hence feels heavy while holding it. The navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen are not back-lit, which makes it a bit uncomfortable to use them in the dark. The speaker grills are placed at the back panel bottom below the coolpad logo, which is not an ideal position for speakers. The battery is embedded and cannot be removed.
Display, Performance, Gaming and Benchmarks
It sports a 5.5 inch Full HD 1080p display with a pixel density of 401 PPI. It is protected by scratch resistant glass with no Gorilla glass. The IPS display is fully laminated resulting in reflection often, with wide viewing angles of up to 178 degrees. The display manages to offer good colour reproduction and appears great in most conditions. The brightness adapts itself under different lighting and works well even in outside sunlight to a large extent.
Coolpad Note 5 is powered by 1.5 GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952 processor with 4 GB of RAM. Thanks to Snapdragon 617 and 4 GB of RAM, it performs well without any issues irrespective of what we threw at it. We didnt encounter any lag or frame freezes or crashes during our normal day-to-day uses. It was able to do multitasking & run graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8 etc. smoothly though some random frame drops were there if you ran it at higher graphics settings but still it’s nothing that an average user may notice as it doesn’t affect the gameplay much. The color reproduction and graphics look good thanks to a full HD display. There was negligible heating while playing graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8.
Note 5 comes with 32 GB internal storage with support for expandable storage via Micro SD card & USB OTG. There is no dedicated microsd card slot though and you need to use hybrid SIM slot if you need a microsd card storage.
The call quality during voice calls was pretty clear without any issues. The dialer app also gives you an option to record calls, which in most devices is not possible unless you root it and then install an additional paid app. 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 5 comes out to be about 46,000+ points which is decent enough for an entry-level smartphone in this price range, yet devices such as Le 2 (Read Review) and Redmi Note 3 beat that easily by miles.
Coolpad has managed to offer one of the best & most customisable Fingerprint sensors on its devices and Note 5 is no different. Note 5 comes with an accurate Fingerprint sensor and during our review, we found it 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.
Coolpad also offers loads of customisation for the fingerprint sensor, much more than any other brand. You can use five of your fingerprints and can map each fingerprint to perform different customised tasks such as:
- Unlock the screen
- Open Any custom app (five fingers can be customised for five different apps)
- 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 these features the moment we switched to a different phone after review.
The phone comes with 13 MP main rear camera with Dual LED Flash, Auto Focus, 5P Lens, CMOS Sensor & f/2.2 aperture and front shooter of 8 MP with LED Flash, 5P Lens, 80 degree FOV, f/2.2 aperture. 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 producing average shots, but it wasn’t good in low light conditions or if you are standing in some shade with heavy sunlight around.
The PRO mode is 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 8 MP camera is decent for selfies that you shoot for social media. In spite of a front LED flash, the selfies in low light doesn’t turn out to be good. The LED flash on front doesn’t help much. Under normal lighting conditions, the front shooter shoots average selfies as the colors and skin tones seems to be washed out.
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.
Coolpad Note 3 is backed by a 4010 mAh battery (non-removable) and hence the battery life performance turned out to be good. We tested the device with dual SIMs with full-time 4G data connection on. We even used it as a hotspot for almost entire day and the battery was still left at the end of day. Under normal usage, it lasts easily for more than 1.5 days. Under heavy usage it lasts for full day without any issue. If you are on 3G then the battery life will be better. There is no fast charging support though, which we wish it had and hence it takes 3-4 hours to full charge the phone.
Operating System and UI
Coolpad Note 5 runs on Cool 8 UI based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The first thing that you notice while booting the device i.e. its says Coolpad is now a Leeco company. Still, our opinion on CoolUI still remains same as it was during review of other Coolpad devices. The issues like default Xploree keyboard remains 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. I really wish Coolpad gets rid of this. The good part though, you can easily switch to a different keyboard i.e. Google keyboard which is already pre-installed.
The bloatware apps come pre-installed such as UC Browser, Zuimei Weather, WPS Office and more. Again, 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.
It also comes with ability to use dual apps for Facebook and Whatsapp which means you can use two accounts for both these without need to switch phones. It also comes with different gestures which can be even customised. These are disabled by default and you can enable them under setting.
It still has some issues with color combination in UI e.g. in notification area, fonts appear in black with a similar dark background and you can not read those notifications easily. Different toggles are available from the bottom of the screen and are customisable.
The overall software experience was smooth if we leave some of these glitches. It is near to the stock Android in some aspects yet far away from it.
Coolpad Note 5 brings some good features such as good display, decent overall performance and excellent battery life. Yet it is plagued by average camera, bloatware and no fast charging support. And thanks to some formidable competition in same price segment by Redmi Note 3 and LeEco Le 2, Coolpad Note 5 may find it tough to sail through in spite of being a good smartphone overall.