The smartphone segment in India, has seen a huge growth in the last few years, especially in the entry level market, which has brought several new brands and manufacturers, especially from China. Coolpad is one such brand, and it needs an introduction for most readers. Coolpad Group Limited was founded in 1993, and deals with integrated solutions for smartphones, mobile data platform systems and value-added business operations in China.
- Display : 5 inches HD IPS with 1280 x 720 pixels resolution
- Processor : 1.2 GHz, Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916)
- GPU : Adreno 306
- RAM : 2 GB
- Operating System : Android 4.4 Kitkat with Cool UI 6
- Camera : 8 MP / 5 MP
- Storage : 8 GB internal with Micro SD support
- Battery : Removable 2500 mAh
- Weight : 155 grams
- Network 2G / 3G / 4G support
- Dual Sim support (Micro SIMs)
Design, Hardware and Build Quality
In terms of design and build quality, it looks like any other entry-level device with a plastic back cover. THe look even though doesn’t feel premium at all, yet it doesn’t seem too cheap too. The Power button and Volume rockers are placed on the two sides just like most smartphones along with 3.5 mm audio jack at the top side and micro USB port at bottom right side (not in middle).
The three Menu buttons at the bottom of screen are backlit which is rarely backlit in most of the entry-level smartphones. The backlit menu buttons gives an advantage if you are using the device in dark surroundings.
The back plastic cover with matte finish though appears to be a dirt magnet as it picked up dust quite fast from any surface that the device was put on. The back camera and flash is integrated seamlessly and not protruded, giving it a good feel. The speakers are at the bottom part of back cover, The front camera and proximity sensors on front are at the top side by side with a small speaker next to it for voice calls.
Dazen 1 is powered by 1.2 GHz, Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 ( MSM 8916) with Adreno 306 GPU along with 2 GB of RAM giving it enough power to run it smoothly. The CPU is same as that of Xiaomi Redmi 2 which is also priced same, but comes with only 1 GB of RAM.
It comes with a LED notification light and accelerometer, light & proximity sensors.
Dazen 1 sports a 5 inch HD IPS display with 1280 x 720 pixels resolution with a pixel density of 320 ppi. The display appears crisp and clear with good Colour reproduction in normal lighting conditions and good enough in sunlight. The viewing angles are good enough and we didn’t face any issues in terms of viewing angles during out review period.
Performance, Gaming and Benchmarks
During our review period of one week, we didn’t encounter any issues like lags in the UI or any other problem which hangs up the smartphone. Everything worked great without any issues. During our normal use, everything was smooth (Keep in mind that we are not comparing this smoothness with high-end or expensive smartphones).
We played some heavy games on it too such as Asphalt. Even though Asphalt 8 which is a graphics intensive game, it ran almost smoothly on the device. But we did encounter some frame drops once or twice during our game-play and hence it wasn’t as smooth as it should be. It was a bit sluggish, you can say. We also felt a bit of heating issue at the back, but we do face this on almost every other smartphone in entry-level segment except rare exceptions.
But for normal, non intensive games we didn’t faced any issues like those mentioned above. It performed well for the small games.
In terms of Benchmark scores, it came out with a score of 20,500+ score which is quite good considering that this is just an entry-level smartphone.
One of the features that we missed in Dazen 1 is, support for USB OTG devices. Dazen 1 doesn’t support USB OTG devices which means that you can not add external storage using USB OTG flash drive and you can only use the micro SD card for expanding your storage.
The sound from speakers are loud and clear unlike many entry-level smartphones.
Coolpad Dazen 1 comes with a 8 MP main rear camera with LED flash and 5 MP front shooter. We used both the cameras for almost a week shooting images in different lighting conditions. To be honest, we are impressed by the picture quality of both the cameras, considering the price of the device is well below Rs. 7,000. The cameras were able to shoot great pictures in varying light conditions and the quality of images were better than any camera we have tested in this entry-level price range.
One of the features that came with both cameras is the Pro mode which was very easy to use instead of some complicated Pro Mode in many other smartphones.
You can check out the camera samples of Coolpad Dazen 1 below.
The device is powered by a 2500 mAh Li-Polymer removable battery. In terms of battery life, it impressed us. We were able to get a better battery life compared to any other expensive smartphone or any other device in same price range. Even with heavy usage, it lasted for more than a day. For normal usage, it even lasted for almost two full days and I had to charge it only on second night.
The battery performance during idle time was excellent and it didn’t lose more than 1-2% in terms of battery life even after many hours of not using it. Most other devices lose around 5-15% of battery during idle time of few hours.
I am not sure how correct I am, but I have seen better battery performance with most of the smartphones powered by Mediatek processors.
Operating System and UI
My own preference has always been the stock Android when it comes to operating system on any smartphone. Similarly, I always prefer stock launcher or any launcher which comes with an App drawer instead of all apps filling the home screens, though on digging a bit deep into the settings we were able to find a setting which lets us get a launcher similar to the stock launcher with an app drawer. In my opinion, that should be the default launcher.
Coolpad Dazen 1 is powered by Android 4.4.4 Kitkat operating system with Cool UI 6. Even though the CoolUI appears a clean UI and looks good to our eyes, it brings some design issues along with it.
Similarly, the UI for dialing calls by searching contacts is a bit difficult. Basically, in many apps or even system UI you need to do an extra click here and there to do different actions.
Some of the apps like “Photos” though is much better and comes with good features / options for editing photos captured by camera. Similarly it comes with some great options under “Coolshow ” app which lets you customise / change settings for wallpapers of home & lock screens, Incoming calls, alarm tones, themes, lock screen styles and more.
Dazen 1 comes with smart gestures which lets you customise gesture to control different functions of the smartphone such as opening a particular app by typing an alphabet on the blank screen of the device. These options are disabled by default but you can enable them easily in settings.
Similarly you can change to a different wallpaper on home screen just by pressing an icon on the home screen.
Review on Youtube
In short, we found out Coolpad Dazen 1 exceeded our expectations by a big margin. The device can be considered to be a serious contender in the entry-level smartphone market in India. The pricing of the device is good enough, but may have been tweaked a bit to give it a clear advantage compared to other competitors like Micromax Yuphoria, Redmi 2 and Lenovo A6000 plus. In terms of performance the device didn’t disappoint us and the best-selling point for us is the great battery life compared to any other device in same price range.
Coolpad just dropped the price of Dazen 1 to Rs. 5,999. Due to this drop we are changing the ratings for pricing in this review from 7.2 to 8.8.