Himanshu Juneja reviews this budget phone that offers 3GB RAM, finger print scanner and more for just Rs 6,999
With the Chinese manufacturers taking a special liking for the Indian market, it was only a matter of time that the competition started to heat up in favour of the customers.
Coolpad has been making news for good reasons, and after proving its mettle with the Coolpad Note 3, the latest offering in the form of Coolpad Note 3 lite has raised the bar for other manufacturers in the sub Rs 7,000 category.
One of the few to carry a finger print scanner in this segment, 3 GB of RAM and good battery back up seems to be the USP here. Let us take a closer look at what the handset has in store for the buyers.
Thanks to the rounded corners and the textured back, it is fairly easy to wrap one's hand around it. The matte plastic used is good, and the built quality is fairly decent too.
The gold trim running around the edges and the fingerprint scanner or even the camera lends it a good aesthetic touch. The back panel is removable, but the battery remains sealed in.
Buttons and card slots
The right edge carries the power button, whereas the left edge has the volume rocker. The 3.5 mm audio jack finds its place at the top, while the bottom edge carries the microUSB port. One finds the slots for the SIM cards as well as the microSD card slot hidden underneath the back panel.
One of the biggest concerns for the budget devices is the display, and thankfully Coolpad does not skimp here. The 5-inch HD display has a 720 x 1280p resolution translates to a very decent pixel density of 294 ppi. There is no Gorilla glass here, but thankfully, the company provides a protective layer for some sturdiness.
The colours are vibrant, and text looks good as well. The contrast ratio and the viewing angles do not disappoint, and while readability under sunlight is good, the brightness levels could have been better. Users can tweak the colour temperatures to their taste. Overall the display doesn't disappoint.
Given the budget, the phone comes fitted with a Mediatek MT6735 SoC. The Quad core CPU consists of Cortex A53 processor clocked at 1.3 Ghz. Then there is the Mali T720MP2 GPU as well. It is a nice surprise to find a generously supplied 3 GB worth of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage capacity in a budget offering.
Users can further expand storage memory by up to 32 GB via microSD card.
Coolpad has ensured that the buyers won't have to excuse themselves when phone comparison gets underway. A 4G/LTE enabled device has the usual connectivity options like Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth (ver 4.0), and GPS assistance.
The inclusion of FM with recording feature only makes the dual SIM device more enticing. For the budget, Coolpad Note 3 lite is fairly loaded up.
The phone comes sporting Cool UI 6.0 skin, while the underlying OS is Android Lollipop (5.1). The missing app drawer is not a surprise anymore, but what strikes is the option to opt for a layout which has an app drawer. Clearly thought has gone in here.
The UI is pretty smooth and allows for seamless operation in general. There is the theming option available, but choices are very limited for the time being. Custom designed icons in the different themes can make things confusing as well.
Other pre-loaded in house apps are Cool service, which is yet to deliver by showing service centre information, there is Xploree which a flexible keyboard with customisation and feature for taking notes. Needless to say an app to finger print lock down the apps for exclusive use only has been included as well.
There is some third party content as well, as one finds apps from Facebook, Amazon, WPS Office etc. These can thankfully be uninstalled, and the Facebook app, which is a proven memory hog, should be removed to free up vital resources.
Performance and finger print scanner
The phone performs admirably well. The apps launched smoothly, and the general usage didn't show any stuttering or lag. Gaming experience was fairly good, with even the demanding games (Dead Trigger: 2) showing up without too many issues at moderate to low settings. There were the few odd stutterings, but nothing to raise a concern. The ample RAM definitely plays a part here. The speaker is pretty loud but not rich in sound.
The finger print scanner was impressive as it went along with its job. It is fairly accurate and picks up the ridges easily. The performance rate is not 100 per cent, but users won't be disappointed. The handset allows a total of five finger prints to be stored, and these can be used to launch specific apps as well to quicken up process.
The phone comes fitted with a 13 MP camera at the rear, and a 5 MP front facing camera. As expected, the performance during daytime is very decent. The colour reproduction looks good, the noise level are manageable, but details were somewhat lacking. The reminder about the budget category offering becomes more apparent with low light photography, as noise in the result becomes apparent.
The app provides a pro mode, but the options are not widespread. Settings like ISO, white balance, exposure and focus can be tweaked. The video maxed out at 1080p, and the quality is just about decent. The front facing camera delivers fairly good selfies during well lit conditions.
As mentioned earlier, the battery is sealed in, not allowing users the advantage of swapping spare units when in need. But the 2500 mAh battery pack impressed with the performance, allowing the phone to last a complete day's rigour on a single charge.
The provided charger takes its sweet time to rejuice the battery up.
With the Moto G3 inching towards the Rs 10,000 mark, it was inevitable that the manufacturers upped the ante in even lower priced segments. Coolpad seems to have grabbed the honours. With a very impressive display, generous 3 GB of RAM, good battery life making up for strong selling point, the presence of a decent finger print scanner pole vaults the handset in a hallowed category.
Users tight on a budget who won't mind an otherwise choppy user interface with an okayish camera should definitely consider the Coolpad Note 3 Lite. For others, there is always the Moto E to consider as a capable alternative.