The coolest talking point of the CoolPad Note 3 is the finger print scanner technology. By bringing it into a device priced at Rs 8.999 (US $ 135), the technology is no more a privy of the flagship devices and is made affordable and accessible to the masses. But does CoolPad has more reasons to it? We find out in this review.
CoolPad might be an relatively unknown name in the Indian mobile segment, earlier they had launched two devices partnering with Dazen but the Note 3 is their first device to be sold in India under their own brand name. CoolPad though is not a new player in mobile industry, they are one of the key brands in Chinese market and many known OEMs in India and other countries have been selling re-branded CoolPad devices for many seasons now and CoolPad had manufactured sold some 40 million devices last year. So they mean business and they know what they do.
There is nothing cool though about the box, it is understated rectangular white box. Out of the box you get:
- The device
- a pair of earphones,
- a microUSB to USB cable and
- a two-pin charger rated at 1A
Coolpad Note 3 specifications
- 5.5-inch IPS display
- 1280 x 720 pixels HD resolution
- 1.3GHz Octa-Core 64-bit MediaTek MT6753 processor
- 3GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 64GB with microSD
- Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
- Dual SIM
- Android 5.1 (Lollipop) with Cool UI 6.0
- 13MP rear camera with LED Flash, f/2.0 aperture, 5P lens
- 5MP front-facing camera, 1.4 micron pixels
- Fingerprint sensor
- Dimensions: 151×77×9.3mm; Weight: 155g
- 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
- 3000mAh battery
There is nothing remarkable, It’s a very familiar design, we have come across in numerous phones. It’s clean and all-pleasing but not individualistic. The bezels are kept to the minimum to ensure a large screen to body ratio. The 9.3mm in thickness is slightly on the heavier side and it weighs 155 grams, still not unweildy. The front face has a 5.5-inch display with the camera, earpiece grille and proximity sensor on the top and three capacitive buttons to the bottom. A slightly raised metal band around the phone front panel gives a dash of premium finish and prevents the screen from touching the surface when placed facing down.
To the left is the volume rocker, while the power button is positioned on the right side. The bottom houses the microUSB port as well as a microphone. The top has the lone audio jack. The back panel is removable and it reveals the 3000mAh battery which is non-removable. There is also the two SIM slots and the microSD card slot.
The polycarbonate backpanel features a baby skin matte finish and it feels good to touch. The curves gently sweep from the edges of the rear to the front adding great value to the ergonomics. The rear hosts the black-eyed camera with a metal ring around it and positioned to the middle on the upper area of the rear with the LED flash flanking it. A CoolPad branding and the speaker grille is placed at the bottom of the rear. Just below the camera module is the finger print scanner, a rectangular pad with a chrome trim.
The 5.5-inch IPS LCD display comes with a 1280 x 720 pixels resolution. This is not the best you can get in this price segment as we get full HD in the likes of K3 Note, Yureka Plus but similar to the Asus ZenFone 2 laser, it offers a bright, vibrant panel, the display has good level of brightness and colours has good accuracy. The viewing angles are good and so is the outdoor visibility. Yes, a 1080p panel would have been great but no regrets either on what we have here as well.
On the software side, of course like the rest of the competition the CoolPad Note 3 too runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop and the company also have their own take on the UI that’s cheekily called Cool UI. Like most of the Chinese Smartphones, the UI chucks the app drawer and places all the apps on the homescreen. There is a traditional style with app drawer buried in the preferences. On a refreshing note, the Cool UI is pretty likeable. It does leave few jarring notes and can be fine-tuned for better aesthetics and can be skimmed of some bloatware.
There are also a host of gesture actions, glove mode and a three finger screenshot action mode. Plus, it supports split windows and you can work on two apps at a time by splitting the screen. There is a Cool Store widget which is plain eyesore, it also allows user to install apps from the store and hence the third-party app installation security is by default turned on and it can be a security hazard for unsuspecting users. I religiously deleted the widget which not only made the screen look better but also saves a bit of battery process in the background.
CoolPad uses by default Xploree, a keyboard I never heard of till date. It is annoying as well as intrusive as it prominently displays a yahoo search branding, it not just occupies some screen space on the keyboard but also uses targeted ads based on what you type. My piece of advice? Disable and shift to Google Keyboard or you can download SwiftKey or other layouts you prefer.
Finger Print Scanner Features
CoolPad has made good use of the finger print scanner. To start with the finger print scanner works charmingly nice in unlocking the phone swiftly. It also supports 360–degree finger rotation which makes it convenient and hassle-free. Further, you can set up to five fingers detection and set each finger to launch different apps directly. There is also an FP lock app that allows you to easily configure finger print lock to apps you prefer to protect. Overall. I am mighty impressed with the finger print technology of the CoolPad and once you start using it, it becomes an indispensable feature you would expect in other phones too. And, there is even an option in call settings wherein you can start recording calls by a press of finger on the scanner. Neat!
It’s amazing to see how a good hardware setup has become very affordable recently on the Smartphones. CoolPad is powered by a 1.3GHz Octa-Core 64-bit MediaTek MT6753 processor with Mali-T720 MP2 GPU. And it adds up a massive 3GB of RAM for this price. This makes CoolPad one of a full-bodied, robust device to get hold on. The performance justifies it too largely. There’s also a healthy 16GB of built-in storage space as well as support for microSD cards of up to 64GB, and USB-OTG support.
The device is very responsive and lag-free and I didn’t come across any major issues or hangover during the time I spend and that was more than one good week. Multi-tasking was not a big complaint too for most parts and it handled many apps on the background whenever I forgot to dismiss them. Overall general performance of the Note 3 was commendable. Even on the gaming, it works well and the rounds of blazing my cars on Asphalt and happy hunting the Zombies on Dead Trigger had no issues. The audio quality was surprisingly clearer and better too.
CoolPad is equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera, which has become a standard of late for a good camera spec sheet on paper. The good news though, is the CoolPad’s camera setup makes for a good shooter while in use too. The bright day light, the pictures came very good. The detailing were good and the color reproduction close to natural. Dynamic range was a bit off track when we have a mix of shadows and bright areas in the image with lesser details in the shadow areas.
A f/2.0 aperture means the camera can absorb more light during low lights. I was pleasantly surprised by the better image it could deliver even in low light, the noise levels were considerably in control compared to other devices in this range. The first image below is taken in normal shot without flash, the second in the dim light mode and third was captured with the flash on. Even the flash was not very harsh. Overall the camera is dependable and you can take some good pictures with it in all weathers.
Another strong point of CoolPad is its battery. The 3000mAh battery could manage a one day on an average usage. I was quiet satisfied with the battery life even with a mix of gaming, apps like Facebook, twitter running on background. It did well for its category.
CoolPad is a total paisa vasool for what it offers. A finger print scanner at this price point is the icing of the cake and it works charmingly well. What could be a concern for many is the service centers. CoolPad has an app, Cool service pre-installed that shows the service centers nearest to you picking your GPS location. There are not many for now but CoolPad says it is seriously making in-roads and addressing the issue.
At Rs 8,999 I would recommend CoolPad for anyone considering a phone under Rs 10,000. It covers all aspect, an all-rounder in all departments and has the finger print as its trump card.