One Week with the Coolpad Note 5: The Beast in Your Budget

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Coolpad recently introduced its new budget phone in India, the Coolpad Note 5. They are calling it ‘The Beast’, owing to its huge battery and high-end specifications.

We were given the phone by the company to test, and we got to spend around a week with it. A week may not be enough time to completely analyze and review a phone, but here’s how it fared in this one week of our usage. This should give you an idea about what to expect, when the phone goes on sale on Amazon on October 20.

Design and Hardware: Premium is the Word

In the past two years, the budget smartphone segment has shown a lot of promise with some great-looking phones being launched at an affordable price, and Coolpad Note 5 follows the suit. This is the company’s first phone with an unibody metal finish. The curved edges and 2.5D Gorilla glass give it a premium look. Although with a bigger battery and metal finish, it’s not that heavy and weighs only 173 grams.

Coolpad Note 5 is the first unibody metal finish phone from the company.

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Talking about the placement at the back, nothing much has changed and you will find the camera, flash, fingerprint sensor and speaker grills. At the front, however, they have introduced a selfie flash. So, selfie buffs can now shoot in low light as well.

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Ergonomically, the phone is convenient to handle, and it’s easier to operate the volume rockers and power button with just one hand. You also get hardware navigation keys, however they are not backlit. Though it might not be a big issue for some, we have always preferred hardware keys that are backlit.

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The phone is powered by Qualcomm MSM8952 Snapdragon 617 clocked at 1.5 GHz with 4 GB of RAM. Pretty good specs at this price point.

Gaming and Storage: Good for Casual Gaming

The phone has the specs to boast when it comes to general, everyday use. But when it comes to heavy multi-tasking and gaming, this is not the right device.

You can play casual games but heavy games will cause the phone to heat up. So, not ideal for games that are graphics-heavy or playing games for long time.

On the storage end, you get 32 GBs of internal storage out of which only 25 GBs is left for use after the first boot. For extra storage, you can trade the second SIM slot for a micro SD card. The phone also supports USB OTG for pen drives and other peripheral devices.

Display: Those Curves

You get a 5.5” full HD display with 2.5D curved glass at a 401 PPI. Compared to the previous Coolpad devices, this one has the sharpest display of all. Viewing angles are great and indoor visibility is amazing but under sunlight, the screen was very reflective, even on the highest brightness level.

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The phone has a gorilla glass protection and comes with an additional screen protector in the box which you can apply for maximum protection. Though you can also add a tempered protection, getting one on a 2.5D glass will only ruin its looks.

Camera: Good in Ample Lighting

With a 13 MP f/2.2 rear camera and 8 MP f/2.2 front-facing the shooter, the phone can shoot good photos in ample lighting, though, we have seen better sharpness in other devices in the same price segment. The shutter speed has improved and you can take quick shots one after the other.

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Low light is tricky though and don’t expect the camera to perform as well in low light as it does in daylight.

While the camera comes with a lot of features and shooting modes, we would urge Coolpad to fix the software processing of photos in the next OTA and also remove some of the bugs which we will talk about in the next section.

The selfie-flash feature deserves another mention here. Not many phones come with this feature and considering the current obsession of the world with selfies, it is only apt that this feature should encourage more people to opt for this device, especially the college-going age group.

Software: Really Cool-UI

Coolpad Note 5 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based Cool UI 8.0 operating system and it has evolved a lot over the years. We have always loved the nifty, useful features that Cool UI brings to the overall Android experience. For instance, the option to assign quick launch shortcuts to fingerprint sensor depending on which finger is used to unlock the phone is pretty helpful at times. One can also double tap on the sensor to sleep the device.

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You also get the option to clone apps to run two instances on the same device, just like the clone feature you get on MIUI. But that’s restricted to just a few supported apps at the moment.

Cool UI comes with a lot of feature enhancements which are pretty useful

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Apart from other cool enhancements, there are some bugs that caught our eye. For instance, the gallery view which cropped half of the photos with a black filter (don’t know how else to put that in words). Then there is the confused control center that kept popping up every time you swipe  up on the screen, mostly while playing games.

Great Battery, Alright Performance

The battery is one thing you can’t go wrong about while buying the Coolpad Note 5. With a 4100 mAh battery, it can give you more than 24 hours of backup on a single SIM. Not only that, even on Dual SIM with VoLTE, we got an entire day with data and Wi-Fi enabled.

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As far as the overall performance is concerned, it was alright, except for lags on a few occasions and sudden heating issues when it’s in your pocket doing nothing. VoLTE support was good and we faced no issues on the Jio network.

Conclusion: For the Price, It Won’t Disappoint

At a price of 10,999 you are getting a phone with 4 GB of RAM, 4100 mAh battery, 32 GB of internal storage, octacore processor, VoLTE support with a few occasional performance hiccups. So, to conclude, we can say that for an average consumer who is looking for a budget phone with good battery life and VoLTE support, this one should do the trick. The sale of the device starts on October 20, register on Amazon to buy as soon as its out.