We have seen Coolpad and LeEco disrupt the Indian smartphone market in a big way with their wide range of affordable, premium smartphones. When both companies merged after LeEco bought a majority stake in Coolpad, there was a lot expected in terms of innovation.
Coolpad Cool 1 is the first smartphone coming out of Coolpad and LeEco's partnership, and we were impressed by the device at first. Everything, from the device's design, price, specs, battery and the camera (of course), made it a solid choice for a sub-Rs. 15,000 smartphone. In our initial review of the device, we praised the Cool 1 for featuring the best of both the companies. And now we dive into the core of the phone to unravel how it actually performs in the real world.
After reviewing the Cool 1 for a considerable amount of time, we have mixed feelings about the phone. It has its own highs and lows, and the lows are mainly because 2017 has already seen some really great devices like XiaomiRedmi Note 4, Lenovo P2 and K6 Power, among others. So did Coolpad Cool 1 Dual lose the battle? Let's just not rush into conclusions here.
Coolpad Cool 1's design is still one of the best looking ones in the market. The handset feels premium and the pill-shaped dual camera gives the edge as compared to similar-looking LeEco smartphones. The best cues, like edge-to-edge glass, capacitive touch buttons, fingerprint sensor on the back and speaker grille at the bottom, have been borrowed from LeEco's signature design.
As we said earlier, LeEco rules this phone in many aspects, just like it owns majority stake in Coolpad. But hey, there's Coolpad branding at the back, so that owes some credit.
Now, let's jump into what really matters – the overall performance of Coolpad Cool 1. So we are going to discuss its performance and usability, battery life, and camera separately.
Many eyes have been on the Cool 1's dual camera, just like ours. Dual lens camera is usually a premium feature, but the two Chinese companies managed to pack it in a sub-Rs. 15,000 smartphone. We tested the camera for its capabilities, and found that the device has some talent.
For the price of Rs. 13,999, Cool 1 Dual packs a well-justified camera, especially during the day. Nightlife photography isn't all that bad, but we lost some detail, which is dismissible considering the price tag. But in our view, the Cool 1 doesn't come close to the likes of premium dual camera smartphones in the market. Not that we expected it to.
Coolpad Cool 1 Dual certainly met our expectations, if not exceeded it. The camera is best suited for portraits and landscape in broad daylight or well-lit areas rather than low-light photography without flash. The dual 13MP camera is paired with dual LED flash, which makes low-light photos pop out in macro or close-up shots.
The camera's capability to manually focus on a desirable subject remains a challenge. But that's not something you can fix by changing the position of the lens.
Following are some samples shot on Coolpad Cool 1 Dual for you to be the judge:
Cool 1 Dual seemed to lag a bit in the performance area. It is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC and 4GB RAM, but games like Pokemon Go experienced unexpected crashes, and extensive multitasking would confuse the system at times.
We weren't entirely happy with the overall performance, but the handset wouldn't cause problems for average users who don't run a PC on a smartphone. There are competitors like Lenovo P2 and XiaomiRedmi Note 4 that have good performance skills. So it remains an area of concern for Coolpad and LeEco.
The companies can overcome this challenge with a software update, which will unlock the full potential of the RAM and processors to better handle multi-tasks and high-intensity games.
Apart from design and camera, Coolpad Cool 1's battery is what will attract buyers. On a busy day, with heavy calls, data browsing in 4G, navigation, capturing photos, social networking, music and messaging, the handset gave us a good 12-hour run and spared 30 percent battery in the end. If you are an average user, expect it to last longer. We were able to last a full day and a half of calls, messages, 4G data on at all times, social media and music.
While the long-lasting battery is one of its strongest suits, Cool 1 Dual isn't quite fast in charging. Be prepared to be patient while charging the device fully as it will easily take close to two hours. After all, it's fueling a 4,000mAh unit inside that metal shell.
Moment of truth. Coolpad Cool 1 Dual has a wide range of features that make it a compelling buy, but XiaomiRedmi Note 4 comes cheaper and has similar features and matches it on several levels. So we are more inclined towards Xiaomi smartphone here.
We wished to see elements of Coolpad here and there, but it is basically a LeEco smartphone with Coolpad name on it. There's no LeEco content ecosystem in it, which is a strong USP for LeEco phones.
If you want reasons to buy this phone, its camera, design, usability and battery life are its best bets. There's no harm in looking around before settling down. 2017 has just begun and it looks promising (Yes, we know, Nokia!).