Coolpad launched its latest budget premium smartphone, Coolpad Note 5, in India last month, joining the ever-increasing competition in the sub-Rs 15,000 price range. Coolpad sold 25,000 units of the Note 5 in a day, marking a great start for a device priced at Rs 10,999.
We received the review unit of Coolpad Note 5 for us to test its pros and cons. After briefly spending time with the Note 5, we have some useful insights that can help shoppers decide whether or not to buy this budget smartphone.
It is worth noting that the Note 5 smartphone competes against the likes of LeEco Le 2, Lenovo K5 Note, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and other similar priced phones. Even though the Coolpad Note 5 has arrived later than most Rs 11,999 smartphones in the market, what makes this phone worth purchasing?
Based on our preliminary review of the device, we have a list of features that make this phone worth its price.
Coolpad has always managed to impress by its design and the Note 5 continues that trend. With a sealed aluminium unibody, Coolpad Note 5 has chamfered edges with rounded corners, which makes it extremely comfortable. The display has a 2.5D curved glass with slim bezels and capacitive touch buttons for home, back and menu options. The rear panel has a matte finish, which is extended to the fingerprint scanner as well, for a non-slippery design. The speaker is placed at the bottom of the rear panel, just above the company's logo and a microUSB slot is at the bottom.
Overall, we would rate Coolpad Note 5's design 4 out of 5, mostly for its ease-of-use, but the company could do better if it chose to get out of its comfort zone.
Coolpad Note 5 features a Full HD 1080p display and it is vibrant and the colours are true-to-life. At maximum brightness levels, the Note 5 has one of the best viewing angles and visibility even under direct sunlight.
We haven't had the chance to explore the Note 5's camera in depth, but its brief preview gives us the impression of a good camera configuration. The rear camera has a 13MP lens with f/2.2 aperture, CMOS sensor, 5P Lens and dual LED flash and the selfies are taken care by an 8MP snapper with 5P Lens and f/2.2 aperture. There is a front-facing LED flash, which is a useful addition to take better selfies even in low light.
For a smartphone of this price range, a biometric sensor is a mandatory addition. Coolpad Note 5 features a fingerprint scanner at the back, which is responsive, accurate and fast. The placement of the sensor at the back warrants easy reach, but it cannot outperform the home button integration as found in some phones.
4G LTE with VoLTE
Reliance Jio has popularised the idea of 4G and VoLTE and we are currently using the Coolpad Note 5 with a Jio SIM, which makes it an ideal combination. The high-speed internet along with free HD calls over Jio's network make Coolpad Note 5 a future-ready smartphone.
But Coolpad Note 5 is not completely devoid of flaws. We noted some improvements in the smartphone that are much-needed to improve overall user experience.
Coolpad Note 5 features a default Xploree Keyboard, which in our personal view is not as user-friendly as the default Google or a third-party keyboard like SwiftKey. But this is not a major setback as users can always install their favourite keyboard app from Play Store or simply disable Xploree for easy use.
Coolpad Note 5 runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based Cool UI 8.0. If you are switching from a Samsung or a Nexus smartphone, you might find the Cool UI hard to use. But there are several built-in themes to suit you the best. If you do not prefer the default UI, choose from the pre-loaded themes in the theme store or download new ones for a better experience.
Pre-loaded software is often mistaken for bloatware. Some users might find the pre-loaded software in the Coolpad Note 5 useless. Apps like Zuimei Weather, Cool Manager, Xploree Keyboard, UC Browser, Clean app, Amazon Shopping and Themes. Users can make use of these apps for their own benefit or disable them under settings.