Wednesday, November 4, 2015

REVIEW - Coolpad Note 3

Coolpad is one of the most aggressively priced smartphones in China. They came to India a few months ago and the Note 3 is their latest budget phablet. The Note 3 is unlike the swarm of smartphones being launched by various other brands. For starters, it's the first smartphone in this price range with a fingerprint scanner. Placed on the back panel just under the camera module, the fingerprint scanner works really well -place your finger on it and the device wakes up and unlocks in one smooth action. Within a day of use, we were surprised at how convenient it is to use the scanner on the back. You can add up to 5 fingers for unlocking and even set individual apps to unlock via fingerprint.
The second highlight is that it is amongst the few to offer 3GB RAM in the sub `10,000 price bracket.Combined with the Mediatek octa core processor (4G support), it delivered fantastic performance. We were able to run games like Need for Speed : No limits without any issue, full HD videos played without any frame drops and even switching between running apps was instant.You get a 3,000mAh battery that regularly delivers over a day of backup with mid to heavy use.
While we were not expecting much from the camera, the Coolpad Note 3 surprised us. Autofocus speeds are impressive -it takes a split second to focus and capture the image. Shot-to-shot times are generally very quick too. Moreover, the image quality is one of the best we have seen from phones in this price range. It captures excellent details with low noise and vibrant colour, both outdoor and indoors. Even the front camera manages to deliver bright photos with good detail, making it great for selfies.
The user interface is based on Android 5.1 and is heavily customised. There is no app drawer so all icons and widgets are placed on various home screen panels. A bunch of useful features like gesture control, theme manager and a floating button for function shortcuts are baked in. The let down is the bunch of pre-loaded bloatware apps. We likes the camera app since it has loads of features: you get a pro mode, multiple scene modes and the option of slow motion video.
The 5-inch display is bright and has excellent viewing angles. Even though it has a 1280 x 720 pixels resolution, you won't be able to tell a difference in sharpness till you compare it side-by-side with a full HD display . The build quality also gets full marks because the phone feels well built and easy to hold. The matte finish on the back, slim bezels arpound the display and curved edges give it an elegant look.
Overall, we feel that the Coolpad Note 3 is one of the best phones in the sub `10,000 price segment. It offers top-notch performance, great camera quality and features, 4G connectivity, good user interface and a fantastic battery life. For about the same price, you can also consider the popular Lenovo K3 Note (the 16GB version is `9,999).
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