By: Nirupam Manik, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi
Last updated : Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 14:00
The device is priced at Rs 6,999 and is sold via Amazon India. Can it build on to the name created by the Mega 2.5D or it's just another Coolpad device? Read through to find out.
Triple SIM functionality
Satisfactory Battery Life
Decent Front Camera
Doesn't give seamless performance
User Interface is not smooth
Primary Camera is below par
Coolpad launched a couple of smartphones last month in December 2016, one of which was the Coolpad Mega 3. While the Mega 2.5D was considered to be one of the best smartphones from the company, the Mega 3 is Coolpad's attempt to build upon that name. The device is priced at Rs 6,999 and is sold via Amazon India. While considering the specifications, the Coolpad Mega 3 looks decent for the price, however, the decision is rarely just settled at the price in today's time. In a category which is single handly ruled by Xiaomi's Redmi 3S, Coolpad's Mega 3 is up for a rather hefty task. Nevertheless, I have used the device as my daily driver and here are my thoughts on the Coolpad's Mega 3.
As per the drill and looking at the design aspect first, Coolpad brings some not so old memories of the polycarbonate design which was once respected in all kinds of smartphones. The back of the device is made out of plastic and is complemented by a metal ring around the edges which somewhat makes up for the plastic built. However, unlike all other unibody metal build smartphones, Coolpad Mega 3 provides some solid grip at the back, thanks to the textured back. The bezels on this device are not the thinnest and it surely is not the most attractive looking device at the front. For the physical overview, at the back, we have the primary camera with LED flash and microphone at the back along with the speaker grill and some Coolpad branding. Sadly, there is no fingerprint scanner on this one. The power button sits on the right and is comfortable to reach while the volume rockers sit on the left. The top of the device just sports a 3.5mm headphone jack while the bottom of the device contains a microUSB port and the primary microphone. Removing the back cover greets us with the battery compartment which is not removable, however, we get an option to fit in 3 SIM cards in this device along with a dedicated microSD card slot. Coming to the front, we get the front-facing camera, the earpiece and some sensors just above the screen while we have three touch-capacitive buttons at the bottom which are not backlit. Overall the look and feel of the Mega 3 fares out decent for the price, however, the phone doesn't feel much premium in hands Further, some pretty thick bezels coupled with equally wide chins at the top and bottom makes the Coolpad Mega 3 a pretty large piece of hardware for a 5.5-inch screen sized device. It measures at 152 x 77 x 8.2 mm and weighs around 170 grams.
The display on the Mega 3 is a 5.5-inch 720 x 1080 pixels IPS LCD display offering a pixel density of 267 ppi. As for the quality, the display is good for the price and will satisfy most of the users. The device does come with auto-brightness which, in our opinion, behaved strangely on some occasions. Nevertheless, the display does get bright enough and is visible under the direct sunlight. Coolpad claims that it comes with a scratch resistant glass and based on our testing it appears to be true as we didn't notice any scratches on the screen. For Rs 6,999 it's the best resolution you get right now but we can't say the same for the pixel density.
For the price of Rs 6,999, we get a Quad-Core 1.2 GHz Mediatek MT6737 processor with Mali-T860 GPU coupled with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. The device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Cool UI on top. The storage, as mentioned before, is expandable via micro SD card. Coming to the performance, the day-to-day usage on this device is not the best. We did experience minor hiccups here and there but most of the routine tasks such as web surfing, chatting, YouTube were decent on the Mega 3. However, things get a little laggier when we throw some heavy tasks at the device especially while multi-tasking. Despite it having 2GB of RAM, most of the time we would only get about 1GB of it at max. Further, out of the 16GB, we get about 10.29 GB which shows how heavy is Coolpad's Cool UI skin layered on the top of Android 6.0. For the gaming, the device managed to run the light games such as Subway Surfers, Temple Run without any issue. Even Dead Trigger 2 ran smoothly most of the time apart from some minute frame drops here and there. However, where the problem actually comes in is when heavy games like Asphalt 8 or Modern 5 Combat is thrown at the Mega 3. The device not only struggles to run the game smoothly but also failed to retain it in memory after few apps have been opened up later on. The good part, though, is that we never noticed any overheating while gaming on the device. Moreover, as it comes with 16GB internal storage we would highly recommend you buy a microSD card to hold on your photos, music etc which would then make some space for you to install your favourite apps on the device. Coming back to the performance, the Coolpad Mega 3 is surely not a breezy experience through some daily heavy tasks while on the other hand, in terms of light day-to-day usage, the device work's just fine.
CoolUI is not lightest of the Android skins and is probably the nearest you can get to iOS on an Android smartphone. The UI takes most of its inspiration from Apple's iOS like the control centre at the bottom and only notifications at the top. I am not a fan of an iOS-like interface but CoolUI is neither for an Apple fan boy. The UI feels fine if you are not harsh on your device or for those who are a pretty light user, however, once you start pushing up more apps, it does tend to lag sometimes. Further, we do get some non-removable bloatware on top of Coolpad's own bunch of apps. Overall, CoolUI is surely not for everyone but it doesn't take much time to get used to. Also, though not much laggy, it is also not that smooth in most of the cases. Interestingly, the UI also crashed a couple of times after we launched some of the heavy players in games on the device. For the customization, you get an option to choose from various themes available through built-in Themes app and one can also dig into system setting for more customizations. Adding on to the iOS-like experience, we also get a quick floating control button. Apart from this, there is an option to schedule power off and on, wake up gestures etc. To sum up, the UI on the Mega 3 doesn't offer anything new but it will do the job for most of the light users, however, we do have few other options in this price range which provide a better UI experience.
A budget smartphone doesn't usually fit in an impressive camera performance and Coolpad's Mega 3 strictly follows the tradition. The device comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture, LED flash etc. while the megapixel game is the same on the front as well with an 8-megapixel selfie camera. Regarding the performance, the camera on the Mega 3 is average at best. The camera UI comes with a dedicated Night Mode and Manual mode but is slow to take photos in our opinion. Moreover, we also tried the built-in GIF mode but the results were not impressive as the GIF which came out was extremely laggy and unclear. Coming to the normal mode, the primary 8-megapixel sensor often struggles to focus on far-off objects. If everything is done right, the pictures do come out to be decent but that is very rare. Colours are good but all the photos we took lacked detail and sharpness. Even using 'Touch to Focus' doesn't help. Moving on to the low-light photography, the performance continues to deteriorate making the low-light photos pretty blurry at times. There is a lot of noise in the pictures and the camera fails to dig out some fine detail in almost every picture taken under the low or dim light. The front-camera surprisingly performance much better than the one sitting at the back. Boasting the same resolution as the rear camera, the front 8-megapixel shooter manages to click some decent selfies both in natural as well as artificial lighting conditions. However, just as it was the case with the back camera, the front camera struggles significantly when it comes to clicking selfies in low-light conditions. To sum up Mega 3's camera performance, it's a below average performer even when we consider its price.
Battery, Connectivity and Audio
Powering up the Mega 3 is a mega 3050 mAh battery and the battery life on this device is decent. With normal to mediocre usage, I easily managed to get through the day with the average SOT (Screen On Time) of 4.5 hours to 5 hours. If that doesn't feel promising, the device also comes with a built-in power saving mode which would at least give a couple of hours on the same charge cycle. Sadly, the company misses out on the removable battery even though the back cover is removable.
For the connectivity, the Mega 3 comes with 4G with VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS, microUSB and Triple SIM (Nano-SIM) functionality. If you are one of those who is up and above the Dual SIM game, this device might solve your problem. Also, the call quality on the device was good. We didn't face any network or call drops and the input through the given primary microphone was also pretty good. However, the device does struggle in the audio department.
A back-firing speaker coupled with a below average output makes the audio performance of the device forgettable. Though coming in at Rs 6,999, we do feel that a front-firing speaker would any day beat a side-facing or bottom firing audio output.
Now for the final statement, if you would ask us, we would not recommend the Mega 3 even for the price of Rs 6,999. The smartphone though comes with decent battery life, but it lacks in terms of UI, Camera and the built quality. The only advantage one can be sure of is the Triple SIM functionality. The display is fine as well but when it comes to day-to-day usage, we have better alternatives. If you want to stick to the company, the Mega 2.5D is a decent performer or one can any day pick up the famous Xiaomi Redmi 3S. You can also wait for our review for the recently launched Xolo Era 2X which claims to be the cheapest smartphone sporting a fingerprint sensor.