Coolpad has finally launched its first smartphone, Cool 1, after LeEco acquired a controlling stake in the company. The smartphone was initially launched in China and was the first phone from LeEco and Coolpad camp to sport a dual-camera setup. It is priced at 13,999. Does this device have enough muscle power to make a mark in India market let’s try to find out?
Both Coolpad and LeEco are known for making some elegant looking smartphones and this is reflected in this offering as well. The device does give a very sturdy and premium look when you gaze at it. You might be mesmerised easily by its looks but when you inspect it closely, there will be a sudden sense of dÃ©jÃ vu pinching your mind. Why? Because we have already seen something very identical in the LeEco Le 2. In fact, if you minus the dual camera setup and antenna bands, then it almost looks like a Le 2. You find the similar edge-to-edge display illusion on the front surrounded by a silver ring on the edges, same flat design with a gentle curve around the edges at the rear and same mirror-finished fingerprint sensor. The only part it is Coolpad is the logo which is slapped at the base of the rear panel with ‘LeEco inside’ tagline written right beneath it (how ironic!).
On the front, you will find a front-facing camera coupled with the proximity sensor on the top while at the base there are three backlit capacitive keys. On the right, there is volume rocker and power button, while on the left you will notice a dual-SIM slot. The back of the device consists of a dual rear camera coupled with a LED flash and yes, a mirror-finished fingerprint sensor which sits right beneath the camera module. On the top, there is a 3.5mm jack and an infrared blaster, while at the base there is a USB Type-C port flanked by speaker grilles on either side. That said, the device is surely good-looking, but frankly, there is no value add in terms of design as compared to all the devices launched by Coolpad or LeEco earlier.
Coming to the display part, the device comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. Both the companies has a good track record of making good displays and same is the case with this one too. The display offers some punchy colours coupled with some good deep blacks and offers some good viewing angles. It is safe to say that the display has much better colour output than its competition and watching movies or streaming on YouTube is an absolutely delightful experience. The display has just enough brightness for outdoor activities and the adaptive brightness does its job quite well, although the screen is a bit reflective in nature.
Just like the LeEco Le 2, the Cool 1 is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor along with Adreno 510. The phone is backed by a 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The device comes packed with powerful 4060 mAh non-removable battery with fast charging. On the connectivity front, the phone supports offers 4G with VoLTE, WiFi (802.11 ac/a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, and USB Type-C port.
That said, the device performance is quite impressive. The device is able to tackle all the tasks throw at it like multi-tasking, or switching between apps. On the gaming front, the phone is able to handle most of it, be it casual games like Temple Run 2 or high-graphics games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, with no sign of lagging. So if you are the one who loves to multi-task and plays games occasionally then this device will not disappoint you.
Coming to the battery, the device is juiced up by a 4,060mAh battery with fast charging technology. The phone scores some good marks in the battery department as well. Under normal usage which includes calling, browsing, social media, checking emails and syncing accounts with Facebook and Google, I got an average 1.5 to 2 days battery backup. While under power use, the battery lasted a full day, which is quite satisfactory as well.
Other than this, the fingerprint sensor is fast enough to unlock the device. Call connectivity was good and the earpiece is loud enough to make the voice audible even in some busy roads. But speaker output is above average, as it offers loud sound but distorts at higher volumes.
The major highlight of the device is the dual camera set up on the back. The smartphone sports two 13-megapixel rear cameras, with one, captures monochrome images, while the other take colour photos, with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, 4K recording, 720p slo-mo and dual-tone LED flash. For the front, the device sports an 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture and an 80-degree wide-angle lens.
To start with, the device falls flat to make a lasting impression in the camera department. The photos came out to be decent, but lacked detailing, which is quite disappointing as many of its competitors like Lenovo, Nubia are offering better camera with a single camera module at similar price point. The device took some good shots in monochrome, though it was a tad difficult to locate the option and after many attempts, I noticed that a pop-up option was there in the camera app through which you will be able to select the monochrome mode. I think that the company could have placed the button at a prominent place, which would make it easier to select the mode. In HDR mode, I noticed that the camera is oversaturating colours. You can check the camera sample here.
There is also a mode through which you can create a bokeh effect and to some extend the camera did a fair job, as the subject was highlighted and background around it was blurred. But if you inspect closely, then you will find even the subject is prone to blurriness at some areas. You can also change the aperture electronically by tapping on the button present at the lower part of the photo. In low-lighting situations, the device falls flat, as it was prone to lots of noises and graininess. The front-facing camera also did above average job as it took some good photos in ambient light but noises were prominent in the low lights.
The smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system with LeEco’s EUI 5.8 running on top of it. I have used the many different shades of Android and LeEco’s EUI 5.8 is smooth enough to use. The recent menu which leads towards Apple’s control centre-like setup, has all the shortcuts, quick settings, music controller, brightness control and widgets of other apps like remote controller, flashlight etc. The lower part is where one see all the recently closed apps. For starters, the whole setup might be confusing for some but as you get used to it, things will eventually settle down.
But what came as a disappointment was the fact that in spite of carrying a LeEco branding, the phone skips the integral part LeEco software – its content and services. Whether be it deeply integrated LeView or ‘Live’ widgets we have seen in the LeEco phones, none was present in this device.
There is no app drawer, meaning that you need to scroll sideways in order to open an app. Long pressing the display, will open the shortcut menu for widgets, themes, wallpapers and sort icons and one can customise according to his/her preference. And yes, whenever you swipe up to unlock, the passcode shifts depending on which side you are swiping. So for example, if you swipe from the right, then the passcode enter option will appear on the right and vice versa. Overall, the user interface might look similar to Apple’s operating system, but it is certainly smooth.