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Coolpad Cool 5 review: Decent budget smartphone with not-so-good imaging

Business Standard took the Coolpad Cool 5 out for a spin to test how it fares on key parameters. Here are the findings:

Chirinjibi Thapa  |  New Delhi 

Front view of Coolpad Cool 5 smartphone
Front view of Coolpad Cool 5 smartphone

Chinese smartphone maker recently launched the Cool 5 smartphone in India at a price of Rs 7,999. The phone comes in gradient blue and midnight blue colours. Business Standard took the phone out for a spin to test how it fares on key parameters. Here are the findings:

Design and display

With its thin bezel and dewdrop screen, Cool 5 rocks the standard design of budget smartphone nowadays. It has a glossy back with black shade merging into the violet, which looks good but is susceptible to fingerprint marks. You get a plastic case inside the box, in case you opt for it. Apart from that, the phone has a fingerprint scanner and a 13 megapixel (MP)+2 MP dual camera, along with an LED flash slotted on the top left rear.

Upfront is a 6.22-inches HD+ screen with 1520 x 720 pixels resolution and an aspect ratio of 19:9 with good viewing angles. The display is vibrant and bright enough even under broad daylight. On the right you have the volume and power buttons while the SIM slot is on the left. Up top is a 3.5mm headphone jack while on the bottom, you get a micro USB port flanked by speaker grills.

Overall, the build is compact and you can easily use the phone with one hand. It's slightly on the heavier side but not at all uncomfortable.

One minor issue is that the back navigation key is placed on the left-hand side while it is on the right-hand side in most other phones. That slight inconvenience takes a little getting used to.

Coolpad Cool 5 review: Decent budget smartphone with not-so-good imaging

Camera

Coolpad Cool 5's camera is a big disappointment. The primary camera is 13-megapixel, paired with 2-megapixel depth sensor, and the front camera is 16MP sensor, but you can be forgiven for doubting these credentials after looking at the output. In most cases, the images have artificial colouring and come out grainy and pixelated if you zoom in a bit. The 'smart photo' feature seemed to smoothen things out, though not in a good way. In low light, it only gets worse. In terms of modes and options, you get beauty mode, FaceCute, bokeh, time-lapse and portrait.

Performance

The Coolpad Cool 5 is powered by Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22 octa-core processor. Coupled with 4GB RAM, the phone works smoothly without overheating for long hours. I faced no problems while multi-tasking either. You can play light games with ease but heavier games like PUBG can lag at times. On the storage front, you get a 64GB storage that can be expanded to 128GB using microSD card. The phone comes preloaded with Android 9 Pie, which looks neat but has bloatware installed. Thankfully, most of the accompanying apps (bloatware) can easily be removed. As mentioned earlier, the phone has a fingerprint reader on the back which works fine as does the face unlock.

Battery

Like many of its budget peers these days, the Cool 5 has a USB-C port, which is a plus. The 4,000 mAh battery means the on-battery time is good enough for at least a day for all day-to-day usage, with gaming sessions peppered in between. You can prolong the battery life by using the Power Manager. This should be preferable to charging the phone which should take you more than a couple of hours, at least. The battery is thus one of the positives in this phone although the charging time could be cut down considerably.

Verdict

The Coolpad Cool 5 is a good-looking device with more-than-decent battery backup and processor -- even though it can't run heavy games that well. But in any case, not many budget can. Where it really falters is camera quality. Although it'd be unfair to expect top-notch camera from a budget smartphone, Cool 5's competitors, like Redmi 8A and Realme 5, perform much better in this respect. In the age of social media that we live in, this would be a big disadvantage for Coolpad.

First Published: Tue, November 26 2019. 14:00 IST
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