Coolpad Note 3 distinctly helped Coolpad become a familiar house hold name in India. The key ingredient was the Fingerprint sensor, which against all odds, worked perfectly even on a budget handset. Coolpad is now sticking to the same tried and tested formula and intends to replicate the same success with the ‘Lite’ variant, which is now the most affordable handset with a handy fingerprint sensor.

Note: If you are looking for specific details like benchmark scores, Inbox accessories, free RAM, sensors present etc, you can also jump to our Coolpad Note 3 Lite FAQ

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Key Specifications and Features:

Model Coolpad Note 3 Lite
Display 5-Inch, IPS Display, 720p Full HD resolution
Processor  1.3 GHz Quad Core MT6735
RAM 3GB
Internal Storage 16GB (10.9GB Free), Expandable
Software Android 5.1 Lollipop
Primary Camera 13MP, dual tone LED flash, 1080p Videos
Secondary Camera 5MP
Battery 2500 mAh
Others 4G Dual SIM LTE
Price Rs. 6,999

Pros

  • Good Camera performance outdoors
  • Fast and accurate fingerprint sensor
  • Decent performance

Cons

  • Poor call quality
  • Unrefined software

Design and Build

The Coolpad Note 3 Lite is a compact 5 Inch display (yup, 5 Inch feels compact now) phone, which doesn’t strikes as ‘Premium’ handset but does have a thoughtful design.

The back cover quality has been improved, if you compare it to the Note 3. Coolpad is using better quality plastic with a subtle fabric like texture that is less vulnerable to dirt and sweat stains. We expected the gold chrome lining on the edges to feel tacky, but that wasn’t the case.

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The back cover gently curves on all sides, which lends it a nice grip and also prevents sound from being muffled when the phone rests on its back. And also, there is a Fingerprint sensor, a bit recessed one, which gives it the much needed X factor, without which you could have written it off as any-other-low-cost-Chinese-phone.

Coolpad Note 3 Lite isn’t a head turner, but design-wise there is nothing that will put you off from buying it.

Coolpad Note 3 Lite Photo Gallery

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The Display

The display on Coolpad Note 3 Light is sharp, bright and with good viewing angles. It isn’t a bad display, but again there is nothing to be glad about either. The display has that characteristic blue tinted whites which we often see on low cost handsets.

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The software has option to tweak color contrast, temperature and saturation and even a couple of experimental features under display accessibility, but none of that works as intended. Besides if you switch to any of the shoddy themes in the UI, it becomes more of an eye-sore. Which brings us to software.

Software

Software experience on Coolpad Note 3 Lite isn’t very refined.  It is rich in features and allows you to tweak many aspects of your phone, but doesn’t feel very intuitive or organized. Time and again we keep running into things we wish were done differently.

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For instance, after taking a screen shot, if you slide anywhere on the display, it will consider your action as editing and tear the shot. There are no fonts to choose from under Font Style option and Themes in the “Coolshow” app are buggy. Iconography appears pixelated in most of them, and with one particular theme the fingerprint sensor stopped working as it should. I had to restore theme settings to get things back to normal (Don’t switch the default theme). We are not very fond of UI design either.

Having said that, the software is definitely not skimping on features. There is multi-window, extensive gesture support (which work quite well), option to add app drawer, a good  music player and even option to turn on flash light by long pressing the power key.

Coolpad Note 3 Lite UI Gallery

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Camera

Besides the fingerprint sensor, the camera performance is another highlight of Coolpad Note 3 Lite. In good lighting, this is one of the best shooter you can get for the price. Details and colors in outdoor shots are pretty good. You can also capture very good macro shots from Coolpad Note 3 Lite.

But indoors and in low lighting, camera performance deteriorates dramatically. Still we managed to capture decent shots with little effort. There is HDR mode and pro mode for both front and rear cameras. Video recording is pretty good too.

Camera Samples

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Performance, Heating and Fingerprint Sensor

The day to day performance of Coolpad Note 3 Lite has been ok so far. It is not very snappy, and apps do take their sweet time loading, but gestures work efficiently and you won’t notice any stuttering. Gaming apps take time loading but eventually high end gameplay was smooth. It gets hot with gaming, like every other phone, but nothing to worry about.

The phone again, at times, slows down when you are swiftly scrolling through a full HD video, but doesn’t hang. RAM management is good too. Loudspeaker loudness is average. Out of the box 10GB of storage is free. You can transfer parts of Apps to SD card as well. Overall, performance is pretty good for the price.

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Fingerprint sensor is fast and works accurately. You can also use it to for recording calls, as shutter button or for locking individual Apps, which is cool if you are conscious about your privacy.

Battery and Call quality

We are easily getting one day backup from the 2500 mAh battery with medium to heavy usage. With the inbox charger or even without it the charging is very slow. It takes painfully long time to replete battery juice. You can switch to fast charging mode from battery settings which isn’t enabled by default but significantly reduces charging time.

Call quality is very poor in our area. I had to remove my primary SIM card from the handset after a couple of days of usage, because my voice was simply not audible at receiver end. We are trying to confirm if this is an isolated issue with our review unit.

Conclusion

A lot about Coolpad Note 3 Lite falls in “decent for the price” bracket. It has a lot to offer for the price, with notable highlights being a fingerprint sensor that works and a camera that performs well in day light, but at the same time it isn’t poised to take on more expensive handsets like Le 1s and Moto G3 selling for around 10K. Under 7K, Redmi 2 Prime should be its arch-rival and maybe an easier recommendation for basic users owing to better software and our bad experience with call quality on Note 3 Lite.

There aren’t any perfect phones in this budget and Coolpad Note 3 Lite isn’t anywhere close to changing that perception either. Buy this if you are strictly restricted by an under 7k budget and don’t want to be missing on convenience that a Fingerprint sensor entails.

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