Coolpad Note 5 First Impression – Powerful Innards, Unimaginative Design

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The Coolpad Note 3 was ahead of its times in more than one ways. It was the first smartphone priced under 10,000 that had an efficient fingerprint sensor, and perhaps also the first one with 3gigs of RAM.coolpad-note-5-4

The Coolpad Note 5, that was unveiled today, follows the same success formula, but in a much more evolved market than its predecessor. At the media event held in New Delhi, we got to experience what the new ‘beast’ is all about. Let’s quickly get the specs out of the way first and talk about the first impression it cast on us.

Also Read: Lenovo Z2 Plus First Impression – An Exciting Compact Smartphone

Coolpad Note 5 Specifications:

Model Coolpad Note 5
Display 5.5-Inch, Full HD Display
Processor Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor, Adreno 405
RAM 4GB
Internal Storage 32GB (expandable up to 64GB)
Software Android Marshmallow based CoolUI
Primary Camera 13MP sensor, dual LED Flash, F/2.2 aperture lens
Secondary Camera 8MP Front-Facing Camera with Flash
Batter 4010 mAh, Fast charging
Others 4G VoLTE, Dual SIM, WiFi, Micro USB and fingerprint scanner, OTG
Price 10,999 INR

coolpad-note-5-1The Coolpad Note 5 will be available in Gold and Black (Space Gray) colors. While, the former looks rather pedestrian, the Space Grey variant has a jet black fascia with 2.5D glass layered on top, which is quite gripping and also manages to distinguish it from umpteen other similar phones in this budget.

img_4705Honestly speaking, the gold splashed metal unibody design has been done to death and is something we are overly familiar with at this point in time. Coolpad does add a few subtle changes, though. For instance, a thin, chrome finished plastic lining runs along the side edges and where Antenna bands are conventionally present. These enhancements, however, aren’t enough to break the design monotony.

The 5.5-inch Full HD display on the front felt like most other LCD panels that we come across in this budget and is lined by capacitive navigation keys (we are not sure if they are backlit). The hardware buttons are aptly placed. The speaker is placed on the rear end.

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Once again Coolpad tries to include all popular design labels and check all the marketing boxes, but ends up with a quotidian design. We would have preferred something artistically different, even if it were packaged in a polycarbonate shell.

On the inside, the Coolpad Note 5 has a lot working in its favor.

It’s the only phone offering 4GB RAM for under 11K and is powered by a Snapdragon 617 processor. The SoC has received some bad press because of the heating issues associated with it in the Moto G4 Plus. It must be noted that this in no way means that the same will be repeated here. In fact, the thermal efficiency has been just fine in other Snapdragon 617 handsets like the HTC One A9. Having said that, Snapdragon 652 or 650 would have made for a more competitive choice.

Also Read: Moto E3 Power First Impression – Feels Like An Afterthought

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The software is based on Android Marshmallow with heavy Cool UI skin on top. You don’t get an app drawer, but there are ample customization options available. The dual Apps feature that debuted with Coolpad Max is also present on the Note 5. With Dual Apps, you get to keep two of each app on your phone signed in with a different account. Like always, whether you love it or hate it will be more a matter of personal taste.

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The camera hardware includes a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front selfie shooter. And that’s pretty much all that we have to say about it for now. We will have more to share when we have tested it our own space. The fingerprint sensor below the camera button felt fast and accurate in our initial testing.

Coolpad Note 5 Photo Gallery 

With the Note 5, Coolpad is playing safe and sticking to its strengths. If for a moment we succumb to the specs game, the only thing that stands out is 4GB RAM since other highlights like the beefy 4000mAh battery, metal unibody, 2.5D Glass, Marshmallow, etc. can easily be sourced from various other offerings in this budget. The Coolpad Note 5 isn’t a bad phone by any yardstick and it would certainly be unfair to write it off so soon, but as far as first impressions go, it feels a bit too formulaic for our taste. We would still reserve our final verdict till we have tested it in our own space.

Deepak SinghDeepak Singh

Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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