Coolpad Dazen 1 Review - A well-designed phone which has ingredients of being successful






Coolpad Dazen 1 Review - A well-designed phone which has ingredients of being successful




The market is flooded with smartphones these days with a number of Chinese vendors launching their propositions in India with the simple premise that our country is a burgeoning market. Many brands are making their foray into the country's mobile landscape wishing to make a mark for themselves. However, even though its an expanding and an expansive market, the competition is fierce too, specially in the budget or affordable range. Bigger players like Samsung and the likes have already created a niche for themselves and this makes it all the more difficult for newcomers to join the party. Just a few days back, Coolpad, a Chinese vendor launched their first two offerings in India called Dazen X7 and Dazen 1. Today, we will be reviewing the Dazen 1 which will be available in a flash sale on Snapdeal for a price of Rs. 6,999 (which has now been decreased to Rs. 5,999) beginning June 9. The registrations for this device began on May 28.

You can have a look at the following link for further information:

You can read about news of the launch here:
Coolpad launches two new smartphones Dazen X7 and Dazen 1 in India in partnership with Snapdeal

Before doing the review, let us take a look at the specifications of the device.

Specifications of Coolpad Dazen 1:

SIM Card Support: Dual Mini SIM
Display: 12.7 cm (5") HD, 1280 x 720 pixels, IPS Display, 16 M colors, Capacitive touch
RAM: 2 GB LP DDR3 RAM
ROM: 8 GB
Expandable Memory: 32 GB
Processor: Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Quad core 1.2 GHz
Front Camera: 5 MP FF
Rear Camera: 8 MP AF
Battery: 2500 mAh
OS: Android 4.4
Weight: 155 gms
Dimensions: 141 x 71.5 x  9.3 mm
Video: 720p at 30 fps
Connectivity Options: LTE, GPRS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hot spot, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0

Unboxing

The Dazen 1 comes in a large brown colored top sliding cardboard box. The smartphone is neatly wrapped in plastic cover and peeping a little further, you will find data cable, charger and some documentation. The cost cutting is evident here as there are no bundled earphones which are a must with smartphones. Anyways, the packaging is very tidy and there is no beating about the bush or nothing too flashy.

Coolpad Dazen 1 Review - A well-designed phone which has ingredients of being successful




























Design and Build Quality

If you already know the price of the phone and then pick one in your hand, you will be quite impressed without doubt. Though its a simple device, the design engineering team has done a very good job. The smartphone is built sturdily and there are no loose parts anywhere around the phone. The phone looks similar to Xiaomi offerings but still maintains its identity.

The phone has very thin bezel around the display, and the bezel on the top and bottom is also not too wide. There is a long speaker grille at the top along with the front camera lens. There are three touch sensitive buttons below the screen but sadly the two on each side, the menu button and the back button only light up when either of them is pressed. This can be awkward if you are unable to remember which side is the back button and which side is the other one. They could have provided some sticker which didn't need to be lit up. Looking at the edges, the top edge has the 3.5 mm audio connector port, the left edge has the volume rocker, the bottom has microUSB connector port and the right edge has the Power/Sleep button. The volume rocker and power buttons are made of plastic but offer decent feedback and throw on pressing. We found the volume rocker a tad hard to press.

The back of the device is something that we really like. Its made of some kind of rubbery plastic giving a smooth velvet finish and has just the right amount of friction for the palm of your hand. The device feels very comfortable in the hands. It does not seem to be a fingerprint magnet for the time that we used it for. At the back, there is the microphone hole, the rear camera lens along with the flash, the branding and a small speaker right at the bottom. The back cover is removable through a small groove on the right edge but the overall feel is strong, the back cover does not just peel off the phone rather it is manageably tight. The battery on this phone is removable as well. Both the SIM cards and microSD card can be inserted after removing the back cover. However, there are no markings at all to show the numbering of SIM cards nor any sticker to show how to insert the microSD card which can become quite a pain specially due to their extremely miniature size.

All in all, we are quite pleased with the design and build quality of the device and even more so since this is a budget smartphone, we won't mince our words to say we are spellbound with what Coolpad have been able to do with the designing of the first iteration of this device.

Display

The display on Dazen 1 on first look seems a bit unreal. Either it is the display itself or the color gamut used, there is something weird about the entire scenario. We can easily see that the colors are mellowed down. Its not that easy on the eyes and your eyes would start tiring looking at the phone for a longer period of time. The colors seem to be reminiscent of the basic sketch pens that we used as kids. Looking very closely, you can also make out pixels in a squarish pattern. However, we should also remember that this is a budget phone and considering that, we won't call it a bad display, just a few hiccups and probably the display would get better as time passes by. Screen reflectivity is not an issue if you use the device indoors however sadly, sunlight visibility is almost nil no matter at what angle you try to look at the display from. We won't call it a deal breaker though. But we would definitely want it to improve with further iterations. 

Operating System and Software

Dazen 1 comes with Android 4.4.4 wrapped under Coolpad's CoolUI. Being a Chinese branded phone, the first thing you'll miss is an app drawer and all the apps are arranged under scrollable home screens. One thing we noted here is that the icons used do not have a sense of uniformity amongst themselves, some of them seem too colorful while others feel bland. The notification center design seems to be inspired by the iOS control center with a similar look and similar set of buttons. We would have liked the OS to maintain basic uniformity across the interface design language but in this case we see a lot of varied looking screens and icons as we continue using the device. The phone comes bundled with a variety of apps and tools with one called Clear that can clear RAM with a single click. Clear ends up being a handy little single click tool which otherwise needs a number of clicks to perform on other phones. There is also an FM Radio and Flashlight on offer along with a few social media apps. The home screens are infinitely scrollable and you do not need to come back to the first screen to go in a backward position. We hope that in future updates we would see more uniformity in terms of color and design in the OS as using various fonts, font sizes, colors and other design elements confuses a common user and is harder to absorb. There is an app called Rock Wallpaper here which keeps changing the wallpaper of the smartphone with each click and there are some really cool ones in the storage. Most Google apps are bundled as well.

Coolpad Dazen 1 Review - A well-designed phone which has ingredients of being successful



Camera

The camera app offers a number of modes like Beauty, Nightshot, HDR, PIP etc. There is a Pro setting on offer which can help professional users set white balance, lighting and ISO. Let us take a look at these 3 pictures taken from the rear camera to see how the snapper performs.

Coolpad Dazen 1 Review - A well-designed phone which has ingredients of being successful








Coolpad Dazen 1 Review - A well-designed phone which has ingredients of being successful

Coolpad Dazen 1 Review - A well-designed phone which has ingredients of being successful






















































Looking at the pictures above, its quite evident that Coolpad has invested a lot of engineering into the camera sensor and the accompanying software. Having clicked the pictures myself, I can very well say that the color reproduction is almost identical to what I was seeing through my naked eye. Though there is slight grain in two of the pictures above, we have seen even more noise in exact same lighting conditions on many higher end smartphones as well so there is nothing to worry about. The basic colors, yellow, green and red have been reproduced similar to what the human eye likes. The colors are neither washed out nor oversaturated and they do not impose a sketch pen effect. Pictures clicked with the front camera were pretty fine too. This device is not being promoted as a selfie camera still you can click normal selfies from the phone. There are no wide angle views or other such gimmicky front camera features on offer.

Performance

Even though it uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, this isn't a scorcher of a device. Right from unlocking the screen all the way up to running apps, you would be able to decipher a slight lag or a latency each time. Try opening the dialer app and inputting a number, it would always seem that the phone is trying to catch up with your input rather than being there in the moment. We installed Temple Run 2 to see how the frame rates end up. We wished to see if the device seems slow while playing games as well. Thankfully, the game ran without any frame rate drops or considerable latency. You cannot call Dazen 1 a slow phone per se but it isn't too fast either. The phone does not heat up much after prolonged usage. The speakers are clear and crisp but you'll need to keep the volume at a very high level to be able to enjoy your Youtube videos to the fullest. The call quality is loud and clear.

Battery

Dazen 1 has a 2500 mAh battery and we can see it dwindles quite rapidly while the device is being used. But the standby times are pretty decent. To check for battery time, we charged the battery to 100% and then started using the phone in medium use cases. We used it for downloading and installing a few apps and games, a bit of browsing, some calling and Whatsapp messaging along with playing a few games, watching videos on Youtube and throwing in a decent amount of standby time too. We were able to use the phone for somewhere close to 7 hours with everything thrown in. Heavy users would most definitely need to charge the device twice a day while low to medium users can plug it once before going to sleep every night.

Rating

3.5 stars out of 5

Bottomline and Verdict

We can do nothing but say that we are impressed with the phone. Coolpad seems to have a success story on its hands right at the very first go. Most of the parameters that we judge a smartphone on either lean towards positive points or are average. We are very pleased with the design and rear camera while we do think that the display in future upgrades be made slightly more natural and realistic. Again, performance wise this smartphone is near average specially since at this price, you cannot expect to be getting exceedingly fast throughput. The battery also has scope for improvement but would do good for many low to medium users. All in all, if you are looking into the market at budget offerings and are not averse to buying a product from a brand that has not stamped its authority as yet, you can surely check out Coolpad Dazen 1. It won't make your eyeballs turn but it can be a decent companion in all your smartphone use cases. There is no reason this product won't sell well provided Coolpad promotes and markets it properly.

That's it for our review of Coolpad Dazen 1. Do hit the 'like' button if you liked the review and share the word across. You can also like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/technodivide to keep yourself updated of latest technology news, reviews and tweaks. If you have any suggestions regarding the review or the device, feel free to leave us a comment below. Stay tuned since we have many more such reviews coming up in the near future.


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