Coolpad Dazen X7 Review - Too pricey for the features and quality it offers






Coolpad Dazen X7 Review - Too pricey for the features and quality it offers
Chinese vendor Coolpad launched a couple of smartphones end of May in India, the Dazen X7 and Dazen 1 willing to grasp a chunk of the market share. Dazen 1 is a budget offering whereas Dazen X7 is a mid range device available for Rs. 17,999. The availability of this smartphone is not very clear as yet while Dazen 1 has already seen 1 lakh registrations for sale since the process began. Today we are doing a review of Dazen X7.

You can catch our review of Coolpad Dazen 1 here:
Techno Divide - Coolpad Dazen 1 Review

If you wish to buy Dazen 1, you can have a look at the following link for further information:

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

Before starting the review of Dazen X7, let us take a look at the specifications of the smartphone.

Specifications of Coolpad Dazen X7:

SIM Card Support: Dual SIM, One Micro SIM, One Nano SIM microSD card Hybrid
Display: 5.2 inches, Super AMOLED, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit, Capacitive Tuchscreen
RAM: 2 GB, 933 Mhz
ROM: 16 GB
SD Card Support: microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC upto 32 GB
Processor: 1.7 GHz Octa-core Mediatek MTK6595
Rear Camera: 13 Megapixels
Front Camera: 8 Megapixels
Battery: 2700 mAh
Removable Battery: No
OS: Android 4.4
Weight: 141 gms
Dimensions: 146 x 74 x  6.5 mm
Connectivity Options: LTE, GPRS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Hot spot, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB 2.0, 3.5 mm Audio connector

Unboxing

The Dazen X7 is delivered in a square white colored top sliding cardboard box with 'dazen X7' imprinted on top of it. The smartphone is neatly sheltered in a plastic cover. Looking further into the box, you will find data cable and charger but to our utter surprise, the unit that came for review, even though it was sealed, did not have any documentation or warranty card. Sadly, there are no bundled earphones either. There is a small pin available reminiscent of iPhones and iPads to open the SIM card slots. But we were quite displeased not to find earphones in the box.

Coolpad Dazen X7 Review - Too pricey for the features and quality it offers



















Design and Build Quality

The design of Dazen X7 seems to have been inspired by iPhone design. Though a few similarities are visible, you still cannot call it a complete rip off. The edges are more squarish on this phone. This device has glass on both sides and has been engineered quite strongly. As we found in their other phone as well, the lines, the edges, the build quality of even this phone is supreme and exudes an aura of premium quality. 

The phone has an extremely thin bezel around the display, and the bezel on the top and bottom is also not too wide at about half an inch. There is a long speaker grille at the top along with the front camera lens. and an indicator light. There are no touch sensitive buttons below the screen and the phone utilises on screen controls. The controls can be made to float down when you are using apps and you need to swipe up once to bring them back. This gives the user the entire screen estate to use his/her apps for. Looking at the edges, the top edge has the 3.5 mm audio connector port and a microphone hole, the left edge has the volume rocker, the bottom has microUSB connector port along with stereo speakers and the right edge has the Power/Sleep button as well as the SIM card slots, which come out by inserting a small pin in the provided holes. The volume rocker and power buttons are made of metal but are too recessed into the chassis. Many a times, you won't be able to make out whether you have clicked any of these buttons or not since they have almost negligible play.

Like their other phone, we are quite impressed with the back panel which is made of glass this time around. The back is not a fingerprint magnet and no amount of usage would end up smudging it. At the back, there is the rear camera lens along with the dual LED flash along with the Coolpad label. The back cover is not removable, hence it has a fixed battery.  However, there are no markings or stickers to show the numbering of SIM cards or how to insert them and you would have to use your brains or hit and trial methods to get the process right before you can get the device up and running in the first place.

Due to Coolpad's use of squarish edges, this smartphone is not very comfortable to hold for long periods. It starts feeling like you are holding a brick after a little while. We hope they had rounded off the entire hardware design elements including the edges and corners. 

The only thing that undoes the design is the squarish edges which makes the device difficult to be kept in grasp particularly for longer periods. You would need some sort of covers that would cushion the impact of hard and straight lines that run across the entire device. Moreover, the use of glass both ends makes a user feel psychologically that the device would break into pieces with a single fall. We could not try that and so cannot comment on the same.

Display

The display on Dazen X7 is bright and vivid however the use of colors by Coolpad's interface CoolUI tends to provide some weirdness to the whole experience of looking at the display. The color gamut used by CoolUI is not very pleasing to the eyes and seems very basic. Super Amoled displays perform much better than this but we would call the user interface the culprit here and not the quality of the hardware. Just like Dazen 1, the colors seem to look like the basic sketch pens that we used when we were young. There is no pixellation on the screen though. Screen reflection is not causing us any problems when we are using the device inside. However, sunlight visibility of this phone is absolutely zero. There is no way you can use this phone when you are outdoors under deep sunlight. We expect more from a Super Amoled screen and this is an average display in terms of color and visibility.

Operating System and Software

Dazen X7 comes with Android 4.4.2 wrapped under Coolpad's CoolUI. Being a Chinese branded phone, the first and foremost thing you'll miss is an app drawer. All the apps are arranged under infinitely scrollable home screens. As we mentioned in the other review, the icons used in CoolUI do not have a sense of uniformity amongst themselves, some of them seem too colorful while others feel bland. The notification center seems to be inspired by the design language of iOS control center with similar colors, patterns and an overall similar feel. We would have been more pleased had the OS maintained certain amount of basic uniformity across the interface design but in this case we see a lot of different looking screens and varied icons as we continue surfing the device's contents. 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. However, we found that the message about freeing memory that appears when Clear app is clicked has not been formatted properly. That's a very untidy thing for a phone that is going to cost you big money. There is also an FM Radio, Compass and Flashlight available along with a few social media apps as well as Whatsapp which are all pre-installed. 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 would suggest that in future updates we get to see more uniformity in terms of color and design in the OS as using a wide variety of fonts, font sizes, colors and other design elements confuses a common user and can be quite cumbersome to the eyes. There is an app called Rock Wallpaper on the home screen here which keeps rotating the wallpaper of the smartphone with each click, some of which are basic whilst others are more like photographs. Most Google apps are pre-installed as well.

Coolpad Dazen X7 Review - Too pricey for the features and quality it offers

Camera

The camera app offers a number of modes like Beauty, Nightshot, HDR, GIF, Refocus, PIP etc. There is also a Pro setting on offer which lets you tweak settings like white balance, lighting and ISO. These settings can be used for professional quality photographs. Let us take a look at the following 2 pictures taken from the rear camera to see how the it performs.

Coolpad Dazen X7 Review - Too pricey for the features and quality it offers











Coolpad Dazen X7 Review - Too pricey for the features and quality it offers

As can be seen from the above 2 images, the Dazen X7's rear camera has been able to reproduce colors and clarity as can be seen with the naked eye. What we are really impressed with is the fact that the software does not post process the pictures in excess and leaves them as realistic as they can be. Even though the first image was taken in a low light condition, all the colors have maintained their identity, specially yellow, purple and blue. Whereas in the second image, all the detailing of the grass, plants and trees is quite vivid. We have seen a lot of smartphone cameras that impart either a reddish or greenish tinge to pictures while post processing making them seem more cartoonish and painting-like while Coolpad Dazen X7 camera produces images that are far more closer to what we see with our eyes. The front camera of this phone is an 8 Megapixel sensor yet it does not take extraordinary images. This phone has not been advertised as a selfie camera and no special selfie features have been mentioned anywhere. The video quality of the rear camera is pretty average as well.

Performance

This is a very fast device in most of the tasks that are thrown at it. Apps open up very smoothly. You can scroll through screens without feeling any delay. While inputting numbers or texting, you can go as fast as possible, the device won't show any latency. We installed Temple Run 2 to check how it performs. Very strangely, the game showed a few stutters early on but once the game started, there were no frame rate drops nor did the device heat up. The phone did not heat up even when used continuously for a long time. The provided stereo speakers are loud and clear. You won't need to bump up the volume too much to be able to listen. However, we noticed that the entire device vibrates when something normally loud is being played, these vibrations then run through your hands and make the experience a bit uncomfortable. Call quality on this smartphone is normal.

Battery

Dazen X7 has a 2700 mAh battery. Though the standby times are pretty good, the device seems to lose a lot of juice rapidly while in use. To check for battery time, we charged the battery to 100% and then started using the phone in a medium use pattern. We used it for a bit of browsing, downloading and installing a number of apps and games, some calling and Whatsapp messaging along with playing a few games, watching videos on Youtube and throwing in some standby time too. With this pattern of usage, the battery lasted for 8 hours. This is not a stellar battery but its not too poor either. If you are a heavy user, you would mostly need to charge it twice daily while low to medium users can go through the whole day with a single charge. 

Rating

3 stars out of 5

Bottomline and Verdict

Although this is a fast phone with a good camera and a decent battery, we feel that the brick design and a lacklustre UI would undo the pros. The device feels like a blade in one's hands and can start hurting with prolonged usage. Other than that, we also found that we were accidentally switching the phone on while it was in our hands. We also wish that there was a wider color gamut used in CoolUI along with providing a sense of uniformity. Dazen X7 is priced in the same range as Xiaomi Mi4, HTC Desire 820, Gionee Elife E7, OnePlus One 16 GB and a host of other branded and local phones. The competition at this price zone is pretty fierce and we believe CoolUI OS is something that would need some refinement before Dazen X7 can become a hit in the market.


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