Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review - Has all ingredients of disrupting the budget smartphone market in India






Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review - Has all ingredients of disrupting the budget smartphone market in India

After the spectacular success of its first smartphone, Coolpad Note 3, Coolpad launched the Lite version of the phone called Note 3 Lite on 15th January 2016. Note 3 had been a resounding success being a bestseller smartphone on Amazon for a long period so the company decided to give another shot in the arm launching the Lite version. You can check out the news of the launch here:

Before starting the review, let us remind you that the phone has been launched at an astounding price of Rs. 6999 on Amazon.in making Coolpad Note 3 Lite the most inexpensive smartphone carrying a fingerprint sensor. Moreover, the smartphone comes with a mighty 3GB RAM which means that the company has now bridged the gap between budget smartphones and mid rangers completely. In our review of Note 3, we said that the launch of Note 3 was a bit of a worry for other mobile brands, and today we reiterate the same fact again that the aggressive pricing done by Coolpad for the new Lite version of Note 3 even though it carries high end specifications can mean a lot of backlog and inventory pileup for other companies. The story for Coolpad remains impressive since their inception in India. Today we are going to review Coolpad Note 3 Lite and see if the phone is as good as its higher end sibling.

Before jumping into the review, let us take a look at the specifications of the phone.

Specifications of Coolpad Note 3 Lite:

SIM Card Support: Dual micro SIM
Display: 5 inch HD IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16 M colors, 720 x 1280 pixels
RAM: 3 GB
ROM: 16 GB
Expandable Memory: 64 GB
Processor: 1.3 GHz MediaTek MT6735 64 Bit Quad-core
Front Camera: 5 MP
Rear Camera: 13 MP, LED Flash
Battery: Li-polymer 2500 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop layered with Coolpad UI 6.0
Connectivity Options: 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0
FM Radio: No
Fingerprint sensor: Yes

Unboxing

Coolpad Note 3 Lite comes in a small, rectangular, white colored, top opening cardboard box. On opening the lid of the box, you will find the smartphone covered in plastic cover. On looking deeper, you will find white colored data cable, charger, in-ear earphones and a warranty card. We could not find any other basic documentation in our review unit box. A screen guard is also bundled which you would need to apply yourself after peeling off a plastic sheet over the display. The packaging looks somewhat similar to iPhone boxes which might be more than just a mere coincidence.

Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review - Has all ingredients of disrupting the budget smartphone market in India





























Design and Build Quality

Coolpad Note 3 Lite's design language flows from its higher end version. This is a very well designed phone especially for the price that you pay for it. You should keep the price in mind all along as the actual value of the product can be inferred from its price. You cannot expect a budget offering to give you everything but somehow we already have a feeling that this smartphone comes very close to being perfect, a long way still to go though. The device has been sized very well. Though this can be a subjective issue depending upon the size of one's hands, still we feel this device can easily be used single handedly and looks elegant being operated with one hand. The bezel on both sides is negligible and a gold plated lining running all across the device adds to its appearance. Very frankly though, we would have loved it for Coolpad to offer a phone with a silver-plated lining as well, that would have simply looked gorgeous.  

The front of the device seems as if it has an end to end display though if you'll look from a lesser distance, you will be able to make out a rather thin black bezel on all sides of the screen. At the top and bottom of the screen is almost half an inch of white bezel. The top bezel houses an LED light, a proximity sensor, a small speaker grille and the front camera lens while the bottom bezel sports three touch capacitive buttons for recents, home and back. The buttons are clearly marked in silver and you do not need to light up the screen or touch a button to see which side is the back button and which side is the recents button. This is a feature that even many high end smartphones miss out on. They would light up the touch capacitive buttons for a few seconds and after that you are on your mercy to know which button lies on which side as the lighting is switched off automatically and the buttons aren't even marked. Note 3 and Note 3 Lite, both of these Coolpad smartphones pull off this aspect brilliantly.

Taking a look at the edges, the top edge has the 3.5 mm audio connector port, the left edge has the volume rocker, the bottom has a microphone and microUSB connector port and the right edge has the Power/Sleep button. The volume rocker and power buttons are made of plastic but the feedback from the buttons seems rubbery and the travel of the buttons does not give back a proper indication that the buttons have been pressed successfully or not, even more so on the Power button than the volume rocker.

The back of the device is made of white colored textured polycarbonate. However, the device does feel slippery even with the applied minute texture. The back is tapered towards the ends giving the device a sleeker appearance than the actual thickness and assuring its ability to be gripped better. The smartphone is easy and comfortable to hold specially due to the size. The back does not register fingerprints as long as you may like to use it, thus taking away the hassle of cleaning it. At the back, there is an LED flash, the rear camera lens and a microphone, the branding and three rows of speaker holes at the bottom. And then there is a fingerprint sensor below the camera lens. The fingerprint sensor and the camera lens is also lined with gold plating. However, if you'll look closely you will see that the the lining around the camera lens is more bronze in color than that around the fingerprint sensor, not something you'll notice in general use though.

The back cover is removable through a small groove on the right edge. Thankfully removing the back cover was far easier than that on Note 3. Both the SIM cards and microSD card can be inserted after removing the back cover. There are markings around the slots to show the numbering of SIM cards and the direction in which to insert the microSD card and the SIM cards. Again, Note 3 Lite has addressed this common issue with phones very well.

This does not seem like a phone priced at Rs. 6999. Coolpad has invested a decent amount of effort in designing the phone which clearly shows in the phone's appearance. To be able to get most of the design elements correct is a very difficult task and Coolpad has again left us impressed with the design and build quality.

Display

The display on Coolpad Note 3 Lite is sharp like the Note 3 but again the use of colors by CoolUI seems unnatural. There is too much emphasis on the use of basic colors like solid red, green, yellow and blue which adds a sketch pen effect to the user interface. However, there is no pixellation and the viewing angles are deep. Screen reflection has been controlled very well too. Very strangely, the colors seem slightly washed out while watching Youtube videos which is in stark contrast to the color range used in the user interface. However, this is a budget device, and the display is very good for the price the user ends up paying. But then, there is one deal breaker that we have found, the display is just not visible under direct sunlight whichever angle you may try to look at the device. So if you are someone who works outdoors, specially under sunlight, this device won't serve you the purpose at all.

Operating System and Software

Coolpad Note 3 Lite comes with Android 5.1 layered under Coolpad's CoolUI 6.0. Being a Chinese branded phone, there is no app drawer and all the apps are arranged under scrollable home screens. As we pointed out in the last review, the icons, colors, toolbars etc. have no uniformity amongst themselves, they use separate colors, separate looks and even seem to be using separate fonts between various screens. It makes us feel like a number of operating systems are present on the same device. The interface design has to be more uniform. As an example, swipe down to see the settings toggles. Here you will find most of the buttons are circular while a few others like Brightness and Multitask are curve edged squares. This needs to be addressed in future iterations. The home screens are infinitely scrollable and you do not need to come back to the first screen to go in a backward position. There is a bundled Rock Wallpaper app which changes the desktop wallpaper each time you click it and Clear app which clears the RAM just by clicking the app. However, the text that is displayed after clearing RAM using this way is not properly formatted and misses a space between text and numbers, which seems utterly ugly in terms of UI design. Most Google apps are present too. We would like to see more uniformity in terms of color and design in the Coolpad UI as uniformity gives a sense of oneness with the device to the end user. Settings have been carried over from Note 3  like Long standby which changes the phone's UI to a very basic mode to save power and C-button, which adds a touch button to the screen that adds circularly scrollable action items like back, home, screenshot etc. to be easily accessible from your thumb. Another feature that is actually a rip off from Samsung Note series, the multitask option is also available in the settings. We have found low usage of such multitasking in real world scenario though, specially without a stylus. We also found handy wake-up gestures on the phone like double tap to wake or draw e to open browser. The operating system is exactly same as the one used on Note 3 so the pros and cons remain the same from the previous device.

Camera

The camera app looks like the camera app on iPhones but with far more options and settings. It offers a number of settings like brightness, HDR, PIP, Touch shutter etc. A Pro option is also available 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 camera performs in real world usage.

Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review - Has all ingredients of disrupting the budget smartphone market in India









Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review - Has all ingredients of disrupting the budget smartphone market in India

Coolpad Note 3 Lite Review - Has all ingredients of disrupting the budget smartphone market in India





















The first image above was taken in a very difficult lighting condition. Though there is no noise and grain in the picture, yet the camera has lost some detail due to the partition in the center with left area not throwing any light on the scene while there are glasses on the right side. In the second image, the color of the car has come out very similar to what can be seen with a naked eye. However, in the last image, the entire scene seems slightly washed out. What we could decipher from these images and a few more that we took is that the camera does not over process the images during post processing which is a very good thing. It also produces colors close to what you see with a naked eye, which means to say that the images retain photo realism. However, the camera does not pick up detail as sharply as higher end smartphones. But we would still call it a good camera for the natural colors the images seem to reproduce. The images taken from the front camera again lack detail but do produce natural colors.

Performance

The 3GB RAM on Coolpad Note 3 Lite serves the smartphone pretty well. The device screams through most of the daily tasks without any hiccups. The ability to perform fast has now reached a kind of saturation with even budget phones hitting the top level mark. Everything is buttery smooth here too. Apps open in a jiffy and you can multitask as much you want. We downloaded and installed Temple Run 2 and the device ran through without any frame rate drops either. The phone did not overheat while playing games or charging. The speakers are loud and clear at medium to high volume setting which makes it fun to watch Youtube videos and play games. Call quality is loud and crisp as well.

Fingerprint sensor

Coolpad Note 3 Lite takes over the crown away from Note 3 as being the most affordable smartphone with a fingerprint sensor. But firstly, we are not fond of fingerprint sensors at the back of the phone since they are out of view and it does take a moment to keep your finger in the right place. Secondly, even though it is at the back of the device, we would have preferred a circular sensor. Anyways, the sensor is blazing fast and as accurate as it can get. It works 360 degrees and you do not need to press any button for waking up the device. There were no false positives either while trying to enter into the phone with unregistered fingers. Be aware of the price of the phone and no other brand is even providing a fingerprint sensor at this price, let alone the quality.

Battery

Coolpad Note 3 Lite has a 2500 mAh battery. To check for battery life and battery time, we charged the battery to 100% and then started using the phone in real world use scenarios. We used it for browsing the web, downloading and installing a few apps and games, some calling, Whatsapp messaging, playing a few games, watching videos on Youtube and throwing in some amount of standby time too. The phone died on us after 10 hours which is good battery life for a budget phone. Heavy users might need to charge the device twice a day while low to medium users won't need to charge it more than once a day.

Rating

4.5 stars out of 5

Bottomline and Verdict

For a smartphone that does not burn a hole in your pocket at all, Coolpad Note 3 Lite is another impressive offering from the company. The only faults we could find with the entire device is the lack of uniformity in the CoolUI operating system and almost nil sunlight visibility of the display. But again, looking at the price, we can forget these very easily. We don't think there is any competition for this phone in its price range of date, the only phone that can cause some harm is the brand's own Note 3 which is only Rs. 2000 more than the Lite version. Coolpad Note 3 Lite has all the ingredients of being another Amazon bestseller and we would be highly surprised if it does not end up being so. As we just pointed out, the only other phone that can come in between enormous sales of this phone is its own elder brother, the Coolpad Note 3, else there are no opponents as of now.

That's it for our review of Coolpad Note 3 Lite. 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.


2 comments :

  1. Dear sir ru sure of the sunlight visibility which is you r saying to have nil
    WHAT IF IT IS COMPARED WITH COOLPAD NOTE 3 WRT SUNLIGHT VISIBILITY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can check my review of Coolpad Note 3 also to see about its sunlight visibility. It would be under the heading 'Display'.

      http://www.technodivide.com/2015/10/coolpad-note-3-review-not-perfect.html?m=1

      Delete

 
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