Coolpad Note 5 Lite first impressions: Good smartphone but competition is tough

Coolpad Note 5 Lite looks a bit more expensive than its price, thanks to 2.5D curved glass design and metal rims at the back.

Written by Hansa Verma | New Delhi | Updated: March 17, 2017 4:31 pm

 

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Coolpad Note 5 Lite smartphone has come to India, as a stripped down variant of the Note 5 unveiled in October. Coolpad Note 5 Lite is a budget device that costs Rs 8,199. The smartphone is an Amazon exclusive in India, sales for which start March 21.

Coolpad has managed to pack a fingerprint scanner as well in this Rs 8,000 device, which is impressive at this price point. Further, it features a metal body design with thin metal rims around the back which gives the Note 5 Lite an impressive look. We spent some time with Coolpad Note 5 Lite and here’s our first impressions of the phone:

Design and Display

Coolpad Note 5 Lite looks a bit more expensive than its price, thanks to 2.5D curved glass design and metal rims at the back. The smartphone has rounded corners and fingerprint scanner is bang at the center of the back cover. The round rear camera lens and flash, placed below each other does remind us of a lot of similar offerings such as Lenovo K6 Power and Redmi Note 3, but that’s essentially not a bad thing.

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Overall, the smartphone looks impressive in terms of design and has a sturdy build as well. The USB 2.0 charging port is placed at the bottom while 3.5 mm headset jack can be found on top. The power button and volume rocker keys are present at the right and left panel respectively.

The extremely thin bezel makes for a wider display, something I liked. The downside, however, for me is that the capacitive buttons aren’t backlit that might cause problems while using the device in the dark.

The dimensions of the Note 5 Lite are 145.3 x 72.3 x 8.7 mm. It weighs 148 grams. Coolpad Note 5 Lite can hold two SIM cards. It can be bought in gold and grey colour options.

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Coolpad Note 5 Lite has a 5-inch 720p HD display. The viewing angles are fine and icons appear sharp as well. We had to set the brightness levels to maximum to view the screen in bright sunlight but frankly we can’t expect a Full HD display at this price point.

Camera

Both rear and front camera in Note 5 Lite come with a flash. The 13MP rear camera does a decent job in bright sunlight, but the same can’t be said for its low-light performance. Pictures clicked outdoors aren’t very sharp and lack good colour reproduction, but remember we’re talking about a Rs 8,000 smartphone here so can’t complain much. The low-light pictures have a lot of noise.

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The front 8MP camera doesn’t click very sharp pictures either. But it comes with a Beauty mode that might please a lot of selfie addicts.

Processor, memory and battery

Coolpad Note 5 Lite is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor clocked at 1.0Ghz with ARM Mali-720 GPU. It packs 3GB RAM, which is great given the price point. Further, it comes with 16GB internal memory, expandable up to 64GB via a microSD card.

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Remember, the Note 5 Lite comes with Cool UI skin on top of Android. This means a number of preloaded apps that will eat up most of the space on the phone as well as a cluttered UI experience for some. During our limited time with the device, we noticed lags while opening apps and switching between multiple tabs which doesn’t make it a suitable device for multitasking. But we’ll have more on performance in our review.

The fingerprint scanner is claimed to unlock Note 5 Lite in 0.3 seconds. The scanner was quick to read my fingerprint each time I tried unlocking the device. Additionally, the fingerprint scanner can be used to make, receive and record calls, open applications and click pictures.

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As for the battery, the Note 5 Lite is backed by a 2,500mAh battery which is claimed to provide a standby time of up to 200 hours.

OS

I am not a big fan of CoolUI, simply for the reason it feels quite cluttered. Plus, it comes with a number of pre-loaded apps that I might not want to use, but can’t delete. Coolpad Note 5 Lite comes preloaded with apps such as Rock Wallpaper, Cool Manager, Xploree Keyboard, Zen UI launcher, Zen Circle and UC Browser. There’s aso JioChat and JioNet apps that you won’t need to download.

Wrap up

Coolpad Note 5 Lite looks like a pretty decent smartphone for Rs 8,000. At this price-point, Coolpad Note 5 Lite competes with company’s own Mega 2.5D and Xiaomi’s Redmi 3S. However, if you’re willing to spend an extra Rs 2,000, then Lenovo K6 Power is a much better option as it offers a Full HD display, and bigger 4,000mAh battery.

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