Coolpad Note 3S review: Give it a pass

There’s a lot to recommend in the mid-end market, unfortunately, Coolpad Note 3S isn't one of them.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Written by Anuj Bhatia | Updated: February 15, 2017 7:09 pm
Coolpad Note 3S, Coolpad Note 3S review, Coolpad Note 3S verdict, Coolpad Note 3S specs, Coolpad Note 3S price in India, Coolpad Note 3S performance, Coolpad smartphone reviews, Note 3S review, Note 3S Android smartphone, technology, technology news The Note 3S’s design is minimalistic to say the least, and if you’re like me, you’ll definitely appreciate Coolpad’s efforts.

Coolpad, a brand known for churning out budget smartphones, typically aims for the mid-end segment of the market. The idea behind the Note lineup is to offer flagship-level specs and features at an affordable price. This is the segment, which is a fast growing one, with several manufacturers trying hard to get recognised.

The Note 3S is no different. It sticks to the formula of being a “phone for the masses”. This is an approach that has worked for the company in the past with the Coolpad Note 3, Note 3 Plus and Note 3 Lite.

On paper, the Note 3S seems an ideal option, so we decided to give it a try to see if this phone has all the right moves. Read on to find what the Coolpad Note 3S is all about.

Specifications: 5.5-inch HD display | Snapdragon 415 octa-core processor| 3GB RAM | 32GB storage space | 13MP rear camera +5MP front camera | 2,500mAh battery| Dual SIM| Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Price: Rs 9,999

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Coolpad Note 3S

Phones made out of metal have always been considered “premium, but the Note 3S bucks this trend. Although the phone is made of plastic, it will draw your attention somehow. The Note 3S’s design is minimalistic to say the least, and if you’re like me, you’ll definitely appreciate Coolpad’s efforts.

The phone’s front features dual-curved glass on top. While not curved in true sense, the 2.5D glass trend is getting popular among the mid-end phones.

Coolpad Note 3S, Coolpad Note 3S review, Coolpad Note 3S verdict, Coolpad Note 3S specs, Coolpad Note 3S price in India, Coolpad Note 3S performance, Coolpad smartphone reviews, Note 3S review, Note 3S Android smartphone, technology, technology news While not curved in true sense, the 2.5D glass trend is getting popular among the mid-end phones.

Below the display are three capacitive buttons on the phone’s bottom bezel. The right side of the phone features the power button, while the left side, there’s the volume button. The hybrid SIM tray can be found on the top edge of the device. The USB 2.0 port for charging has been placed on the bottom side of the phone. The 5-megapixel camera is on the front part of the phone. Oh, there’s a headphone jack too, which can be seen on top of the phone

Coolpad Note 3S, Coolpad Note 3S review, Coolpad Note 3S verdict, Coolpad Note 3S specs, Coolpad Note 3S price in India, Coolpad Note 3S performance, Coolpad smartphone reviews, Note 3S review, Note 3S Android smartphone, technology, technology news Note 3S features a fingerprint scanner and a mostly plastic back.

Around back, the Note 3S features a fingerprint scanner and a mostly plastic shell, although that soft-touch finish feels great when you keep the phone for a longer duration. The 13-megapixel camera is also housed on the back alongside the single LED flash. Overall, Coolpad Note 3S is sturdy and has a simple, yet attractive design.

So what’s good?

While the Note 3S doesn’t feature a dual-camera setup like the Honor 6X , you do get a 13-megapixel in back and a 5-megapixel front camera. The picture quality is good, if not the best I’ve seen. The pictures are sharp and you can see the camera manages to get details. This is particularly noticeable in outdoor shots.

Pictures are taken quickly and there is just a small delay before you can take the next shot. There are several picture modes you can choose from, including automatic and a pro mode. The pro mode includes settings for the exposure, the ISO value and the white balance. The front has a 5-megapixel shooter. Under good lighting conditions, the quality of the pictures are decent and the front camera is adequate for selfies. There is no flash though, so you will notice noise in low-light situations.

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Coolpad Note 3S runs Google’s Android Marshmallow 6.0 operating system out of the box. The interface comes close to stock Android. There are no pre-installed apps or extra customization that will basically keep the interface fast and less prone to crash.

The Note 3S sports a modest Snapdragon 415 chipset and 3GB RAM. In my week long testing, I noticed many pauses and stutters while playing Real Racing 3 game. If you need to run graphically-intensive games, you may need to turn your attention elsewhere. But, the Note 3S is more than capable of handling the kinds of tasks most mobile users wish to use. For example, apps opened quickly, without noticeable delay.

What’s not good?

Getting a reasonably good display on a mid-end phone is easy, but that’s not the case with the Note 3S. Even though the phone has a large 5.5-inch display, its resolution, a 720p, pales in front of the competition. Yes, the display is not sharp at all. Colours hardly pop, especially reds, greens, blues and yellows. The glossy panel makes the viewing experience a tough one, especially when you are outside.

Plus many phones in the same price range have a Full HD (1080p) display – just look at Lenovo K6 Note, or Redmi Note 4.

Coolpad Note 3S, Coolpad Note 3S review, Coolpad Note 3S verdict, Coolpad Note 3S specs, Coolpad Note 3S price in India, Coolpad Note 3S performance, Coolpad smartphone reviews, Note 3S review, Note 3S Android smartphone, technology, technology news Even though the phone has a large 5.5-inch display, its resolution, a 720p, pales in front of the competition.

I was less pleased with the Note 3S’s 2,500mAh battery life. It doesn’t pack enough juice to even last a day. That became evident after I watched back-to-back shows of Koffee with Karan while coming back from Gurgaon to Janak Puri on the Delhi Metro.

On an average day, the phone ran out of power after 7 hours. That’s well below my own expectations. More importantly, it’s not even comparable to the phones in the same price range. Thankfully, you’ll be able to power up quickly, with the Quick Charging 2.0 support on the phone .

The Note 3S may have a fast camera, but at night, the phone’s camera struggles a lot. The colours look OK in the photo of the market below. You can certainly see lots of noise in low-light conditions. I would like to note that this is the second or third time I took the photo of the market at night as the first one looked too blurry.

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Verdict

There’s a lot to recommend in the mid-end market if you’re looking for a phone that won’t break the bank. Unfortunately, Coolpad Note 3S isn’t one of them.

This phone retains a differentiated design, while making compromises on performance, display. My biggest fear of not recommending the Note 3S is its poor battery, which according to my own tests didn’t even last beyond 7 hours.

In my opinion you can think of getting either the Redmi Note 4 or Moto G4 Plus. Both smartphones can easily outlast Coolpad Note 3S anyday.