Updated: February 12, 2017 11:21:35 am
Coolpad, a Chinese company, has made its mark in the Indian smartphone segment with its budget offerings. For Coolpad, flagship smartphones aren’t defined by the price, rather by features. Over the years, Coolpad has launched a number of devices, and most of these cater to either budget or mid-budget segment. The smartphones pack solid specifications at an affordable price.
Coolpad Mega 3 is another budget smartphone from the company, but this one offers the ability to use three 4G-enabled SIM cards at once along with a microSD card. The Mega 3 comes barely three months after the Chinese smartphone maker launched its selfie-focussed device called the Mega 2.5D at the same price of Rs 6,999.
With the Mega 3, Coolpad wants to convince its users they need a smartphone that can hold triple SIM cards. Just like the Mega 2.5D, this device comes with an 8MP front camera with flash.
Coolpad Mega 3
In terms of design, Mega 3 comes with a plastic back cover with thin metal frames running along the edges. The rear camera lens is a small circular unit placed at the top center with flash right below it. The power button is on the right edge, while volume rocker keys take can be seen on the right. The USB 2.0 port for charging is present at the bottom and on the top, there’s a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Coolpad Mega 3 has a removable back cover. The three SIM card slots can be found on top of the battery, and microSD card slot at the bottom. There’s a non-removable 3,050 mAh battery. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with company’s CoolUI 8.0 skin on top.The rear camera is 8MP.
So, does the Coolpad Mega 3 stand out for its triple SIM slot feature? Do you really need a smartphone that can hold 3 SIM cards? We find out in our review:
Specifications: Coolpad Mega 3 specs: 5.5-inch HD display (720p, ~269ppi) | 1.25GHz quad core Mediatek MT6737 processor | 2GB RAM + 16GB storage (expandable up to 64GB) | 8MP rear camera + 8MP front camera | Android 6.0 Marshmallow + Cool UI 8.0 | 3,050mAH battery | 4G VoLTE
Price: Rs 6,999
The 5.5-inch display has a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, which works fine. The viewing angles are good otherwise, but I struggled with it in bright sunlight. The colour reproduction is nice and I liked watching videos and playing games on the device. The display will definitely look dull if we compare it with full HD resolution smartphones, but frankly at this price-point you can’t expect too much.
The smartphone has an ergonomic design. The textured plastic cover gives it a good grip and makes it easy to hold. Three SIM cards worked effortlessly on the smartphone during my review period.
The network bars indicating signal strength of each service almost takes up the whole part of the display. Switching between services to makes calls has been made pretty easy as big green buttons with numbers 1,2,3 appear at the bottom of the dialer. You can simply choose which SIM to use to make a call.
While getting calls, you’ll see a small SIM shaped icon besides the number/contact to indicate which SIM card is getting the call. In case of text messages, you can choose between large icons with names of telecom provider of each SIM. I used my three 4G-enabled SIM cards, including a Reliance Jio SIM and switching between SIM cards was the least of my problems with this smartphone.
The 8MP rear camera does a good job in well-lit places, which is great for a Rs 7,000 phone. The images are decent, though they lag detail and quality. Pictures clicked in low-light are too noisy. It comes with Night mode to shoot in weak lighting conditions, Pro mode as well as Beauty mode. It supports video recording in 720p.
The front camera is similar to the one on Mega 2.5D smartphone and comes with Beauty mode. It will try and guess your age and give you a different nickname every time you click a picture. This can be changed from the Settings menu. The flash won’t work if you’re clicking pictures in the Beauty mode. There’s a GIF mode as well, which is great given GIFs are a rage on social media these days.
Pictures taken by front camera are quite decent and produce good colours. The mode softens your skin colour and smoothens your tone, something that would appeal to users who like to edit a lot of their pictures. The flash makes you look bright yellow though, so we wouldn’t advise Mega 3 for dinner selfies.
The phone is good with multitasking and can handle heavy-duty games, but don’t expect it to be flawless. It starts to get noticeably warm within 4 minutes of playing games like Asphalt 8.
On the performance front, there were visible lags while opening apps as well as switching between app. But that’s something you should expect in budget smartphones priced at under Rs 7000.
While the phone has a good grip, I didn’t like the overall design. The phone looks like a cheap device. Even if I don’t compare it with Xiaomi Redmi 3S, which comes at the same price and offers metal unibody design, there’s Coolpad’s own Mega 2.5D, which looks a lot better in terms of design. Plus the Mega 3 feels quite heavy.
The battery on the Mega 3 is inconsistent. The 3,050 mAh battery only gives you 8-9 hours of juice on moderate usage, which includes performing basic tasks such as browsing the Internet, listening to music and playing some games. Plus it takes about 4-5 hours to get fully charged, which I find quite impractical.
CoolUI skin is really confusing and so cluttered. I was just so uncomfortable using the UI the whole time because there’s just too many ways you can open the Settings menu accidentally. You can pull it from the bottom, just like in iOS or from top. Then there’s a little ‘C’ icon that always lurks around on the screen and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up clicking on it.
The ‘C’ icon opens a semi-circle shortcut menu that can be customised. Plus, it comes with a number of pre-loaded apps that makes the device even more cluttered as you may not use most of them.
The Mega 3 comes with three SIM card holders, which work quite well and in sync with each other. However, I feel the company has traded off a couple of important features such as a good camera, and battery to put in the three SIM card functionality. Ask yourself if you really need three SIM cards in a phone? If yes, then this is your only solution.
If not, then move on to better options in the same price bracket such as Xiaomi Redmi 3S ( if you find it on a sale that is). Or consider the Coolpad Mega 2.5. But in this Rs 7,000 price range, you’re likely to find the number of good options rather limited.