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Coolpad Cool 3 Plus review: a good looking budget phone that misses the mark

Coolpad, as a smartphone maker, keeps a low profile in the Indian market but ever so often launches a budget-friendly device that propels it back into the spotlight. The company recently launched the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus in India, which comes as a successor to the Cool 3. For a starting price of Rs 5,999, the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus is one good looking smartphone. But how does it fare in day to day usage? To find out, I used the Cool 3 Plus for a few days and here’s what I think.

What works?

The main attribute that works in favour of the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus is the way it looks and feels in hand. The smartphone is possibly one of the rare devices under Rs 6,000 to come with an attractive gradient hue. The phone is being offered in two hues – Cherry Black and Ocean Blue. I have the latter with me and the transition from blue to violet definitely caught my eye when I first picked up the phone.

Speaking of design, Coolpad Cool 3 Plus also impressed me with how manageable it is in the hand. The smartphone is crafted from polycarbonate in its entirety, which means its very lightweight and comfortable to hold for a longer duration. And the relatively smaller display size means it is extremely manageable in one hand. The slightly curved back panel and even weight distribution of the phone further help the cause.

Coming to the display, the Cool 3 Plus ships with a 5.71-inch HD+ display with a dewdrop notch on the top. The minimal bezels surrounding the screen makes the viewing experience quite immersive on the phone. The colours are reproduced well and the screen is bright enough when outdoors to be legible.

In the software department, the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus boots Android 9 Pie with Cool UI garnished on top. What works here is that the brand has kept bloatware to a minimum, and most of it can be uninstalled to free up resources. Moreover, the interface is drawer-less, making it easier for novice users who are the niche market for this segment. There are also useful features like Game Boost, Savepower and more to enhance the user experience.

Lastly, the phone features a 3,000mAh battery, which doesn’t sound much on paper. However, with an under-powered processor, less demanding display and a light-weight software, the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus easily lasted a day on average usage.

What doesn’t?

As I mentioned, the processor on Coolpad Cool 3 Plus is under-powered and that might mar your experience. The smartphone has a quad-core MediaTek Helio A22 processor with PowerVR GE8300 GPU ticking at its core. It’s being offered in two variants – 2GB + 16GB and 3GB + 32GB. During my time with the phone, the processor could barely keep up with my usage. The animations, as well as the launching and closing of apps, felt sluggish on the device. The handset especially struggled to switch between various open apps as well as modes on the camera app.

Another chink in the armour of the Cool 3 Plus is its cameras. The handset features a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP selfie camera on the front. You get various mode like HDR, Bokeh, Facecute and more. While the camera specs sound good on paper, the actual imaging prowess of the phone is disappointing, to say the least.

The 13-megapixel rear camera of Coolpad Cool 3 Plus takes decent pictures in daylight, but like every other entry-level phone, the Cool 3 Plus doesn’t boost the saturation at all and as a result, pictures turn out dull. The various modes on the phone also don’t seem to be doing much to help the cause. In the portrait mode, the camera struggles to focus, with the subject looking blurred quite often. The night time pictures turned out to be completely unusable because of the high levels of noise that crept in.

The front selfie camera also is nothing to brag about as it captures below-average images during daylight. The situation gets worse as the sun goes down with lots of noise and loss of detail.

Verdict

Let’s get this straight, if you are a causal smartphone and want a stylish looking phone on a budget, the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus is a good option. However, if you will be using your phone for more than calling and basic social media usage, it’s advisable to opt for phones like the Realme C2 (review) and Redmi 7a (review), which cost the same but have snappier processor.

Pricebaba’s rating: 6.5 / 10

What works:

  • Stunning design
  • Day-long battery life
  • Bloat-free software

What doesn’t:

  • Underpowered processor
  • Sub-par cameras

Photos by Raj Rout

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