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Coolpad Cool 5 unboxing and first impressions: brings a knife to a gun fight

Coolpad expanded its Cool range of smartphones with the launch of its latest Coolpad 5 in India earlier this month. The phone comes in as a successor to the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus (review) and is equally good looking. The Coolpad 5 flaunts a waterdrop notch above the screen, dual primary cameras and a fingerprint sensor at the rear as its highlights. However, for Rs 7,999, the phone goes up against few stalwarts like the recently launched Redmi 8 and  Infinix S5 (first impressions). So how does it fare? Let’s find out.

Before I talk about the phone itself, let’s get the packaging out of the way. The Coolpad Cool 5 comes in a rather slim square box with phone graphics on top, Coolpad branding on either side and core specs on the bottom. As you remove the lid, you will find the box neatly divided into two halves with right half containing the wall charger, SIM ejector tool and USB-C cable (brownie points for that). On the left, you will find the Cool 5 lying atop the documentation, protective plastic case and screen protector.

The Coolpad Cool 5 continues from where the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus left off, and comes with an attractive gradient design on the back. Coolpad is offering the phone in Gradient Blue and Midnight Blue colourways, which are both head turners. I have the Gradient Blue variant with me, which has black on top merging with violet on the bottom, and looks very pleasing to the eye. The phone has an even weight distribution making it quite ergonomic. However, the glossy back panel is insanely prone to smudges and scratches, and I would suggest putting on the provided case. You will find the iPhone XS-like dual camera module with LED flash in middle on the top left corner, circular fingerprint scanner towards the centre and Coolpad branding at the bottom.

You will find the hybrid SIM slot on the left edge and volume/power buttons on the right edge of the phone. The top edge of the phone houses a 3.5mm headphone jack to the left. On the bottom edge, you will find the USB-C port with speaker grilles on either side.

The display on the Coolpad Cool 5 features a dewdrop notch with a 6.2-inch HD+ panel. The 19:9 screen features 2.5D curved glass on top. During my short time with the phone, the screen appeared to be sufficiently bright and vibrant. Despite the 19:9 aspect ratio, the display has sizeable bezels on the top and bottom. Ticking at the core of Cool 5 is the MediaTek Helio P22, which has long been a standard in this price range. The processor is further backed by 4GB RAM and 64GB of user expandable storage. I found the phone to be pretty smooth while operating normally and not multitasking heavily. The phone boots Android 9 Pie and is powered by a 4,000mh battery.

Coming to the cameras, Coolpad Cool 5 comes with a 13MP primary snapper at the rear, which is accompanied by a 2MP depth sensor. The camera app is loaded with features like Beauty, FaceCute, Bokeh, AI Scene recognition, Live Filters and more. The dual-camera setup managed to capture decent pictures outside in bright daylight, however, it struggled with noise and exposure when shooting indoors. The depth sensor works as intended and was able to separate the background from the subject to create an aesthetic blur. The selfie snapper is a 16MP shooter that does a good job.

I will cut to the chase here, while Coolpad Cool 5 comes in as a worthy successor to the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus it doesn’t have much to offer. For Rs 7,999, you can get more capable phones like the Redmi 8 with a faster processor, 5,000mAh battery, 18W fast charging and more. Then there is Infinix S5 (first impressions) that flaunts a punch-hole display, quad-camera module on the back and powerful 32MP selfie camera.

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