The budget segment in the smartphone market seems to be the new big deal. In a section dominated by Xiaomi, newer brands are continuously trying to get a piece of the pie. From Infinix and Realme to Motorola and Samsung, all have their eye on the same. This may be because of the sheer number of devices that are sold every year in this segment – to be at the top of the list of the companies selling most smartphones in a calendar year, the maximum percentage must come from the budget buyers itself. Now Coolpad, with its Cool 3 Plus offering, is the latest to enter this segment.
Coolpad offers two variants of the Cool 3 Plus, with a price difference of just 500 rupees between the two. We have the higher variant of the two, which is reviewed in this post.
Coolpad Cool 3 Plus is well-designed and looks impressive. The rounded edges make for a better grip. The plastic body comes with a glossy dual-tone gradient back, which changes from a greenish hue to a purple blue from top to bottom (we have the ocean blue variant for review). Although the rear of the device is prone to fingerprint smudges, a TPU case bundled in the box instantly comes to rescue. Coolpad Cool 3 Plus is available in black and blue colour variants.
The front houses a waterdrop notch at the centre, with an 8 MP camera lens (AI backed) and an earpiece on top wedged between the frame and the display. Neither hardware nor software-based flash is available for selfies, which is a huge let down.
The 13 MP camera lens at the rear is powered by artificial intelligence as well, and along with the LED flash, is placed vertically on the top left. The cameras are enclosed in a black, curved oval frame made up of the same plastic as the frame. The words ’13.0 MP’ are printed in white below the flash indicating the number of megapixels present. The round fingerprint sensor sits in the middle of the top half. The Coolpad branding, along with the words “Designed by coolpad in Dallas USA”, is written vertically in white on the bottom left.
The micro USB charging port is in the middle at the bottom, with speaker grille on either side. The headphone jack is on the top left.
The right side of the smartphone contains the volume rocker button and the power button. The left contains the SIM tray with hybrid dual nano SIM card support.
The box also contains a SIM ejector tool, and a charging adapter with a micro USB cable.
The display on the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus comes with a 5.71-inch HD+ screen with a resolution of 1520×720 pixels, and an ugly waterdrop notch resulting in reduced bezels on three sides, with a thicker chin in comparison. There is no UI trick to hide the notch, so if you are on the anti-notch brigade, this smartphone is not for you.
The bright and vivid display works as expected even under direct sunlight. With just shy of 6-inches, the size is perfect to hold and operate the device single-handedly. The auto-brightness feature works like a charm and deserves a special mention since many competitor devices screw it up unknowingly that it becomes a pain in day-to-day usage.
With decent colour reproduction and viewing angles, the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus fails to impress on the extremes when the colours start to fade out and nothing is legible.
Coolpad Cool 3 Plus comes with a single 13 MP primary camera with LED flash. The artificial intelligence integration allows the setup to identify the condition in which it is being used, and thus select a mode automatically. For instance, it can determine and choose among HDR, night, or sports mode depending on the scene in the view. Moreover, the AI mode can be turned on or off at will – one can use their sixth sense instead of blindly relying on the technology. The front shooter is an 8 MP lens and is also AI enabled. Handy features like recording a time-lapse video, creating a GIF, and scanning a QR code are easily accessible.
The photos taken during the daylight turned out to be decent, with a good amount of details being captured. Autofocus is slow at times, and even after it works, the exposure settings are not up to the mark. Edge detection in the bokeh mode fails to impress, with quite a certain number of distortions creeping in the final image. Nevertheless, the overall picture is decent, and since all of this is achieved with just a single lens along with substantial software-based post-processing edits, it can be termed as a job nicely done.
The low-light images on this device clearly fail to impress with their reduced sharpness and a lot of noise and grains.
The front shooter captures decent selfies, but the photos lose sharpness as the lighting conditions degrade. Edge detection in the portrait mode has a similar fate as that of the rear camera setup.
Coolpad Cool 3 Plus runs on MediaTek Helio A22 chipset. It comes in two RAM and storage variants – 2 GB + 16 GB and 3 + 32 gigs. We have the latter one for review. The memory is expandable via the hybrid slot for an external storage card.
The phone delivers a smooth multi-tasking experience – no lag was observed when running and switching multiple apps. Playing basic games was a smooth experience overall, with a few instances of sluggish behaviour over time.
The fingerprint sensor does a decent enough job of unlocking the device. With a higher ratio of failure-to-success, the software-based face unlock fails to impress. The failure rate was so annoying that I ended up turning the feature off and relying solely on the fingerprint scanner which works like a charm.
Coolpad Cool 3 Plus runs on 360 OS based on Android 9 Pie. The usual bloatware apps are installed by default, out of which a few like the Opera Mini and UC Browser can be easily uninstalled, thus freeing up space for otherwise important stuff.
The medical and emergency contacts can be updated which can then be accessed via the Lock Screen itself if need be.
Coolpad Cool 3 Plus is powered by 3,000 mAh battery. While it is enough to last a day at moderate usage, it is recommended to carry a charger if you always wish to remain connected.