Coolpad has released yet another budget contender in the form of the Coolpad Note 5 Lite which aims to take on the current segment leader — the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime.
The Coolpad Note 5 Lite is one of the best looking smartphones in its price range. Built out of metal and glass, the smartphone looks incredibly premium and can easily be mistaken for a device several segments up the price ladder.
The smartphone is built well and feels hefty and reassuring in the hand. The back is an all metal affair which houses the secondary microphone, 13MP rear camera, loudspeaker and the fingerprint sensor, which is located right below the camera sensor.
The 2.5D glass on the front looks sleek and lends to the device’s in-hand feel. Underneath the display are three capacitive buttons for multitasking, home and back which are easy to use.
In a day and age of gigantic smartphones which are almost impossible to use with one hand, the Note 5 Lite comes off as a breath of fresh air with its rather compact and petite chassis.
The rear mounted fingerprint sensor, while not one of the fastest ones out there, is quite accurate and easy to use. The central location makes it easy to locate blindly and as it is an active fingerprint sensor, it can be used to unlock the phone directly, without having to press the power button first.
The single speaker at the back, while loud enough, does get tinny and distorted at high volumes. It’s position is also pretty awkward with the sound getting muted every time you place the device down on a flat surface.
At the bottom we find the primary microphone and the micro USB 2.0 port for charging and data transfer. The top of the smartphone is barren except for the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Hardware and performance
The performance of the Note 5 Lite can be summed up in two words – below average. The smartphone in general feels laggy and slow.
While the smartphone handles basic tasks like opening system apps, writing messages and taking pictures quite well, it gets really bogged down with even a modicum of heavy use. This is one of the first devices I have reviewed in a while which exhibits black blocks whilst scrolling through websites in Chrome, fails to keep pace with typing using the default keyboard and exhibits at-least 5-10 app crashes in one day.
With intensive use, the situation becomes worse. Open a few tabs in Chrome, run a game or two in the background and browse through a heavy application like Facebook and the smartphone really struggles to keep up. Mind you, this is not a case of me being overly harsh on a budget device. The Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime – the Note 5 Lite’s primary competitor is faster and a much better performer with its Snapdragon 430 SoC.
Built out of metal and glass, the smartphone looks incredibly premium and can easily be mistaken for a device few segments up the price ladder.
If you are a heavy gamer, you should definitely avoid the Coolpad Note 5 Lite. Heavy games exhibit lags and frame-rate drops and after a few minutes of gameplay become virtually unplayable. Even less intensive games such as Asphalt Nitro exhibit constant judders and frame rate drops. On a positive note, Casual games like Candy Crush Saga run smoothly.
The Coolpad Note 5 Lite comes with a 5.0-inch 720p IPS LCD display which is pretty average overall. While the lack of a 1080p display may be disappointing for some, colors are crisp and vibrant and sunlight legibility is decent.
The Coolpad Note 5 Lite comes with Coolpad’s own Cool UI running atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow. In the 7 days I used the smartphone as my primary device, the smartphone averaged at least 5 app crashes every day with Google Play Services and Coolpad’s own Cool Manager being the worst offenders.
The software is otherwise snappy. Basic tasks like scrolling through the UI, opening system apps and pulling down the notification shade are quick and snappy, with little or no lag.
Apart from the app crashes, the biggest problem with Coolpad’s Cool UI is the lack of polish. Small things like the fact that Icon text is not visible with the majority of on-board wallpapers and that icons for third party applications get cut from the top and bottom and appear weirdly squashed really take away from the overall experience.
The Coolpad Note 5 Lite is a smartphone characterised by its looks and design prowess. But peel that shiny exterior away and you are left with a smartphone that is the literal embodiment of the saying “all show and no go”
Cool UI does come with certain nifty features. The fingerprint sensor on board can be used to perform a myriad of functions. You can press and hold the fingerprint sensor to close an alarm, answer a call and take a photo whilst in the camera app. The sensor can also be double tapped to turn off the display when the smartphone is on.
Additionally, upon taking a screenshot, the smartphone offers users the option to share the screenshot, add certain effects and use scroll capture to capture a long article or image.
The 13MP rear camera is pretty much what you would expect at this price range. It takes decent shots in well lit situations but really struggles in low light and complex shots. Under adequate lighting conditions, the images produced are crisp and vibrant with natural color reproduction.
Coolpad Note 5 Lite detailed specifications
|Release date||March 2017|
|Dimensions (mm)||145.30 x 72.30 x 8.70|
|Battery capacity (mAh)||2500|
|Screen size (inches)||5.00|
|Pixels per inch (PPI)||294|
|Processor make||MediaTek MT6735|
|Expandable storage type||microSD|
|Expandable storage up to (GB)||64|
|Operating System||Android 6.0|
|Wi-Fi standards supported||802.11 b/g/n|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v 4.00|
|Number of SIMs||2|
|Supports 4G in India (Band 40)||Yes|
|Supports 4G in India (Band 40)||Yes|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes|