There were several reasons for choosing the Coolpad Note 3 as the best budget phone of 2015 from our side, and thanks to that, we now have huge expectations from whatever Coolpad launches next. The company hasn’t already come up with a successor to it, but there is a new Coolpad Note 3 Lite launched in the market.
The Note 3 Lite from Coolpad is a lighter variant, as the name suggests, and it has a 5-inch HD display, MediaTek’s quad-core chipset, and a good 3GB RAM support. I might say this for a few times during the review – a perfectly working fingerprint scanner for this price range is for the first time. Let’s see how the device fares in different aspects.
As the name suggests, it is a toned down variant of the Coolpad Note 3 keeping the overall look and outline of the device same, with some minute changes or can say improvements from the original. One noticeable change is the gold trim along the edges or the bezel; it carries the characteristic bezel-less like look. There is a golden color border giving it a more premium look, personally, I felt that this is better that its elder sibling who had the black border which was obvious. The phone looks and feels durable; the physical buttons like the volume rockers and the power button are plastic which can be expected at this price.
The back panel is textured compared to the matte type panel of the Note 3. I felt that this looks and feels a lot better along with giving better grip. The power button is on the left side of the device and the volume rockers on the right side, the front of the device has the capacitive buttons below the display which are not backlit.
Above the display is a front camera and the sensor along with a notification LED and microphone. The back side of the device has a plastic textured and removable back panel; it comes with a rear camera and the LED flash along with a Fingerprint sensor below it. The Coolpad branding and speakers are at the bottom. In the lower border, the micro USB port is present with the top of the device having a 3.5mm audio jack. Overall the design in the Note 3 Lite has been inspired from the Note 3 with some refreshing changes.
Overall the design in the Note 3 Lite has been inspired from the Note 3 with some refreshing changes. It is quite sturdy and the plastic textured back gives better grip. The device has some neat sloping borders and rounded edges making it easier to hold in the hand.
The Coolpad Note 3 Lite sports a 5-inch HD display having 1280 x 720 pixels resolution, with 294ppi pixel density. It is said to come with a scratch resistant layer, the exact protection was not specified, and I guess with the tempered glass making way into the market at this price range we cannot ask for a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection, can we?
The viewing angles are pretty good and under direct sunlight, the display was visible with full brightness. It is not clear if it was with my device in specific or its the same with all the devices, a certain yellow or warm color tint was regularly seen, not a problem but thought to put it in here. The display on this device is good for the price, and we cannot ask for more.
The Note 3 Lite comes with a 64-bit Quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor clocking at 1.3GHz which is pretty good for this price range, and it is said to compete with the Snapdragon 410 to get an idea. Coupled with a massive 3GB RAM the Coolpad Note 3 Lite is a good performer in all aspects. As my daily driver, my day to day functions was handled without a problem.
Playing videos was no problem at all and games were pretty smooth as well. Games like Dead Trigger 2 and other basic games did not bother the device much as there was no heating as well even after playing for quite some time.
With high-end games like Asphalt 8, the device started to show some lag, we cannot expect a device priced below Rs. 7,000 to handle these games too. The browsing experience along with multitasking was pretty smooth thanks to the 3GB RAM available. The touch responsiveness was also good mostly when playing and scrolling through websites etc.
User Interface and Apps
The Note 3 Lite comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop OS with the CoolUI 6.0 over it. To go with the CoolUI name, there are many pre-installed apps which come with the prefix Cool to them. I did not find any app to be useful, which might not be in your case so do try them out. Cool themes, Cool service app, CoolShow themes app, etc. were some of the apps pre-installed.
There are other apps like Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, WPS Office, etc. which are available. The FP Lock application is present for managing the impressive Fingerprint sensor which we will talk about later. The Interface is quite good without much clustering.
There are some themes available which are not much polished, and the icons were confusing, which made me immediately go back to the default theme. The gesture features which we loved on the Note 3 are present here as well. The Video player has the option to Edit videos which was pretty good and the music player gave equalizer options. Overall a decent UI which is not the most polished or the best but is good enough not to get complained about.
This is one aspect which really impressed me, Coolpad has managed to maintain the megapixel count from the Coolpad Note 3 with the same 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. Let me first talk about the camera app or interface which is impressive and simple with photo, video and pro mode which can be accessed by swiping the screen up or down. There are additional modes like HDR which can be accessed in the menu placed alongside the shutter button.
The shutter speed of the camera is great, but there was some problem at times with focusing. The post processing time for images is poor which was seen in Note 3 as well. The flaws with the default camera app seen in Coolpad Note 3 have been carried here as well, but in this price range, the camera seems to be decent. But there are devices in this price range which have better performing cameras. The front camera was decent enough with not that great low light photos and decent photos in well-lit conditions.
Video Recording can be done up to 1080p but it does not produce the same quality, and there is a lot of movement seen in the videos along with focusing being a problem.
Battery and Fingerprint Sensor
The battery is quite good for the device with a 2500mAh capacity. As my daily primary smartphone, I was able to get a full day of battery life on medium to heavy usage with continuous Wi-Fi or Mobile network with 4G, video playback, gaming and calls for like 2 hours in the day. Although the battery life is pretty good, the charging time taken by the device is not that great mainly when the phone was drained fully.
The Coolpad Note 3 Lite is the cheapest device sporting a Fingerprint sensor and mainly one which works perfectly doing what it has to do. I felt that it was working better than many other mid-range to flagship devices which I have used in recent times (do not want to take any names). It is capable of recognising your fingerprint in any angle and has the option of unlocking your device and starting the display. You can set or store five fingerprints and assign a particular function to each one like capture picture, dial a number, open an app etc. Can surely say that this is the cheapest device with a fingerprint sensor which works like a charm.
The Coolpad Note 3 Lite is a great little device and it has managed to take all the good from its elder sibling, the Note 3, and come out as a good package. Sporting the same camera and fingerprint sensor, it is a great little device at the price it is being offered at. There are some problems with the camera app that need fixing along with the interface, which gets a bit laggy while multitasking.
The Music and Video player are good with some neat little features. Overall with sturdy build, textured plastic back panel decent display and golden border which gives it a classy look has made sure that the budget segment is taken up a notch thanks to the highly responsive fingerprint sensor.