Coolpad Cool 5 Review
A few months ago, Coolpad launched an interesting budget smartphone called the Cool 5. Just before Xiaomi released the Redmi 8 in India, the company’s latest budget offering came in, offering similar features and specifications at an appealing price. The Coolpad Cool 5 packs a decently large battery, a Type-C USB port and dual rear cameras that should appeal to buyers.
Coolpad 5 Design
The Coolpad Cool 5 doesn’t have the best aesthetics. The marketing pictures on the website of the company make this phone look as if it has super-slim bezels around the display and no chin whatsoever, but Photoshopping can not be reality. The Cool 5 instead has clearly thick borders around the window, a prominent notch at the foot, and a fat lip. At 8.2 mm in thickness, it’s pretty chunky, but not very heavy at 145 g. The shiny plastic body is very likely to attract many fingerprints and smudges.
On the left is a hybrid dual-SIM tray that can handle two Nano-SIMs or a single SIM and an expanding capacity microSD slot. At the top you get a headphone jack and at the bottom you get a USB Type-C slot. The volume and power controls provide good feedback on the right side. Overall, the phone is comfortable to hold, and we didn’t find it very slippery given the glossy sides. We had the variant of Gradient Blue, but it’s also available in other trims.
Just slightly protrudes at the back of the dual camera module, which is good to see. The capacitive fingerprint sensor works well, but after you are successfully authenticated, this phone is a little sluggish to wake up. The Cool 5 also supports face recognition, which in good ambient lighting performed well for us, but is also not the fastest.
The Coolpad Cool 5 has an HD+ monitor of 6.22 inches. Colors are not very bright, but there are good viewing angles. When using it outdoors, we found the light to be fairly bright.
The Coolpad Cool 5 ships in the box with a case of silicone, a SIM eject tool, a Type-C cable, a screen guard, and a wall charger. Overall, the phone’s built quality is decent enough and we’re glad to see a Type-C port on such a low-cost phone.
Coolpad 5 Specifications and Software
Coolpad 5 uses MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core SoC, an entry-level processor seen on phones like Realme C2 (Review). The Coolpad 5 is available in India only in one version— with RAM 4 GB and storage 64 GB. Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n, Ethernet, dual 4 G VoLTE, USB-OTG and GPS are networking options. There’s an accelerometer and a Hall sensor, but unfortunately there’s something as simple as a compass lacking in the Cool 5, which means that Google Maps won’t show you the way you face. There’s also a gyroscope missing.
Coolpad uses a modified Android 9 Pie version that hasn’t changed a lot since we tested the Cool 3 Plus a couple of months ago. The app also had the Android security patch from July 2019. The single-layer UI contains Android stock elements along with some customizations like a Themes feature. You also get a few third-party apps that have been pre-installed but these can be uninstalled.
Although navigating the OS is pretty easy, we aren’t big fans of a few design choices. For example, uninstalling any app is a multi-step process involving the icon’s long-press, entering’ App Info’ and then pressing the’ uninstall’ button.
Coolpad Cool 5 Performance & Battery life
For a low-cost handset, the Coolpad Cool 5 held up quite well with general use. Android navigation was a relatively smooth affair and usually receptive to multitasking. But, because of the poor SoC, apps still took a bit of time to load and heavy games failed to offer smooth framerates. Play wasn’t even the smoothest in PUBG Mobile Lite. This has also been expressed in comparisons. The Cool 5 returned 83,681 points in AnTuTu while 25fps were handled by the GFXbench T-Rex check. In the Redmi 8 (Review), the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 returned slightly better numbers like 35fps for comparison in the latter test.
The Coolpad 5 performs an average multimedia playback work. The speaker sounded tinny and one-sided, and when watching videos, the lack of punchiness in the colors of the show made it somewhat distracting. The phone can also be a bit sluggish in adjusting the brightness of the screen based on changing ambient light.
The Coolpad 5 packs in a battery of 4,000mAh that offers enough runtime to get you through one day, but not much else. With medium to heavy use, typically involving a bit of gaming, social media, and camera use, before we went to bed we still had to charge the phone. The Coolpad 5 ran a little over 12 hours in our HD video battery loop check. Charging was not very fast either because there was no help for fast charging. We were able to raise the battery from zero to 27% in half an hour and up to 53% in an hour. It took about three hours to charge it full.
The Cool 5 is fitted with a 13-megapixel main back camera with a 2-megapixel depth camera and a 16-megapixel front camera. The main sensor has a very narrow f/2.8 aperture, which for low-light photography is not ideal at all. The camera app has a good set of features that includes all of the standard shooting modes and even a Pro mode. The Face Cute mode allows you to apply AR stickers to your face (when you use the selfie camera) or any other human you take pictures of.
The camera takes a while to focus, and a few tries are needed in low-light before focus is successfully locked. Also, there is no indication of HDR kicking in, or even a manual toggle to force it, due to which the majority of backlit scenes were over-exposed.
The main rear camera yielded poor results even under good light. Details were weak, colors looked completely off, and there was little dynamic range. Close-up shots came out slightly better, but while the camera focused and shots were saved, we really had to be careful. Portrait mode allows the amount of blur to be changed, but the image quality was very poor. We also considered the edge detection to be quite unreliable, and many artifacts that were often not to be blurred.
The Coolpad Cool 5 looked like a good contender on paper, but it was pretty disappointing in practice. At about the same price, it would be better to buy the Redmi 8 or even the Realme 3i. The Type-C port and compact size are possibly the only redeeming points of this handset, but in almost every other way it falls short. The battery life is only average.