Coolpad is a Chinese brand offering excellent smartphones at impressively low prices.
The quick take
The recent deluge of smartphones in India under $125/₹8,500 is changing the way we perceive budget smartphones, and upping the consumer expectations. Once ready to compromise for a basic smartphone experience, budget smartphone customers are now spoilt for choice with manufacturers pushing the boundaries with devices that have decent specifications sheet, good looks, as well as a capable camera.
Coolpad is one such brand offering feature-laden smartphones at affordable prices like we saw with the Coolpad Note 3 — 3GB RAM and a fingerprint sensor for cheap. Focused at the selfie-loving crowd, the Coolpad Mega 2.5D is a delightful looking phone with a pretty good overall experience for customers on a budget.
- Impressive design
- Good display
- Decent selfies for a budget smartphone
- Middling performance
- Average battery life
About this review
I used the Indian retail variant of the Coolpad Mega 2.5D that ran Cool UI running on top of Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 out of the box. For most of the time, I used it with an Airtel 4G SIM in Delhi NCR. During my two weeks of usage, I received a minor system update with no specific changelog.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D Design
For a budget device, the Coolpad Mega 2.5D impresses on the first glance. Despite the plastic casing, Coolpad has done quite well in the design and construction of the phone making it one of the best looking devices in its price segment.
With the gold metal-colored finish and metal frame on the side, the Mega 2.5D doesn't look cheap in any way and despite sporting a plastic body, the matte finish on the back panel and slightly curved body gives it an unlikely elegance. Of course, as the name suggests, the highlight is the 2.5D curved glass on the front which adds to the overall style and gives it almost a premium look.
One of the understated highlights of the Coolpad Mega 2.5D is its weight, or rather the lack thereof. At just about 140 grams, the smartphone feels really light once you hold it in your hand. Most 5.5-inch devices in the market easily weigh upwards of 150 grams.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D HardwareCategory Features Operating system Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with Cool UI 8.0 Display 5.5-inch HD (720 x 1280) Processor MediaTek Quad-core 1GHz MT6735P processor RAM 3 GB Internal Storage 16GB, upgradable up to 32GB via a microSD card Battery 2500mAh Camera 8MP primary camera | 8MP secondary camera Dimensions 153 x 76.8 x 7.9 mm Weight 143 grams
Powered by the 1GHz MediaTek MT67355P 64-bit quad-core chipset paired with Mali T720 GPU and 3GB RAM, the Coolpad Mega 2.5D does well on the specifications sheet – similar to other budget smartphones in the segment. In real world usage, the performance is just about average though. While it is decent enough to handle day-to-day tasks, there is a bit of lag here and there – sometimes while performing basic operations or switching between apps. It's a shame because the phone packs in a generous 3GB of RAM.
While playing graphic-intensive games, there is a visible drop in frames and the back panel tends to heat up (rarely though when not gaming). Clearly, if you're a mobile gaming fan, the Mega 2.5D isn't for you.
Although the Mega 2.5D sports 16GB of internal storage, you can expand it using a microSD card. That's only if you're using only one SIM with the phone since the hybrid tray allows you to use two nano SIMs or a combination of one SIM card and a microSD card.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D isn't the fastest phone in the market, but gets along through most everyday tasks. With the specs it boasts of, one would've expected it to fare much better though.
The Coolpad Mega 2.5D sports an impressive 5.5-inch HD display. The color reproduction is accurate and viewing angles are fairly good as well. The text looks sharp, and even outdoors the sunlight legibility is surprisingly high.
The curved glass on the top though is a tad reflective. There are no physical buttons on the Mega 2.5D, and it uses on-screen navigation buttons.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D Software
The Coolpad Mega 2.5D runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0 with the company's proprietary UI, CoolUI 8.0, on top. Like most custom UIs from Chinese OEMs, it doesn't come with an app drawer and several aspects of it are clearly inspired by iOS – like the drop-down search for apps or the control center that comes up on swiping from the bottom, for example.
Honestly, the UI isn't bad and like with most UX paradigms, one gets used to it. However, it's apparent that Cool UI is a significantly heavy UI and pretty much the culprit behind the phone's less than impressive performance. The phone is also painfully slow to boot up, although that's not a showstopper really.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D Battery life
The battery life on the Coolpad Mega 2.5D is just about average. Only with limited use, the 2500mAh battery would last for an entire day. Stretch it a little, and you'd need to run for your charger by evening.
Few other smartphones in the price segment are offering two-day battery life, and although that's not an absolute comparison, customers might want to look elsewhere if this is a primary buying decision. Of course, it's not all bad. Also, the bundled 5V charger can charge the battery to full capacity in under two hours.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D Camera
The Coolpad Mega 2.5D packs in an 8MP rear camera with f/2.2 aperture. The photos from the rear camera are decent and the color reproduction is good enough mostly. Although, you'd notice some washed out photos or the ones with the colors bleeding too frequently.
The front camera though fares better – justifying the focus on selfies in marketing pitch. The Mega 2.5D sports a generous 8MP front camera with 83.6-degrees field of view, that allows you to take great selfies for its price. Most photos are decent and sharp, and that's that. Even indoors, photos turned out to be nice to look at, although with a bit of noise. There's the beauty mode with options to make your skin smooth or slim your face, but most photos with the beauty mode tend to look a bit unnatural.
Coolpad Mega 2.5D Bottom line
The Coolpad Mega 2.5D is no pushover. There are few things going fine for a phone at its price – the impressive design, the decent selfies one could manage, and the overall neat display. Therefore, it's a capable phone let down by just about average performance. There's no fingerprint reader too, mind you.
The Mega 2.5D is company's third budget smartphone in the Indian market after the well-rounded Note 3 and the Note 3 Lite. Clearly, the Coolpad Mega 2.5D is not as impressive as those two, but still makes for a fair option on the table.
Should you buy it? Probably
At ₹6,999 ($105), the Coolpad Mega 2.5D is a good enough budget smartphone with a decent display and acceptable performance. While the selfies are better than most in the segment and it looks stunning, the competition from Xiaomi with the Redmi 3s is tough – with a battery that lasts really long.
Pick up a Mega 2.5D if you're okay with its misses, and really appreciate the positives. Coolpad though will do itself a favor to improve the Cool UI experience because that would take care of most of the mishits with this phone.