Coolpad launched a pretty interesting budget smartphone called Cool 5 a few months ago. The company's latest budget offering was received shortly before Xiaomi launched Redmi 8 in India. It offers similar features and specifications at an alluring price. The Coolpad Cool 5 has a decently large battery, a USB Type-C port and two rear view cameras, which should appeal to all buyers with tight budgets.
With a current market price of Rs. 7,499, should this be your next budget? Let's find out.
Coolpad Cool 5 design
Similar to the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus (review), which we tested in August, the Coolpad Cool 5 does not have the best aesthetics. The marketing images on the company's website make this phone look like it has super slim bezels around the display and no chin at all, but the reality cannot be described with photoshops. Instead, the Cool 5 has visibly thick edges around the display, a striking notch and a thick chin at the bottom. It's quite bulky at 8.2mm thick, but not very heavy at just 145g. The glossy plastic body attracts many fingerprints and smears very easily.
On the left is a hybrid dual-SIM compartment that can accommodate two nano-SIM cards or a single SIM card and a microSD card to expand the memory. You get a headphone jack at the top and a USB Type-C port at the bottom. The volume controls and the power switch are on the right and have good feedback. Overall, the phone is comfortable to hold and we didn't find it very slippery despite the glossy sides. We had the Gradient Blue version, but it is also available in other versions.
The double camera module protrudes only slightly to the rear, which is impressive. The capacitive fingerprint sensor works fine, but this phone wakes up a bit slowly after successful authentication. The Cool 5 also supports face recognition, which works well in good ambient lighting, but is also not the fastest.
The Coolpad Cool 5 has a 6.22-inch HD + display. The colors aren't very vivid, but the viewing angles are decent. We found the display to be sufficiently bright when used outdoors.
The Coolpad Cool 5 comes with a silicone case, a SIM eject tool, a type C cable, a screen protector and a charger. Overall, the phone has a sufficiently good build quality, and we're happy to see a Type-C port on such a cheap phone.
Coolpad Cool 5 specifications and software
The Coolpad Cool 5 uses the Octa-Core SoC MediaTek Helio P22, an entry-level chip for phones like the Realme C2 (review). The Cool 5 is only sold in one configuration in India – with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. Connectivity options include WiFi 802.11b / g / n, Bluetooth, Dual 4G VoLTE, USB-OTG and GPS. There's an accelerometer and a hall sensor, but unfortunately the Cool 5 lacks something as basic as a compass, which means Google Maps won't show you the direction you're looking. A gyroscope is also missing.
Coolpad uses a custom version of Android 9 Pie that hasn't changed much since the Cool 3 Plus test a few months ago. The device also had the Android security patch from July 2019. The single-layer user interface contains elements of standard Android as well as some adjustments, e.g. B. a theme app. You also get some pre-installed third-party apps, but you can uninstall them.
Even though it's pretty easy to navigate the operating system, we're not big fans of a few design options. Uninstalling an app is, for example, a multi-step process in which you press and hold the icon, go to the app information and then tap the "Uninstall" button.
Coolpad Cool 5 performance and battery life
The Coolpad Cool 5 has proven itself in general use for a low-cost cell phone. Navigating with Android was relatively smooth and multitasking generally responded. However, apps still took longer to load due to the weak SoC, and heavier games struggled to get smooth frame rates. Even in PUBG Mobile Lite, gameplay wasn't the smoothest. This was also reflected in the benchmarks. In AnTuTu, the Cool 5 returned 83,681 points, while the GFXbench T-Rex test reached 25 fps. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 in the Redmi 8 (review) delivered somewhat better values like 35fps in the latter test for comparison.
The Cool 5 does an average job with multimedia playback. The speaker sounded thin and one-sided, and the lack of pressure in the colors of the display made for a somewhat unbearable experience when watching videos. The phone can also be a bit sluggish when it comes to adjusting the brightness of the screen based on the changing ambient light.
The Cool 5 is in a 4,000 mAh battery that offers enough runtime to survive a day, but not much else. With medium to heavy use, which usually included a little gaming, social media and camera use, we had to charge the phone before going to bed. In our HD video battery loop test, the Cool 5 ran a little over 12 hours.
The loading process was also not very fast because there was no support for the fast loading. We were able to increase the battery from zero to 27 percent in half an hour and to 53 percent in an hour. It took almost three hours to fully charge.
Coolpad Cool 5 cameras
The Cool 5 has a 13 megapixel rear camera with a 2 megapixel depth camera and a 16 megapixel camera on the front. The main sensor has a very narrow aperture of 1: 2.8, which is not good for shooting in low light conditions. The camera app offers numerous functions, including all basic shooting modes and even a pro mode. Face Cute mode allows you to add AR stickers to your face (when using the selfie camera) or anyone you take pictures with.
It takes a while for the camera to focus. In low light conditions, it takes a few tries for the focusing to be successful. There is also no evidence of HDR turning on, or even manual switching to force it, as a result of which most scenes had overexposed areas backlit.
Even in good light, the main camera on the back got bad results. The details were weak, the colors seemed to have completely disappeared and the dynamic range was poor. Close-ups have gotten a little better, but we really had to be patient while the camera focused and the shots were saved. You can adjust the level of blur in portrait mode, but the picture quality itself was very poor. We also found the edge detection to be quite inaccurate, and many objects that should often be out of focus were not.
In poor lighting conditions, the details were even weaker. There was a lot of visible noise in the photos, the focus speed had dropped significantly, and the pictures just looked bad. The video recording achieved a peak performance of 1080p, but even in good light the video quality was far below average. The continuous auto focus was also slow. Selfies that were shot with the Cool 5 were also not very pleasant. Even in good light, skin tones were off, colors were unnatural, and portrait mode was a failure rather than a hit.
Overall, the Cool 5's cameras are very disappointing and you don't even want to use this phone for basic social media posts.
The Coolpad Cool 5 looked like a good competitor on paper, but was actually pretty disappointing. At roughly the same price, the Redmi 8 (review) or even the Realme 3i (review) would be the better purchase option. The Type-C port and compact size are probably the only points that this phone can redeem, but in almost all other areas, the requirements are not met. The battery life is just average, the cameras are very disappointing and the overall performance of the Helio P22 is not great.
We recommend missing the Coolpad Cool 5 in favor of the Realme 3i or the Redmi 8.