Coolpad Note 3 review: Is it value for money phablet

Coolpad Note 3 review: Is it value for money phablet

Coolpad Note 3 review: A complete value for money phabletCoolpad


At Rs 8,999, Coolpad Note 3 is one of the best sub 10k smartphone you can buy in the market today.


  • Responsive HD display, effective fingerprint sensor, good battery life


  • Unfit for single hand operation, display is not full HD
Chinese smartphone makers are no match when it comes to offering decent specifications and competitive performance at a predatory pricing. We have seen Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei, etc. sold a number of products that have given a good competition to Samsung, Motorola, Sony and the other big fish in the global market.Coolpad is another Chinese smartphone maker, which is not as popular as Xiaomi is, but definitely has a decent product portfolio to boast of. Their latest smartphone Note 3 managed to grab our attention with its top-notch specifications in the sub 10k price category.

Display: 5.5-inch full HD 1280x1080p display, 267ppi
OS: Android Lollipop 5.1 with Cool UI 6.0 skin
CPU: 1.3GHz 64-bit MediaTek MT6753 octa-core SoC, 3GB
Storage: 16GB inbuilt storage, expandable upto 64GB via microSD
Cameras: 13MP (rear with LED flash), 5 MP (front)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3G/4G/2G, GPS, Bluetooth, microUSB charging port, USB OTG
Battery: 3,000mAh
Dimensions: 151 x77x 9.3 mm
Weight: 155 grams
Price: Rs 8,999

Coolpad Note 3 reminds us of Lava Pixel V1 but its design looks more clean and premium. The smartphone’s front is occupied with the large 5.5-inch display with minimal bezels. There are three touch capacitive buttons at the bottom that gives you extra real estate on the display. Above the display is the 5MP front camera, light sensor and the speaker grille.

The smartphone has a nice metal band around the front panel that adds a premium touch and also prevents the display from scratches if you place it down on any surface. On the back, it has a 13MP camera with the LED flash and a fingerprint scanner; yes, you read it right, a fingerprint scanner at this price point. Like most of the sub Rs 10,000 smartphones, the back panel of Note 3 is removable and houses dual-SIM card slots, a microSD card slot and the 3,000mAh sealed battery.

The back panel has a rubberised finish, which offers good grip without attracting any fingerprints.

In terms of size, Coolpad Note 3 is not a perfect fit for one hand operation but the curved edges comes as a rescue. The volume rockers and the power button are also placed ergonomically on left and right edge respectively.

Let’s talk about an interesting feature we usually don’t get in a smartphone priced as low as Rs 9,000. Coolpad Note 3 integrates a fingerprint sensor at the back panel, just below the camera sensor. The square fingerprint module works like a charm in unlocking the smartphone and surprisingly, its accuracy rate is even better than the Samsung’s flagship smartphones, which is quite a steal for a smartphone.

In terms of hardware, Coolpad Note 3 packs in a 1.3GHz MediaTek octa-core CPU paired with 3GB of RAM. There is 16GB inbuilt storage that’s expandable up to 64GB via microSD card. You don’t need to worry about your applications, videos and music library.

For connectivity, this dual-SIM smartphone has 4G LTE enabled on both SIM cards; you also have , 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and USB OTG support. The Coolpad Note 3 is backed by a 3,000mAh battery.

The 5.5-inch display on Note 3 comes with an HD (1280×720) resolution. This accounts to 267ppi pixel density, which is not the best in this price bracket as there are other smartphones such as Xiaomi Mi4i, Yu Yureka Plus, and Lenovo K3 Note with 1080p panels. However, we found the display quite appropriate for day-to-day usage. The viewing angles are good; display has good level of brightness and colours also look vibrant. You can easily see the content outdoors and would have a good time watching videos and playing games on the 5.5-inch display.

The only drawback we see is that it doesn’t use Gorilla Glass or Dragontail Glass protection. That can be resolved with a 3rd party tempered glass screen, but we can’t evaluate the device based on that.

There is no doubt that Coolpad Note 3 specs look good on paper, but the real performance gets evaluated when you test the smartphone in real-time. We used the smartphone for over a week and we must say that it didn’t disappoint us. The 1.3GHz Octa-Core 64-bit MediaTek MT6753 processor with a whopping 3GB of RAM managed to keep everything running smooth without any significant performance lags. There were some minor glitches while playing heavy 3D games and when more than 15 applications were simultaneously running in the background, but we faced no major concern. The smartphone is not as fluid as the Xiaomi Mi4i and Lenovo K3 Note but that difference is only visible while you are playing graphics intensive games. Otherwise in day-to-day usage, Coolpad Note 3 serves well.

Coolpad Note 3 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with the company’s customized Cool UI 6.0 skin running on top. It’s the same UI with no app drawer that most of the Chinese smartphones run these days. The UI is highly customized and we had our doubts about its performance. But it complements the hardware and offers lag-free performance. There were no glitches in basic screen navigation, loading of apps or shifting from one app to another from multitasking pane.

One software feature that comes quite handy in day-to-day usage is the fingerprint scanner integration with the installed applications. The inbuilt feature allows you to set authentication to the applications of your choice that will only open upon scanning your fingerprint. It works effectively and adds a second layer of security to your privacy.

Besides, the UI also comes with wakeup gestures, cover mode and glove mode. There are some pre-installed apps such as Facebook, Amazon, WhatsApp, WeChat, WPS Office, etc.

Last month we had compared camera performances of smartphones priced under Rs 12,000 in thisreview. Most of the smartphones in this price bracket features a 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras, and Coolpad Note 3 also packs in the same pair of shooters. The main 13MP camera with f2.0 aperture is capable to capture decent shots in direct sunlight. The colors look natural and images also have decent level of detailing. The camera UI also has a pro mode that allows you to change ISO, exposure, focus and scenes.

The camera can also shoot videos in 1080p, which were not as crisp as we have seen in Xiaomi and Lenovo smartphones. Besides, the 5MP front camera is just an average shooter but works well for Snapchat and video calling.

Here are some sample shots

One of the best features about the Coolpad Note 3 is its 3,000 battery unit, which easily lasts for a day even with a heavy usage. We managed to churn out a day and half with moderate usage that includes social networking, light gaming, music playback, lot of phone calls and all other day-to-day tasks. We even did our standard benchmark testing and Coolpad Note 3 survived for 9 hours 25 minutes in PC Mark battery test, which is better than other devices in the same price bracket.

At Rs 8,990, Coolpad Note 3 offers a lot. You get an octa-core CPU with a good 3GB of RAM that delivers a lag free performance. A large 3,000mAh battery that easily lasts a day, a fingerprint scanner for added security and 4G connectivity on both SIM cards.

The only thing that disappoints is the non full HD display on the smartphone, but that too for most of the part gets compensated with the vibrant and natural colours of the IPS panel.

Despite the fact that the sub 10k price bracket is crowded with some really good devices, Coolpad Note 3 manages to create a respectable position for itself. It’s good on specifications and goes one step further with the integrated fingerprint sensor. The 3GB RAM and octa-core CPU supports all your requirements and if you can compromise with an HD display, Note 3 will be a decent buy for you.

With all that, we can say that with Coolpad Note 3 looks like a solid contender in the sub 10k price bracket and may take on the likes of Xiaomi, Lenovo and Micromax.

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