Coolpad had launched a very interesting budget smartphone a few months back called the Cool 5. The company’s most recent budget offering came just before Xiaomi launched the Redmi 8 in India, and it offers similar features and specifications at an attractive price. The Coolpad Cool 5 has a bigger battery, a USB Type-C port and dual rear cameras, which should be appealing to low-budget buyers.
With the current market price of Rs. 7,499, should this be your next budget pick? let’s find out.
Coolpad Cool 5 Design
Along the same lines as the Coolpad Cool 3 Plus (Review), which we tested in August, the Coolpad Cool 5 doesn’t have the best aesthetics. Marketing photos on the company’s website make this phone look like it has super-slim bezels around the display and no chin, but the reality can’t be photoshopped. Instead, the Cool 5 has thick borders around the display, a prominent notch and a thick chin at the bottom. It’s quite chunky at 8.2mm in thickness, but not too heavy at just 145g. The glossy plastic body attracts fingerprints and blemishes very easily.
On the left is a hybrid dual-SIM tray, which can accommodate two nano-SIMs or a single SIM and a microSD card to expand the storage. You get the headphone jack on the top and the USB Type-C port on the bottom. The volume and power buttons are placed on the right side and have good feedback. Overall, the phone is comfortable to hold, and despite the shiny sides, we didn’t find it too slippery. We had the Gradient Blue variant, but it is available in other trims as well.
The dual camera module protrudes slightly at the back, which is nice to see. The capacitive fingerprint sensor works well, but the phone is a little slow to wake up after you’ve successfully authenticated. The Cool 5 also supports face recognition, which worked well for us in good ambient lighting, but it’s not the fastest either.
Coolpad Cool 5 has a 6.22-inch HD+ display. Colors are not very vivid but viewing angles are good. We found that the display was sufficiently bright when using outdoors.
In the box, the Coolpad Cool 5 comes with a silicone case, a SIM eject tool, a Type-C cable, a screen guard, and a wall charger. Overall, the phone has a decent build quality, and we are happy to see a Type-C port on a phone at such a low price.
Coolpad Cool 5 Specifications and Software
The Coolpad Cool 5 uses the MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core SoC, which is an entry-level chip seen in phones like the Realme C2 (Review). The Cool 5 is sold in India in only one configuration – with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, dual 4G VoLTE, USB-OTG and GPS. There’s an accelerometer and a Hall sensor, but sadly, the Cool 5 doesn’t have something as basic as a compass, which means Google Maps won’t show you the direction you’re facing. It doesn’t even have a gyroscope.
The Coolpad uses a custom version of Android 9 Pie, which hasn’t changed much since I reviewed the Cool 3 Plus a few months ago. The device also had the July 2019 Android security patch. The single-layered UI has elements of stock Android with some customization like the Themes app. You also get some preinstalled third-party apps but these can be uninstalled.
Even though the OS is fairly easy to navigate, we’re not big fans of some of the design choices. For example, uninstalling any app is a multi-step process consisting of long-pressing the icon, going to ‘App Info’ and tapping on the ‘Uninstall’ button.
Coolpad Cool 5 Performance and Battery Life
With normal usage, the Coolpad Cool 5 did well for a low-end phone. Navigating on Android was relatively easy, and multitasking was generally responsive. However, due to the weak SoC, apps still took a while to load and heavy games struggled to deliver a smooth framerate. The gameplay was not the smoothest even in PUBG Mobile Lite. This was reflected in the benchmarks as well. In AnTuTu, the Cool 5 returned 83,681 points while the GFXbench T-Rex test managed 25fps. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 in the Redmi 8 (Review) returned slightly better numbers, like 35fps in the latter test for comparison.
The Cool 5 does an average job with multimedia playback. The speaker sounded sharp and one-sided, and the display’s colors lacked punch, making for a somewhat underwhelming experience when watching video. The phone can also be a bit sluggish when it comes to adjusting the screen brightness based on the changing ambient light.
The Cool 5 packs a 4,000mAh battery, which provides enough runtime to last you a day, but not much else. With moderate to heavy usage, which usually involves a bit of gaming, social media and camera usage, we had to charge the phone before going to sleep. In our HD video battery loop test, the Cool 5 lasted a little over 12 hours.
The charging was not very fast due to the lack of fast charging support. We were able to get the battery from zero to 27 percent in half an hour and up to 53 percent in an hour. It took about three hours to fully charge it.
Coolpad Cool 5 Cameras
The Cool 5 packs a 13-megapixel primary rear camera with a 2-megapixel depth camera and a 16-megapixel camera on the front. The main sensor has a very narrow f/2.8 aperture, which isn’t good for low-light photography at all. The camera app has a decent set of features including all the basic shooting modes and even the Pro mode. Face Cute Mode lets you add AR stickers to take pictures of your face (when using the selfie camera), or of another person.
It takes a while for the camera to focus, and it takes a few tries before the focus can lock successfully in low light. There’s also no sign of HDR coming, or even a manual toggle to force it, which led to overexposed areas in most backlit scenes.
Even in good lighting, the main rear camera gave poor results. Details were weak, colors looked completely off, and dynamic range was poor. Close-up shots turned out a little better but we really had to be patient while the camera focused and the shots were saved. Portrait mode lets you adjust the level of blur, but the image quality itself was pretty weak. We found edge detection to be quite inaccurate as well, and many objects that should have been blurred often weren’t.
Details were even weaker in low light. There was a lot of noise in the photos, the focusing speed was very low, and the images looked absolutely bad. Video recording tops out at 1080p, but even in good lighting, video quality was well below average. Consistent autofocus was also slow. The selfie taken with the Cool 5 also didn’t look great. Even in good lighting, skin tones were off, colors looked unnatural, and Portrait mode was more a miss than a hit.
Overall, the cameras of the Cool 5 are pretty disappointing and you wouldn’t want to use this phone for even basic social media posts.
The Coolpad Cool 5 looked like a good contender on paper, but it was actually quite disappointing. Around the same price, the Redmi 8 (Review) or even the Realme 3i (Review) would be better options to buy. The Type-C port and compact size are probably the only redeeming points of this phone, but it falls short in pretty much every other area. Battery life is average, the cameras are pretty disappointing, and the Helio P22’s overall performance isn’t great.
We suggest not to go for the Coolpad Cool 5 in favor of the Realme 3i or the Redmi 8.