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There's a huge market for budget and mid-range smartphones in the Indian market. Even the price-conscious consumers don't hesitate much to invest in handsets that can deliver the kind of performance which was only expected from flagship devices just one or two years back. The category is mostly dominated by Chinese smartphone makers and Coolpad is one of them.
Coolpad is the brand that first introduced biometric authentication in sub Rs. 10k price-point back in 2015 with Note 3. Thereafter, we witnessed a huge number of affordable Android smartphone flaunting fingerprint scanners in Rs. 10k to 15K price-segment.
Fast forward to 2017 and the company has now introduced 6GB RAM in sub Rs. 15k price-point with the launch of Coolpad Coolplay 6. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 14,999 and also features a dual-camera setup, another trend that has become quite popular in mobile phone segment. The smartphone is available on Amazon.in and is our topic of discussion today. So let's find out what Coolpad Coolplay 6 has to offer in the sub Rs. 15,000 price-point.
Design: Nothing new but works well in everyday use
The look and feel of Coolpad Coolplay 6 will remind you of company's previous handsets, especially Cool1 smartphone and even some other Chinese handsets selling in sub Rs. 20k price-point. It's the same old unibody metal design with rounded edges that makes up for a comfortable grip in everyday use.
The rear panel has been given a matte finish but the smartphone still feels quite slippery. Coolpad Coolplay 6 has a noticeable weight to it as the handset is backed by a big 4,000 mAh battery unit. However, the big battery does not make the handset bulky to the point that you will face any handling issues in everyday scenarios.
The ergonomic placement of the physical buttons also enables a comfortable fit in one hand. The right side of the device holds the power button and volume rockers whereas the SIM card tray is positioned on the left side.
A USB Type - C port sits along with stereo speakers at the bottom of the handset. The 3.5mm audio jack is placed at top. The smartphone also houses a fingerprint sensor underneath the dual-lens camera setup at the rear panel.
Overall, Coolpad Coolplay 6 looks neat and feels ergonomic; however there's nothing extraordinary about the smartphone that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Display: Crisp full HD screen but colors seem a bit washed out in sunlight
The 5.5-inch IPS LCD panel on Coolplay 6 is bright and crisp. The 1080p resolution on a 5.5-inch footprint results in a pixel count of 403 ppi, which is pretty standard in this price-point. While the screen works well in indoors, the sunlight legibility is not very good making it hard to use the handset outdoors. The 2.5D curved glass tries to improve the visibility a bit.
The colors while playing videos or watching full HD videos look bit dull as the screen somewhat feels washed out. Thankfully, the display settings allow you to tweak color balance and also features Eye care mode for a comfortable viewing experience in low-light environments.
Camera: 13MP+13MP dual-lens camera setup
Almost every smartphone brand in the market has started offering a dual-lens camera setup with their mid-range smartphones. We have Huawei, Lenovo, Motorola, Xiaomi and Infocus being the most recent one to offer handsets flaunting two-lens camera handsets. Coolpad Coolplay 6 also features a dual camera setup. The smartphone sports a 13MP+13MP dual camera accompanied with dual tone LED flash. The camera works on an f/2.0 aperture and supports PDAF, HDR and 4K video recording. Up front, there is an 8MP selfie camera with f/2.2 aperture.
The dual-camera setup is provided to offer bokeh effect by sensing the depth information in the pictures you capture. In real-life, the dual-lens implementation performs a good job in sensing the depth and creates an appealing bokeh mode. The background blur is effective and the detailing is also impressive in the pictures you capture.
Pictures shot in low-light also came out to be pretty decent. The smartphone also has a dedicated Night mode to deliver good low-light shots and if used with a tripod, it can capture some really good images. The 4K videos recorded at 30fps looked crisp.
The 8MP selfie camera delivers decent pictures and comes with an effective Beauty mode.
Hardware: Smooth multitasking and lag-free gaming
Coolpad did manage to make some noise by incorporating 6GB of RAM in a mid-range handset. This makes Coolplay 6 the most affordable smartphone with such massive RAM in sub Rs. 15k price-point. To find out how efficient is 6GB RAM with intense workload, I launched more than 15 apps at a time and switched from one app to another to see if there's any performance issues or not. As expected, there were no major lags even when games like Asphalt 8 were running in the background. You can swiftly switch from camera to YouTube to games without any stutters.
The gaming performance is also smooth and I didn't come across any frame drops while playing Asphalt 8 and other graphical intensive games such as Gods of Rome, Marvel Contest of Champions, etc. The audio performance is good but not outstanding. The speakers deliver clear audio but they don't get very loud and you would need a pair of earphones to enjoy videos.
The octa-core Snapdragon 653 processor also showed smooth and speedy processing abilities in our usage. For storage, Coolplay 6 offers 64GB of internal memory. Sadly, there's no microSD card slot to expand the internal storage.
Software: Coolpad’s Journey UI deployed on Android Nougat
As far as software is concerned, Coolplay 6 runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Journey UI, the company's customized skin deployed on Android Nougat. The UI has a number of software tweaks such as Screen color mode in Display settings, Dual apps where you can run two separate accounts on apps like Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and an App freezer that can restrict excessive data usage.
While the UI works without any issues, I would have preferred a stock Android experience. Lenovo and Xiaomi have also started offering pure Google experience with their new devices.
Coolpad's Journey UI places all apps on the home screen and also lets you customize the lock screen. The notification panel however is a bit troubling and has one not so required setting. Swiping the individual notifications will not delete them but will present you two options, delete and block. This two-step process is a waste of time as you can anyhow customize the individual app's notification within the settings.
As far as future updates are concerned, Coolpad during the launch event mentioned that the handset will get the Android 8.0 OS via an OTA update by the end of this year.
Battery and Connectivity: Big battery and all the required connectivity features
The battery backup delivered by Coolplay 6 is appreciable. The smartphone can manage to last a day with moderate to heavy usage. The big 4,000 mAh battery unit easily handles intense multitasking, long camera usage and everyday tasks; however video playback and gaming did take a toll on the battery life. Overall, the device can last for almost a day on a single charge.
For connectivity, the smartphone has the standard suite of features including 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 and Type-C port. You also get Voice-over-LTE on Reliance Jio SIM card and the handset also comes with a built-in FM radio, which is gradually disappearing from smartphones.
Coolpad Coolplay 6 is undoubtedly a power packed mid-range Android handset that you can buy today in the Indian market. The hardware it packs is more than enough to offer a good everyday performance. You can run multiple apps without worrying about the memory consumption, play graphical intensive games and can also capture some good bokeh shots with the help of dual-lens camera setup.
The display seems a bit washed out while using the handset outdoors and the lack of microSD card slot can be a real deal-breaker if you compare the handset with competitors like Lenovo K8 Note.
If the lack of microSD card slot and stock Android UI bothers you, then you can certainly consider other options. Otherwise, Coolplay 6 is a good buy in sub Rs. 15k price-point.