After a nine month hiatus, Chinese brand CoolPad returns to India with a new smart phone featuring a USP—oversized RAM
Canny buyers these days know exactly what they want when they go shopping for a hand phone. Any number of educative sites have prepared them to decide what works for them. How much memory; what size storage; what selfie features; what quality display and sound. This has made it difficult for brands who sell roughly in the same price band to stand out from the crowd. Competing brands are often assembled by the same contract manufacturer and almost all use the same basic subsystems.
The Chinese brand CoolPad first came to India in January, launching a phone jointly designed with LeEco—the Cool 1 Duo. When we reviewed the product in this space, we titled the piece " Buy one, get one free!". At the time dual cameras with two lenses were something of a novelty. Today who would make a big deal about a feature like this? CoolPad more or less disappeared from public memory, because they had no follow up product—till now.
Before their Second Coming, they seemed to have done a careful study of the competition in India and tweaked some of the specs in clever ways which a discerning buyer will perceive as a plus point.
The primary camera is a dual lens system, both 13 megapixel, with a fairly wide f 2.0 aperture. But the differentiator is its ability to shoot video in Ultra High Definition—otherwise known as 4K. This is a significant feature—at least in a phone with this price point—because so many of the smart TV sets people buy these days are rated for 4K—but no Indian Dish TV service provider offer sustained 4K content. So with a phone like Cool Play 6, you can DIY—create your own 4K shadi ka video or whatever.
The front or selfie camera is quite ordinary at 8 MP and the 4000 mAh battery promises 300 hours of standby—which is a meaningless specification. We don't keep phones on standby; we use them. I could use the phone for a full day of typical use, including some hours of video downloads, on a full charge and guess this is a more practical test of its endurance. A fingerprint scanner is situated below the rear camera.
The Snapdragon 653 octa-core processor is a good workhorse for image and video intensive use but the tearaway feature is the RAM that the phone has under the hood: 6 GB, no less In an arena where 4 G memory is considered more than adequate for most phone-related processing, the Cool Play's 6 GB is a canny thing to provide, especially for a phone that can shoot 4K and display full HD 2K on the 5.5 inch screen.. It is the RAM that cuts what is known as latency—the time lag in download and streaming that gives those annoying pauses, when a wheel is spinning in the screen as the data is buffered. With this much RAM that will never happen and your movie watching even at best quality setting will be smooth and jitter free. I tried watching some 4K test videos placed in YouTube by phone makers and had a clean experience. There are larger phones even at this price but I'm guessing the makers decided to go for the size that is the sweet spot with Indian buyers
The phone works with the current 4G LTE standard and offers two nano sim slots. But I am a bit surprised at the absence of a micro SD slot. This means you can't expand the built-in 64 GB storage. This also means you have to flush out your Whatsapp and Facebook files quite regularly of all the videos people like to send. To do this is a mite easier, because the phone has a Type C USB port which is the fastest you can get today for file transfer.
To sum up, for my money (the phone sells for Rs 14,999) the 6 GB RAM and the 4K twin shooter are what stand out as the joint USPs of this phone. It launches with an Android 7.1.1 OS at a time, when Android 8 has just been announced. But the makers promise an over-the-air upgrade as soon as Google offers it. It is available exclusively on Amazon.com.