There has recently been an influx of smartphones in and around the Rs 7,000 mark that are changing the way we perceive budget smartphones. These devices are no longer built using outdated pieces of hardware, and are quickly pushing the boundaries of what all can be offered at a tight budget. It is at this price point that Coolpad recently launched the Mega 2.5D. The smartphone is aimed at the selfie-loving crowd, but at the same time is also capable of tempting those who are conscious about how their phones look. The Coolpad Mega 2.5D was launched in India last week for Rs 6,999 and will be going on sale exclusively via Amazon India from August 24. Here’s our review.
They say looks can deceive, and Coolpad’s Mega 2.5D is the embodiment of that. At first glance, the smartphone seems to flaunt a metal unibody design, but in truth it is a plastic body with just a shiny metallic frame. That said, the gold color, shiny frame, the back panel with its soft matte finish and the slightly curved body give the smartphone an elegance usually not associated with devices in this price segment.
As the name suggests, the front of the device is covered in 2.5D curved glass and it just adds to the overall premium-ness. Another noteworthy aspect of the device is its weight, or rather the lack of. At just 140 grams, you will need to hold the device in your palms to believe just how light it really is. To add some perspective, 5.5-inch devices like the Reliance Digital LYF Wind 3, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, and LeEco Le 2 weigh 159 grams, 164 grams and 153 grams respectively.
I have been using the device as my primary driver for the past week, and let me just say, the Mega 2.5D is one of the best looking devices in its price segment. Coolpad has done exceptionally well in designing and building this device, and at no point does it look or feel like a cheap phone, despite the plastic casing.
The front is dominated by a 5.5-inch IPS display with a HD (1280×720 pixels) resolution and overall it is quite good. The display is bright, texts look sharp, color reproduction is good enough, and so are the viewing angles. Under direct sunlight legibility is good as well, but the 2.5D curved glass covering the device is a tad reflective.
Under the hood is a 1GHz MediaTek MT67355P 64-bit quad-core chipset paired with Mali T720 GPU and 3GB of RAM. On paper the configuration should be good enough to handle day-to-day tasks easily, and it just about does it. The overall performance isn’t what you would call silky smooth and one has to contend with quite a bit of lag here and there. There is a visible drop in the frame-rate when playing graphic intensive games like say Riptide GP2, and the back panel tends to heat up quite a bit as well. Let’s just say this smartphone isn’t meant for gamers.
On the software front, the Mega 2.5D runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0 wrapped under the CoolUI 8.0. The UI is a bit cartoonish and doesn’t come with an app drawer, which is something expected from most Chinese smartphone companies. You can’t help but find aspects of the UI that have been inspired from Apple’s iOS. These include the drop down search menu for apps (Spotlight), and the control center that needs to be swiped up from the bottom of the screen. Needless to say, this control center includes shortcuts for most settings, basic apps like flashlight, camera, calculator, and a brightness bar as well. There’s not a lot wrong with the UI, but you do feel that the heavy UI is among the major culprits behind the less than impressive performance.
In terms of storage, the smartphone comes with 16GB built-in memory, which can be further expanded up to 32GB using a microSD card. Coolpad has opted for a hybrid setup that either allows you to use two nano SIM cards or a combination of one SIM card and a microSD card.
Coolpad says that the Mega 2.5D is aimed at the selfie-loving crowd and for that there is an 8-megapixl snapper up front. The selfie camera comes with a f/2.2 aperture, 83.6 degree field of view, and features like Smart Beautification, HDR and Age Detection which enhance selfies automatically. I may not be the best judge of what a good selfie is, but my wife was pretty happy with a couple of selfies she clicked, and that should answer most questions. The camera was surprisingly good indoors as well even though there was a bit of noise visible on zooming the photos.
At the back is again an 8-megapixel auto-focus snapper with f/2.2 aperture and Sony sensor. It also comes with different camera modes like Auto, Night, and Beauty. There is also a Pro mode that lets you tweak different settings like white balance, ISO, exposure, contrast before clicking a photo. It however seems like Coolpad’s engineers spent most of the time on the front camera, and the primary camera is a tad disappointing. Even when clicking photos outdoors during the day, the photos were a bit washed out and lacked details.
The battery is almost always a question I am asked about when someone needs advice for buying a smartphone. The Mega 2.5D comes with a 2,500mAh Li-ion battery that Coolpad claims is good enough to last for more than a day. We did find the battery to be just about good enough to last for a day when judiciously using the smartphone. We even managed to get around four hours of screen-on time, which is not bad at all. But it is nowhere close to what the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 or the Redmi 3s provide.
On a more heavy usage though the battery would reach critical levels by late evenings. In essence, I would end up having to charge the phone once before going to sleep. This sort of usage involved two SIM cards, a constantly connected fitness tracker, two email accounts, multiple social accounts, Slack, WhatsApp and regularly switching between Wi-Fi and 4G. Coolpad has bundled a 5V charger, and the battery can be fully charged in under two hours.
Connectivity options include 4G on both SIM cards, and VoLTE support that makes it future-proof. During my usage I didn’t experience any major call drops and the voice from the earpiece was loud and crisp even in noisy environments. There is a pair of bundled earphones as well, but they are only good enough to be used if there is no better option.
The Coolpad Mega 2.5D does everything it is marketed as, and more. Taking into consideration the relatively low price tag, you get a device with a decent display, a processor that can just about handle day-to-day tasks (nothing heavy), and a battery that can survive the day for average users. In terms of competition the only smartphone that comes to our mind is the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi 3s. Xiaomi’s smartphone too is priced at Rs 6,999 and offers a full-metal body, a decent set of specifications, and most importantly, a battery that lasts really long.