If you are someone looking for a budget smartphone in India, you will be the most confused right now. The scene was quite different a couple of years back, when finding a decent smartphone under the price of Rs. 8000 was easy, as there were just a couple options. First Motorola, then Xiaomi, brought in a couple good devices that one can rely on for a long time. Now, several Chinese smartphone brands have followed it, and the latest one in the lot is Coolpad, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer.
Coolpad’s Dazen 1 is a budget device, that is intended to compete against the likes of Xiaomi Redmi 2, Lenovo A6000+, and the Yu Yuphoria. The Dazen 1 is something not already available in China, as we are seeing this directly introduced in India, so will have some eyes raised about how well it would do, but on our initial impressions, it isn’t the best one in terms of design, but does quite well with the specs.
Quickly running through the specs, it is a 5-inch device with a 720p display, and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor along with Adreno 306 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. While the internal storage is 8GB, the second SIM slot can hold a MicroSD card slot, though that will limit the phone to one SIM. The device has a 8-megapixel rear, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.
If there is a design we could relate to, it is of Huawei Honor Holly, the phone priced exactly the same and has almost the same design. This might be something because of the Yureka smartphone we reviewed earlier (it was a rebranded Coolpad F2), but the build quality doesn’t impress a bit. It looks, and feels like a cheapish phone. Not that we are looking at a mid-range device and complaining, but there are alternatives with much better build quality here.
It is a polycarbonate back with a smooth matte finish, and it is removable, letting the user replace the battery if needed. On the front, is a reflective glass panel over the screen, and it isn’t great at least for the initial view under controlled light conditions. To give full advantage of the 5-inch screen, Coolpad has given the capacitive touch navigation buttons below the screen.
It runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and there is no word about the future updates. On the top of it, there is a CoolUI 6 interface given, which quite resembles the MIUI from Xiaomi and iOS from Apple. First thing you’d notice, is that everything is on the home screens, with no app drawer.
The given light conditions weren’t sufficient to give even an early judgement about the camera of the device, though the 8MP & 5MP combination does look good for this price. It will also be good to see how well the smartphone performs for the given battery capacity of 2500 mAh, which is quite higher than the competition.
For our initial views, the Dazen 1 from Coolpad is a good challenger against the likes of Yu Yuphoria and Redmi 2, the two smartphones that have gained a good attention in the budget range, but the reflective screen and the UI might be something to check out for, in the coming days.
[Inputs & Photos by Shimon Das]