There’s a club of phones and brands that are widely perceived as workstation class phones – those with the memory capacity, processing power and battery performance that enables them to keep going long after most phones have given up the ghost. They also pack enough punch to deal with any task thrown at them, from simple social networking to processing photos and videos and the like.
Then there’s the club of phones and brands that appear to have made it their goal to displace the previously mentioned products by bringing to market, phones that are not only quite comparable to workstation class phones, but even perhaps better for a huge chunk of the market, given their extreme affordability and value for money proposition. The Coolpad Cool 1 is one such product – it creates a whole new band of choice for those of us who need better features without having to pay a premium for them.
Think about that for a moment – a 5.5 inch screen with full HD (1080 x 1920) resolution, a 4000 mAh (non-removable) battery, 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa-core processor, 4 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, 13 and 8 megapixel rear and selfie cameras respectively – in a 173 gm full metal body that looks all set to party. Click here to check out the complete specs of this phone.
If you aren’t very aware of smartphone prices, here’s the catch. I did a comparison of the specs and price, pitting the Coolpad Cool 1 against others in the market with similar hardware and software specs. The Coolpad Cool 1 ends up being very favourably placed even with those phones priced three times higher. Now, those phones have a great feature set for which one can expect to shell out more. However, given the undeniable attraction of the Coolpad Cool 1‘s offerings, I find its price to be quite reasonable and affordable.
But, enough about that. It’s time to check out the camera.
Dual 13 MP Rear Camera
The Coolpad Cool 1 has two rear cameras that capture the same frame simultaneously in colour and black & white. These two images are then combined into a single 13 Mega Pixel image that is said to have greater image contrast as well as unrivalled clarity. Let’s put that to the test and see how it performs.
In fact, from the facts at my disposal, this feature of a dual rear camera is available for the first time in a phone at this price. Other phones with this feature appear to cost in excess of INR 35k.
The above photo (colour) was taken indoors, with normal, indoor ambient light levels. As you can see, the surface details are sharp and clear, the colours show up vibrant and life like and there’s very little distortion that characterises phone photos or those photos taken with smaller lenses, such as those found in phones. The one on the left was taken indoors, but under sunlight so bright that even the bright LCD of this phone had difficulty being fully visible The camera however adapted beautifully and was able to capture a lovely frame that I later converted into black and white. Note that the high contrast makes all the elements of this photo quite clear in addition to every detail being visible and discernible.
Exploring Camera Modes
Let’s explore the camera modes now. There are a bunch of modes available and I was quite pleasantly surprised at noting that Coolpad has packed in a bunch of great modes in there that are likely to hold you in good stead regardless of what you’re trying to do.
Video: Starting with videos seems like a good thing, considering the camera has so many more options for still photography. The video mode on the Coolpad Cool 1 is straightforward – start the camera, choose a resolution from among 1080, 720 and 4k, of which 4k video is the highest resolution, switch the camera from front to rear if you wish and go shooting!
You know the GIFs seen so often on social media platforms? Now you can make your own GIFs with the Coolpad Cool 1‘s GIF mode, which allows the user to very quickly shoot animated GIFs for later sharing!
Now on to where the folks at Coolpad appear to have really focused all their talent – still photography. The still camera in the Coolpad Cool 1 has multiple modes to choose from, with multiple options in each. The regular ‘Photo’ mode can be used to take SLR style photos with blurred foreground and background, HDR processed photos plus they can be stamped with cute little icons depending on the mood you’re in.
Did you know the Coolpad Cool 1 has an IR Blaster built into the phone in addition to a Reverse Charging feature? This means if you’re running out of battery on any other device, the Coolpad Cool 1 can help charge it. How cool is that?!
Then we have the ‘Beauty’ mode, which can be used as is, simply by choosing a ‘Beauty Level’ from 1 to 5 and shooting. Or, if you’re quite specific in how you want the phone to make you even more good looking, you can choose from 5 levels each of whitening, smoothening, slimming or enlarging. When I was testing this mode, there I was looking at my mug and while I knew something was different, it took me a few moments to figure out yours truly was had fairer, smoother skin in addition to a somewhat slimmer face. So, genes aren’t a limiting factor any more.
Remember, if you don’t see all the modes on your new Coolpad Cool 1, check to see which camera is currently enabled. The rear cameras are usually more packed with features than the front cameras. Chances are, your front camera is turned on and switching to the rear camera will do the trick and enable the rest of the modes, like SLR mode, Pro mode and so on.
Finally, you simply must start shooting most if not all your photos with Pro mode. I’ll explain this mode in detail in the video below. For now however, Pro mode allows the manual control of white balance, ISO level, exposure, exposure time/shutter speed, manual focus, saturation and contrast. Each of these settings works towards taking your photographs a step closer to perfection.
Check out the video above and you’ll know why the Coolpad Cool 1 is quite ahead of its price point and if photos are what you do, and you’re on a budget, there’s no better phone.