We are used to seeing smaller versions of popular smartphones which not only cost less, but are heavily watered down, so much so that they simply carry the name of its bigger brother, but almost everything else is heavily crippled. Luckily, that’s not the case with Coolpad Note 3 Lite, the ‘Lite’ version of Coolpad Note 3 which managed to impress us in many ways.

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The Coolpad Note 3 Lite comes with the same HD (720p) screen that we saw on the Note 3, but smaller at 5-inches. The design and looks of it is just like its big brother, although the back has a slightly textured finish as against the matte finish we saw on the Note 3. It feels comfortable to hold in the hands thanks to the slightly curved back. There’s a golden metallic rim that runs around the screen which looks nice on the white surroundings, as opposed to the chrome rim we saw on the Note 3. The bezels are rather big for a 5-inch phone, but Coolpad has done well to hide it when the screen is switched off. Light up the display and you’ll notice the thick dark bezel on either sides. The capacitive keys aren’t backlit and buttons are all plastic, which sort of negates the premium look provided by the golden rim running around, but that’s expected considering the price point it is sold at. One thing to note about the ports is that the microUSB charging port has been pushed to the bottom left, which can be an issue in certain situations. Overall, the look and feel of Coolpad Note 3 Lite is highly impressive.

And what’s more impressive are its innards. Coolpad has chosen to go with the basic Mediatek MT6735 chipset clocked at 1.3GHz, but has paired with a whopping 3GB of RAM, which is never heard of in this price range. The storage too stands at an impressive 16GB, with microSD card for further memory expansion. The device runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop wrapped in the company’s Cool UI 6.0. Battery has been reduced to 2500mAh, but considering a smaller 5-inch 720p display and lighter SoC, it should be enough to give a decent battery life. The camera too is impressive on paper – a 13MP sensor on the rear and a 5MP snapper on the front- the best we have seen for a Rs 7000 device. And not to mention the 4G LTE support, which will be the buzz going forward in 2016.

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In our limited usage over the past couple of days, the Coolpad Note 3 Lite managed to impress us in more than one way. The most impressive of them all is the fingerprint scanner at the back. We saw how accurate and fast the FP scanner was on the Coolpad Note 3, and it seems the company has used the same sensor on the Lite as well. Setting up and using the FP scanner was a breeze, and it works like a charm. If I have to nitpick, I’d say that the positioning of the FP scanner is bit too low for someone with a relatively large hands like mine. Also, on first use, you are bound to feel the FP sensor is bit too deep, but after using it for a while, you wouldn’t mind that as the finger neatly falls into the sensor.

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The Cool UI isn’t as matured as MIUI or Emotion UI, but has some nice touches as well. You can change wallpapers on a tap, and there are multiple themes to choose from. The general performance has been pretty good, but we shall be reserving our verdict for the full review once we dig deep into different aspects of the device including gaming performance, battery backup, camera review and more. We don’t expect MT6735 to break the benchmark charts, but for a budget smartphone, it is expected to carry out the day-to-day tasks with ease, and that’s exactly the thing we will be looking out for in our tests.

Stay tuned for our full review which should be coming over the next week or so. Let us know if you have any specific questions that we can include in our detailed review.


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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp