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There are high end smartphones targeted to early adopters, but Coolpad is focused on developing and releasing family-friendly technology. It set out to design its flagship smartphone, the Coolpad Legacy, to satisfy the important features for its budget-conscious users. A review unit arrived a few days ago and I am frankly blown away by the design, features, performance, and price of this new phone.

High end flagships are commonly priced in the $800 to $1,100 price range today with a focus on camera performance, AI, and other features that push technology forward. While it is great that these companies keep innovating, we don’t necessarily need all of these features to get work done with our phones. This was made even more evident last week when the Google Pixel 3a mid-level phone was released by Google for just $399.

The new Coolpad Legacy is designed with a large display, huge capacity battery and Quick Charge 3.0, high quality plastic and glass materials, a microSD expansion card, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and even launches with Android 9 Pie out of the box. There has to be trade-offs made at the $130 price, but it’s hard to see where these compromises were made on the Coolpad Legacy.

Also: Best cheap phones: $300 (or much less) buys a great iPhone or Galaxy alternative

The Coolpad Legacy is being offered for $129.99 at Metro by T-Mobile. This means you get service with no annual contracts on a pre-paid basis. Metro by T-Mobile has plans that start at $30 per month that go up to $60 per month with special offers from Google and Amazon Prime.

Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 1.8 GHz octa-core
  • Display: 6.36 inch 2160×1080 pixels resolution, 18:9 aspect ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
  • Cameras: 16 megapixel and 5 megapixel rear cameras. 13 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, FM radio
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh non-removable with Quick Charge 3.0
  • Dimensions: 165.8 x 80.5 x 8.4 mm and 169.8 grams

The mid-level specs include the processor, RAM, and camera hardware. However, a 4,000 mAh battery with this mid-level processor should result in great battery life. I’ve only been using it for three days so can’t judge the battery life yet.

Hardware

The Coolpad Legacy is a large device with a big 6.36 inch LCD 1080p display. The side bezels are fairly narrow with top and bottom bezels just under a half inch wide. There are no buttons on the display with a 13 megapixel camera and headset speaker positioned above the display. Honestly, the screen looks great and I’ve watched a couple of TV shows on Netflix that looked awesome to my 50 year-old eyes.

The sides are rounded high quality silver plastic while the top and bottom ends are flat. A USB-C port is on the bottom while a 3.5mm headset jack is on the top. The SIM/microSD card slot is on the left while the volume and power buttons are on the right.

The back has a glossy insert piece and a central area that has a slightly different silver color to give the Coolpad Legacy a classy look. A central capacitive fingerprint scanner is positioned below the single LED flash and dual rear cameras, stacked vertically. The second rear 5 megapixel serves as a depth sensor for portrait mode shots.

Software

The Coolpad Legacy runs the latest version of Android, 9.0 Pie, with the March 2019 Android security update. The phone has a fairly stock experience, similar to a Google Pixel, with standard home screen panels and Google Discover as a left panel option.

There are a couple of Metro by T-Mobile utilities installed, including an app store, mobile hotspot, Name ID, Visual Voicemail, and myMetro. There are no useless games or other bloatware apps installed on the phone. Thankfully, there is also a FM radio app installed so I can enjoy local sports while I am out and about.

Initial experiences

When I first unboxed the Coolpad Legacy, I was very impressed by the size, build quality, and initial speed of the phone. I’ve used it all weekend, including capturing some photos, leaving it off the charger, watching Netflix content, messaging and calling contacts, interacting with social networks, reading Google News, and surfing the internet. I still cannot believe this phone is only $130.

The large screen is very easy to read, even with the default font and text sizes. It has been very responsive at switching between apps so I have to try playing some more processor-intensive games to see what limits the phone. Volume through the single bottom speaker is fine, but audio has also been good through the headphone jack and Bluetooth headsets.

Coolpad has a goal to become a brand for families with a smartphone that appeals to various members of the family at a great value. While I have more testing to do over the next couple of weeks, the Coolpad Legacy is clearly a winner at just $130.

If you have anything you would like me to test out on this phone as I continue to test it out, please let me know in the comments below.




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