Coolpad Legacy Review – A Top Drawer Budget Option

The budget smartphone market in the US is owned by Google’s Android and is populated with phones from a very diverse group – Motorola, BLU Products, Alcatel, Nokia, Honor, and more. Coolpad is another name, if a somewhat goofy one, to add to this list of manufacturers. Not a household name in the US, perhaps, but one to watch out for in the coming years if the Legacy is anything to judge by.

DESIGN

I must say that I’m pretty impressed with the looks of the Coolpad Legacy. It’s available in only one color – what Coolpad calls Quicksilver. The phone frame is aluminum and the back is all plastic but the colors are matched very well and the feel of the phone is pretty high end. The sides are nicely rounded which makes it comfortable to hold. The corners are rounded as well but then they fade into flat surfaces on either end. There’s a nice heft, as well, that contributes to the premium feel.

The top of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack and the bottom has a USB-C port that supports Qualcomm QC 3.0 and a single speaker. The rear of the device has a 16 MP dual-camera setup and a fingerprint reader. Volume and power buttons are on the right side and the SIM/microSD slot is on the left.

The front of the phone is dominated by a large 6.4 inch 1080×2160 LCD display. The screen looks fantastic, as far as LCDs go. The resolution is plenty high enough for most applications. It’s covered in Gorilla Glass 3 which is a nice bonus at this price point. There are narrow side bezels but somewhat larger top and bottom bezels.

The phone doesn’t look anything like a $150 phone and I think most folks that end up with the Legacy will be quite happy with the way it looks and feels. It is the rare piece of tech that seems like a bargain.

PERFORMANCE

The Coolpad Legacy is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. As such, it is not the fastest phone on the market but you will find that it compares favorably to other devices in the segment that often use older SD processors (Moto E series) or MediaTek platforms (almost anything from BLU). In daily use the Legacy performs fine. OS navigation is quick and reliable. Apps open respectably quickly. You won’t get the instant feedback and response that most of today’s top flagships deliver but the Legacy does deliver acceptable performance for the price. Geekbench 4 scores the Legacy at 3859, somewhere in the range of the US Samsung Galaxy S7. The Legacy also has a 4,000 mAh battery which is quite large for this segment and will easily get you through most of a day.

The phone ships with Android 9, which is a nice mark in the plus column, and since I received the review unit it has been updated to the June 2019 security release. There’s very little custom software installed. The unit I received for review is the Metro/T-Mobile version so there are a couple of carrier management apps, a visual voicemail app, and the Lookout security app. They are easily disabled which leaves you with a very bare Android canvas on which to customize the phone as you wish. One notable addition is face unlock, which works very well but may not be as secure as other unlock methods. For me, I’ll stick with the fingerprint reader.

Casual games will run quite well and the Legacy can run heavier games like PUBG though performance will vary at higher resolutions and detail levels. One of the games I commonly test against low-end phones is Hitman: Sniper and I’m pleased to say that the Coolpad Legacy runs it very well and with full detail.

PUBG Mobile

CAMERA

Camera is the place where budget phones usually fall short and the Coolpad Legacy is no exception. The primary camera is a dual lens 16 MP shooter. It performs well enough in well lit environments but low-light performance is only OK. The camera does have all of the features most users will want – portrait, slow-mo, panorama, and HDR support. The front camera is a typical selfie camera that rings in at 13 MP. Nothing special about it but it works just fine.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are a lot of choices for budget phones but the Coolpad Legacy is one of the best I’ve tried. It isn’t a flagship phone but is pretty close to one in certain aspects. Everything from the size to the build quality and the software build are fantastic. The camera isn’t great and the CPU isn’t the fastest but if you are looking for a phone for $150 the Coolpad Legacy is a smart choice. It’s available from Metro and Boost Mobile and is frequently featured in sales and promotions, sometimes even for free.

SPECS

CPUQualcomm Snapdrag 450 @ 1800 MHz
RAM3 GB
Internal Storage32 GB
microSD SupportYes, up to 128 GB
LTE Bands2/4/5/12/66/71
HSPA Bands850/1700/2100/1900
Battery4000 mAh
OSAndroid 9.0, June 2019
Display6.8 inches, 1080x2160, 380 PPI
Main Camera16 MP + Depth Sensor with LED Flash
Front Camera13 MP
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear
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Robert Daniels

I'm a long-time tech and gadget enthusiast that currently uses Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and iOS devices. I'm always interested in ways to improve my family's life with new devices and services, though my beautiful wife might just say I'm addicted to playing with gadgets.