Coolpad Dazen 1 first impressions: a contender to watch out for in the budget-performance space

“At a price point of Rs 6,999, the Dazen 1 is currently the most affordable smartphone with 2GB RAM”

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Coolpad’s online-only Dazen brand debuted today in India with the launch of the Dazen X7 and Dazen 1. While the X7 is its mid-range smartphone that offers a premium design and powerful specs, the Dazen 1 brings serious competition in the already buzzing budget-performance territory.

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It’s clear that the brand has set its sights on becoming a strong player in the subcontinent as it made several digs on popular offerings (Redmi 2 and Lenovo A6000 Plus) in the sub-Rs 8,000 segment during the launch event to suggest how powerful the Dazen 1 is, especially considering its asking price of Rs 6,999. While the specs do drive home the point the brand is making about the Dazen 1, we know that it takes more than just specs to provide a wholesome experience. While we weren’t able to test that out in the short time we spent with the device, we do have some thoughts to offer on the smartphone as our first impressions.

The Coolpad Dazen 1 is decidedly a budget offering with its conventional looks and plastic body. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when we consider its asking price. It has rounded corners and features a 5-inch display, allowing it to fit well in the hands. The ergonomics are further improved by its slim and lightweight construction. While our demo unit was in white, you can also get the phone in grey.

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The display panel is flanked by an earpiece, the secondary camera and a couple of sensors above and a row of capacitive navigation keys below. Though the keys have backlighting, we found it to be quite faint. On the right, you’ll find the power / sleep toggle, though its placement is towards the top, making it slightly difficult to access. The left spine houses the volume rocker, while the 3.5mm audio socket is available on the top. The micro-USB port can be found at the base of the Dazen 1.

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The rear sports the primary camera along with LED flash and a speaker mesh further below. The smooth finish at the back offers good grip, though it might become slippery when the hands are sweaty. The back cover can be removed to access the battery compartment and slots for inserting a pair of micro-SIM cards and a microSD card.

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Being a budget performance offering, the highlight of the Dazen 1 is its core hardware. It draws power from a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor which offers four Cortex-A53 cores that are compatible with 64-bit architecture. The chipset is combined with Adreno 306GPU and 2GB of RAM. The amount of RAM, without a doubt, is its biggest USP… since currently it’s the most affordable smartphone with 2GB RAM. Therefore, it should allow you to play high-end games or multitask with ease. As far as the storage goes, the handset ships with 8GB of flash memory, out of which around 3.6GB is free to use. You can also add more storage of up to 32GB to the Dazen 1.

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For imaging, the Dazen 1 comes with an 8-megapixel camera featuring f/2.2 aperture, supplemented by an LED flash. The smartphone should be great for selfie lovers too, as it’s equipped with a 5MP front-facing camera. Along with the usual modes such as Panorama, the camera app on the handset also offers a Pro mode. As its name suggests, it allows you to manipulate parameters like ISO, shutter speed, etc. as per your needs.

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Interface-wise, just like its Chinese counterparts, the Dazen 1 comes with a custom layer dubbed CoolUI. This is currently in version 6 and is based on Android 4.4 KitKat. With its unified homescreen approach for presenting all apps with colourful-yet-flat icons and the ability to change themes, you’ll feel right at home if you’ve tried or used the likes of MIUI or Amigo UI. However, there are some interesting features in the OS as well. You can change the wallpaper by simply clicking on the Rock Wallpaper app on the homescreen. You can also open two apps at the same time, thanks to the multi-screen option that presents a clickable dock on any side of the screen, clicking on which brings you list of compatible apps that can be used simultaneously.

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The dual-SIM smartphone supports 4G on its primary SIM along with usual connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. Powering the show on the Dazen 1 is a 2,500mAh battery, which is more than the capacities offered by the competition. Dazen also said that its battery-saving technology can help the device get almost 50 percent better battery life, though the feature is still in development and will be available via an update later.

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Like most devices in this space, the Dazen Coolpad 1 will be available via the flash sales model, with its first sale scheduled on June 9th on Snapdeal. Registrations for the sale begin today. With its price tag of Rs 6,999, the device will be going against the likes of the YU Yuphoria (first impressions) and Lenovo A6000 Plus (review), which are priced marginally higher. If the brand manages to put enough units on sale, then there’s no reason for the Dazen 1 not to become a popular choice among consumers.

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