“The Dazen X7 from Coolpad manages to stand out in the crowd thanks to a few noteworthy features”
The smartphone bazaar in India has heated up to a point which can possibly only be matched by the searing temperatures in Delhi right now. And we’ve just returned from another smartphone launch event in Delhi, where China-based Coolpad unveiled its Dazen X7 and Dazen 1 smartphones. The Coolpad name is sort of ironic, since its adding to the heat we’re currently witnessing in the handset sector. These devices mark the debut of the brand in India, adding to the already packed store shelves (Snapdeal’s virtual shelves in this case). The fact is that India still has a massive potential for growth in the smartphone sector, making it a lucrative destination for brands looking for a slice of the pie. Coolpad now joins the likes of Gionee, Xiaomi, vivo, OPPO, Honor, MEIZU and others, who’ve all landed from China to call India their home. In this overcrowded market, where even established players like Micromax had to think out of the box (resulting in the online-only brand YU), it’s important for new entrants to offer well-differentiated products to stand out. While the budget Dazen 1 does that thanks to its affordable pricing and compelling specs, let’s see if the more premium Dazen X7 manages to do that or not.
At first glance, the Dazen X7, looks quite stylish – clad in a white unibody and a metal frame. The smartphone is available in two variants – one with a titanium-finished frame and another that sports a gold-finished band. The accents around the rear camera match the colour of the frame. Looks-wise, the Dazen X7 is a flat, thin slab, resembling the Gionee Elife S5.5 (review). Up front is a gorgeous 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display, with wide bezels on the top and bottom.
There are no hardware capacitive keys to be found below the screen, since these are implemented in the software. Above the screen, you’ll see the earpiece, sensors and the 8-megapixel front camera. The bottom sports the micro-USB port and the speaker, while the headset socket is on the top.
On the left spine, you’ll see the volume rocker, while the right is crammed with a power key, along with two ejectable trays. The tray at the bottom gobbles up a micro-SIM, while the one above it can either accept a nano-SIM or a microSD card if you want to add more to the 16GB storage which is built in. The hybrid dual-SIM device has about 11GB available to use, based on what we saw on the demo unit.
At the rear, you’ll see the lens for the primary 13-megapixel camera, along with the dual-LED flash. These are ensconced in a metallic embellishment that just out of the phone’s body and makes the camera look very prominent. There’s Coolpad branding closer to the bottom.
In terms of software, you get Coolpad’s custom platform dubbed CoolUI, which uses Android KitKat as the base. A Lollipop update is promised sometime in the future. As with most custom ROMs and Android skins from Chinese smartphone brands, the platform doesn’t feature a separate app drawer. As per Coolpad, the UI is based around personalisation, security and simplicity. We’ll have more on this when we get to review the device, but at first glance, it does look nicely designed. One the features it offers is the ability to change wallpapers just by tapping the Rock Wallpaper icon, and you’ll also find a Samsung-like multi window mode as well.
One of the main highlights of the Dazen X7 is its camera, which not only features f/1.8 aperture that promises pristine image quality in low light, but also boasts optical image stabilisation… a feature usually found only in more premium handsets. Further, the Pro mode offered by the camera app that lets one tweak a variety of settings also adds to the promise of lovely photos. Again, this is something we’d want to focus on when we review the smartphone.
With the octa-core MediaTek 6595 SoC clocked at 1.7GHz and 2GB RAM under the hood, the Dazen X7 should also offer smooth usage, though we can’t comment about the 2,700Mah battery yet. The smartphone has been priced at Rs 17,990, and at that price, competes with the recently-launched nubia Z9 Mini (first impressions), along with the likes of the Honor 6 (review), the Lenovo Vibe X2 (review) and the Xiaomi Mi 4 (review). Each of these has its pluses and minuses, so do wait for our Dazen X7 review before you make up your minds.