Recently, LeEco became the largest shareholder in Coolpad – one of China’s leading smartphone brands. LeEco now owns 28.9 percent of Coolpad’s shares. Both these brands are known for making affordable large-screen smartphones with class-leading specs. The two Chinese forces have joined hands now and the first smartphone to mark this unison is the Coolpad Cool1 Dual.

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The Cool1 Dual has just been launched in India for Rs 13,999, making it the most affordable dual-camera smartphone yet. Considering the price bracket it operates in, the Cool1 Dual competes with some stellar phones like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review), LeEco Le 2 (review), Moto G4 Plus (review), and a few others. It is also interesting to note that the Honor 6X – another affordable dual camera smartphone – is slated to launch soon, which is bound to make the segment even more interesting. Is 2017 going to be the year of affordable phones with dual camera setups? We’d like to hope so.

Coming back to the Cool1 Dual, we’ve had the phone with us for a few days and here are our first impressions of the device.

Right out of the box, the Cool1 Dual looks like any other metal-bodied candybar smartphone that has sort of become a norm in this price range. However, the overall fit and finish of the phone is great. With a neatly chamfered frame and rounded edges, the Cool1 Dual looks and feels like an expensive smartphone. On the rear, there is a vertical strip cut out especially for the dual camera. This strip protrudes ever so slightly and below it you can find the fingerprint scanner. The phone uses a USB Type-C port and also provides a SIM tray with two slots for separate nano SIMs. However, there is no separate memory card slot and you will have to be content with the 32GB of internal storage space. 

The front facia of the device is dominated by a fairly large 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen. It offers a brightness of 450nits, according to the brand. However, we noticed that the screens brightness levels were not up to the mark. Also, the black border around the screen looks bad.

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The phone comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC and Adreno 510 GPU, mated to 4 gigs of RAM. At least in our limited time with the device, we found it to be fairly snappy. The Cool1 Dual comes with a large 4,000mAh battery, which should ideally last you more than a day’s worth of usage. We shall confirm the battery’s real-world performance in the full review of the device. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with LeEco’s EUI on top of it. Another interesting addition is the inclusion of an infrared scanner, which is primarily used by the bundled Remote Control app. This app can be used to control your electronic devices.

The calling card of the Cool1 Dual is obviously its dual 13-megapixel cameras on the rear. The second camera is used to collect monochromatic information, which – according to the company – aids in shooting better quality images with more detail in them. This implementation is similar to the dual camera implementation on the Honor 8 (review) and the Huawei P9 (review). The app also offers an SLR mode — a misleading name for what it actually does, really — that can shoot images with pronounced depth-of-field. In our limited time with the phone, we noticed that this feature doesn’t make use of the secondary camera – like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (review) – to add the depth information. It rather does so with the use of software trickery. The results were average at best. There is also an 8-megapixel front camera for selfies. More details and an in-depth performance analysis of all the cameras will be done in our actual review.

All in all, the Cool1 Dual is an interesting proposition – one that offers a little more than the competition thanks to its dual cameras. Will it be enough to sway buyers? Stay tuned for our full review of the phone to find out.