Coolpad Legacy review: Small price tag, big screen, impressive battery

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The Coolpad Legacy was announced back in May at an astonishing price of US$129.99.

8.8/10 rating

Most of the tech press tends to jump on the flagship smartphone review bandwagon and ignore the rest of the field behind them. We review our fair share of flagship phones, but we also see the value in providing reviews of cheaper, more attainable smartphones. Our latest budget-friendly smartphone review is the Coolpad Legacy.

The Coolpad Legacy was announced back in May at an astonishing price of US$129.99. The Coolpad Legacy is available exclusively on Metro PCS/T-Mobile but also has a model out for Boost Mobile. The Coolpad Legacy impressed us with not only its price tag but its large, ample screen and impressive battery. Read on for the full review of the Coolpad Legacy.

Specifications

The Coolpad Legacy has the following features and specifications:

  • Display: Gorilla Glass 3, 6.36 FHD+, 2160 x 1080 resolution, and 18:9 aspect ratio
  • CPU: Qualcomm SDM450 1.8 GHz Octa Core
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB with MicroSD support up to 128GB
  • OS: Android 9 Pie
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Camera:
    • Front: 13MP (1080p video capture)
    • Rear: 16MP & 5MP with LED flash (1080p video capture)
  • Sensors: e-Compass, Gyroscope sensor, Accelerometer
  • Connectivity:
    • 2G GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
    • 3G WCDMA: B2/4/5
    • 4G LTE: B2/4/5/12/66/71
    • VoLTE Capable: Yes
    • Wi-Fi Calling Capable: Yes
    • Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Sound: Bluetooth 4.2
  • HAC Rating: M4/T4
  • Dimensions: 6.53″ x 3.17″ x .33″ and 5.99 oz.

What’s In The Box

  • Coolpad Legacy
  • Wall charger
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • SIM card removal tool
  • Manuals and documentation

Design

The design of the Coolpad Legacy is familiar once you take it out of the box. One of our YouTube viewers said it reminded them of the ZTE Blade Max. I can see some ZTE inspired lines here, but I also see a bit of Sony and other brands. It’s certainly not a unique design but it manages to stay relevant and attractive.

The first thing you notice about this phone is its girth and size. While it is sporting a screen size that’s comparable to flagship phones, it’s body size is larger. It sort of reminds me of the Nexus 6 which felt gargantuan in the hand. The nice thing is that it isn’t slippery and is easy to hold on to, even with its wide stance.

Along the left side of the device is the SIM card/MicroSD card tray. Along the right side of the device is the volume rocker and power button, which I appreciate. I love having both my main buttons on the right side, it’s much easier to operate. The power button does not have a texture to it though, it would have been nice to have that added.

Along the top of the Coolpad Legacy are the microphone and the headphone jack. Yes, this does have a headphone jack for those who are still clinging on to it until the bitter end. Along the bottom are the single speaker and the USB-C port for charging. Coolpad did the right thing here by adding USB-C and not MicroUSB.

Only one color, but it’s decent.
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Around back is the dual-camera setup, LED flash, and fingerprint sensor. The back is made of shiny plastic material which gives the appearance of glass and at first glance looks like it, too. The front glass is Gorilla Glass 3, which isn’t the most current but is still better than regular glass.

The bezels on the front are fairly thick, which adds to the footprint of the chassis. The front-facing camera, battery notification light, and sensors are at the top of the phone, and the whole thing is being held together with what seems to be a metal frame but might also be plastic.

Overall, the design is actually appealing and relevant. It’s a large phone for sure, with big bezels, but it’s not bad for the crazy US$129.99 price.

Display

The display here is just a bit better than FHD with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 which is considered FHD+. Honestly, I was surprised to see an FHD+ panel on the Coolpad Legacy. Given the price point, I was expecting, at best, an FHD display and at worst an HD display. That being said, FHD+ is only slightly better in resolution than FHD so it’s not a major disconnect.

The great thing here is that you can actually enjoy FHD content on this display unlike other budget phones that only have a 1280 x 720 resolution, and that’s honestly a great value.

Colors are pretty standard here, nothing punchy or oversaturated but very natural and clean. The whites were actually surprising as they were cleaner and whiter than even my Pixel 3 XL, which shocked me. Blacks are decent, not the best or deepest out there but decent. Screen brightness is good, you can use this in bright sunlight but the screen will wash out a bit, which is pretty standard for most displays.

Coolpad Legacy
Decent screen for this price!

Video and photo consumption was great on this display, the clarity isn’t as good as some flagship phones but again, this is a very inexpensive device. It was nice not having a notch or punch hole, even though the bezels are big.

Overall, given the price of the Coolpad Legacy, this display is actually really great. It’s FHD+ and it’s not that far off from flagship devices colors and range. It could stand to be a bit brighter but that’s a minor gripe.

Software

The Coolpad Legacy is running Android Pie 9.0 which is fantastic for a super budget smartphone like this. Often times you find these budget devices running a year, sometimes two year, old software. This isn’t the case here and that’s a huge plus for Coolpad.

For the most part, the interface here is mostly stock Android. There are a few apps from Metro PCS installed and the Google Assistant screen has been modified to add a Metro PCS tab.

There’s really little else to report here. Some carrier bloatware is all there really is. Overall, this comes fairly close to giving you a stock Android experience just falling short a bit.

Performance

The Coolpad Legacy is running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 which isn’t the most muscular of CPUs out there but it gets the job done. The Coolpad Legacy ran nicely with the 450 during everyday tasks. Browsing, email, social media, YouTube/media, streaming, voice/video calls, and all the normal stuff.

Even scrolling and gestures worked fluidly for the most part. Gaming was even pretty good, for games that aren’t graphic intensive. Once you get to graphic intensive games you will see some lag, stutter, and dropped frames. This is normal for a CPU of this caliber and a budget phone in general. I suspect most people buying this phone won’t be gaming heavily anyway.

I suspect most people will be using the Coolpad Legacy for email, social media, texts, video calls, and video/music consumption . For that crowd, I think this phone is going to fit the bill. Overall, the Coolpad Legacy performs like most budget phones perform, just normal.

USB Type-C charging and speaker.

Speakers/Sound

I’m not going to go too much into the speaker on the Coolpad Legacy. Let’s just say, it’s weak. This is not even close to being a great speaker and if you care about sound, use headphones or a Bluetooth speaker. This speaker works fine for phone calls and short YouTube stints, but not good for music and movies.

Camera

Just a gentle reminder that the Coolpad Legacy is a budget device so you shouldn’t expect flagship camera performance from this sensor. That being said, the camera is actually pretty good. Actually, it’s really decent in good lighting, which is where the majority of photos are taken.

Of course, it does struggle in low-light with most of those photos coming out with noise in them. But as I said, most people are taking photos in mostly well-lit places and the photos coming out of the Coolpad Legacy are well worth the price of admission.

While they don’t have the punchy colors of some flagship devices, I think the colors are pretty natural and even. Sometimes the camera overexposes and blows out highlights but it’s not on every shot. The portrait mode on this camera isn’t all that good, but that mode is really not something most people use.

Overall, most buyers are going to be fine with this camera. Mostly because they’ll be walking out of the store with US$850+ more cash in their bank account than the buyer who is walking out with an iPhone, Pixel or Galaxy phone.

Reception/Call Quality

Not much to report here. Reception is good and call quality is excellent.

Battery Life

The Coolpad Legacy has a 4,000mAh battery and that battery does an amazing job of keeping this phone going. The phone consistently lasted me through a whole day with at least 35% left in the tank. I even took it into a day and a half before it needed recharging.

The Coolpad Legacy has Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and I was able to charge my device using the supplied charger in just under 2.5 hours. Some of our YouTube viewers have said it takes them 3.0+ to charge fully. I have reached out to Coolpad to see if they could comment on that.

Overall, the battery life on this phone is excellent, especially for a budget device.

Coolpad Legacy
Headphone jack

Price/Value

I mean, how can you argue with US$129.99, and you can get it for free if you switch over to MetroPCS/T-Mobile. There is also a version available on Boost Mobile but you can’t use the MetroPCS one on other carriers.

Wrap Up

If you’re a MetroPCS/T-Mobile customer or looking to switch to them, the Coolpad Legacy is a great deal. That is if none of the trappings of flagship phones have you thinking otherwise. No, you’re not going to get flagship camera performance or flagship gaming performance. But for the amount you’re saving, you probably don’t mind.

Not all of us have $US1,000+ laying around and not all of us want to finance that much. Some of us just want to pay for the phone outright and not worry about owing or paying a monthly bill for it. The Coolpad Legacy is the phone that will do that for you. No, it’s not for everyone, but there are a lot of people who will love this price and for the price, it’s got the goods.

*We received a review unit of the Coolpad Legacy for the purposes of this review.
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Coolpad Legacy

US$129.99
8.8

Design

9.0/10

Display

8.5/10

Software

9.0/10

Performance

8.5/10

Speakers/Sound

8.5/10

Camera

8.0/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Nice ample FHD+ display
  • Design is current and relevant
  • Runs Android 9 Pie
  • Excellent battery life
  • Probably the best priced budget phone on the market
  • Volume and power button on the same side
  • Fingerprint sensor works well

Needs work

  • Bezels are a bit large adding to its size
  • Does suffer from some stutter and lag in some apps
  • Speaker is weak
  • Cameras aren't the best but this is a budget phone
  • Locked to MetroPCS/T-Mobile

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