Octacore $146 Coolpad Halo F1 Review


The current price wars in China are forcing smartphone makers to drop prices lower than ever while raising the bar on quality and performance. The Coolpad Halo F1 is one such phone which boasts an octacore processor at less than $150!

Coolpad Halo F1 Review

The writing was already on the wall well before 2014 started. Chinese phone makers will be competing on price more than ever this year, but more than just dipping prices, they will also be expected to raise the bar in terms of quality and the level of hardware.

octacore coolpad f1 review

The sub 1000 Yuan price band is where most Chinese phone makers are making their living these days, so it is these entry-level smartphones, with mid-range specifications which could potentially make or break a brand for 2014!

With rising competition from Huawei’s Honor 3C, 3X, Xiaomi’s Hongmi, and JiaYu G2F, Chinese phone giant Coolpad have had to also enter the war! Their weapon of choice, the Coolpad Halo F1!

Coolpad Halo F1 Specifications

While it is not all that uncommon to see mid-range phones with great 720p displays, modern processors and 13 mega-pixel rear camera for around 1000 Yuan ($165), the hardware on the F1 really is impressive considering the phone boasts the above plus 2GB RAM, 5 mega-pixel front camera and 1.7Ghz octacore chipset!

[komper pid=158 compareform=no]

CoolPad Halo F1 Octacore Review

CoolPad decided to bring out the big guns when it unveiled the CoolPad Halo F1 Octacore phone. Rather than just settling for an octacore smartphone which can be bought for less than 1000 Yuan, they decided to drop the price further thus creating the world’s cheapest octacore smartphone!

At 888 Yuan you might think that CoolPad had to cut some corners to lower the price to such ridiculous levels, but take a look at the specifications listed above and you will note a 5-inch 720p display, 5 mega-pixel front camera, 13 mega-pixel rear camera, 2GB RAM, 8GB of internal memory, and of course that 1.7Ghz Meidatek MT6592 processor!

Coolpad Halo F1 Review – Design

octacore coolpad f1 review

Before we get ahead of ourselves let’s take a step back and give the display another look. 5-inch 1280 x 720 displays are quite common on phones of this price and even cheaper these days, but what makes the panel on the octacore CoolPad better than those usually offered are the great viewing angles afforded by the IPS technology and the extra knock and scrape protection of the fully laminated finish!

octacore coolpad f1 review

Around the display we have a rather basic ‘candy bar’ style phone. The F1 isn’t going to win any style awards, but it isn’t an ugly phone either. Bezels around the screen are of average width for a phone of this level, and the rest of the design is similar to any number of Chinese Android phones currently on the market. It’s good that CoolPad have kept things simple as it could have been easy for them to spoil a phone with such great hardware with a cheap, tacky design we so often find on entry-level phones.

octacore coolpad f1 review

With such a generic design its isn’t surprising to find the usual icons accompanying the Android navigation buttons on the chin of the phone, and the 5 mega-pixel front camera, proximity sensor and receiver all where you would expect them to be.

octacore coolpad f1 review

CoolPad have decided to continue the basic design on to the rear of the phone, although the textured silver finish does make a change from the regular all black of white rears we are used to seeing. The textured finish also helps to provide some grip to the rear which will help avoid accidents.

octacore coolpad f1 review

The 13 megapixel rear camera and LED flash live at the top of the phone are designed to sit flush with the back of the phone, which I personally prefer when compared to a raised design. The square camera lens also gets a steel ring around it to stop the lens itself from resting on the surface of a table, desk etc and should help to reduce the chances of scratching.

octacore coolpad f1 review

Everything really is kept to a minimum on the rear of the CoolPad Halo F1 with the only other notable features being the Coolpad logo and single rectangle opening for the external speaker.

Read Also:  Doogee S98 Pro coming early June with thermal imaging and alien-inspired design

Things continue to look familiar as we find a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, micro USB in the bottom, power button on the right and volume controls on the left. Personally this is my favourite layout and like Coolpad’s no nonsense approach to the exterior for the F1.

octacore coolpad f1 review

The silver rear of the phone can be remove to reveal the replaceable battery, dual SIM card spaces and micro SD card memory bay.

octacore coolpad f1 review

With the rather generous 2500mAh battery removed we can see that this version of the F1 is designed to work on China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA 3G network, we can also make out that both SIM slots are for regular SIM sizes.

octacore coolpad f1 review

According to reviews who have tested the phone, the 2500mAh battery in the Coolpad F1 can easily last 1-2 days of moderate use without needing a top up!

Coolpad Halo F1 review – CoolLife UI

Like many other Chinese phone makers, CoolPad are aiming to differentiate their phones from others through the use of a custom UI. CoolPad’s UI is called CoolLife and in the F1 it is version 5.5 based on Android 4.2.2.

octacore coolpad f1 review

CoolLife UI treats us to a nice flat icon pack (if that’s what you enjoy that is) with plenty of custom tweaks offering some additional functionality. Lockscreen widgets and notification bar options are plentiful.

octacore coolpad f1 review

CoolLife 5.5 runs very smoothly on the F1 with fluid transitions and excellent overall performance, just what we expect to see from an octacore phone with a full 2GB RAM on tap.

CoolPad Halo F1 review – main camera

octacore coolpad f1 review

octacore coolpad f1 review

octacore coolpad f1 review

The 13 mega-pixel rear camera and LED flash on the F1 are similar to those available on rival devices such as the Red Hot Chili, and Huawei Honor 3C. Performance of the hardware is very good, especially considering the price of the phone although photos do appear a little reddish at times and the white balance can be a little off at times too. This could be fixed with software updates, or by adjusting the various camera options in the camera app.

octacore coolpad f1 review

Macro mode on the F1 is exceptionally good with the subject in the foreground easily distinguished from the blurred background. This effect can be hard to achieve on more expensive phones so to see such a good macro option on the F1 is especially exciting.

octacore coolpad f1 review

Low light night photos are also worthy of praise. The sample photo here offering an overall clear night images which isn’t overly noisy.

CoolPad Halo F1 review – Performance

A 1.7Ghz octacore processor and 2GB RAM spells a powerful smartphone regardless of price. The CoolPad Halo F1 is no exception and hits much higher than the 888 Yuan price tag would otherwise suggested.

octacore coolpad f1 review

Video performance is excellent with full HD 1080 video running as smoothly as it does on any flagship smartphone, and benchmarks have to be the highest of any smartphone in this price range.

octacore coolpad f1 review

In Antutu the CoolPad Halo F1 manages to score 26.667 points, which is slightly less than the more expensive Huawei Honor 3X but significantly more than the similarly priced Huawei Honor 3C with 2GB RAM! You can also see the F1 anhilates the ageing Xiaomi Hongmi which can only manage an Antutu of 16,094.

octacore coolpad f1 review

It’s a similar story for 3D mark where the F1 scores less than the Huawei Honor 3X, but again beats the 2GB RAM 3C and Xiaomi Hongmi.

octacore coolpad f1 review

Interestingly the CoolPad is easily the best of the 4 phones when it comes to HTML5 in web browsing with a Vellamo score of 1969.

CoolPad Halo F1 review – Conclusion

Xiaomi might have started the sub 1000 Yuan price war, but after seeing what rivals such as Huawei and CoolPad have managed to do in the market we can’t help but think that Xiaomi may have opened a can of worms they just can’t hope to keep a lid on!

octacore coolpad f1 review

We are going to see plenty of rival phones at the sub 1000 Yuan price bracket go on sale over the coming months, however the one to beat is the CoolPad Halo F1!

[ Original Chinese Review ]
Previous $115 Xiaolajiao Red Hot Chili phone preview - amazing value and great design
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76 Comments

  1. Pete Tong
    February 2, 2014

    is it just me or do pictures from Chinese phones always seem to be blurry. Is image stabilization on?

  2. reidy
    February 2, 2014

    where’s the best site to buy one of these bad boys from?

    • Graeme Reid
      February 2, 2014

      Andi geez a shout to what site plz so I can get some of these

      • February 3, 2014

        No point in buying one yet until the WCDMA model goes on sale;)

        • Ivo001
          February 3, 2014

          Some people don’t use 3G because they have Wifi almost everywhere.

          For example i pay €3/month for some sms and voice calls.

          People who don’t want to pay alot for 3G might not need to wait for a WCDMA model?

        • Davor
          March 11, 2014

          Hi Andy. WCDMA version is announced today:

          http://www.pcpop.com/doc/0/990/990911.shtml

          • Stephan
            March 12, 2014

            Does someone here understand Chinese and has found out when the phone will be suitable for the Western European telecomnetworks?

            • Davor
              March 12, 2014

              Google understoods Chinese and it reads:

              On March 11th, Coolpad and JD announced 10 billion procurement contract signed by both parties. Coolpad F1 officially released China Unicom WCDMA version and device is priced 988 yuan (160 USD), March 26 is scheduled for campaign start, and April 3rd for sales start.

              Coolpad F1 has 5-inch screen, 1280 * 720 pixel resolution, MediaTek eight-core 1.7GHz processor , 2GB RAM +8 GB ROM memory, 13MP + 5MP camera combination, dual card dual standby, support for WCDMA / GSM standard.

              Coolpad Great God sold 50,000 units in 18 seconds. Coolpad F1 (non-european version) score the same in 15 seconds only and it is likely to be repeated in the F1 WCDMA (european) version.

              JD is one of the largest online stores and it has international version with shipping to EU countries and paypal payment

        • Robert
          March 12, 2014

          Hi I’m from Ireland in the eu I’m new to Chinese phones and was wondering whats the best phone to buy I can afford to buy a phone for up to €140 thanks in advance . Really good site hats off:p

          • Graeme Reid
            March 18, 2014

            I’ve got the Jiakke v8 its a mint phone

        • George Chantziaras
          April 9, 2014

          Is there the WCDMA model available ??

          • johnickz
            April 10, 2014

            Geia sou file mou thelw na to agorasw k egw k to vrhka sto ali apo enan “Chinatronic”!! Eheis pshthei na to xtyphseis, les na hei kalo gps einai to mono pou me provlhmatizei..

    • Leslie Lee
      February 3, 2015
  3. Alex
    February 2, 2014

    I’m interested as well, where can these be purchased from? Wholesale would be nice, I can buy in bulk but I need contact information please.

    • February 3, 2014

      Coolpad is a huge company which already have their own distribution outside of China

      • Karol
        February 4, 2014

        I think we should write to Coolpad and ask about WCDMA 😉

  4. Aeonia
    February 2, 2014

    great now when is the wcdma model coming out?

    • February 3, 2014

      Hopefully soon, I fancy one for myself

  5. Alex
    February 2, 2014

    For all the people who fought with me, saying that these specs would never be offered for low prices until several years from now, I say ha ha to you! This year has just begun, I feel that even better specs will come like 4G, larger batteries and more storage at very reasonable prices! “smile on my face” 😉

    Finally, they are falling back to their roots. Pushing everyone else out of the way using “low prices” and making money on “quantity”. Hopefully the quality factor remains as well… “two thumbs up”.

    Stay on track, don’t become greedy… 😉

    • The Konged
      February 3, 2014

      Unfortunately this is a China mobile subsidised stunt and most of us not on their “not greater than 2mbps” packages will have to wait months for a network compatible version. I agree with some of your posts that otherwise give the same specs + lte + 1920 display and support for most common bands worldwide. They can increase price to around 275 usd and this is the product some of us more budget minded punters are looking for. OK the battery at 2500 is still a bit weak but it will do for us average joes. Heavy users will just have to carry a juice bank. Most of us with working 6589 variants are more eagerly awaiting for its lte rebirth.

  6. Евгений
    February 2, 2014

    Why is not WCDMA? 🙁

  7. Alex
    February 2, 2014

    Oh Ohh, I get the feeling these will not work in the US, please tell me I’m wrong?

    • burnt_52
      February 2, 2014

      From what I can see at the moment it only supports GSM and TD-SCDMA. As I understand it some networks in the USA (AT&T I think) use WCDMA 850MHz so it won’t work with that. Something often overlooked by Chinese Manufacturers

  8. Sven
    February 2, 2014

    Last time I bought a chinese Phone it had awful GPS, are the current octacore phones any better?

    • Kleautzak
      February 2, 2014

      What phone do you have?
      I gave my wife a Star U9501 MTK6589T 1.5Ghz.
      GPS is very very good.
      It finds GPS in just 5-10 seconds.
      Fastest was 3 seconds 🙂
      I have TOMTOM installed on it, and it is amazing!

  9. Nahúm Pérez Mesa
    February 2, 2014

    I are very IMPRESSED with this one! the design is very similar to my current MLais MX58 PRO, screen size 5 “but with 2GB of RAM and the MT6592 and at that price … although isn’t the best mobile (I still prefer the TCL Idol X +) but I find the best investment for this value-performance/price undoubtedly!!!

    I currently looking for my wife the iNew V3, but for almost the same price, this … I think is SUPER tempting.

  10. Guest
    February 2, 2014

    is it just me or do pictures from Chinese phones always seem to be blurry. Is image stabilization on?

  11. Guest
    February 2, 2014

    where’s the best site to buy one of these bad boys from?

    • Graeme Reid
      February 2, 2014

      Andi geez a shout to what site plz so I can get some of these

    • Andi Sykes
      February 3, 2014

      No point in buying one yet until the WCDMA model goes on sale;)

    • Ivo001
      February 3, 2014

      Some people don’t use 3G because they have Wifi almost everywhere.

      For example i pay €3/month for some sms and voice calls.

      People who don’t want to pay alot for 3G might not need to wait for a WCDMA model?

    • Davor
      March 11, 2014

      Hi Andy. WCDMA version is announced today:

      http://www.pcpop.com/doc/0/990/990911.shtml

    • Guest
      March 12, 2014

      Does someone here understand Chinese and has found out when the phone will be suitable for the Western European telecomnetworks?

    • Davor
      March 12, 2014

      Google understoods Chinese and it reads:

      On March 11th, Coolpad and JD announced 10 billion procurement contract signed by both parties. Coolpad F1 officially released China Unicom WCDMA version and device is priced 988 yuan (160 USD), March 26 is scheduled for campaign start, and April 3rd for sales start.

      Coolpad F1 has 5-inch screen, 1280 * 720 pixel resolution, MediaTek eight-core 1.7GHz processor , 2GB RAM +8 GB ROM memory, 13MP + 5MP camera combination, dual card dual standby, support for WCDMA / GSM standard.

      Coolpad Great God sold 50,000 units in 18 seconds. Coolpad F1 (non-european version) score the same in 15 seconds only and it is likely to be repeated in the F1 WCDMA (european) version.

      JD is one of the largest online stores and it has international version with shipping to EU countries and paypal payment

    • Robert
      March 13, 2014

      Hi I’m from Ireland in the eu I’m new to Chinese phones and was wondering whats the best phone to buy I can afford to buy a phone for up to €140 thanks in advance . Really good site hats off:p

    • Graeme Reid
      March 18, 2014

      I’ve got the Jiakke v8 its a mint phone

    • George Chantziaras
      April 9, 2014

      Is there the WCDMA model available ??

    • johnickz
      April 10, 2014

      Geia sou file mou thelw na to agorasw k egw k to vrhka sto ali apo enan “Chinatronic”!! Eheis pshthei na to xtyphseis, les na hei kalo gps einai to mono pou me provlhmatizei..

    • Leslie Lee
      February 3, 2015
  12. Alex
    February 2, 2014

    I’m interested as well, where can these be purchased from? Wholesale would be nice, I can buy in bulk but I need contact information please.

    • Andi Sykes
      February 3, 2014

      Coolpad is a huge company which already have their own distribution outside of China

    • Guest
      February 4, 2014

      I think we should write to Coolpad and ask about WCDMA 😉

  13. Guest
    February 2, 2014

    great now when is the wcdma model coming out?

    • Andi Sykes
      February 3, 2014

      Hopefully soon, I fancy one for myself

  14. Alex
    February 2, 2014

    For all the people who fought with me, saying that these specs would never be offered for low prices until several years from now, I say ha ha to you! This year has just begun, I feel that even better specs will come like 4G, larger batteries and more storage at very reasonable prices! “smile on my face” 😉

    Finally, they are falling back to their roots. Pushing everyone else out of the way using “low prices” and making money on “quantity”. Hopefully the quality factor remains as well… “two thumbs up”.

    Stay on track, don’t become greedy… 😉

    • Guest
      February 3, 2014

      Unfortunately this is a China mobile subsidised stunt and most of us not on their “not greater than 2mbps” packages will have to wait months for a network compatible version. I agree with some of your posts that otherwise give the same specs + lte + 1920 display and support for most common bands worldwide. They can increase price to around 275 usd and this is the product some of us more budget minded punters are looking for. OK the battery at 2500 is still a bit weak but it will do for us average joes. Heavy users will just have to carry a juice bank. Most of us with working 6589 variants are more eagerly awaiting for its lte rebirth.

  15. Евгений
    February 2, 2014

    Why is not WCDMA? 🙁

  16. Alex
    February 2, 2014

    Oh Ohh, I get the feeling these will not work in the US, please tell me I’m wrong?

    • burnt_52
      February 3, 2014

      From what I can see at the moment it only supports GSM and TD-SCDMA. As I understand it some networks in the USA (AT&T I think) use WCDMA 850MHz so it won’t work with that. Something often overlooked by Chinese Manufacturers

  17. Returner
    February 2, 2014

    how about battery life, gps, connectivity (wifi, bluetooth, nfc, etc) , bundle software and camera flash. please make a complete review next time

  18. iANDROID8.1
    February 2, 2014

    It’s sad that it doesn’t support WCDMA 🙁

  19. Guest
    February 2, 2014

    Last time I bought a chinese Phone it had awful GPS, are the current octacore phones any better?

    • Guest
      February 3, 2014

      What phone do you have?
      I gave my wife a Star U9501 MTK6589T 1.5Ghz.
      GPS is very very good.
      It finds GPS in just 5-10 seconds.
      Fastest was 3 seconds 🙂
      I have TOMTOM installed on it, and it is amazing!

  20. Nahúm Pérez Mesa
    February 2, 2014

    I are very IMPRESSED with this one! the design is very similar to my current MLais MX58 PRO, screen size 5 “but with 2GB of RAM and the MT6592 and at that price … although isn’t the best mobile (I still prefer the TCL Idol X +) but I find the best investment for this value-performance/price undoubtedly!!!

    I currently looking for my wife the iNew V3, but for almost the same price, this … I think is SUPER tempting.

  21. Returner
    February 2, 2014

    how about battery life, gps, connectivity (wifi, bluetooth, nfc, etc) , bundle software and camera flash. please make a complete review next time

  22. iANDROID8.1
    February 3, 2014

    It’s sad that it doesn’t support WCDMA 🙁

  23. Allanitomwesh
    February 3, 2014

    Yet another good phone ruined by td-scdma. First one to wcdma gets my money now.

  24. Allanitomwesh
    February 3, 2014

    Yet another good phone ruined by td-scdma. First one to wcdma gets my money now.

  25. manohar basavaraju
    February 4, 2014

    Hi Andi, where can i see the video review of this phone….
    Pls share a video review. I want to see how it looks in virtual reality atleast !

  26. manohar basavaraju
    February 4, 2014

    Hi Andi, where can i see the video review of this phone….
    Pls share a video review. I want to see how it looks in virtual reality atleast !

  27. wbgenetic
    March 24, 2014

    WCDMA is what people around the globe want. This phone is a killer for the price!

  28. Guest
    March 24, 2014

    WCDMA is what people around the globe want. This phone is a killer for the price!

  29. wbgenetic
    March 27, 2014

    wcdma seems live on aliexpress …

    • March 27, 2014

      Be very careful on Aliexpress

  30. Guest
    March 27, 2014

    wcdma seems live on aliexpress …

    • Andi Sykes
      March 27, 2014

      Be very careful on Aliexpress

  31. Marian
    March 29, 2014

    So, WDCMA version now on sale on Aliexpress. Is this for real or just a joke? Andi, please, name those online shops which are trustful to buy such a phone. Thanks.

  32. Guest
    March 29, 2014

    So, WDCMA version now on sale on Aliexpress. Is this for real or just a joke? Andi, please, name those online shops which are trustful to buy such a phone. Thanks.

  33. Abdul Rehman Sorathia
    March 31, 2014

    Does this support HD recording (1080p or 720p)

  34. Abdul Rehman Sorathia
    April 1, 2014

    Does this support HD recording (1080p or 720p)

  35. Kurt Gerster
    April 24, 2014

    What is the weight?

  36. Kurt Gerster
    April 24, 2014

    What is the weight?

  37. Aeonia
    July 24, 2014

    @Gizchina:disqus just found this article word for word copied by another website but about another phone…

    http://forums.androidcentral.com/general-android-device-chat/410492-newman-k1s-cheapest-octa-core-smartphone.html

    thot u ought to know..

  38. Boni M.
    July 24, 2014

    @Gizchina:disqus just found this article word for word copied by another website but about another phone…

    http://forums.androidcentral.com/general-android-device-chat/410492-newman-k1s-cheapest-octa-core-smartphone.html

    thot u ought to know..

  39. davi
    November 13, 2014

    Hi Andi – Coolpad F1 or ZTE v5? 🙂

  40. Guest
    November 13, 2014

    Hi Andi – Coolpad F1 or ZTE v5? 🙂