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Coolpad Quattro 4G (MetroPCS) review: Coolpad Quattro 4G (MetroPCS)

Camera and video
The 3.2-megapixel camera doesn't offer many options. Aside from a 1.6x digital zoom and flash, it has five white balances, two shutter tones, an exposure range from -2 to +2, four picture sizes, three picture qualities, and five color effects. The front-facing camera does not have the zoom, flash, and white balance options, and only two picture sizes. Video recording offers even fewer options. You can choose among four video qualities and four shutter tones.

Not surprisingly, photo quality was poor. Edges weren't well-defined, dark hues were hard to distinguish, and colors bled together. In dim or low lighting, you can see a lot of digital noise and graininess, and an odd pink color would appear on white backgrounds. The front-facing camera fared even worse, and overly washed out bright lights.

Coolpad Quattro 4G (outdoor shot)
Outdoor images taken with the Quattro 4G were blurry and edges were poorly defined. Lynn La/CNET
Coolpad Quattro 4G (indoor shot)
Understandably, indoor pictures in lower lighting fared worse. Lynn La/CNET
Coolpad Quattro 4G (SSI)
In this standard studio shot, a pink tint overlays the white background. Josh Miller/CNET
Coolpad Quattro 4G (front-facing)
Images taken with the front-facing camera were extremely washed out. I visibly disapprove. Lynn La/CNET

Video recording was also disappointing. Audio didn't pick up well, and voices that were nearby in real life sounded 10 feet away in the recording. There was also a low humming noise, and picture quality was grainy. Though the feedback didn't lag much behind the motion of the camera, lighting was all over the place since it took a while for colors to adjust.

I tested the quad-band Coolpad Quattro 4G (800, 1700, 1900, 2100) and call quality was excellent. Sounds sounded clear and isolated, and there was no extraneous buzzing or dropped calls. However, maximum volume could be louder. Speaker quality came off a little tinny and harsh, especially on max volume, but it wasn't too irritating.

Coolpad Quattro 4G call quality sample

Listen now:

MetroPCS' 4G LTE network isn't the most robust, but data speeds were passable. Loading the CNET mobile site, for example, took an average of 10 seconds, while loading our full site took 27 seconds. Surprisingly, The New York Times' full site took slightly longer on average, clocking in at 29 seconds, and its mobile site took 16 seconds to load. ESPN's mobile site took 23 seconds on average, and its full site loaded in 20 seconds. The 22MB game Temple Run downloaded and installed in an average of 6 minutes and Ookla showed me an average of 1Mbps down and 1.3Mbps up.

During our battery drain test, the device lasted 5.8 hours. Anecdotally, it didn't last too long. Standby time barely lasted overnight and after just a few hours talking on the phone and watching videos, its reserves drained almost halfway. According to FCC radiation tests, the handset has a SAR rating of 1.4W/kg.

Despite the solid call quality and 4G LTE data speeds, both the phone and Coolpad have a long way to go. And instead of coming out with a bang, Coolpad debuted more with a whimper. The Quattro 4G has frustratingly low-end specs, and its Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS is a real letdown. If you want a 4G LTE prepaid device on MetroPCS, consider the LG Motion 4G instead. It has a dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel camera, runs on Android 4.1 Ice Cream Sandwich, and most importantly, it's the same price as the Quattro.

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