phones like the Galaxy S10 5G, the LG V50 5G and the
OnePlus 7 Pro
debuted in 2019, their price range of $800 to $1,000 was like a necessary evil. Yes, they were expensive but they were touting the latest high-speed mobile connectivity. So, until the more time passed, we all had to live with expensive 5G phones. (One exception was the
Motorola Moto Z4
exclusive which cost $440 but it only connected to 5G with a separate accessory.)
But 2020 is a new year after all, and the time for affordable 5G phones has apparently arrived. On Tuesday at CES 2020, Chinese phone maker Coolpad launched its first 5G phone, known as Legacy 5G. Available in the second quarter of this year for "under $400," it will be one of the cheapest 5G phones on the market. The phone will be available unlocked through Coolpad and
as well as other US retailers.
Watch this: T-Mobile's new 5G network is here, we go hands on
The phone operates on sub-6GHz spectrum and will be supported by
5G networks. It will also work on
network and other rural carriers.
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The Legacy 5G has a generously sized 6.53-inch display, and I liked its deep blue, ombre design that decorated its back. During my brief time with it, I noticed that the phone felt very lightweight for having such a big screen. This is mostly due to the phone's plastic casing, which felt a bit cheap (then again, the phone costs only $400). The phone's beveled edges also felt uncomfortable to hold. And for people who are still holding onto their wired headphones, the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The phone runs Android 10, but the phone's software is nowhere near final yet. While there weren't any issues flipping through the homescreen pages, I noticed the camera's interface was unfinished and the lens itself didn't lock into focus.
Lowering the price range to $400 at this stage will open up 5G access to more users, but as a relatively unknown company Coolpad faces an uphill battle in the US. Based in Shenzhen, China, it has been selling phones in the US since 2012. In 2014, Palo Alto Networks found that the company had preinstalled a backdoor, which Palo Alto Networks dubbed "CoolReaper," on many of its Android phones. The security vulnerability gathered user data that was sent to Coolpad's servers. Coolpad reported that it has been working with a third party, IOActive, since 2018 to ensure its devices comply with consumer protection agencies, however.