It’s been the buzz in the local webs for quite a while now: Cherry Mobile finally decided to enter the smartphone market and people have been asking around if their phones are worth buying. Of course, everyone is curious how this
evolved into this:
and without a doubt, I was caught. I originally had the Superion in my sights but since the two almost had the same specs and throwing away 20,000php was no joke, I decided to get the Nova first and decide from there if the Superion is really worth it.
Of course, I expected a cheaply made ‘chinaphone’ (since all phones are almost made from China nowadays but I’m talking about the clunky ones that don’t weigh anything and with the terrible GUI. You know what I mean) but I was actually surprised. I looked around and finally chanced upon one in SM Marikina which sells for roughly 11,500php. I played around with it and the phone felt solid. Of course, it’s not an iPhone but the hard plastic seems pretty durable. After much tinkering, I decided to let go of my old phone and just try this one out.
It’s been more than a week now and the phone, I can say for the time being, is very reliable and is definitely worth every buck. Even if it’s on Android 2.1 with 600MHz processor, 256 RAM and 512 ROM, programs are running smoothly. There are some stages of Angry Birds where the framerate drops for a couple of seconds but that’s about it. Most probably you can expect more of this when you’re playing games with lots of detail.
The capacitive screen is a pleasant surprise. I personally didn’t expect it to perform the way it is but messaging, browsing and even viewing images (yeah, the pinch zoom works perfectly even in other programs) has been pretty easy and hassle free. For the keypad, you can choose between different designs that suit whatever you want, be it the traditional one or qwerty. One weird thing about it though is when you turn off autocomplete, it also stops typing the first letter of every sentence in uppercase. A minor setback, but a big annoyance in my opinion since the suggestions and how it operates can be dismal at times (everytime I put ‘din’ it places dinner and pressing the spacebar selects the ‘corrected’ message. You won’t notice it until people keep on asking “What dinner are you talking about?”) and it takes some time getting used to it but if you activate autocomplete with autocorrect and just keep your presence of mind tiptop, you won’t have that much problems.
Of course the HSDPA & WiFi works. You can set both of these options on or off because your phone would keep on accessing details from the net since the Android is one of those ‘always on’ phones and if you’re running on a limited data plan, expect to rake up charges. And even if you do decide to turn these features on permanently, expect to be bombarded with Google ads for some programs that you can get off the market. GPS also works (surprisingly) and with the right programs, you can just load the map of the Philippines offline and navigate your way (manually, haven’t found any offline autonavigate programs yet) to your destination. Very handy most of the time not unless you’re looking for landmarks because of course, there’s a tendency for those details to be moved here and there. And the signal disappears once you’re under concrete so I don’t know if that’s normal or not but still, it’s pretty good.
The battery lasts me a good two days for normal eBook reading, sms messaging and calls (on Sun so that’s quite a number of calls made and messages sent). I already tried powerusing by browsing while I have my GPS on, played games and surfed for the most part of the day and the battery lasted for about 8 hours. Not bad since I’ve been told that other smartphones last for about the same time as this one. I still need to verify this one with more people though.
I’m not too big of a fan of cameraphones but the 5mp camera is pretty decent. There are different camera programs that would give you more control over the effects of your pictures but the stock camera is pretty so-so. There’s a lot of noise when you take pictures (will post samples) and you might need to tweak the settings a bit so you could get a pretty decent picture. The market camera programs are pretty awesome though so if you’re pretty happy with your camera but you want a toy camera, this one does the job pretty well.
One question I have in mind is if it upgradable to 2.2 Froyo. I was told at the shop by the main representative that eventually, it will be but until that happens, it’s pretty safe to expect that it will be stuck at 2.1. Good news then if they do decide to send an update to the users. And of course, since this has been released for only a few weeks, we need to know if the phone will last a user for more than a year. 11k is still pretty steep for an ‘unknown’ phone that predominantly leans towards negative user reviews so it wouldn’t be too pleasant if it bricks in less than a year.
So, I would still say that it’s up to you if you would risk it since of course, the durability of the phone plays a big part in the consumer’s mind if a gadget is worth purchasing or not. If you also think that the performance of the games would be a letdown, I would suggest that you wait for someone who writes a comprehensive review of the Cherry Magnum (which, ironically, packs more of a punch than the Superion. This, imho, does not make any sense at all. Feel free to enlighten).
Personally, this is by far the best phone that I’ve bought because of the features that it presents for the price.