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Review: Cherry Mobile’s Fusion Bolt Quad-Core Tablet

I remember the very first Android tablet I have used 3 years ago. It was the Cherry Mobile Superion, which has the latest Android 2.2 software at that time, a Qualcomm 600 MHz processor, and built-in phone features. It almost replaced my laptop at work and brought it with me so I can write emails or browse e-books on the fly. Then I fell in love with Samsung ‘s first Galaxy Tab, which sports a faster processor, better screen and camera. My love affair with tablets ended and after more than a year of not owning one, I thought of getting an iPad or an iPad Mini to complement my MacBook Air and iPhone. However, the tablets from the Android camp are also hard to resist. The likes of the Nexus 7, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and most recently the Note 8 made it more difficult for me to choose. I just don’t want to fork on my hard-earned savings for the wrong tablet.

Cherry Mobile must have learned about my 2 year-old tablet dilemma and sent us a new tablet called the Fusion Bolt for review. I have been using it for a month now, and it’s about time that I post my verdict. Will this be my new tablet or will I continue to wait and search? Read on…

SPECIFICATIONS:

OS: Android 4.1.1 (Jellybean)

Processor:  1 GHz Quad-Core ATM7029 processor

Display: 7-inch IPS capacitive display

Connectivity: WiFi, HDMI, USB

Memory: 8GB Internal Storage, MicroSD up to 32GB, 1GB RAM

Camera: 2.0MP (Main), VGA Camera (Front)

Battery: 4,000 mAh

SRP: Php 3,999.00

Jaw-Dropping Price

I know it’s unusual that we start the Fusion Bolt review with its price. With Php 3,999.00 as the Fusion Bolt’s SRP, let’s ask ourselves what can we buy with that amount of money these days? I’m pretty sure we won’t hear a “tablet” as an answer. The SRP is very surprising in a good way. This is not the kind of tablet that you could buy in tiangges for the same price with an ultra-slow processor and pathetic 3-hour battery life. The features of the Fusion Bolt will make your jaw drop in amazement and wonder why the other tablets in the market are priced much higher.

Not a Cheap-Looking Tablet

Given it has a low price, the hardware of the Fusion Bolt will not disappoint anyone who holds it. It’s lightweight but somewhat tough. I pressed its screen as hard as I could but the panel is tougher than I thought. The print of the Cherry Mobile logo at the back gave me an impression that it would fade away after a month of usage but it didn’t. The only thing that makes this thing ugly is its screen protector but I just left it on. Besides, I won’t notice those ugly scratches once I turn on the tablet and see its bright 7-inch IPS (In Plane Switching) capacitive display. Screen resolution is set at 800×1280 and I’m glad the folks at Cherry Mobile paid attention to this and not just release a tablet with a resolution of 400×800.

On top of the Fusion Bolt are the Home, Volume and Power buttons, while the charger port, 3.5mm headphone jack, mini-HDMI, USB, MicroSD slot and microphone are found on the right side of the tablet. The inclusion of a mini-HDMI port is really a surprise. Too bad I don’t have a cable to test it with my HD TV at home.

Read Surfer Magazine on Zinio with the Fusion Bolt

Quad-Core + Jellybean = Perfect?

Who would expect that a Php 3,999.00 Cherry Mobile Android Tablet would come with a Quad-Core processor? Absolutely no one! The Fusion Bolt comes with a 1 GHz Quad-Core ATM7029 processor, which I have never heard of before. I reckon that this is a low-cost processor, making it possible to bring down the price of the Fusion Bolt. Navigation on the tablet is snappy with Android 4.1.1 (aka Jellybean) but I have noticed some instances that it wasn’t really that smooth.

I tried playing a 1080p movie on the Fusion Bolt and it worked perfectly well. I’ve read other users were able to play graphic intensive games and they didn’t encounter any problems. On my end, I’ve tried playing 2 of my favorite Android games: Pinoy-made Streetfood Tycoon World Tour and The Sims. While the former was a joy to play on a larger screen, playing The Sims was a bit of a disappointment. It’s still playable, but I can easily notice that the graphics are quite slower compared to my Samsung Galaxy S3 or my new Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 (review will be posted in a few days).

Pinoy-made Streetfood Tycoon World Tour works well with the Fusion Bolt

Something’s Missing

We’ve been praising most of the good stuff we’ve learned so far on the Fusion Bolt and it seems that this may be truly a tablet that I’d really like to have. What I plan to do with my tablet is to pair with my Bluetooth keyboard for blogging purposes. The problem I encountered is I couldn’t find that damn Bluetooth switch. And then it hit me – the Fusion Bolt doesn’t have Bluetooth at all! Maybe this is another reason why they have decided to remove this function.

A workaround is to use the USB port of the Fusion Bolt with a USB OTG (On The Go) cable. The OTG cable will enable the Fusion Bolt to act as a host to USB peripherals like flash drives, external drives, 3G dongles, keyboard and mouse. Though it was able to read my flash drive, it wasn’t able to detect my USB keyboard from CDR-King.


Camera

The Fusion Bolt has a built-in 2.0 Megapixel camera at the back and a VGA camera at the front. It’s a bit decent as long as you have good lighting. If you have a smartphone with a good camera, I think you are better off using it than the Fusion Bolt’s.

Battery Life

Cherry Mobile beefed up the Fusion Bolt with a 4,000 mAh battery capacity. Depending on your settings and usage, the Fusion Bolt can last from at least 8 hours of continuous usage up to 2 days. Charging the Fusion Bolt can take around 3-4 hours.

BOTTOMLINE

After using this tablet for a month, can this be the perfect tablet for me? Not quite. The lack of Bluetooth is an issue for me and its USB OTG feature is a hit and miss. I still couldn’t believe that it wouldn’t detect a simple USB keyboard. Nevertheless, I don’t think these deficiencies would matter to most of the regular users who want a very capable and affordable tablet. The SRP of Php 3,999.00 is a deal clincher, and while I’ve said that I haven’t found my perfect tablet yet, the Fusion Bolt can fill the void for the meantime since its price is quite hard to resist.

LIKES:

  • Good built
  • Nice Display and Screen Resolution
  • Mini-HDMI port
  • USB OTG
  • Quad-Core processor
  • Unbelievable low price!

DISLIKES:

  • There are times that navigation isn’t smooth enough
  • No Bluetooth
  • USB OTG is a hit and miss
  • Camera
Reggie

Reggie

Reggie is known to be passionate for mobile technology ever since he got his first mobile phone back in 1999. He has written device reviews for Tech & Tuner, Gadgets Magazine, and Mobile Philippines (MPH) Magazine before joining the telecommunications industry. His favorite noodles: Makati Supermarket’s Spaghetti

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USER COMMENTS

    • That’s a remarkably tempting tablet. For that price I would have expected much less.


    • francis79|

      reg, does this stand anywhere near a nexus 7 wifi in terms of screen clarity and fluidity/smoothness?


    • Reggie|

      Hey Ton,

      Screen clarity is almost the same as far as I can remember. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to compare the 2 tablets during the press launch so I can’t tell if the Fusion Bolt’s smoothness is close to the Nexus 7. Hopefully I’ll be able to play with a Nexus 7 again soon and make those comparisons.


    • francis79|

      Thanks for the reply Reg, i’ll take a look at this when i’m in a CM store. I do hope that they stock up good to prevent what happened to the artificial demand of the Titans and Flares.


    • magician|

      I would like to focus on the disadvantages or the dislikes you had posted earlier.

      No Blutooth for CM Fusion Bolt — Actually, CM didn’t mention that Fusion Bolt has a built-in Blutooth functionality so don’t expect. If I’m not mistaken the one with a built-in blutooh functuinality is the Fusion Wave.

      Poor Camera Quality — This is the common problem of us, if we want for a high-quality picture resolution then buy a portable or SLR camere instead of tablet. Let’s put in our mind that camera is just an incentive added in a tablet. If you really want to have a tablet and a high-quality camera resolution at the same time then you must not expect it from Fusion Bolt.

      USB OTG — Have we checked if the Fusion Bolt has the corresponding driver installed in it that will read the USB OTG cable once you plug it??? Other thing, let’s check first if that USB keyboard is compatible with Fusion Bolt before we take down notes.

      Navigation isn’t good enough — Just a friendly reminder, before we purchase a gadget even not a tablet. Let’s make a canvass and comparison. Let’s read carefully what this gadget have and don’t have, what this gadget can do and can’t do so that when we finally bought it we wouldn’t have regret unless the item is defective.

      BOTTOMLINE: Be wise and observant before you buy. Remember that cheap products are nothing if it’s not satisfy your needs. Therefore, if the Fusion Bolt disappoints you, then switch to other brand or item. Don’t ever expect for a high-quality product with a cheap price.

      ^_^


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