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…
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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