Along with MyPhone, Cherry Mobile is a king of the low-priced locally branded smartphones. But the baggage that this rep comes with is a perception that, quality-wise, Cherry Mobile Android smartphones may not be able to hold a candle to “seriously branded” phones such as those by Samsung, HTC, and LG.
Well, let’s see if that really is the case. I have in my hands two of Cherry Mobile’s dual-SIM powerhouses, the W100 and the Candy TV (yes, that’s its name. I know, I know, it’s not doing much to help polish the rep).
Let’s start with the more intriguing of the two, namely…
Cherry Candy TV
I’ve seen people using their phones as TV sets. Not too many of them, mind you, but nevertheless enough to intrigue me. Particularly about just how well the TV works in the first place. Well, I finally got a chance to try it first hand.
But let’s first begin with the first impressions.
Wow. It’s a bright canary yellow. Other colors available are red, blue, purple and orange. Yeah, balloon colors.
But canaries aside, let’s get rid of the elephant in the room once and for all, before we proceed. And that is…
The package. It’s gawdawful, with those faux watercolor balloons and that horrid, horrid cartoon font. It’s not something that you’d want to be seen with.
Or is it? Because before you heave into that paper bag, you do have to acknowledge that you are likely not this phone’s target market. Cherry doesn’t care if it doesn’t impress you, so long as it does appeal to its broader “masa” market.
The next question, of course, is whether or not the phone and its packaging does in fact succeed in appealing to the masa. But that’s something that I cannot answer for now so… back to the phone.
For a low-cost smartphone, the Candy TV is surprisingly solidly built. The plastic shell feels rock hard, and you don’t get any of the “squishies” when squeezing it in your death grip. It actually has the feel of a phone that’s thrice its price.
The backside, seen above, shows the hard plastic shell, the 2-megapixel camera, and the two “radiator grill” speaker vents that almost makes the phone look retro.
Quick aside: the Cherry Mobile branding in the backside features a red dot over the letter “i.” The dot is so tiny that I honestly mistook it for a red paint fleck. I actually spent a couple of minutes trying to rub it off. That’s probably a design issue right there, but I’ll leave it at that. And fortunately, the red dot clung on for dear life.
Okay, as I was saying, the design makes the Candy TV look quite retro. In fact, is it just me or does the backside kind of remind you of an old-fashioned diving bell? Or perhaps even a 1950′s robot monster?
In the above picture, you sharp-eyed readers will notice that the USB port is on top. I hate it when they do that because it just looks so awkward. To the left (in the picture) is the power button, and to the right is the headphone jack.
And then you’ll notice that ridged appendage at the corner above the camera. Your first thought would be “Aha! A stylus!”
But no… it’s not a stylus. It’s the antenna for the TV! And depending on how it strikes you, here’s what’s awesome … or goofy… about it:
I gotta tell you, it’s a frighteningly thin antenna, nearly toothpick thin, made even more frightening by the fact that it actually pivots and twists to accommodate landscape viewing:
Yep, that’s how long the antenna is. You can stab someone in the eye with it if you’re watching TV in a bus or the MRT or something. Plus, you’ll probably worry that it’s only a matter of time before the antenna breaks or snaps because it’s just so freakishly skinny, especially at the pivot point. But it’s tougher than it looks, I give them that.
And what you get out of that towering antenna is free TV reception that isn’t so bad:
If you were on the road while the Pacquiao-Marquez fight was going on, you probably wished that you had the Candy TV phone on you, even if you aren’t its market.
Or are you? Because you know what? I actually found myself liking this phone. It’s a decent Android phone, with Android 2.3, dual SIM ability, a decently fast 1GHz processor, 3.5″ touchscreen, 256MB of RAM (not that much, but it’ll do for a “secondary phone”). No GPS, but with a microSD slot (of course) and front VGA and rear 2MP camera.
Accessories are the usual: earphones, USB cable, charger.
All for just three thousand pesos and change! For a pretty solid smartphone!
So now I’m thinking, I have my usual high-power phone. And then I can actually imagine having the Candy TV as a secondary emergency phone for two other networks (and TV to boot). It feels tough enough for the daily grind, and it has decent all-day battery life.
Now if only the packaging wasn’t so tacky.
Between the Candy TV and the Cherry W100, the W100 is supposed to be a wee bit more upscale. And yet the specs are nearly the same as the Candy TV: Android 2.3, 1GHz processor, Dual SIM, 512MB RAM, 3.5″ touchscreen, microSD.
No, it doesn’t have a TV tuner. So why is the W100 just a wee bit more expensive than the Candy TV? Uh… could it be the 3 megapixel camera (versus the Candy’s 2MP)? Because that’s the only difference that I could think of.
The W100 literature also makes a big deal about its “five point multi-touch” display. But heck, this is a phone. Who the heck uses five fingers on a phone’s touchscreen anyway?
Oh, and the W100 has GPS. So that’s another thing that it has over the Candy TV. Hmmm.
So if you find yourself choosing between the Candy TV and the W100, it may probably boil down to this question: would you prefer GPS over a TV tuner?
The W100 looks much more serious than the Candy TV phone, with its no-nonsense design and simple color trim. Of course, “serious” is subjective. But it also offers the same tough-shelled feel that the Candy TV has, which means that it also has the tough feel of a phone twice its price.
Accessories are also the usual: earphones, USB cable, charger.
Aaaand… that’s that. Yeah, coming from the unusual phone that is the Candy TV, there really isn’t much to say about the W100 except to say that it’s more serious.
Plus, it won’t have the tacky bubbly packaging of the Candy TV phone.
So back to our question. You dear reader may likely not be the target market for these two phones. But if you are looking for a smarter phone to give to a relative or to a bratty teenager who is hounding you for a smartphone, then these Androids pack enough punch. In fact, you can seriously consider these as emergency phones, the kind that don’t see the light of day and just lie stored under your car seat until your daily phone meets an untimely demise.
Cherry Mobile W100
Cherry Mobile Candy TV
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