We’ve heard rumblings of this smartphone for months, and now, it’s finally here. The Orbit is Cherry Mobile’s first dual SIM Android smartphone and, with it’s price point, is being positioned in the mid-level market. Will the Orbit become the knight in shining armor for those clamoring for a dual SIM smart phone?
OS: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Processor: QUALCOMM MSM7225-1 528 MHz
Display: 3.2 HVGA (320 x 480) Capacitive Screen
Wireless Connections: WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, FM Radio
Memory: 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM
Connectors: Micro USB, 3.5mm Stereo Audio Jack, Micro SD card slot
Camera: 5 MP Camera with Auto Focus and LED flash
Price: Php 12,999
Dissecting the Orbit
Simple in design and elementary in its composition, the Orbit follows Cherry Mobile’s design mantra by keeping everything basic and simple. No fuzz or fluff, the Orbit looks just very much like every smartphone that has come before it, and people who prefer a more stylized design will be a bit disappointed. Except for the glass display, the Orbit is made entirely out of plastic — not exactly a bad thing as the plastic used on the Orbit feels very tough. No creaking noise was produced when I performed the twist and turn test on the unit, seems like a pretty tough handset. I did have a hard time using both the answer and end call buttons though, as they were both too hard and didn’t offer enough tactile feedback.
To be perfectly honest though, I wasn’t very worried about the externals of the Orbit. It was what’s inside the unit that gave me a bit of concern.
New processor, new expectations
The Orbit is loaded with Android 2.2 (Froyo) and runs on a 528 MHz QUALCOMM processor, not exactly what I expected in a smartphone that’s supposedly made to handle two SIM cards. The current crop of 600 MHz powered Android smartphones have been proven to be a bit clunky and slow, so how will the Orbit fare with its 528 MHz processor?
Surprisingly, the Orbit performed beyond what I expected. While there were visible slowdowns during times when I was multi-tasking heavily, the Orbit never bogged down to the point of being unusable. QUALCOMM’s multi SIM chipset did prove to be effective, and it demonstrated that it can handle running two SIMs simultaneously. Considering that the processor is clocked at a mere 528 MHz makes this feat even more impressive. Still, even with the enhanced QUALCOMM processor, the Orbit is no powerhouse, and potential buyers have to be aware that the phone will struggle a bit when it comes to multi-tasking. Battery life of the Orbit is acceptable as the unit lasted a whole day for me before shutting down.
Android brings on the Dual SIM goodness
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the Orbit smartphone is its dual SIM configuration and I was very much curious as to how the Android OS would handle two cellphone lines. Pleasantly surprised I was when it came to actual usage.
The Orbit’s two SIM card slots are placed on top of each other, with SIM card slot 1 located on the bottom while SIM card slot 2 is placed on top of of it. After insertion of both SIMs, you can go into the dual SIM setting panel to rename each SIM according to your preference (e.g. You can name SIM 1 as “Globe” and SIM 2 as “SUN”, etc.). Each SIM has its own signal meter and data indicator which are displayed side by side.
Text and calls are handled intricately. Whenever you want to send an SMS or make a phone call, you will be prompted as to which SIM you would want to use. This is done every time you text or call. There is no setting to permanently partner a contact to a line, so even though I always use my Globe line to call my mom, I will always be prompted to manually select my Globe SIM to make the call. Not a big problem, but a way to customize and assign a SIM to a specific contact would have been nice. Text and calls received are also tagged accordingly with a small text line indicating which line the call or text received was coursed through. All messages received from the same person on both lines are also conveniently consolidated under a single message thread.
For data, however, there is a single quirk that the Orbit suffers from. For some reason, only SIM card slot 1 is able to connect to a 3G data signal, and SIM card slot 2 is limited to just GPRS/EDGE data connections. I’m not sure what’s the cause of this but I was informed that it was an Android bug and not a hardware limitation.
The Cherry Orbit is a great dual SIM smartphone. Other than the quirky data limitation of SIM card slot 2, the Orbit is proof that the Android OS can handle dual SIM smartphones elegantly. It would have been perfect if the Orbit was equipped with a faster processor, but the balance of performance and battery life was supposedly taken into consideration which resulted into the product we have now. In the overall scheme of things, the QUALCOMM 528 MHz processor proved to be sufficient enough.
The Orbit is priced at Php 12,990. Not exactly cheap, but still quite reasonable by today’s standards.
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