Among the local brands, Cherry Mobile is best known for pushing the boundaries to the limit all the time in the affordable smartphone world. It's also the main ingredient of why the local smartphone giant continues to stay ahead even against the international competition here in the Philippines.
As a continuation of that tradition, the company flexed their muscles once more when they unleashed the Cherry Mobile M1, the first and most affordable at smartphone running on a 10 core chip, 4 GB RAM, and real 21 MP Sony main camera in the Philippines at just 11,999 Pesos.
After one month since its release, the company started rolling out the handset nationwide to let Filipinos experience the "fastest local super smartphone" today. We were also able to secure our own unit to share with you our second thoughts about it and make a full review. Is it all worth it? Let's start!
Note: We were able to grab a hold of its prototype unit right after its launch and was able to do a first impressions article. However, Cherry Mobile improved the software of the actual commercial unit that we have now to fully optimize its beastly configuration.
Disclaimer: This unit was seeded by Cherry Mobile for an honest review.
Cherry Mobile M1 Specs
Display: 5.5 Inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ Dragontrail glass protection at 401 ppi
CPU: 2.3 GHz 64 Bit Helio X20 deca core processor
GPU: Mali T880
RAM: 4 GB
ROM: 32 GB
Back Camera: 21 MP IMX230 w/ PDAF, BSI, 4K video recording and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8 MP w/ LED flash
Battery: 3,600 mAh w/ fast charging support
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, OTG, GPS, A GPS, Beidou dual SIM (nano)
Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, light, g, gyroscope
Others: USB Type C, Fingerprint sensor, Smart PA HiFi
Dimensions: 152.5 x 76.35 x 9.8 mm
Weight: 170 g
Price: 11,990 Pesos
Unboxing / Accessories
|The gorgeous black box|
The packaging is impressive! Cherry Mobile successfully mimicked the way Huawei makes their boxes in this one. Upon opening the package, the inclusions were grouped and labeled accordingly which is nice to see.
What's included inside are: 2A / 1.5A wall charger / adapter, USB Type C cables, a good type of in ear monitors with mic, pre-attached screen protector, and paper documentations.
Everything else are pretty basic except for the free earphones, initially it sounds great. We'll talk more about it.
Build Quality / Design
|At the back showing the noise-cancelling mic, main 21 MP cam, dual tone LED flash, and fingerprint scanner|
We mentioned before the striking resemblance with Lenovo's K4 Note / Vibe X3 with Cherry's M1 in terms of design, build, texture, heft, and ergonomics. That remains the same, but we also realized few improvements here.
There are no shortcuts this time, Cherry ensured that this machine is well built.
First let's talk about its build. This handset features an okay type of construction for its price. There's a solid metallic like frame, brushed plastic non-removable back cover, and Asahi Dragontrail glass protected screen.
That type of setup should be good enough to make this handset be tough enough to withstand light to casual abuse. Plus, the Dragontrail glass protection and screen protector film against scratches and damages is always great to have.
Just don't compare it against other devices with denser unibody metal build, but for the price and that MEATY specs, I'll be unfair for Cherry to complain. Of course, proper care of this unit is still a must to ensure longevity of use.
|3.5 mm audio port for jack on top|
|Another microphone and USB Type C port below|
|Eject-able dual SIM slot at left|
|Power button and volume rocker at right|
Design-wise, the Cherry Mobile M1 is in between plain and fairly elegant. Meaning, it is average looking in its price bracket. The metallic edges and corner curves is pleasing, the brushed like back cover seems nice, the fingerprint scanner at the back is great, and the front facing single speaker boast modern touch of design.
Then yes, it still has black bezel screen borders, but it's noticeably slimmer against their lower priced offerings. By far, my only complain in here is its slightly protruding main camera which could be prone to scratches and its 9.8 mm thickness.
The improvements that we talked about is in its ergonomics. We failed to mention in our initial impressions that it is curvier than the K4 Note which means that it is nicer to hold. It is easy on the hands, comes with great grip, and has fair amount of heft that doesn't make it tiring to hold.
We like the way Cherry kept it simple, this machine is ergonomically well engineered!
To our liking, its buttons and ports is on the standard placements. The single loud speaker is in front, fingerprint sensor at the back, 3.5 mm port is on top, there's a USB Type C port below, volume rocker / power button at right, and eject-able SIM slots at left. Having said that, everything is easy to reach and locate.
As of the moment
We're impressed with this phone more than just its crazy powerful configuration for the price. The packaging was neat, there's a fast charger included, and has the nicest Cherry free earphones that I initially heard yet. Plus, its build and design is far from shabby as well making it a nice phone to look at and hold at the same time.
We'll run our benchmarks, take a lot of photos, play heavy games, and conduct the full testing in the following days. So please stay tuned for our full review next week!