Cherry Touch XL 2 Review - The Most Affordable VR Ready Phone In The Market

2016 is a year for virtual reality and VR-ready smartphones are already in their way to consumers. Cherry mobile launch the cheapest VR-ready smartphone at a price of 3,499 only. Yes, for that price, you can now experience virtual reality. 
Cherry Touch XL 2 Review - The Most Affordable VR Ready Phone In The Market
Cherry Touch XL 2 review

For the review part 1: Cherry Mobile Touch XL 2 Unboxing And First Impressions - The Most Affordable VR Ready Phone Yet

Display Quality

Display quality

This smartphone has a big 6 inch LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution which is good enough to let you to enjoy watching movies and TV series on a budget. It also gives good colors for the price, doesn't look pixelated even with just HD resolution, and has nice viewing angles. However, its lowest brightness setting is a bit dimmer than other cellphones that we reviewed.
5 points multitouch

We tested to play a full HD movie and it was good enough to exceed our expectations. Lastly, it has 5 points of multitouch that's designed to give you decent touch and typing experience.

Sound Quality

Speaker-wise, don't expect too much from its single speaker located at the back. It can provide loud enough tunes, but its far from detailed and has noticable distortions on high volume.

One of the features that we like with this phone is the audio output thru headphones is louder compared to MyPhone My33.
Because this is mainly used for multimedia, it's good audio is a great addition.
The bass may not be as strong as other higher-end phones, but the clarity and resolution of its audio out is clean for the price. The earphones included is surprisingly okay compared to other low-range phones as well.

The quality of its single microphone for calls did okay too, but it'll be grainy for video recordings.

Battery Life

10 hours and 24 mins of usage recorded using PC Mark battery test
10 hours and 24 mins of usage recorded using PC Mark battery test

The Touch XL 2 packs a 3,000 mAh battery which should performed decently for its class. On PC Marks battery test, it recorded almost 10 hours and 30 mins, which is quite longer than the usual 7-8 hours of screen time.

Under real life usage, if you're a heavy user, you may need to charge it at least twice a day. To conserve battery better, we turn WiFi and MP3 off when not in used. The brightness was set to the lowest settings also.

When using the original charger, it will take you 2 hours to fully charge the smartphone which is good enough.

However, I have tested charging it using other charger rather than the one that is provided and it did not charge well enough. I think you should really use the charger that is included in the box. 


Camera

The main camera at the back
The main camera at the back

Cherry Touch XL 2 is equipped with 8 MP (Rear) with AF and LED flash and 2 MP (Front). It comes with a basic camera app with HDR, panorama, and few settings adjustment which is okay at its class. There also presets where you can choose from the scene mode, options vary from night, sunset and many more.

You may also take advantage of a useful gesture like "peace sign" to capture if you find it hard shooting selfies with one hand.

Going to the quality of its main camera, we didn't set our expectations high given that this is an entry-level handset. It's decent in broad daylight, the colors were acceptable, and only has few grains (washed, but still okay).
Here's the catch, we find its main camera is on par or little better than other entry-level phones.
However, in challenging light it is not advisable to use this without flash as your photos will understandably look muddy, lacking in colors, and grainy at the same time.


Rear Camera Samples

Daylight sample
Daylight sample on a gloomy day
Focus on the fountain
Focus on the fountain
Dim light sample
Dim light sample
Disneyland at night
Disneyland at night
Grains in lowlight
Flash test
Flash test

For selfies, we were quite surprised that its only 2 MP front camera reacts well in some conditions. It's also pretty wide in angle which could be nice for some groufies. In daylight the colors were balanced, just a little grainy, but acceptable overall. 

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie daylight
Normal vs beautify
Selfie dim low-light
Selfie dim low-light

For videos, it can record up to 1080p full HD at the back and VGA (640 x 480 pixels) in front. Due to its pretty average sensors used, the don't expect the quality to be great for videos. It's okay for emergencies if you can't get other video recorders, but it'll be shaky and grainy at times. 

Video Samples


Performance

Benchmarks scores

For a low-end phone, its 1.3 GHz MT6580 quad core processor paired with Mali 400 graphics card and 1 GB RAM. That's decent for running casual social media apps and basic multitasking.

For games, it can run light 3D games in low or medium settings without much lag. We tried playing Asphalt 8 and Traffic Rider (both are 3D games) on low settings where lag is unnoticeable. However, when we tried Cosmic Roller Coaster (A VR application), is laggy at certain scenes of the game.
Simple stock UI
Simple stock UI

In terms of UI used, we liked that Cherry keep it basic and simple. All buttons and icons are large and beautifully designed so it is pleasing to eyes. It is also snappier than other heavily skinned OS with the same specs. There are just some Cherry bloats, but we can live with it.

Note: We noticed that when you restart your phone, it will take you around 5 minutes to get you to the home screen. It is stuck at "Android is starting. Optimizing app 1 of 1".  So turning your phone on and off is better to prevent that bug from annoying you.
While watching movies on VR
While watching movies on VR

The highlight of this handset is the free VR cardboard included in the package. Is it a good one? For watching HD and 3D movie contents it works fine and has better immersion against AntVR. For 360 and 3D games via VR i'll be okay too, it isn't optimized for such activities.
The VR included is designed to let you experience the most basic virtual reality experience on a very tight budget.
There will just be visible pixels as its HD resolution on a 6 inch screen is far from sharp in viewing VR contents. Lastly, it isn't the most comfortable VR around as you'll feel the weight of the phone in prolonged usage.

Pros - Most affordable VR ready phone in the land, comes with free VR headset, runs on a clean Marshmallow OS, big screen, good price
Cons - VR isn't optimized for 3D stuffs, pixels are visible on VR, phone might be too big for some

Verdict

With a price of 3,499 Pesos this handset can be considered as a steal for individuals who cares about multimedia the most. Why? It comes with a big 6 inch screen good for watching videos and the most affordable VR ready phone in the market that comes with a FREE cardboard like VR headset.

Of course, don't expect this to perform like a midrange smartphone wherein you can use it for running heavy tasks, but for entertainment and multimedia, it is a great handset. It is worth the price after-all.

GIZ Rating: 4/5 Stars
    Comments