Cherry Explorer 2 Review - The First Android Powered Action Camera In The World!

As a refresher, the Explorer 1, Cherry's first venture in the world of action cameras. It surprised a lot of people for the due to its generous package that's complete with useful accessories for outdoor adventures like mounts, waterproof case, and etc.  However, while its quality decent for the price, it has a number of flaws that may not make it really suitable for your adventures.
Cherry Explorer 2 Review - The First Android Powered Action Camera In The World!
Cherry Mobile Explorer 2 review

Why? We noticed that the waterproof case gets a lot of moist, the UI is quite hard to navigate, and the battery drains fast. Those are the things that we wanted Cherry to improve if ever they will came up with another edition of it. 

Fortunately, it appears that the biggest mobile brand in the country is listeningAt the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain, one the biggest tech show in the world, the company surprised everyone with the announcement of the Explorer 2 Action Cam.


The 2nd generation Action camera that touts a lot of improvements and innovation. Cherry managed to pull of a very clever feature that nobody else did before on this type of device, the Explorer 2 is the first fully operational action camera in the world that runs with Android 5.1 Lollipop OS.

Fortunately, we were able secure a demo unit to share with you guys our review, personal thoughts and experiences while using this nifty gadget. Let's begin.

Disclaimer: This unit was seeded by Cherry Mobile for an honest review

Cherry Explorer 2 Specs

Display: 2.4 Inch HD 1280 x 720 resolution touch screen display
Camera: 12 MP 170 degrees wide angle lens
CPU: 1.3 GHz MT6580 quad core processor
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 8 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 64 GB
Battery: 1,050 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Connectivity: HDMI, USB OTG
Others: Microphone, Loudspeaker, FREE Waterproof case
Dimensions: 67.2 x 46.6 x 21.3 mm
Weight: 164 g
Price: 5,999 Pesos

Unboxing / Accessories

The beautiful box of Cherry Explorer 2
The beautiful box of Cherry Explorer 2

The packaging of the Explorer 2, like the first Cherry Action Cam is impressive. It's housed in a glass like clear acrylic box that contains everything needed.


Upon opening the package, you'll be greeted with the Explorer 2 itself and a waterproof case. After digging further, the rest of the inclusions will be unveiled, and there's a lot of them. You'll get a 1A wall charger / adapter, USB to micro USB data / charging cables, a lot of mounting tools, cleaning cloth, screen protector, and replacement covers.
Lots of accessories inside
Tons of accessories inside!

What's missing in the package is a monopod. Fortunately, its a common type of accessory that nearly everyone has.

Build Quality / Design

The waterproof case of the camera
The waterproof case of the camera
It doesn't moist underwater most of the time
The construction made on this device is simple yet well thought-off. It's made out of an all plastic material with textures that adds grip. Then its single point touch screen panel has a pre-installed screen protector against starches. For added toughness and protection, there's a waterproof case that you can use.

Note: You just can't use the touch screen panel when the camera is inside the waterproof case.
Battery removed
Battery removed
WiFi button at right
WiFi button at right
Micro USB data / charging port at left
Micro USB data / charging port at left

In terms of design, it's a small rectangular device with faux leather like texture on the sides, brushed steel plate, and large protruding camera sensor in front. Overall, it looks neat and simple.

Ergonomically, the camera is easy to hold and use. It'll only take you  a few minutes to figure things out as all the buttons are in familiar and easy to reach places. There's a shutter / record button is on top, mode button, and LED indicator in front. Then there's a removable battery below, WiFi function w/ LED indicator at right, and a micro USB data / charging port at left.

Battery Life

Packaging 1,050 mAh of battery, we didn't expect much for its longevity as it is now using a touch screen panel. Fortunately, the battery of Explorer 2 performed way better than the older Cherry Action Cam.

It was able to last for a little under 3 hours of continuous 1080p video recording. In real life usage, we were able to use it for a little half a day before we need to charge it using our powerbank. In comparison, the old Cherry Action Cam only lasted for a little over an hour of use.

Charging time is around 1 hour and 30 mins.

Camera

The Explorer 2 is using a 12 MP f/2.0 sensor w/ wide angle lens which can record up to 1080p videos in 30 frames per second. That's somewhat the norm nowadays on similarly priced action cams.

Looking at its camera software, it reminds me of a stock Android camera app with the usual settings found inside. It's user friendly and even has HDR and panorama. 

Going to the quality, as long as you're in a well-lit condition, it'll take images with acceptable sharpness, details, and color tones. It tends to be on the more saturated side with slightly yellowish tone, but I'm fine with it. Wide angle effect is pretty cool too and won't require you to use the panorama anymore most of the time. With the use of HDR (even if its kinda slow), goes with one of the nicer and punchier result we've seen on an affordable action cam.

On indoor shots with dim lighting, it's acceptable though grains and violetish colors will start to appear. On night shots, that violetish tone is more prominent (though it'll create a nice effect at times).

Focusing is also quite okay as long as your subject isn't moving. However, it doesn't auto focus and touch to focus so doing macros will be tough. Saving time could also be improved.

Camera Samples

At La Union
At La Union
Nice waves, great wide angle effect!
Nature trip at Baguio
Nature trip at Baguio
Selfie test!
Selfie test!
Butanding in Cebu
Butanding in Cebu
Macro struggle
Macro struggle
Grains in lowlight
Grains in lowlight
Sunset in Manila, violetish, but the effect is cool
Sunset in Manila, violetish, but the effect is cool
Night shot
Night shot

For videos, it shoots up to 1080p videos in 30 fps. In daylight, the quality is acceptable. It has the same color and image quality when taking photos and isn't really that shaky considering it doesn't have OIS. When properly mounted, video recordings is quite nice.

At night and lowlight, it'll be laggy and shaky.

Video Samples



Performance

Like what we said earlier, a special trait of this action camera is its use of Android 5.1 operating system. In that sense, this is the first Android powered action camera in the world that can be considered smart.

It's equipped with a 2.4 inch HD screen that's usable to look and use even with just 1 point touch. Under the hood, there's a capable 1.3 GHz MT6580 quad core chip, 1 GB RAM for casual multitasking, and ample 8 GB of expandable storage up to 64 GB.

The Cherry Explorer 2 enables you to upload your shots easily to your favorite social media apps.
Apart from its built-in default Android camera app, this camera enables you to do things that you can do with a regular smartphone or tablet. You can view photos / videos you took and even listen to it (the cam has a built-in speaker) and upload them easily to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

There's also a number of useful pre-installed apps such as Xender and OneDrive. Then guess what? This smart action camera can let you download your favorite apps and games via Google Play store.

Via WiFi, you can also connect it to the easy to use Explorer 2 app where you can control the camera in shooting photos, taking videos, and transfer it to your device. There's also Bluetooth connection (though kinda slow) that can be used as an alternative for file transferring.

Pros - Improved camera performance, nice HDR result, waterproof case won't easily moist, ample built-in storage, decent microphone quality, can upload easily to favorite social media apps, has WiFi, app is easy to use
Cons - Camera performance isn't consistent, grainy in dim light, video recording at night needs improvement, slow Bluetooth file transder, lack of monopod

Verdict

The Cherry Mobile Explorer 2 is a cool and innovative device. Like what we said earlier, it is the world's first action camera that runs with Android OS. With that, it can also considered as a smart camera as it has plenty of functions that's useful in the age of social media.

Quality-wise, the improvement coming from the first Cherry Action cam is evident as well. It now shoots better photos / videos and has a longer battery life. At just 5,999 Pesos, this would be a nifty and feature packed travel buddy.

GIZ Rating: 4/5 Stars
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