The local smartphone market here in the Philippines is rapidly growing, especially since local home-grown mobile brands are taking more and more market share from the bigger mobile phone companies. Let’s admit it. One of the first things that attract buyers to a product is its price. However, consumers want more value for what they pay for, regardless if the product is expensive or not. So here’s Cherry Mobile, probably the Philippines’ most famous home-grown brand, who recently released their latest budget-oriented quad-core smartphone, the Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum. Can it really satisfy the consumers and get more value for their money?
The Cherry Mobile Omega line of phones usually consists of midrange-class smartphones. There are lots of variants with only minor differences in either one of the processor speed, battery capacity, storage, memory or camera. However, as soon as the Spectrum hit the market, I just couldn’t believe that the Omega Spectrum is a 5-inch quad-core phone priced at 4,999 Philippine Pesos or roughly $115 to $120. Coming from a dual-core phone, I checked it out and got one for myself. Here’s my take on the Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum.
First, let’s take a look at the paper specifications. The Omega Spectrum has the following features: 1.2 GHz quad-core processor; 1 GB of memory; 4 GB of internal storage, which is expandable using an external micro SD card; Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system; dual-SIM capability; 2,000 mAh battery; 8-megapixel/2-megapixel front and back cameras, respectively; 5-inch IPS touch screen capable of 1280×720 resolution; and to top it all off, a Dragontrail protection.
As you can see, the specs are pretty good for the price and the phone looks really elegant. With a quad-core processor, it is capable of handling even graphics-intensive 3D games, more so with other types of applications. It has the basic functionality of a smartphone such as wireless communications, SMS and Bluetooth. Sorry, no LTE. You really need to pay a premium to have a phone that is LTE-capable, even from local brands.
The internal storage is just 4GB though. You’ll want a micro SD card to have extra storage. As time passes by, Android apps are getting much bigger in terms of file/install size. About 2-3 hours after I bought the phone, I almost used up the entire 4GB. Remember, the phone will use a portion of the storage for system files so you will not get the entire 4GB of storage.
Let’s talk about performance. Among the most famous benchmarks for Android phones is the AnTuTu benchmarking app. It tests your phone’s processor, memory and graphics, and then shows you the performance results in comparison to other phones. It will give you the results in detail as well. As for the Omega Spectrum, I had a score of 13,805, which is relatively great for a budget smartphone. I’ve tested the phone on a number of games, including some high-definition ones, and it did pretty well, no lag and stuttering. Overall, smooth gameplay. One problem that I currently see is that the loud speakers don’t seem to be scaling well with the volume settings. At about 75% volume, it’s still quite inaudible, but if you crank it up to around 90%, it seems like that’s the volume level when you can actually hear the audio clearly on the loud speaker.
Another important consideration when buying a phone, or a smartphone for that matter, is its battery life. With tons of features and powerful hardware, relative to much older generation phones, it needs a lot of battery power to operate at sustainable periods of time. The Omega Spectrum has a 2,000 mAh battery, which is, based on my testing, more than enough to last for around 36 hours on standby and basic text messaging. For continuous gaming or playing videos, it should last around 5 hours. Not bad at all.
One thing that would probably attract potential buyers is the Dragontrail glass. I’ve seen a video on YouTube showing someone punishing the phone, but still, it’s scratch-free. The overall durability of the phone seems to be very good. The cover isn’t loose like some of the older models do. It’s not that easy to take the cover off in case you want to change SIM card/s or the memory card.
Let’s take a look at the basic phone functionality. Another thing that impressed me about this phone is the quality of the audio when speaking to someone. The audio is so much clear compared to older Cherry Mobile smartphones. But Believe me, I wanted so much to bang my old phone to the wall since I can’t hear the person I’m speaking with. Text messaging is just like the usual Android interface. You may opt to use third-party virtual keyboards or SMS apps for added functionality, but the original one is fine.
My overall experience with this phone, so far, is really great. I have a smartphone powerful enough to play almost every game out there and run almost any type of app. It has a huge screen capable of high-resolution videos. Good phone voice audio quality, good battery and excellent durability. And most importantly, all of these come at a very, very affordable price.