Cherry Mobile Apollo Hands-on Review
JM Balicano | On 24, Oct 2013
In case you missed it, Cherry Mobile recently released a bunch of smartphones within a short time of each other, all of which are targeted toward the budget segment. Of the four phones, the Cherry Mobile Apollo is arguably the most intriguing because of its 4.5 inch HD display and quad core processor.
Unless I’m mistaken, that’s the first time HD resolution has been offered on a screen that small on a locally branded smartphone since most other 4.5 inch screens tend to come with qHD resolutions or worse. Obviously, I’ve been itching to get my hands on one since it was first announced, and fortunately, Cherry Mobile was kind enough to send over a review unit for me to try out.
I’ve been playing around with the Cherry Mobile Apollo for a while, and although I haven’t been using as my primary phone yet, I’d like to share some of the impressions I’ve gathered from my short time with it so far.
As mentioned, the Cherry Mobile Apollo sports a 4.5″ HD display. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about the quality of the screen since Cherry Mobile made no mention whether it was an IPS screen or not. However, after taking it out of the box and powering it on, I’m happy to say that it is indeed an IPS display.
You’re getting a screen with a resolution of 720 x 1280 and a pixel density of 326ppi. That’s the best pixel density of any screen on a local phone in the market next to Cherry Mobile’s own Cosmos Z. To put things in perspective, that’s the same pixel density as the screen on an iPhone 5S, and on a larger screen too!
Another thing I was concerned about was the SoC that powers the Cherry Mobile Apollo. In case you didn’t know, the CM Apollo is priced at Php6,999, so you would think they would have cut corners and slapped a Snapdragon 200 on it rather than an MediaTek MT6589, which performs better. Thankfully, the Apollo does indeed come with the more powerful MediaTek MT6589 and navigating through the phone’s UI was fast and just a bit snappy.
The benchmark results were pretty respectable to. You just don’t expect a phone that sells for less than Php7k to perform as well as the Cherry Mobile Apollo has in benchmark tools like Antutu, Quadrant and Nenamark 2, but thanks to the MT6589 SoC, the Apollo was able to produce some great results.
Design and Construction
If there’s one particular aspect of the phone where the Cherry Mobile Apollo cut corners, it’s in the design. The Apollo is made from thick, solid plastic and there weren’t any noticeable gaps when I pressed down hard against the body. However, the design is on the generic side and I can’t say I like the circular “home” capacitive navigation key in the center. Maybe it’s just my nitpicking, but it doesn’t mesh well with the other two. Admittedly, there’s only so much you can do to make the design stand out on your basic touchscreen bar phone form factor, and hey, it’s only Php6,999.
When you first take the Cherry Mobile Apollo out of its box, it doesn’t feel like anything special. It’s just your typical black brick of a touchscreen smartphone. However, when you power it on, the screen comes alive and blows you away. The onscreen image is sharp and color accuracy and vividness is spot on. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s powered by a quad core MediaTek MT6589 SoC, which is one of the more powerful budget quad core chips that can be found in the market.
Cherry Mobile Apollo Specs
- 4.5″ HD IPS display (720 x 1280 resolution, 326ppi)
- 1.2GHz quad core MediaTek MT6589 SoC
- PowerVR SGX544 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via micro SD
- 12mp autofocus rear-facing camera
- 5mp fixed focus front camera
- WiFi b/g/n
- GPS with A-GPS
- 2,000mAh battery
- Price: Php6,999
At Php6,999, the combination of killer screen and powerful quad core processor is a steal. I just can’t help but feel like I’m getting more than I paid for at that price. The price is perfect whether you want to use it as your primary smartphone, or if you’d rather bring this around on your commutes rather than a significantly more expensive branded phone like a Galaxy S4 or HTC One.