Cherry Mobile just launched another powerful yet affordable device that goes by the name Cherry Mobile Omega HD. Sounds familiar, right? If you’ve been following them closely, you’ll know that it’s actually the follow-up to the CM Omega – which turned out to be a big disappointment to many, mainly because a lot of fans had started overhyping it too much.
Finally, after a couple of months, Cherry Mobile has released a successor to the 5.2-inch phablet. This time, they made sure they gave their fans what they wanted – 1GB RAM. While they already have a smartphone in their line up with 1GB of RAM in the Titan TV, it has its flaws, such as the WVGA resolution (480×800) on a gigantic 6 inch display. Also, not everybody wants a phablet that huge as it’s uncomfortable to take with you every day as a primary phone, especially on commutes.
Let’s start with a short introduction and start talking about its main features, improvements over its predecessor, and our thoughts.
We were really excited when we first heard that the Cherry Mobile Omega would soon have a follow-up. In fact, event before the 1st generation Omega was unveiled, rumors of the Omega HD had already been building up. An alleged jelly case and screen protector were also leaked by Cherry Angel (retailer) before it launched, which hyped it even further among Cherry Mobile user groups on Facebook.
Display: 5-inch HD IPS Display, Dragon Trail Glass
The most notable feature of the Cherry Mobile Omega HD is its high definition 1280×720 pixel resolution IPS Dragon Trail Glass display. Unlike earlier affordable local smartphones that typically sported screens with a WVGA resolution, the Cherry Mobile Omega HD, as the name implies, gives us a first-ever taste of a locally branded smartphone with an HD display. Also, it’s a Dragon Trail Glass display, meaning it can handle more than your typical bumps and scratches because it’s designed to be ultra-tough (scratch resistant). At the event, they even challenged us to do anything we could to scratch the screen, providing us a variety of implements to do just that.
It might not be as popular as Corning’s Gorilla Glass, but it’s still an option people should take notice of when considering the quality of the protective glass. If you’re wondering how good it is, Sony’s Xperia Z uses it as well. If it’s good enough for a flagship phone from an established brand, then it’s good enough for us.
1GHz Dual-core CPU, PowerVR SGX531 GPU, 1GB RAM, Jelly Bean = Giving the People What they Wanted!
As mentioned,the Omega HD has 1GB of RAM and the familiar tandem of a Mediatek 6577 dual-core processor paired with a PowerVR SGX531 GPU. This configuration is the same as the O+ 8.12 that we reviewed in the past and throughout our hands on time with the Omega HD, we found it to be more than adequate. Navigation through the UI was fast and zippy, and one of the photographers at the event noted that it felt noticeably faster than his Cherry Mobile Titan.
Somebody tested both Dead Trigger and Temple Run 2 on the phone, which are both great looking games that are a bit heavy on the system and they played just fine (they looked especially gorgeous on that HD IPS screen). There should only be a few high-end games that will remind you that you’re using a budget android phone. For the most part, you’ll be pleased with the solid performance from the chipset. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s launching with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which makes the whole thing seem faster because of the software optimizations of Google’s Project Butter.
Storage: 4GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB
Despite all other hardware upgrades, the Cherry Mobile Omega still has the familiar 4GB of built-in internal storage that’s common across many of the higher end locally branded phones. It’s nothing to gripe about, considering the price, and it expandable via microSD anyway. However we didn’t get the chance to see if the Cherry Mobile Omega HD supports app installations on the external card.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, Bluetooth, etc
Being a full-fledged android phone, the Omega HD doesn’t skimp on any essential smartphone features. All the standard connectivity options are here, namely Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, and GPS. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as it’s a relatively premium price point for a locally branded smartphone. You simply get what you pay for, and since you’re paying more for the Omega HD, thankfully, you’re also getting more in return.
Camera: 12-megapixel BSI camera, 2-megapixel front camera, 720p video recording
Aside from the astounding 5-inch HD IPS Dragon Glass display, another main attraction of the Cherry Mobile Omega HD is its sick 12MP BSI (Back-Illuminated-Sensor) main camera with autofocus and LED flash. BSI improves low-light performance of the camera, so you’re more than likely to get a decent shot in situations where lighting is less than optimal.
On the other hand, the front-facing shooter is rated at 2MP, and it’s said to be a BSI shooter too, although we didn’t have the chance to test it at the event. Video chats shouldn’t be too pixelated since the upgraded cam will give you a better experience than the typical VGA cameras that end up on lower-end android phones these days. Just make sure you have the bandwidth to support a bigger upload stream from that camera.
Battery Life: 2100mAh, Good enough
The boost in resolution, the use of IPS panel, and 1GB RAM is expected to consume more power, but the 2100mAh battery hits the sweet spot. The Galaxy S3 also has a similarly sized battery, but it has a quad-core CPU, meaning the Omega HD should last a little longer than Samsung’s flagship from last year. In comparison to the Cherry Mobile Titan that has a 2350mAh battery, there shouldn’t be a significant difference.
So should you buy the Cherry Mobile Omega HD?
If you like big screens, the Omega HD is a great pick, and despite the big screen, the body feels barely any bigger than the Cherry Mobile Blaze. The design and build quality feel top-notch, and we especially marvelled at the thinness of the bezel, which is something you would only expect from a flagship phone. There’s no doubt that it will be the premium local smartphone to beat phones once it’s out in April, but let’s not count out other local brands as they might release a few surprises of their own that can rival the Cherry Mobile Omega HD. But then again, we’re sure that the Omega HD will be give them a hard time competing.
Cherry Mobile Omega HD Specs
- Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
- Dual-SIM, Dual Standby
- 5-inch HD IPS Dragon Trail Glass display, 1280×720 pixel resolution, 294 ppi
- 1GHz dual-core MediaTek MT6577 processor
- PowerVR SGX531 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB internal storage, supports microSD card up to 32GB
- 12-megapixel autofocus BSI camera with LED flash
- 720p HD video recording at 30fps
- 2-megapixel front camera
- Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspot
- 3G, HSDPA, HSUPA
- FM Radio
- GPS, A-GPS
- Bluetooth with A2DP
- Dimension: 143.5 x 70.8 x 8.8mm
- Weight: 140g
- 2100mAh Li-Ion Battery
- Price: Php 7,999
It’s still too early to say if the Cherry Mobile Omega HD will achieve the kind of success that the Flare (read our review here) and Titan experienced when they first came out. After all, it does cost an extra grand than I’m accustomed to paying for a relatively high end locally branded phone. Also, it’s launching alongside the Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0, a quad core phone that sells for Php1k less. However in our opinion, the Omega HD feels like the better pick of the two. While you do lose out performance-wise, the Omega HD is better when it comes to battery life and screen quality, and you even get some premium features, such as scratchproof Dragon Trail Glass, and a pair of awesome front and back BSI shooters. It’s hard to go wrong with that kind of deal.
* This article was written by Adam Parnala and JM Balicano.