The new Cherry Mobile Alpha Play is one of the four new devices that the company recently released that’s running on Windows 8.1. Two smartphones are on Qualcomm Snapdragon, while the other two, including the Alpha Play, is powered by an Intel processor.
But what makes this device really outstanding than similarly priced tablets? Well, this one is probably, if not the cheapest, one of the most budget-friendly Windows 8.1 tablet we’ve seen. Imagine a compelling spec-sheet with Intel Atom processor, Windows 8.1 desktop OS and a beautiful 8″ IPS display. You can get all that at a modest price of only Php7,990. Cool, right?
Cherry Mobile Alpha Play Specs
- Windows 8.1
- 8-inch IPS LCD with HD resolution
- 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735D processor
- Intel HD Graphics
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- microSD support up to 64GB
- 5-megapixel BSI main camera
- 2-megapixel front camera
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 3500mAh battery
But can the Cherry Mobile Alpha Playreally suffice your needs? Or are you better off spending someextra cash to have amore decent tablet PC? Let’s figure that out in our full review.
I’m pretty pleased with how Cherry Mobile built this economical tablet. The device may not be the best-looking of all, but still looks satisfying in the eyes. The Alpha Play comes with two color variants; black and white.
The front is where the 8″ IPS display sits with the 2MP front-facing camera at the top.
The left side is clean, while the right side has the obscurely placed home button, volume controls and the lock/power switch.
The top is also empty as all of the ports are placed at the bottom. The AC for charging port, HDMI, USB 3.0 port, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot (up to 64GB) and the built-in microphone are neatly aligned altogether.
The back is made with an aluminum painted grayish/silver color which kinda compliments the clean white color of the front and edges of the device. Although, I have noticed that the material used is prone to scratches. Not sure if it’s the paint or the metal itself. The panel also houses the stereo speakers, in line with the 5MP primary camera at the top. The branding is located at the bottom.
The overall build quality seems solid. Despite the price, they still managed to incorporate the metal back panel, which gives an extra sturdy and premium quality. Probably the only concern that I may cite is the buttons, they feel a little wobbly when pressed.
The device is packed with an 8″ IPS display, with 1280×800 pixel resolution. That said, the device’s display performs well, considering the price. It projects decent sharpness and contrast; pixels are relatively unnoticeable even when zoomed in at texts and pictures. It also has some respectable viewing-angles, although, it tends to draw a lot of glares and reflections when used in direct sunglight. That said, movies and any other media content look good on this one.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a free pre-installed clear screen protector on this one, so you may be worry-free about possible scratches on the display. Pre-installing it also steer you away from the hassle of the complicated process of applying it.
If an 8inch display is still not enough, there’s a built-in mini HDMI port on this one. All you need is an HDMI adaptor and an HDMI capable TV to share any contents with your friends or loved ones. This feature is also perfect for presentations for both school and office meetings.
The Cherry Mobile Alpha Play is powered by Intel Atom Z3735D quad-core processor clocked-in at 1.33GHz, that’s supported by 1GB of RAM. It also sports an Intel HD Graphics Gen 7.
We played some high-end games on this one. Asphalt 8: Airborne ran fluidly with no noticeable dropped frames. The graphics card’s power is also showing on this one. Although it’s not that really much of a kicker compared to something else, it’s still pretty decent and playable. The only problem is the device tends to heat up really fast. You might have to pause the game for a few minutes to cool it down or play in a room with low temperature.
Day-to-day tasks and usage are seamless on this one. All productivity apps run fluidly. Multitasking is also enjoyable, with the help of the convenient touch gestures. Microsoft office really took advantage of the processor; from Word, Excel, to PowerPoint. This device is really made for productivity on-the-go.
We played casual games like Zombie Tsunami up to more demanding titles such as FIFA Ultimate Team 15 and Asphalt 8 and we didn’t ran into much hiccups. It’s smooth all around except in FIFA where we encountered occasional lags.
We haven’t tested tradional PC games on this one as we don’t have a bluetooth or USB keyboard on hand so we decided to settle to casual tablet games that most consumers use. If you’re wondering if you can plug in a keyboard and mouse on this device, YES you can. In case you’re a gamer or a power user, you can check out the video of our friend from TheTechnoClast which took the Cherry Mobile Alpha Play to the test by playing games like Dota 2 and League of Legends. Check out the videos here.
The device runs on full WIndows 8.1 software, something very impressive for a Php7,999 device. The UI still looks gorgeous and the touch gestures are still accommodating, which helps improve productivity and efficiency in operating the device
For those who are unfamiliar, swiping from the left shall reveal the task manager. You can just swipe any application or software to bring it out, or swipe it down to close. Swiping from the right still brings some of the settings and options, and also the Windows button. These are just few of the features of the said computer operating system.
The operating system ate almost 11GB of the internal storage, leaving the 16GB dampen to only, more or less, 5GB of storage. But for a device like this, have available memory that’s as scarce as this is really not a big issue. It led us to the conclusion on really what this device is really meant for, it’s actually for students, or even everyday workers, who wants to get things done with the help of an ultra-portable and budget-friendly tablet that’s within everybody’s reach. A 5GB storage is really enough for this people; it will suffice to house the whole Microsoft Office, which they is a basic necessity, and any other documents and files. But despite its limited internal storage, the Cherry Mobile Alpha Play does support microSD cards and can be expandable for another 64GB of storage. We will also have to remember the asking price for this one. For a Php7,999 device, it’s really hard to complain.
That said, the device comes with a free Office 365 for 1 year. This software bundle includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, all in 2013 version. For a brief introduction, the Office 365 can save your works to the cloud, so you could access it anywhere, at any device. Speaking of cloud, you also get 1TB of free storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive. And if having a physical keyboard is your cup of tea, you can pair it up with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse so you can have a full desktop experience in a small package.
Here are some of the screenshots I took:
There’s really nothing great to be expected with the Alpha Play’s camera – just like on any other tablet in this category. The device has a 5MP primary camera; the quality of the photos it can produce is something to be expected, but still pretty usable. Pictures have lots of noise and the saturation is just awful. The exposure can be adjusted though, but that’s it.
The front camera sports a 2MP sensor, but unlike the ones we see on smartphone devices, this one also have some inferior picture-taking capabilities. Again, noise and grains are still immensely present. Although it has sufficient brightness, which makes it worthy enough for making video calls; But selfies you can take with it is not worth sharing.
But when using it to scan documents and lectures, it’s definitely acceptable with enough light.
Despite being consciously aware of the possible compromises because of its cheap price tag, it’s still quite bothering how the battery performs on this one. As what I have noticed, the device is still eating a lot of juice even during standby. Leaving it on standby overnight will consume an amount of almost 10% juice.
Nevertheless, it can deliver power of almost 4 hours with a marathon usage. And less than one and a half day with light to moderate use. For a battery with a 3500mAh capacity, I still believe better performance can be achieved, with the help of some software optimizations and efficiency.
Also, another con would probably be the device’s charging mechanism. It uses the shabby AC Power charger. Losing or damaging the proprietary charger may be a big problem as a standard microUSB charger, which can be found everywhere, is unusable.
So, is the Cherry Mobile Alpha Play the best of its kind? Well, it basically depends on what you really ‘need’. The device can surely cater all the basic computing and daily tasks like working on some documents or presentations with the Microsoft Office 365, internet browsing, presentations, and media entertainment.
But if you’re looking for a device that’s a total laptop PC replacement with a full Windows 8.1 OS, then this one may fall a little short for your intentions. The device’s scarce internal storage, average battery life and an ultra-small form factor makes it a hard substitute to the traditional computing devices. Though the free USB OTG cable may be helpful to gain access to extra external storage, but it’s still quite cumbersome to have an external drive to always go with you everywhere.
That said, if you’re at the latter part of the paragraph above, but still doesn’t have the capability to spend a lot for a Windows 8.1 tablet, then you might want to consider the other offering that Cherry Mobile have; the Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph. It features a larger display at 10 inches, 2GB of ram and a larger 8000mAh battery.
Cherry Mobile Alpha Play Video Review
- Sturdy build quality
- Nice display
- Good Performance
- Free Office 365 and 1TB of OneDrive
- USB 3.0 and HDMI port
- Middling Battery life
- Heats up when playing HD games
- No support for microUSB charging