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Finally, a breath of fresh air.

Cherry Mobile smartphones are almost synonymous to Android devices. I can clearly remember way back 2011 when Cherry Mobile massively launched an arsenal of new Android devices like Cany, Candy Chat and Magnum 2x. (Click related article here.) One of the products that was downplayed a bit at that time was Cherry’s first Windows device, the Cherry Mobile Eclipse. It was aptly named after the movie about vampires and shape-shifting monsters.

Cherry-Mobile-Eclipse

The phone you see above was hell powerful at that time and it was running on Windows Phone 6.5. I can’t say much whether it was successful sold or not, but one thing’s for sure – Cherry Mobile was among the first local smartphone company, if not the only one, that introduced a Windows device in the Philippine Market.

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Fast-forward 2014, Cherry Mobile has yet again revolutionized the local smartphone industry by introducing several Windows devices that are highly affordable. In fact, the Cherry Mobile Alpha Style is the world’s cheapest Windows Phone. It’s priced at PhP2,699.

It’s other “brother”, the Alpha Luxe, is slightly pricier at PhP4,999. Since I’m after value for money without sacrificing hardware and software efficiency, I picked Alpha Luxe and decided to give you all a short but sweet review.

Check our unboxing and first impressions here.

Alpha Luxe looks good in all angles. Its regalia is intentional and well thought of – such is probably the reason why Cherry Mobile picked the word ‘Luxe’ for this variant. It’s looks perfect for formal occasions, and definitely stands out when placed beside other phones.

Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe (23)

It’s ultra glossy and fingerprint-magnet back panel has a quite familiar look. If you’re a Nexus user, Alpha Luxe’s look strikes a stunning resemblance to Nexus 4. And if you’re a Windows Phone fan like most of us at Gadget Pilipinas, Luxe’s look is a total breakaway from the colorful Windows Phone devices of Nokia… ehem… Microsoft.

For complete description of Alpha Luxe’s hardware design, check this link.

The device is powered by a 1.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Processor. If we get serious on identifying the exact model of this device’s processor, there are 2 possible candidates – MSM8210 and MSM8212. Windows devices like Lumia and Micromax A121 and W121 got 8212 inside, so there’s a high probability that Alpha Luxe has similar model except for the GPU soldered on the SoC. Luxe, according to Cherry Mobile, has an Adreno 305 fused in its SoC. In this regard, I cannot help but raise the question – did Cherry Mobile come up with an MSM8210 SoC that has an Andreno 305 than the usual Adreno 302? Nevertheless, while we’re all waiting for a proper explanation from our friends from Cherry, let’s talk about its performance.

Performance and Software

Being pretty isn’t enough when it comes to smartphones. I guess there are lots of devices out there, which we can all agree, look great but suffer really bad when it comes to performance. But then again, I don’t wish to directly compare because most of the devices we reviewed at Gadget Pilipinas are Android devices. So, let me all take this differently.

What’s interesting about Windows Phone OS is its ability to process and compute data efficiently without requiring and using top-notch hardware specifications. There was even a time when most Windows Phones run even with only 512mb RAM when Microsoft positioned Windows Phone for low-end market. Today, there are Windows Phones for every socio-eco class – a market strategy, which could very well compete directly with Android.

Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe (37)

Alpha Luxe, being sold and marketed by Cherry Mobile, bears with it a resounding message to Filipinos, if not to everyone. Windows Phone could be the next big thing.

Cherry’s “higher-end” Windows Phone device performs quite well. Its performance isn’t something that I’d rave about positively all the time because I experienced occasional hangs and operation hiccups with it. However, I’m totally impressed with how fluid and smooth the animations (of its simple UI) were despite having too many background applications. There is a noticeable delay when opening applications caused by the slick transition animation. This is not a performance issue though, but there was a point when I wanted to disable it to speed things up further.

Apps & Gaming

Windows Phone already has around 300,000 apps on its store as we speak. As a matter of fact, according to Microsoft, Windows Phone store is among the fastest growing application stores in terms of new apps published per day (with 500 being added per day).

Microsoft also revealed that there are 270,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store, with more than 500 apps being added per day. There are also 4 billion app downloads and counting. Comparatively, there are close to 170,000 apps in the Windows Store.Winbeta.org

Quickly after setting up the device, I managed to download application store favorites such as Asphalt 8, Deezer, Flipagram, Instagram Beta, LinkedIn, Star Wars Commander and Spider-Man Unlimited. All these apps worked flawlessly on the device with the exception of the latter (game), in which I had to restart the phone for it to open without issues.

Camera

I didn’t expect too much from Alpha Luxe’s 8mp main [rear] camera. Photos appear a bit washed out but it isn’t something to be worried about. (lowering the exposure level can “fix” this). It also performs somewhat poorly on low light environments (adjusting ISO can remedy this but you’ll obviously have a noisy output). These issues, however, are somewhat negligible to me since this is an entry-level device. Forgivable.

Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe (35)

Its camera software has several nifty built-in options if you’re into taking creative shots or if you wish to break free from Auto Mode. There are several scenes options, which you can pick accordingly. You can also select ‘lenses’ – photo applications from the Store, which you can open from the Camera app – that can help you achieve the photo output you desire.

Here are some sample photos:

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Storage Handling & Battery Life

One of the major gripes of WP users is the OS’ inability to reflect updated storage space when deleting/copying files from/to the device. This is now fixed on Windows Phone 8.1. You will notice that my SD card size increased right after I uninstalled a BBB: App-ocaplyse. Good job, Microsoft!

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Alpha Luxe managed to stay up for more than 18 hours of moderate usage: played Spider-Man Unlimited and Star Wars: Commander; Facebook and Twitter are both running; and received SMS and calls during the day. That’s impressive, and I’m entirely sold with how Windows Phone manages to boost the efficiency of this phone’s meager 2,000mAh battery.

Verdict

I truly appreciate how Cherry Mobile managed to bring this phone to Filipinos. It’s indeed a breath of fresh air. It’s a great feat for Cherry Mobile for securing this partnership with Microsoft, and it’s also a total win for Filipinos. At last, more Filipinos can experience the improving ecosystem of Windows Phone.

Should you get it? Yes, especially if you’re scouting for a new and affordable Windows Phone device. There may be plenty of devices out there, which may be far superior – specs wise; however, it’s always worth trying a device with a very promising operating system. Besides, there are lots of technologies on Android, which may be attributed to Microsoft.

Full Specs

  • 5.0 Inch HD IPS Display (720 × 1280 Pixels, 294 ppi)
  • Scratch Resistant DragonTrail Glass
  • Windows Phone 8.1 OS
  • 1.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Processor
  • Adreno 305 GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 8GB Internal Storage
  • Expandable up to 32GB via MicroSD
  • 8.0 Megapixel Autofocus Main Camera with LED Flash
  • 2.0 Megapixel Front Camera
  • Dual SIM/Dual Standby
  • 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE and GPRS Networks
  • Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • GPS
  • FM Radio
  • MicroUSB
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Accelerometer
  • 2,000mAh Li-ion Battery
  • ₱4,999.00 Official Price
Chief Editor at | Website

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.