Cherry Mobile has always been at the top of its game since they launched the first Flare. Since then, Filipinos flock through their kiosks to experience their devices, and most of the time, their products magically turn their window shoppers to actual buyers.
We did some research at the Ateneo de Manila Library and took points of the following successes of the local phone company. These data are based on BMI Research, a company of Fitch Group:
- Cherry Mobile has made great strides in the Philippines and capitalised on the boom in low-end Android handsets.
- In 2013 it achieved sales of between 200,000 and 250,000 units a month, making it the top selling brand in the Philippines (although not all of these sales were smartphones).
- Cherry Mobile and MyPhone deepened the market with low-cost devices. We expect a total of 8.5mn first-time buyer sales in 2015, still highly significant for overall competitive dynamics, but from 2016 we expect replacement sales will outnumber first time buyers, with the figure for the latter expected to fall to 2.6mn by 2019.
- The most recent data from IDC show Cherry Mobile took first place in the Philippine smartphone market by volumes in 2014 with a share of 21.9%. This saw it surpass global market leader Samsung Electronics, which achieved a share of 13.3%, narrowly ahead of another local brand, MyPhone.
TL;DR of the above data direct us to one fact -- there is a high demand for Android smartphones, and such demand will continue to rise especially when phones are priced fairly and affordably.
Enter, Android One -- an initiative to bring software and security standards on Google Nexus line for people who have limited budget. Simply put, it is Google’s way of bringing Android and its more premium experience to more people. In case you aren’t aware, Google and Cherry Mobile have partnered last March 2015 with the Cherry Mobile One. This time, they have renewed their partnership with the Cherry Mobile Android One G1. After one month of full use, here is our full review.
Build and Design
I honestly adore the Android One G1’s design. It somehow reminds me of Flare series -- compact, minimalist but beautiful. I thought that it would have been more apt had they named this Cherry Mobile Flare One than Android One G1.
It is fairly large but definitely pocketable and jeans-friendly. It is bigger than its predecessor, and yet it remains to be sleek and very comfortable to hold. For reference, it is as big and as slim as the Samsung Galaxy S6.
We covered a full device walkthrough on our unboxing video. We included it below for your appreciation.
One of my favorite aspects of this Android One device is the on-screen menu keys. This implementation, in a way, made the device look a lot more premium and kind of sets it apart from other Cherry Mobile devices. My only personal gripe with this one is that it (the on-screen keys) is sometimes difficult to bring out when using full screen applications.
Its back panel is made of plastic but has anti-slip qualities. It feels rubbery in a way, and quite prone to fingerprints and smudges. The chrome side tones looks awesome, and in our books, makes the phone a lot more attractive.
Cherry Mobile Android One G1’s screen is far better and bigger than its predecessor. Its 5-inch HD IPS on-cell screen is gorgeous, bright and vibrant.It is beautiful all over. Color projected on screen is accurate, and texts are clear and very readable.
The level of vibrancy of G1’s screen is magnificent. Primary colors pop out and it is easy for me to distinguish different palettes. Black isn’t too black though, but it’s definitely fine by me.
On direct sunlight, content displayed on its screen can be read and seen. There is nothing very special on its IPS screen though. With adaptive brightness enabled, the device took 2 seconds to adjust its screen to 75% to full brightness to make content visible even on direct sunlight.
The device is powered by a 1.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 410 MSM8916 64-bit processor. I have used the Cherry Mobile One and its difference to the G1 is night and day. G1 is faster and a lot more capable, much like the performance of the product we recently reviewed -- the 2nd gen Moto E.
Hardware-wise, there are 2 more things that really make the G1 the device to beat: the new industry standard 2gb RAM and Adreno 306 GPU. With these two installed on the device, we can guarantee that you wouldn’t have issues in multitasking your favorite applications and games.
If you fancy playing games like Vainglory, Sproggiwood and even Real Racing 3 on this device, then you’re in for a good treat. These games are playable and during our tests, we didn’t encounter any major issues. NBA 2K15 (126.96.36.199) does not work, so you better find a build or version that works best on the device. World of Tanks plays well too almost without any hint of lag. We’ll be happy to give our full report soon on these games pretty soon.
Android One G1’s internal space is generous. It has a 12gb of available storage space at boot, and may even be expanded up to 64gb more via its microSD slot. Sadly, the device does not support USB OTG so we can read and write data to our external storage devices.
As an Android One device, the G1 runs on stock Lollipop 5.1.1. In my opinion, this facet is where the G1 excels. Iterative and major updates are pushed directly by Google for 2 years. This guarantees users of the device that they’ll have first dibs of the new updates and the upcoming Android Marshmallow.
Shortcuts to essential Google applications are readily available on the homescreen. Native and Google-approved third party applications come in full view when you open the app tray. The UI is snappy and pretty, but there aren’t any customization features such as icons and theme changer.
Memory consumption is also highly optimized. In fact, at boot, available memory is at 1.4gb out of the 2gb total RAM. In this regard, it is then safe to state that the lesser the consumed memory and the more optimized the apps are for the operating system, the more energy efficient the device is. This statement is well founded on the case of the Android One G1. The phone’s battery life is great. With moderate usage and with LTE enabled, my device lasted one full day (usually with 14-18% juice left).
G1 is one of the first LTE-capable Android One devices. It is also the country’s most affordable LTE phones. Great, but this isn’t something rave-worthy as internet speeds in the Philippines is among the world’s slowest.
At the very least, the phone is 2G, 3G and HSPA+ capable, which I believe are more reliable connections. The phone also has WiFi and Bluetooth so you can easily connect to home and commercial internet and receive/transfer files respectively.
The device has a 13mp BSI rear camera and a 5mp BSI front camera. Its cameras didn’t disappointment me; and in fact, amazed me with the outputs. The level of detail of the its output is outstanding and can rival the output of other more expensive brands.
We also took a sample video in 1080p/Full HD for your appreciation. Be sure to switch your view to Full HD so you can see and hear the quality of the video.
At PhP5,999, I find the Android One G1 a device that anyone can easily fall in love with. It is both powerful and practical. Power may be the be-all and end-all for most people when it comes to smartphones but the G1 promises to be practical at the same time.
It is, for the most part, capable of delivering outstanding performance and uncompromised speed. It’s good for gaming, productivity and capturing photos. It is, at the same time, affordable and update-friendly. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this over the Flare X (if ever you’re faced with a dilemma between purchasing a Flare X or this device).
- Android Lollipop 5.1.1
- 1.2 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon MSM8916 64 Bit
- Adreno 306
- 5-inch HD IPS On-cell screen
- Dragon Trail Glass
- 16 GB ROM / 2GB RAM
- LTE Ready / Wifi / BT 4.0
- Dual SIM
- 13MP BSI Rear Camera with Dual LED Flash
- 5MP BSI Front Camera
- 2500mAh Battery