Cherry Mobile “Dragon” W900 Review
Cherry Mobile is happily chugging along with their lineup of affordable but spec-worthy Android phones, and the W900, also dubbed as the “Dragon”, is a new addition to their growing family. With an affordable price tag of PhP 9,900, this mid-range device from the local manufacturer looks like a bang-for-the-buck buy considering its specs. Let’s take a look closely if the Dragon could be your next (or first) Android handset.
The W900 has a canny resemblance to the newer Blackberry phones, with its tapered top and bottom edges. The front part of the phone utilized as much space possible for its 4.0” screen, save for the Menu, Home and Back keys on the bottom and the front-facing VGA camera and LED notification light on top. Two obscure-looking logos are placed on the top and bottom parts, which is a bit confusing and takes away from the overall sleek façade.
The Power button on the right side doubles as an Eco-mode switch, a feature which gives the device limited power for better battery life. On this same side is a flap that covers the microUSB port for charging or connecting to a computer. The volume rocker and audio port is on the left side. The back houses the 5-megapixel camera (no flash) and the phone logo. When opened, it reveals the battery, SIM card and SD card slots.
The most distinct physical feature for this phone would have to be its gold lining on the top and bottom edges, with the word “Curvaceous” engraved on the top part at the back. I don’t know if that’s the manufacturer’s way of being playful, but it might actually hurt the design rather than enhance it.
The rest of the chassis is made of smooth, shiny plastic which did not seem “creaky” at all. In fact, it felt stable in the hand, albeit a bit too wide for mine. Due to the materials used, the phone feels very lightweight and thin. This may or may not be a good thing – it all depends on user preference.
Display and UI
With a 4.0” screen having an 800 x 480 resolution, this phone is a joy to use. It may not have a high-res display as other popular 4-inch phones but I particularly enjoyed its bright, crisp display in a screen big enough for typing text messages, playing videos or viewing websites.
The W900 includes a multi-wallpaper feature, which enables you to use different wallpapers for different home screens. This is something other Android phones (as I know of) don’t have and is a very clever way to be unique.
The interface has been likened to Samsung’s TouchWiz, but this is not really a bad thing. The icons and menus are big enough and are pretty easy to use for a first time Android user. The Gallery interface is also interesting with this device, as it has a zoom in/out animation that is pretty cool to watch.
One of the pleasant surprises of this phone is its 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor – something not often expected from a device in its price range. As such, the W900 is responsive and fast when doing just about anything from web browsing to playing games with almost zero lag. The only time it seemed to slow down was during the advanced stages of Temple Run, where there is a notable graphics lag and delay in responding to touch gestures. Despite this, the game never crashed and the phone continued to keep up with the game’s demand.
As seen from its Quadrant test result (1071), it’s not the fastest phone out there – but that’s fine. For a sub-10k device, this is something that exceeds expectations, making it one of the better phones within its price range.
Call quality is clear and steady on this phone, with no dropouts experienced. The speaker phone is loud enough, and the microphone apparently has decent pick up since the person on the other end of the line had no problems hearing me.
Listening to music with this phone is more advisable with the headphones on, as this delivers better sound quality than being on speaker mode. On the other hand, watching videos in YouTube was a surprisingly impressive experience. Although the video quality was not the best, streaming was smooth and continuous with this device.
The device has a front-facing VGA camera and a 5-megapixel camera at the back – unfortunately with no flash. For frequent photo-takers, this may be a deal breaker. However, the camera does deliver acceptable photo quality in great lighting conditions. Here are a few sample shots taken with the W900:
For moderate use, the phone’s 1350 mAh battery should be enough to last a full day. However, for a heavy Android user like me, I have yet to see an Android device that lasts all day. It’s a shame I won’t see it in this device, as it only lasted me a little under 8 hours. For me, heavy use would mean 3G on, playing games, watching videos, using social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter, and reading and responding to e-mails. Of course that is on top of the phone’s basic function – which is receiving/making calls and sending SMS.
I guess this is where the Eco mode will come in handy, as it lets you control which services and apps to turn off when activated.
The W900 is a great phone for anyone who wants to try the Android platform or those who wants to upgrade from their small entry-level Droids. With one of the best performances in a device in its price range, brilliant display and elegant hardware design (sans the “curvaceous” thing), this phone packs a lot of value for the average consumer. Although it does have its own weaknesses, one being a flash-less camera and occasional lags during game play, which is something that a user has to consider before buying a device.
There is no question that this device is great value for your Php9,990, and if a low price is a big factor in deciding which phone to get, the W900 should be on top of your list. However, if you demand the best performance and good quality photos from a phone, you should probably look elsewhere.
|Cherry Mobile W900 Specs:|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 1.2GHz processor|
|1GB internal storage|
|up to 32GB via microSD (8GB included)|
|WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot|
|GPS w/ aGPS support|
|DLNA certified, DivX, Dolby Digital Plus|
|5MP rear camera w/ 720p HD video recording|
|VGA front-facing camera|
|Android 2.3 Gingerbread|
|SRP: Php 9,990.00|
Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Kim Barloso with some slight revisions by the editor. Kim is the girl behind GirlMeetsDroid. She lives and breathes Android, always tinkering and tweaking her beloved HTC Sensation. If she’s not playing with her Android phone, she pretends to work in front of her PC.