Update: Here’s the latest Cherry Mobile Magnum S Octa Core Android 4.4 KitKat smartphone.
The Cherry Mobile Magnum 2X is the local brand’s answer to the list of dual-core Android smartphones in the market today. It’s their most powerful smartphone to date and is also most affordable dual-core phone in the market. At only Php15,899, it’s about Php7,000 cheaper than the next affordable dual-core phone.
The question you you might be asking now and the main reason why you are reading this is, “Is it worth it?” Let’s take a closer look and find out how Cherry Mobile fared with their Magnum 2X.
Just like most if not all Cherry Mobile phones, the Magnum 2X is also a rebranded OEM phone from China, this time it’s the K-Touch 700 from Aliyun. India’s Micromax also uses the same OEM and brands it as the Micromax A85.
Rebranding OEM devices is not always a bad thing. In fact, it drives the price really low and in the case of the Magnum 2X, Cherry Mobile picked a decent choice for their dual-core phone. When you look at this phone, you wouldn’t know it’s a Cherry Mobile. It’s probably the most gorgeous-looking phone the brand has to offer with the glossy front panel and the edgy lines and slanted edges probably inspired by the Nokia N8. Too bad it only comes in black.
The front sports a 3.8″ Gorilla Glass display with the four Android touch panels below it. I would position these buttons slightly lower to make use of the extra space at the bottom and that my thumb would fall naturally in place when pressing them. No branding whatsoever can be found at the front which some people actually prefer.
The left side only has the volume rocker. The top has the microUSB port with a rubber covering which I fear might wear out from constant opening. Beside it is the 3.5 mm audio jack. The right side has the Power/Sleep button. You would also notice two button-like pieces on both sides. Pressing these will release the latch that holds the back panel to access the battery compartment.
The back consists of a matte, slightly curved metal plate which keeps off fingerprints. Near the top is the 5-megapixel camera with no flash on sight and on the left side is the speaker for the phone which I often find myself covering with my thumb.
You would notice that on its side, the Magnum 2X is a bit chunky. It’s thicker than the Cherry Mobile Magnum HD because of the curved back which is also a nuisance for me. When I lay the phone on its back, it easily spin around every time I use it and this will wear out the back panel easily. I suggest getting a case for it ASAP.
Display and UI
The Cherry Mobile Magnum 2X has a smaller screen display than the Magnum HD at 3.8-inch against 4.1-inch. However, it has the same 480 x 800 pixels which makes the Magnum 2X have a larger pixel density thereby a sharper and more vibrant display. The display on this looks really good and it reminds me of the display on the HTC Desire S.
This phone comes in stock Android Froyo UI with little to no modifications from Cherry Mobile aside from the wallpapers and the Sony Ericsson Xperia-inspired background on the settings menu. The homescreens and app drawer are pretty much ordinary.
The lockscreen allows you to unlock the phone to a specific function just like Call, Messages, etc. by dragging the center to any of the four icons. Too bad I couldn’t find a way to customize which app I want to access directly from the lockscreen.
With stock UI, you don’t get a lot of widgets other brands have to offer but it’s not a problem. The Android Market has a lot to offer in terms of customizations and widgets. In fact, I enjoyed downloading Go Launcher themes and widgets for this phone and you should too.
The Magnum 2X has a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor. Same as that on almost 10-inch Android tablets. So what can you expect from a dual-core Android phone? Well sad to say not much in terms of real-world experience. It’s fast yes but there was really not much of an improvement from the single-core Magnum HD. It’s not the phone’s fault, it’s more on the OS and apps as it has not yet matured to fully utilize multi-core processors. What we can probably expect from this though is that it’s likely that it will be ready for Android 4.0.
Here’s the Quadrant score (2006) for the Cherry Mobile Magnum 2X:
It’s a couple of hundred points lower than the LG Optimus 2X which has the same Tegra 2 processor.
I already mentioned that the phone still runs on Android 2.2 Froyo with no word yet from Cherry Mobile when they will be releasing the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for it.
Just like the Magnum HD on Froyo, I ran into some problems with the Magnum 2X. I would occasionally experience the phone turning off by itself and I need to do a battery pull to turn it back on. There’s also the rare instances when the phone crashes on some built-in apps like Contacts, Camera and Messages.
Don’t fret though. I also initially experienced the same thing with the Magnum HD running on Froyo (and Galaxy Ace running on Froyo). When I upgraded them to Gingerbread, all the problems went away and you can feel the phone running really smoothly. I’m pretty much sure the same thing will happen when Gingerbread comes out for this phone.
Just like most Android phones out there, you won’t have problems playing your videos here. The phone’s power and display can handle almost all videos you can throw at it. Although for some reason, the native player won’t allow me to skip on my AVI file. There are other media player options in the market which you can download however.
The speakers on this phone is loud but your music will sound “œcanny” when on loud volumes. You might want to use your own earphones instead. The package also comes with an earphone with an in-line mic by the way.
There are no built-in games installed but you can get them from the market. Gaming is smooth and the display again looks very good. Nothing much to say here although Angry Birds crashed on me a couple of times.
Website renders quickly so no complaints here. Text font displays correctly and the default browser supports multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom.
The camera on the Magnum 2X can go up to 5-megapixels which brings it below the usual megapixel count from other dual-core phones. It’s important to note that this one doesn’t have any flash to help in low-light condition. Its camera functions are pretty limited and basic as well so you might want to download better camera apps from the market.
Here are some sample photos taken with the Cherry Mobile Magnum 2X:[nggallery id=26]
Pretty usable actually and it’s better than the 5-megapixel with flash of the Magnum HD. Colors are a bit washed out and details aren’t as sharp as we want it to be but overall the results are decent including close-up shots.
And here’s a sample video from the Magnum 2X:
This phone has a VGA front-facing camera but when I tried it on Skype, only the back camera is functioning so you won’t be able to see who’re you’re talking to during video calls. Not sure if this is a phone issue or an OS issue which can be fixed on the next update.
The Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery rating on this phone is just average for a 1Ghz dual-core Android phone. With WiFi occasionally on, random calls, videos, browsing, and a bit of gaming, I was able to squeeze 24 hours out of a single charge before the phone tells me to connect it to a charger.
Using the phone for a couple of weeks I say the overall experience was good. Actually, very good for a Cherry Mobile despite a few concerns (such as app crashing and phone turning off) which can probably be fixed with a newer OS.
With regards to the design, I wished they made the back flat instead of curved to make it more slimmer and stable on its back but this is not Cherry Mobile’s call since it’s an OEM device. The display however will blow Cherry Mobile users away. This has got to be the best display resolution on a CM phone yet.
Despite the lack of flash, the camera on this one produces very usable photos as compared to the rest of CM phones available.
I can’t comment on the durability of this phone which people say is Cherry Mobile’s weakest point since I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks. However, the Gorilla Glass display seems to be true because I’ve been using the phone without any protection and there’s nary a scratch on the screen despite always putting it in my pocket with keys and coins.
For the price of Php15,899, I say this dual-core phone is worth every penny of it if you’re not that brand-conscious and if you can wait for the Gingerbread update. Froyo is usable but first-time Android users might be disappointed. If dual-core is not that important to you, sticking to the single-core 1GHz phones of established brands seems to be a wiser use of your money.
|Cherry Mobile Magnum 2X Specs|
|1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core processor|
|Android 2.2 Froyo (upgradeable to 2.3 Gingerbread)|
|3.8″ WVGA capacitive touchscreen (480 x 800 pixels)|
|Gorilla Glass display|
|8 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, 4GB microSD included|
|3G, HSDPA 14.4 Mbps|
|5 MP, 2592Ñ…1944 pixels, autofocus|
|Front facing VGA camera|
|Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery|