Monday, June 24, 2013

Cherry Mobile Omega HD H100 Android Smartphone (i-mobile IQ 6)

First off, I'm not a tech blogger and this is not a technical review. I'm just an average consumer who is satisfied with my phone. Treat this review as a supplement of more technical ones you can find in tech blogs.

Cherry Mobile Omega HD smartphone

I got my Cherry Mobile Omega HD smartphone from the SM North branch for P7999 last month. A week before that, we were in Divisoria so I decided to see if the Cherry Mobile stores in Tutuban and Lucky Chinatown Mall had stocks. Both had none and the staff told me that the Omega HD was usually available only in the big stores like Robinson's and SM. The following week (May 10), I was in SM North and thankfully, the phone was available there that time.

Service at the branch was generally okay except for one thing: Cherry Mobile had a promo last month. Some units came with freebies; Omega HD was supposed to include a free flip cover. The sales personnel did not mention anything about it. We were already eating dinner when I remembered about the freebies and when I came back to the store, only then was I informed that the flip covers were out of stock and that she did not know when they would become available. Going back to SM North is a hassle especially because of our weather so I still haven't gotten my flip cover until now. The salesgirl not saying anything about it during my purchase seemed underhanded though. I tried sending an email to their support team requesting that I be allowed to pick up the flip cover at a nearer branch but my email just bounced, pfft! I sent a text message to their hotline and guess what? I got no reply. Frankly, I don't expect to see that free flip cover.

Anyway...

The box contains
  • Cherry Mobile Omega HD phone (imobile IQ6)
  • USB cable
  • AC adapter
  • earphones
  • 2100 mAh battery
  • user's manual
  • warranty card

Like I previously stated, I tend to be thrifty when it comes to gadgets and shelling out P15K or more for a smartphone did not sit well for me. I thought I had no choice but thank goodness I heard about the Cherry Mobile Omega HD. I was a bit hesitant that it was too good to be true, after all as they say, "You get what you pay for" but this phone exceeded my expectations.

Sometimes, cheaper brands of phones look, well, cheap. The Omega HD does not. For a smartphone that costs P8000, it looks pretty good. It is compact (143.5x70.8 x8.8 mm) and lightweight (140g) and its design is modern and classy, with nice rounded edges. The features are great as well (more on that below).

On the left side of the phone are the volume up and down buttons as well as a shortcut to the camera. On the right side is a dedicated power button. On top is the 3.5mm jack for the earphones as well as the micro-USB port for charging the phone or connecting it to your computer.

volume and camera buttons on the left side of a Cherry Mobile Omega HD smartphone
left side: volume control and camera shortcut
a dedicated power button on the right side of a Cherry Mobile Omega HD smartphone
right side: dedicated power button
earphone jack and microUSB port on top of a Cherry Mobile Omega HD smartphone
top: earphone jack and micro-USB port


Phone specifications
  • Dual SIM (Mini-SIM aka the regular SIM)
  • MT6577 1 GHz dual core processor
  • Operating System: Android v4.1.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • 5" HD IPS capacitive touchscreen (1280x720 pixels)
  • 12MP BSI rear camera with flash (4000x3000 pixels)
  • 2MP BSI front-facing camera
  • 4GB internal storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • up to 32GB microSD card (sold separately)
  • Dimensions: 143.5 x 70.8 x 8.8 mm (5.64 x 2.78 x 0.34 in)
  • Weight: 140g (4.93 oz)
  • voice recognition
  • unlimited addressbook and inbox (conversation threads)
  • Wi-Fi / GPRS / EDGE / MMS / Bluetooth / USB port

Pre-installed Apps
Browser, Calculator, Calendar, Camera, Cherry Fun Club, Clock, Contacts, Downloads, Email, eWarranty, Facebook, File Manager, FM Radio, Gallery, Gmail, Google, Google Settings, Google+, Latitude, Maps, Messaging, Messenger, Music, Navigation, Opera Mini, Phone, Places, Play Store, Search, Settings, SIM Toolkit, Sound Recorder, Talk, ToDo, Twitter, Update Agent, Video Player, Voice Search


Camera
The Cherry Mobile Omega HD has two cameras -- a 12MP rear-facing camera and a 2MP front-facing one. The back one has auto-focus functionality and a LED flash. The camera's shutter speed is pretty fast, which is a good thing for someone who has shaky hands like I do.

12MP rear camera of a Cherry Mobile Omega HD smartphone

To give you an idea, I took some sample pictures in different lighting conditions, all using auto mode, without flash. The pictures below are unedited.

Sunny morning outdoor shot

Caloocan street

Late afternoon outdoor shots

Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila
Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila
Caloocan street

Early evening outdoor shot

Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila

Late evening shots

Caloocan street at night
Caloocan street at night

Indoor shots

sofa couch for sale
Rai Rai Ken seafood hotpot ramen

(front facing camera, night mode)

teddy bear wrapped in plastic

(front facing camera, white balance: fluorescent)

cute yellow stuffed toy


Display
Images are sharp and colors are good. I transferred some of my favorite pictures and videos from laptop to phone, expecting to have less appreciation because of the smaller screen size but was surprised to find the images and especially the videos clear and vivid.

The large screen and the 1280x720 resolution make it possible to read even tiny text when browsing a Web site that has no mobile version or when viewing PDF articles. Of course you can always zoom in, but being able to quickly scan the page without zooming in is convenient. The screen brightness of the Omega HD is also good. Even though I only use 10% brightness to conserve battery, the screen remains well-lit.

Cherry Mobile Omega HD smartphone screen


Temperature
Based on observation, the Omega HD's temperature usually ranges from 29° during standby to 38° after 4 hours of continuously playing games or surfing the Internet.


Battery
Battery life is just average. With moderate phone use, you can expect to have to charge your phone daily; twice a day for heavy use (lots of calls, Internet surfing, and games), even if you use a battery saving app. Charging time to get a full charge is typically 4 hours if the battery is drained.


App Compatibility
The Google Play store recognizes my phone as Globe Alps H100. During my one month use, I have downloaded 150 or so apps and I have not encountered any problem. When browsing the Android store, I usually check out 1-star reviews of apps that I am about to download. I usually see complaints that the apps didn't work in the users' more popular and/or expensive devices (e.g. HTC One, Sony Xperia, Samsung phones and tablets) and yet they work flawlessly with my Omega HD -- no downloading/installation problems or freezing up or forced closings.


Issues I've Encountered
As much as I like the Omega HD, it is not perfect. So far, I have encountered two glitches.

1. Sometimes, the camera hangs while you're taking a picture. This has happened to me twice so far. I had to reboot the phone since it became unresponsive.

2. Importing your contacts from a micro SD card is not seamless if you have a large addressbook. I have 4000+ contacts and I had a problem importing all of them to the phone's memory. This happened even before I began installing various apps. There is an option to import contacts in bulk from the card but when I tried that, nothing happened. I retried several times but nada. I tried importing contacts in batches of 100 and that worked most of the time. Sometimes I had to use smaller batches or even import contacts one at a time. The whole task took me several hours to finish but at least that was a one-time thing and I was able to transfer my complete addressbook.


Conclusion
Overall, I'm very happy with my phone. The features are great and the price is definitely awesome. Switching from an old phone while keeping my number was also easy since the Omega HD uses mini-SIMs, unlike other smartphones which use micro-SIMs, in which case you have to get a new (micro) SIM, have your old SIM cut to fit the slot or attempt to actually do the cutting yourself.


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