Monday, January 13, 2014

Cherry Mobile Amber Review: Above Average

Cherry Mobile Amber
Cherry Mobile Amber

INTRODUCTION:

Most budget conscious smartphone consumers, if not all, always look for a phone that can give them the best value for their hard-earned money. Cherry Mobile is one among the local brands that is committed to provide a solution to these kinds of end-users.

The Cherry Mobile Amber is one of the company's smartphone offerings in under 3000 pesos. This phone packs a generous 4-inch capacitive touchscreen display powered by a 1.2GHz dual core processor accompanied by a 512MB of RAM.

For UNBOXING please kindly click HERE:
For HARDWARE and BENCHMARKS please kindly click HERE.


INTERFACE:

Cherry Mobile Amber eWarranty
eWarranty

The eWarranty is the first thing you will see upon first boot (or every reboot if you have not accomplished it yet) of your CM Amber. It gives you the opportunity to extend your phone's warranty for another 3 months for a total of 15-month coverage.

Cherry Mobile Amber OOBE
OOBE

Next stop is the OOBE or out of the box experience, it allows you to setup basic settings such as Date and Time, SIM Management, WiFi and to import your contacts from your SIM cards.

Cherry Mobile Amber Quick Start Guide
Quick Start Guide

The quick start guide is basically a walk through of some of your phone's functions such as homescreen navigation, check your notification and some more. This is very beneficial to first time Android users, but if you are a seasoned user you can simply skip this.

Cherry Mobile Amber Lockscreen
Lockscreen

The lockscreen has a padlock icon inside a circle, this serves as a starting point to access your device. To unlock, swipe it to the right, to access the camera move it to the left while dragging it upward will bring the Google Now.

If you have a missed call, it will appear on the right above the circle, while a text message is on the left. You can drag them towards the circle in order to view them directly without the need to unlock the device.

Cherry Mobile Amber Lockscreen Widget
Lockscreen Widget

The Amber also supports lockscreen widget wherein you can place some shortcuts directly in the lockscreen. There are three pages, the right part always opens the camera interface while the left and the middle can accommodate either the Calendar, Digital Clock, Email, Gmail, Google+ Post and Messaging.

Cherry Mobile Amber Homescreen
Homescreen

The homescreen has five pages, there is no means to reduce or increase it. On the lower part of the homescreen there are five shortcuts, the middle always opens the app drawer while you have the ability to change the remaining four.

You can also create a folder in the homescreen, simply put one widget/shortcut on top another and you are done. Once a folder is created, you can change its name and add more widgets.

Cherry Mobile Amber Notification & Quick Toggle Settings
Notification & Quick Toggle Settings

The notification area is a place where you can see your (of course) notifications which are collapsible. Aside from the notification itself, it also gives you the option on what you should do with it. For example, a missed call will give you the option to call back or send a message to the caller.

If the notification area can be accessed by one finger swipe from the top of the screen going down, you need two fingers for you to gain access to the quick toggle settings. This gives you the options to change some of the most used settings like turning WiFi and Bluetooth On/Off, adjust brightness and many more.

Cherry Mobile Amber Default Apps
Default Apps
Cherry Mobile Amber Default Widgets
Default Widgets

The default applications are arranged in four rows by five columns while the widgets have 2x3 layout. Among the pre-installed applications, none of which can be removed without the root access.


DUAL SIM FUNCTIONALITY:

Cherry Mobile Amber SIM Management
SIM Management

The CM Amber support dual SIM dual standby, if you haven't set it up during the OOBE, you can access it through Settings>SIM Management.


TELEPHONY:

Cherry Mobile Amber Dial Pad
Dial Pad

The Amber's telephony supports smart dialing, which means any number or name you key-in it will always check your contacts for any match and will display it accordingly. There is no double call key, so the options for the call depends on what you setup in the SIM management (SIM 1, SIM 2 or always asks).

Cherry Mobile Amber Call Options
Call Options

If you have incoming call you have the option to cancel it, answer it or cancel it with a message. There are predefined messages, but you can always create a custom one. The Amber has no proximity sensor, therefore if a call got connected the screen remains on, so you better press the power key to turn it off to avoid any untoward screen tap.

Cherry Mobile Amber Call Logs
Call Logs

The call logs keep your entire call history, you can filter it by the SIM card used and the type of call (missed, answered and outgoing).


PHONEBOOK:

Cherry Mobile Amber Contacts
Contacts
Cherry Mobile Amber Groups
Groups

The phonebook uses tabbed interface, the first tab is for the Groups, the second is for the contacts and the third one is for favorites. You can save your contacts and groups to your phone's memory or sync it via online accounts like Google or Yahoo! In the same matter you can choose from which you want to be displayed.


MESSAGING:

Cherry Mobile Amber Messaging
Messaging

The messages are arranged based on the latest time of arrival, if you have unread message a number will appear on the upper right corner which corresponds on how many message/s are not yet opened. In a specific conversation, your message will appear on the right side inside a blue bubble while his/her is on the left.

Cherry Mobile Amber New Message
New Message

The recipient input accepts name and number, like the telephony it also looks up to any matching contacts. You can send a message to multiple recipient, simply put a comma between names/numbers. You can attach almost anything on the message by pressing the green circle beside the smiley icon and if you do, it will be converted to MMS.

Cherry Mobile Amber Message Settings
Message Settings

There are a bunch of settings for messaging, like changing the chat wallpaper, enabling popup notification and many more.

TouchPal Keyboard
TouchPal Keyboard

The Amber uses the stock Android keyboard, but if you want a more advance and functional one, you can enable the TouchPal keyboard which is pre-installed in the unit. However, keep in mind that no matter what keyboard you will use, you will still have the touch  bug problem since it is only 2-point touch.

The video below is a demonstration of the bug for the Cherry Mobile Sonic 2.0, this is similar to what you will experience to the Amber if you type fast.

touch bug


EMAIL:

Cherry Mobile Amber Email
Email
Gmail
Gmail

The email department consists of both the generic Android email app and the Gmail, both can are easy to setup, just enter your username and password and you are good to go. Both can also handle multiple email accounts.


MULTIMEDIA:

Gallery:

Cherry Mobile Amber Gallery
Gallery

The gallery holds your photos and videos which you can filter by Albums, Locations and Times. The camera icon is always available on the upper right corner if in case you need to access it.

Cherry Mobile Amber Gallery Options
Gallery Options

Both the pictures and videos on your devices can be shared online via supported accounts like email, Google+ or locally via Bluetooth.

Cherry Mobile Amber Photo Editor
Photo Editor

There is also a photo editor which comes very handy when customizing your pictures or adding effects. The edited photo will be saved as a different file (the original picture is still retained) so there is no need to panic even you messed up editing it.

Video Player:

Cherry Mobile Amber Video Player
Video Player

The video player will list all the supported files on your devices, information such as thumbnail, title, length and file size will be displayed.

Cherry Mobile Amber Video Player Interface
Video Player Interface

The video player interface is very simple, there is nothing much you can control. You can just fast forward, rewind, change the aspect ratio and loop the video. If you want a better media player which can give you subtitle support and other functions better download a different one on the Google Play Store.

Cherry Mobile Amber - Video Samples (.avi, .flv, .3gp, .mp4, .mvk)
Video Samples (.avi, .flv, .3gp, .mp4, .mvk)

Even though the player lacks some of the important functionality, it can play a wide array of file types such as .avi, .3gp, .mp4, .flv and even .mkv. It can also play up to 1080p video files, however you will notice a lower fps during playback so better stick to 720p.

Music Player:
Cherry Mobile Amber Music Player
Music Player

The music player list all the audio files from both your internal storage and SD card. You can view them by Artists, Albums, Songs and Playlists. The album art will be displayed if a song have it, you can also minimize the player while a song is playing and it will continue to play.

FM Radio:

Cherry Mobile Amber FM Radio
FM Radio

The FM radio can search the channels automatically or you can do it manually. The broadcast can be played through a wired headset (which acts as the antenna for it to work) and through the loud speaker. Like the music player, it will continue to work even if you minimize it.

NOTE:

This is a two-part review, to read the second part, please kindly click HERE.

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