|Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2|
When MediaTek released its true octa-core chipset, we all know that it would only take a matter of months before we see local mobile brands to adapt this kind of SoC and last February 4, Cherry Mobile announced their first ever MT6592 device - the Cosmos Z2.
I was lucky to be one of the first owners of the Cherry Mobile's flagship, actually really lucky because I won it via raffle during their launching event. It sports a 5-inch full HD touchscreen display powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core processor coupled with 2GB of RAM.
It currently runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but CM promised that they will bring the latest iteration of Android to the Cosmos Z2 this month. If their schedule is intact, we might have this software update in a few days time.
For unboxing, hardware, design, display, sensors and benchmarks, please kindly click the link below.
>>Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 Unboxing And Initial Impression
Like most of the Cherry Mobile Android devices, the Z2 will prompt you to do the e-warranty registration upon first boot, but you can skip anytime and do it at a later time. This process gives you an additional 3 months warranty on top of the 12-month guarantee which gives you a total of 15-month assurance.
When I first got hold of this phone during the "We Are On Fire" event, I was amazed with the new interface CM is implementing. The lockscreen is composed of two arcs with a shape similar to an extended letter C, you need to press the inner arc and drag it to any direction to unlock the device.
One thing I missed though is the ability to go directly to a message or missed call from the lockscreen. The Z2 does NOT support it, if you drag the notification on the arcs, it will simply unlock your phone.
The homescreen is pretty much the same with other Android phones, except for the icons. There are five shortcuts docked at the bottom of the screen, the middle one always opens the app drawer while the four remaining shortcuts can be customized depending on your taste.
|Apps, Widgets and Wallpaper|
The homescreen supports multiple pages, minimum of 3 and maximum of 9. To add or remove a page, simply press and hold the homescreen and you will see something similar on the above screenshots. Here, you can add your favorite apps and widgets as well as change the type of wallpaper.
There are 41 applications installed by default, they are arranged alphabetically with 4x5 layout. There is no means to re-arrange them, but there is an option to hide, just press menu while in the app drawer and select Hide Application. Sadly, none can be uninstalled without the root access.
|Notification Area and Quick Toggle Settings|
The notification area is accessible by swiping one finger from the top of the screen while you need to fingers to access the quick toggle settings. The former displays any kind of notification and the option/s on how you can interact with it. Example, a missed call gives you the ability to return the call or send a message right from the notification panel. The latter, gives you the convenience of turning on or off some of the most commonly used settings with just one push.
DUAL SIM FUNCTIONALITY:
The Z2 has dual SIM slots, one for regular and one for micro. If you are using two SIM cards, you can manage them by going to Settings>All>SIM Management. Here, you can disable or enable each SIM and change the default settings for voice call, messaging and data connection.
The dial pad supports smart dialing, which means it can detect and match contacts based on your inputs. If you did not choose your default SIM for calling, it will ask you which SIM you will use for every call you will make.
If you have an incoming call, the name, number and picture of the caller will be displayed on the screen as well as in which SIM the call is coming. A handset icon inside the circle is the starting point on how you can respond from a call, swiping it left will cancel the call, doing the opposite will answer it while dragging it upward gives you the option to cancel the call with a message.
The call quality is good enough, you can hear both ends clearly even in a loud environment.
The call log is where you can find all your calls made in and out from your phone. You can filter from which SIM and the type of calls you want to be displayed. If you have a long list of logs, you can use the search function found at the lower left corner of the screen.
The phonebook has two main components, the contacts and groups, both are listed alphabetically. If you have a long list, you can use the scroll bar on the right side or use the search option on the lower right corner to easily find the one you are looking.
A single contact can hold as much information you want, name, number, email, address, etc. The groups on the other hand, gives you the option to organize your contacts based on their classification. You can choose which account you want to be displayed, in the same manner, creating a new one will also give you the option on which account you want it to be saved.
By default, a message box will pop-up on the screen whenever you have a new one, you can turn off this option by accessing the settings. The messages are arranged alphabetically based on the latest sent/received item. In a particular conversation, your message will appear on the right side while his/her message is on the left. Any message will have a date stamped plus the SIM card used where it was transmitted.
When you want to create a new message, simply press the "+" icon. The recipient input allows you to enter either name or number, to send a message to multiple persons, just include a semi-colon after each contact. You can also attach almost anything on a message by pressing the attachment icon located just above the letter "Q" and once you do, it will be converted to MMS.
For people who usually checks email on the go, you can use the generic email app or the Gmail app. Both email clients are very useful and easy to setup, all you need is just your username and password. Aside from the usual send/receive function, they can also contain multiple accounts, customize their sync intervals, include email signature and much more.
The gallery displays all the photos and videos on your device, you can filter it based on albums, locations or times. You can also choose from either filmstrip or grid view when you want to check your collections, or use the slideshow functions to display pictures automatically.
Viewing a single photo or video gives you lots of options, you can share it locally via Bluetooth or online using your social accounts like Facebook and Twitter. If you want to enhance any picture from the gallery, you can use the edit functions which will bring up the Photo Editor app which is hidden from the app drawer.
You can also use the trim function in order to remove unwanted parts from the beginning or the end of your video. If you want to do more than that, you can use the Movie Studio application.
The video player automatically locates all the supported files on your device and display them accordingly, including their title, thumbnail, length and file size. It can decode 1080p videos of almost any file type, .avi, .3gp, .mp4, .flv and .mkv, however those with AC3 audio will be played without a sound.
Watching your favorite movie or TV series is very entertaining because of its full HD screen and nice audio output through its loudspeaker.
The music player will list all the audio files available from your device, you can view them by artist, albums, songs or playlist. The interface is simple, the album art is displayed at the upper portion followed by its artist, albums and its title then the controls. The music will continue to run on the background after you minimize the player, a small player will be available in the notification area to control it.
The FM radio requires a wired headset to work, it searches all the available stations or you can do it manually. The broadcast can be played on through the headset or through the loud speaker, there is also a record function to save your favorite music.
Camera and Video:
|Camera and Video|
The camera department includes a BSI 18MP shooter on the back and an 8MP in the front. I do not know if this is just interpolated resolution or the actual sensor capability. Until now, I still cannot find a way on how to determine the actual sensor size, its resolution and its manufacturer, hopefully someone will help me.
The video and camera share the same interface, to capture a video simply use the record button on the lower right corner, to capture a photo press the shutter key found at the lower-middle part. The upper right corner is for the settings, followed by the flash options, then the shooting modes and lastly the front/rear camera toggle.
|Camera Object Tracking|
One cool function of the camera is the object tracking, when you press and hold the screen on a certain subject, it will focus on that subject even if it moves or you do.
The video details are as follows:
Quality: Fine - 1920x1080 at 25fps
Audio - mp4a: MPEG-4 AAC LC 24000Hz 128 kb/s tot , stereo (2/0)
Video - avc1 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
Quality: High - 1280x720 at 25fps
Audio - mp4a: MPEG-4 AAC LC 48000Hz 128 kb/s tot , stereo (2/0)
Video - avc1 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
Quality: Medium - 640x480 at 25fps
Audio - mp4a: MPEG-4 AAC LC 48000Hz 128 kb/s tot , stereo (2/0)
Video - avc1 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
Quality: Low - 176x144 at 25fps
Audio - mp4a: MPEG-4 AAC LC 48000Hz 64 kb/s tot , stereo (2/0)
Video - avc1 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
|Before Video Capture|
In general, the camera can produce good quality photos both when there is a good lighting condition and when the LED flash is used. However, the camera has a hard time focusing on a subject near it, I tried using auto mode, auto detect scenes and touch to focus, but the result is still the same, blurred image same as above.
There are two browsers installed in the Z2, the stock Android and the Opera Mini. The websites load quickly, even those pages with heavy scripting and have lots of images. The texts can be read clearly even if you are viewing the page on its desktop version.
|Modern Combat 4|
The octa-core processor, mali-450 GPU and the 2GB RAM combination, is more than sufficient to run high definition games like Asphalt 7 and Modern Combat 4 smoothly and lag free.
SETTINGS and SPECIAL FUNCTIONS:
|Settings and Special Functions|
The settings are grouped into 3 tabs - General, Special Functions and All. The special functions allow you to enable features like flip to mute (when somebody is calling, just put your phone face down and it will mute the ringtone,) glove mode, smart ring and smart wake.
The last function will give you the ability to wake up the phone by drawing a letter on the screen. You can also open the camera by swiping upward, access the notification by swiping downward while the left/right swipe can switch the songs being played by the music player.
|3G and Tethering|
This octa-core phablet supports dual 3G, it means you can assign on which SIM card you want to have a high speed mobile data connectivity which you can share via WiFi hotspot, USB or Bluetooth tethering.
|Dual Band WiFi|
The Z2 uses dual band (2.4GHz & 5GHz) Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, it means that you can do two different things at the same time via WiFi. For example, you can connect to the internet and view your phone's content on your TV (via wireless display) at the same time. The signal reception is quite good on both bands.
|USB Connection and OTG|
When you connect it to your computer, it will ask you which type of connection you want - USB storage, MTP, etc. The micro USB port also supports OTG functions, external flash drive and wireless mouse worked OK during the review. The Bluetooth 4.0 and 3.5mm audio jack complete the connectivity list.
The productivity and organizing tools are all stock Android apps, they may be different in appearance, but they have the same functions with those found on other Android smartphones. What is missing though is the document viewer/editor app, but you can simply download them for free on the Play Store.
The Z2 comes with a GPS receiver with A-GPS, the easiest way to turn it on is via the quick toggle settings. I got a satellite in almost an instant, which is by far one of the fastest connection I had and it is pretty accurate too.
I used it as my primary driver for about two weeks and the battery is sufficient enough to last for a day. My usage pattern includes - data connection always on, 4 email accounts with 15-minute sync intervals, a few calls, several texts and about 30 minutes of web browsing.
During our video playback test, it lasted 3 hours and 24 minutes before the battery percentage drops from 100% to 15%.
On HD gaming test, it just lasted 2 hours and 3 minutes before the 15% battery warning popped out.
Charging the battery from 15% (phone is turned on) using the stock 1000mAh charger, took 2 hours and 15 minutes while charging from a dead battery (phone turned off) took 2 hours and 19 minutes.
The 2000mAh battery might seems to be small for an octa-core device with a full HD display, but it is quite enough for normal usage. However, if you are planning to use it as your gaming and movie player companion, you better have a powerbank.
CHERRY MOBILE APPS:
The Z2 has an app for over the air software update, it means that you do not need to go to the service center for updating your device. Hopefully, Cherry Mobile will use this option when they rollout the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
|Cherry Fun Club|
The Fun Club is where you can subscribe for local news, entertainment, etc. via SMS for a minimum fee of Php2.50 per instance.
The Cherry Play is the company's own version of Google Play, you can earn "Gollar" after installing free applications, which in turn can be use to purchase paid apps in the future.
The NQ Mobile Security, protects your phone from virus, malware, spam, etc. Aside from that, you can also enable the anti-theft feature to safeguard your phone (and its data) when you lost it.
|Pinoy App Shop|
The Pinoy App Shop is another 3rd party App store.
The torch application uses the LED as a flashlight, there is also an "SOS" option available.
All the usual Google applications are pre-installed, except for the Google+.
The KakaoTalk apps, is also installed by default, which makes me believe that Cherry Mobile made a deal with them.
|News and Weather|
The news and weather app is also present, however, it cannot find your location properly. I set the app to use my location, I am in NCR but it fetches weather data from Romblon. The news are also NOT localize, contents are coming from somewhere.
|Backup and Restore|
The backup and restore app needs an inserted SD card on your phone to work. It allows you to backup personal data and applications, then saved it to your SD card for future use.
The Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 is definitely the best local flagship smartphone you can find to date. The combination of killer specs, premium look and thin profile makes it outstanding both inside and out.
Full HD display
2GB of RAM
Camera unable to focus on a near subject
- Dual SIM , Dual Standby
- Quad Band GSM/EDGE/GPRS, Dual Band HSPA+
- 5.0" capacitive Full HD IPS OGS touchscreen display (1920x1080), Asahi Dragontrail Glass Protection
- Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, upgradable to Android 4.4 Kit Kat
- 1.7GHz Octa Core CPU, 700MHz Mali-450MP GPU, MediaTek MT6592 chipset
- 2GB of RAM
- 16GB internal storage (13.41GB available), expandable up to 64GB via micro SD
- 18MP auto focus BSI main camera with LED Flash, 1080p Video Recording @ 30fps
- 8MP secondary camera
- GPS with A-GPS
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n Dual Band 2.4GHz/5GHz, WiFi Direct, WiFi Hotspot, Miracast
- 3.5 Audio Jack
- Stereo FM Radio
- Multi Media Player
- Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
- Bluetooth v4.0
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Light, Proximity, Sound, Magnetic, Gravity, Gyroscope
- Special Functions: Flip to mute, Glove mode, Smart ring, Smart wake
- 2000mAh Battery
- Price: Php12,999