|Cherry Mobile Fusion Aura Review: Distinctive Atmosphere|
The Fusion Aura was unveiled way back in April, it was part of the Cherry Mobile Festival 2014. A month after its announcement, it became available for only Php2,299.
But that does not stop there, during the Flare 3 launching last July 30, Cherry Mobile made its price more affordable for an awesome price of just Php1,999.
So what can you get for that amount? A 7-inch tablet with WSVGA (1024x600) resolution, 1.5GHz dual core Cortex-A7 processor, Mali-400MP GPU, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of ROM and Android 4.4 KitKat OS.
It is currently the cheapest tablet that runs on Android KitKat. Other specs include, WiFi, Miracast capability, expandable storage, OTG function, 2MP main camera and a VGA secondary camera.
The retail package consist of the unit with pre-installed screen protector, charger with detachable USB cable, wired headset and user manual.
The front has the 7-inch display surrounded by the bezels, there are no capacitive keys along the bezels and the only thing you can see is the secondary VGA camera located at the upper right corner.
The back has a leathery feel with stitches on all sides, here you can find the 2MP main camera placed near the upper left corner, the loud speaker grill on the upper right, the Fusion Aura marking in the middle followed by the Cherry Mobile branding below it.
The right side is the busiest part of the tablet, it holds the power button, the 3.5mm audio jack, the micro USB port, the volume rocker and the micro SD slot. The remaining sides have nothing on them.
The Fusion Aura is not slim, but it is not bulky either. It looks very generic when looking at its front, when you flip it over you will feel a different ambiance, but still, the overall design is plain and simple. In terms of build quality, there is not much to complain for this sub-2K tablet.
The Fusion Aura has a 7-inch capacitive with 1024x600 resolution, which is acceptable for its price point, in fact, even some of the recent tablets made by international brands like the Samsung Tab 3 Lite has the same resolution. Even though the display is made of ordinary panel, it still has good color reproduction. Viewing what is on the screen from left or right is still OK, but looking from the top is not. By the way, it supports up to 5-point touch.
I was expecting to see only accelerometer in the sensor list, but to my surprise it also has a temperature sensor, which if I recall correctly is the first among all local units that I reviewed so far.
|Antutu - 10930|
|Quadrant - 2714|
|Vellamo, Browser - 853 & Metal - 460|
|NenaMark2 - 54.8fps|
The Fusion Aura uses an AllWinner A23 dual core processor clocked at 1.5GHz each. In terms of benchmarks, it performed similar to smartphones powered by 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6572 processor on Antutu, Vellamo and NenaMark2, however it scored lesser in the Quadrant.
The lockscreen is the typical padlock icon inside a circle, you can drag it in any direction to unlock. You can also access Google Now by pulling the icon on the reserve space upward.
The homescreen shows seven shortcut docked at the bottom, the middle always opens the app drawer while the remaining four can be customized depending on your need. It consist of 5 pages and there is nothing you can do to add or reduce a page.
There are 34 apps pre-installed while there are only 10 widgets available by default. Like the homescreen, the on-screen recent apps, home and menu buttons are located in the reserved space at the bottom of the display.
|Notification panel and quick toggle settings|
The notification panel is accessible by swiping your finger on the upper left portion of the display while the quick toggle settings will appear when you do it on the upper right portion. The former contains all types of notices and the action you can do with them while the latter displays some of the most commonly used settings, which you can turn on/off with just one press.
If you are keen on looking at the screenshots, you will notice the triangle icon that corresponds to network a signal. Do not get confused with it, the Fusion Aura does not have SIM slot, therefore it will never have signal. The symbols beside the clock and in the quick toggle settings are just software glitches.
Navigating through interface is on the average side, it is not that fast or buttery smooth, there are even times that it would take 2 to 3 seconds before in response. Nonetheless, everything is still tolerable.
The Aura has three browsers installed by default, namely the stock Android browser, Google Chrome and Opera Mini. On all browsers, pages load in a fair amount of time, it is not super quick neither slow, overall, the browsing experience is still OK.
|Temple Run 2|
|Dungeon Hunter 4|
I installed some casual games like Temple Run 2 and it works like a charm, no issue encountered. I also test Dungeon Hunter 4 and it is playable with very minimal lags. The problem is, the apps/games are not movable to micro SD card, this limits the number of apps/games that you can install to the 2.23GB user-accessible internal storage.
The Aura has two video players installed, one is the stock Android app and the other one is UHD player. Both, are pretty simple and easy to use, they can play almost all video files I threw at it - .mpg, .3gp, .mp4, .avi, .flv and .mkv. However, the loudspeaker is a bit weak, so I do recommended the use of a headset.
Camera and video:
|Camera and video|
The camera and video do not share the same interface, you need to switch mode (by selecting the icon on the right of the shutter) whenever you want to access each one. To access the settings and other options, press the icon on the left of the shutter. While recording a video, you can also capture a photo simultaneously.
The Fusion Aura is equipped with 2MP fixed focus main camera, there is nothing much to expect, but still it is good to know that it has one than nothing at all.
The only wireless connectivity of the Fusion Aura is WiFi, it does not have Bluetooth and 3G. But, if you want mobile connectivity on the go, you can use an external 3G dongle connected through its OTG-capable micro USB port. Going back to WiFi, the signal reception is good, no sudden drop of signal experienced.
The organizing and productivity tools include calendar, calculator, clock, file manager, sound recorder and Quick Office.
The Fusion Aura has 2600mAh battery, which by any means is small for a tablet, that is why I was impressed that it lasted more than 3 hours of video playback before the battery percentage dropped to 20. Also, it can handle almost 2.5 hours of continuous gaming before the 15% battery warning came.
The Cherry Mobile Fusion Aura is one of the cheapest tablets in the local market for only Php1,999. For that price, you get a pretty decent specs - a 7-inch screen, dual core processor, 512MB of RAM and Android KitKat OS. In real world use, it is good for web browsing, watching movies and light gaming.
It has several shortcomings, one is the inability to move apps to the external SD, which limits the number of apps/games that you can install. For tech savvy users, it can easily be resolved by rooting the device, however, for the not-so-geek consumers it may be an issue. Other things to consider is the lack of Bluetooth no GPS and mediocre camera.
Nonetheless, the Fusion Aura is really a great value for money tablet, considering its price and what it can offer.
1.5GHz dual core processor
512MB of RAM
Android KitKat OS
Apps cannot move to SD card
- 7-inch capacitive WSVGA (1024x600) touchscreen display, 5-point touch
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- 1.5GHz Dual Core Cortex-A7 CPU, Mali-400 GPU, Allwinner A23 chipset
- 512MB of RAM
- 4GB internal, expandable up to 32GB via micro SD card
- 2MP main camera without LED Flash,
- VGA secondary camera
- Multimedia Player
- 3.5 Audio Jack
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Miracast support
- Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
- Sensors: accelerometer, temperature
- 2600mAh Li-Ion battery
- Price: Php1,999