There’s quite a decent amount of interest over the Cherry Mobile Orbit recently, and we’re pretty sure why. Cherry Mobile has been making waves with their current crop of phones and one of the first among their peers to bring Android smartphones to the Philippines. Couple that with their affordable prices and a generally positive reputation, they’ve become a dominant presence in the local mobile phone market. With the Cherry Mobile Orbit’s introduction, the company’s 4th Android smartphone, it now is attempting to break into the dual-SIM smartphone market, which few currently occupy. Finally, you can’t ignore the amount of interest the phone has gotten over its 50% Off Sale during its launch day. What’s more, they’re going to do it all over again. A new 50% Off Sale for the phone will happen this Thursday for everyone who missed the first one. But what of the phone? Well, you can read up on our first impressions after the jump!
Cherry Mobile Orbit Quick Specs:
We currently have a couple of videos on the Cherry Orbit on our YouTube channel, including our Unboxing and Hardware tour, and How To Update Your Orbit To Android 2.2.2 to give you a good eyes-on on the device. In short though, the device is made of plastic, with some shiny chrome-y accents. While the phone doesn’t offer too much in terms of visual flair, especially on the back, it doesn’t look terrible in the hand. Shapes are angular or flat, including the buttons, and everything is reminiscent of a rounded rectangle block. Build quality seems pretty decent though, and the phone can take a pretty decent beating on its own. Knocking on the panels gives a solid feel, and pinching the plastic will reveal that the phone stands against pressure well.
The phone is running on Android 2.2 Froyo, which is one version behind the current release of Google’s OS. At least 2.2 is still a popular version and isn’t very limited in terms of features. The OS boots after Cherry Mobile’s and Orbit’s logo, which stars an Android robot zooming off to space. After the bootup, it takes a minute or two to completely load all the widgets and icons, which is typical for Androids. Swiping around after that is decent, though isn’t 100% frame drop free. Similarly, the app drawer, while it doesn’t lag, will drop frames while scrolling. It’s nothing terrible though, so we don’t mind it much.
Orbit runs on stock Android, so there’s not a lot of custom interfaces layered over. You have 5 homescreens accessed by swiping sideways – of which you can install widgets, shortcuts, and various switches and contacts for quick access. There’s a straightforward app drawer, alphabetically arranged, which you scroll top to bottom. Android 2.2 allows for live wallpapers so you can have those to make things interesting, and it doesn’t make a major impact on performance when its on.
Transferring contacts only requires you log onto your GMail account. Android automatically syncs your whole list of contacts from Google’s Mail service and that’s the best way to go through contact transfers between phones that support it. However, the phone doesn’t support native Facebook profile linking, so it won’t automatically match FB contacts to your list. An app called People can match contacts, but it is done one-by-one, manually. We found that too much hassle to bother with. Besides the People and Weather apps, the updated Orbit has gotten rid of the Cherry Mobile apps that once resided on the phone. All the rest of the apps are standard Google-provided or ones that you’ll download from the Android Market. Performance of the phone on various apps seem promising, but it has a limited capacity for gaming, as it bogs down on complex games like Angry Birds. We will have a video on how to play Angry Birds with a decent frame rate later on, but its suffice to say that the processor definitely can’t handle as much gaming as it’s 600Mhz competitors.
The original firmware installed on the Orbit was Android 2.2.1, and we found a bunch of problems on that version. Basically, it was just a little unreliable. We’ve had our fair share of crashes, battery life issues, battery reporting issues, and even reboots from out of nowhere. The most glaring problem seems to be when you plug the phone onto your PC. It seems to be unmounting the SD card without being prompted, without it being handled well – and ultimately leads to Android crashing all over itself. Thankfully, most of these problems seem to have been addressed with the update as we’ve definitely experienced a lot less crashes since. Battery issues have definitely been resolved as well. The update certainly brought the phone from unreliable to reliable in our eyes, and that’s a good thing.
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Image quality definitely isn’t something to call home about, but it works fine in a pinch. The phone is packing a 5MP sensor, but we feel it really isn’t filling enough detail for us to want the whole 5 million pixels. Pictures are washed out and have enough purple haze along bright lights to make Jimmy Hendrix proud. That said, for a budget smartphone, and smartphones in general, camera expectations shouldn’t be high anyway.
From our initial experience, the Orbit comes off as a passable phone with decent Android capabilities. Dual-SIM is it’s main trick here, and the rest of the capabilities are just passable. With the update to Android 2.2.2, the phone is now more reliable and stable, and that’s what it really needed in our opinion. We’ll be digging into the phone and its update with a lot more detail on our review which will be up in a couple of days, so check back then for the verdict!
Update: Our full review of the Cherry Mobile Orbit is now up! Click here to read it!
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