Like it or not, most people think of brands in terms of hierarchy. There are the luxury brands, whose products double as status symbol/accessory for the loaded and braggy. Then there are consumers who opt for the middle-class labels, which churn out goods offering a truckload of features for a sensible fee. And in these hard times, more and more folks are tightening their wallets and going for “low end” offerings such as the Cherry Mobile Magnum HD.
Cherry Mobile has transitioned from being a bottom-feeding brand specializing in dual-SIM phones to a strong mobile communications contender for all markets with a wide product range. The Magnum HD, the company's latest smartphone, fully embodies this change in direction and quickly put us to work.
This particular smartphone is edgy in a literal sense, especially when put alongside the black HTC Wildfire we had on hand. Unlike the latter's rounded corners and petite form, the metal grey and black Magnum HD favors corners and sports a bigger touchscreen display, along with slightly different placements for the Back, Menu, Home and Search buttons plus a handy VGA camera for video calls.
As is typical with smartphones, the unit's sides house various controls and ports. The Power button and a teeny tiny speaker take up residence on the left side, a 3.5mm port for the bundled earphones are up top, a second little speaker and the volume rocker can be found on the right side, and the USB and HDMI-D ports are on the underside.
For the megapixel-crazed consumers, the 5-MP camera holds court over the back portion, accompanied only by the simple Cherry Mobile logo and a metal cover for the unit's insides.
The Magnum HD's larger size accommodates the 4.1-inch WVGA screen and gives the visual goodies in this Froyo-powered smartphone some well-deserved justice. It kinda veers away from the pocketability possessed by other smartphones, but it also means that you get more eye candy and increase your typing accuracy.
Using the Magnum HD called for some adjustments on our part due to our small hands, but most consumers would be happy to have something that's a tad bigger than most smartphones.
Graphics, effects and colors were rendered well enough for us, and sending e-mails and working on documents was made much easier. If you want to go even bigger with your visuals, you can hook the phone up to your HDTV via an HDMI-D cable (sadly, we didn't have one on hand).
We do have several qualms about the internal speakers, though. We think the two tiny speakers should've been placed at the top of the unit; putting it at the bottom left and right sides will make users unintentionally cover it with their hands while in use. Also, the sound quality needs improvement; while the speakers can make a racket, our audio files took on the same quality as that found in '90s bands' demo tapes.
On a brighter note, the 1GHz Qualcomm Scorpion processor got rid of our impatience (and made us wish our Wildfire's brains was as speedy!). Not surprisingly, the Magnum HD has a quick response time and can handle Angry Birds and Ninja Kaka with ease, great for antsy/hyper kids and the kids at heart who treat games like these with military-level urgency. We were seldom kept waiting when firing up and using our Android apps, and online browsing was a cinch.
Most of today's smartphones have a short battery life, and whining about this common downside can be tiring at times considering the amount of features and capabilities we now want from our phones. The Magnum HD's battery life clocks in at less than a day with heavy usage, and a maximum of two days if you use it sparingly and switch off the apps running in the background. And before we all forget that this is, first and foremost, a mobile phone, we didn't have anything to complain about when it comes to voice quality.
Overall, we say that Cherry Mobile has a winner with the Magnum HD, and you don't have to turn left to make it look good (sorry, we just had to chuck in a Zoolander reference!). For P15,990, it may just be the most affordable introduction to the smartphone market, at least for now.