Specs of the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X (Price: P9,999 or approximately US$240):1.2GHz MediaTek 6589 quad-core processor
4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD (on-cell) screen - Gorilla Glass 2 | 5-point
HSPA+ | 3G | Wi-Fi b/g/n | Bluetooth | GPS
Dual-SIM (1 standard SIM and 1 microSIM)
18-megapixel BSI rear camera with flash | 8-megapixel BSI front camera
4GB ROM | 1 GB RAM (microSD up to 32GB)
135 x 69.7 x 7.9mm
Android Jelly Bean 4.2
Local brand Cherry Mobile has been on the frontline of the budget-class business since the boom of Android phones and tablets in the Philippines. And for good reason: The company's Android line has generally shown a marked improvement in both design and performance over its predecessors, thus rewriting the rules on what to expect from a budget device.
Cherry Mobile's latest Cosmos series continues that trend. The firm's once again stretching the boundaries, this time with smartphones featuring thin-and-light designs, Super AMOLED displays, and full-HD visuals (for one model). The phone that caught our fancy happens to be the most affordable of the bunch: the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X.
The handset is priced at P9,999, making it an attractive option for anyone shopping in the quad-core bargain deck. But does it offer enough value over equally stacked budget smartphones? After weeks of using the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X as our daily driver, we answer that question in this review.
The Cosmos X is made of glossy plastic all right—except the execution here is a tad bit more mature and refined. Hardware buttons have a nice, tactile feel to them, and there are no gaps around the edges as the removable backplate snaps tightly into place. The phone's also sleeker and lighter than your average, pedestrian-looking Android.
The top is home to the headphone jack and the power/lock button. The micro-USB port sits on the left-hand side, and the volume rocker and hardware shutter buttons can be found on the right.
The face features a full touchscreen and skips physical navigation buttons for on-screen keys, as Google intended. Round the back, there's an odd-looking, star-shaped grille which covers the rear-facing speaker and an 18-megapixel sensor which leaves the handset with a ridiculous bulge that its ODM [original design manufacturer] could have skirted had the company settled for a more industry-favored sensor size.
More megapixels doesn't necessarily translate into exceptional results, and unfortunately for the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X, the argument applies here. But more on that later in the review.
Pop off the back cover and you'll find a 1,800mAh battery, two SIM slots (one fits microSIMs; the other is for regular-sized cards), and a microSD card slot.
Cherry Mobile was generous enough to throw in an extra back cover and a flip case.
The Cherry Mobile Cosmos X's Super AMOLED display measures 4.7 inches diagonally and flaunts a high-def resolution of 720 x 1,280 pixels. It benefits from a second-generation Gorilla Glass coating as well, keeping its face protected from minor bumps and drops.
The screen is sizable enough to view Web pages and documents without actually straining our eyes. The dimensions and pixels work out to roughly 312 pixels per inch, and as such, videos and games are rendered well.
Brightness is superb, and the panel is easily visible from a variety of angles under direct sunlight. In fact, even with the brightness dialed all the way down, the text on the screen stays readable outdoors.
Blacks are rendered with amazing richness and depth. This makes the Cosmos X suitable for watching shows and movies.
Color vibrancy is another plus, though it can be oversaturated at times, with whites being rendered with a greenish cast. The effect can be occasionally misleading and bothersome, particularly for those not accustomed to AMOLED screens.
The Cherry Mobile Cosmos X has backside-illuminated rear and front cameras that are capable of taking 18- and 8-megapixel photos, respectively.
The rear-facer does boast an insane amount of pixels and support full-HD video recording at 30 frames per second. However, in practice, we found that it doesn't display a high level of color accuracy and depth of field; the latter is something we'd be more willing to forgive because we're obviously not dealing with a point-and-shoot replacement here.
We've seen better image quality from smartphone sensors with less than half the number of megapixels. The Huawei Ascend P6's main camera, for example, delivers brighter and more lifelike results in both indoor and outdoor settings at a maximum resolution of 8 megapixels.
By contrast, the phone's 18-megapixel module delivers a good amount of detail, except colors appear muted and gloomier than in real life. At least the front camera's high pixel count results in sharper-than-usual video calls and self-portraits.
Like most camera phones, don't expect much in the way of low-light imaging as both sensors perform below par when shooting in dim environments. Still, that's a little unsettling, given that the two modules have backside illumination. Another issue is the slight lag between shots, but that's something you'll get used to with practice.
For what it's worth, the default camera app offers several filters and shooting options like HDR, panorama, beauty-shot mode, and multi-angle mode to help you inject a bit of creativity into your work.
Here are some samples taken with both shooters to further establish our point. We'll let them do the rest of the talking.
In terms of specs, the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X reminds us of former Android heavyweight Samsung Galaxy S III. Underneath the hood is a MediaTek chipset, which pairs a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with a PowerVR SGX 544 GPU and 1GB of RAM.
For comparison's sake, the latter sees an in-house Exynos chipset armed with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, a Mali-400MP GPU, and 1GB of RAM. Both smartphones have Super AMOLED panels.
Discrepancies in silicon notwithstanding, the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X is about as responsive as Samsung's former top-shelf model; gestures and taps register with little to no lag and the device runs smoothly across the lightly skinned Android Jelly Bean interface. It can also handle many of today's AAA games without slowing down. This phone definitely does the job, and does it well.
In our standard battery-rundown test, in which we play an HD video on loop, with brightness set to about 50 percent and WiFi enabled, the handset's 1,800mAh cell achieved seven hours of runtime before powering down.
Odds are that you'll fare better in day-to-day use. In our case, the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X made it through a day and a half of mixed usage.
Obviously, there's a lot to like as well as nitpick about the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X, but let's briefly go over the shortcomings first.
The phone's Super AMOLED display is incredibly vibrant and bright and produces rich blacks, just as it should. However, after weeks of use, we found it to be less of a trump card and more of a differentiating—and to some extent, polarizing—feature. Colors are often too saturated for our liking, and we're a little annoyed by the slightly greenish hue that continues to plague our unit's panel.
Imaging performance also leaves a lot to be desired. Samples we've taken with both backside-illuminated sensors appear lackluster as colors come across dull and pale. For higher-quality photos and videos, you'll want to look elsewhere.
Those frustrations aside, Cherry Mobile's Cosmos X is still a solid pick for a bargain price of P9,999. The hardware is sleek and lightweight and lends well to single-handed use, and the quad-core silicon inside the phone is fast and responsive enough to handle heavy chores.
The removable 1,800mAh battery is another strong suit, offering more than a day's worth of normal use. The phone even ships with a spare rear cover and a flip case to put the icing on the cake.
On the whole, the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X is an improvement over the Pinoy company's already impressive repertoire of Android devices, so it comes as no huge shocker that its latest release gets a thumbs up from us. If you're on the market for a competent budget smartphone with a Super AMOLED screen in tow, then it's certainly worth your time and money.