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Unbox.ph Cherry Mobile M1 Hands-on, First Impressions: Performance On A Budget?


Jan 11, 2016
We go hands-on with the M1!

After months and months of low-level announcements, Cherry Mobile just dropped a big one today: the local company has unveiled their newest smartphone, the M1. The M1 boasts a whole host of firsts for the local company: USB Type-C, massive 21-megapixel Sony IMX 230 sensor and MediaTek’s beastly X20 deca-core processor, the first ever in SEA. Today we’ll be taking a quick look at the phone and see what it’s capable of.

Cherry Mobile M1 specs
  • Deca-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB of internal storage
  • 21-megapixel Sony IMX 230 sensor, phase detection AF, dual LED flash
  • 8-megapixel front facing camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G,LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB Type-C, Fingerprint scanner
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 3600mAh battery
  • 11,999

Initial impressions: unassuming looks hide a monster inside
In a world where there’s plenty of metal smartphones at the 12K price point, the M1 is a bit of a disappointment, at least visually. Don’t get us wrong – it’s not ugly, it’s just plain looking and slightly unassuming, which is something you don’t want in a flagship phone. It’s also entirely devoid of metal, though the finish on the back of the phone makes it look a little more premium than it actually feels.


The phone has a slight curve to the body, and feels a little hefty to the hands, but isn’t too heavy. Like we said, the phone doesn’t have metal in its body (except probably the fingerprint scanner located on the back) – the silver colored frame is also plastic, unfortunately.


On the front you’ll see the 5.5-inch full HD display, and the front-firing, dual-speaker setup. On the right side lies the volume button and power button, while the power and USB Type-C is on the bottom and top. On the left lies the the SIM tray – you’ll have to use a SIM ejector to get it out, and the phone uses two nano SIMs. Sadly, there’s no expandable storage for the phone, and the 3600mAh battery is non-removable.


Flip the phone on its back and you’ll see the fingerprint scanner, as well as the 21-megapixel rear camera with the LED flash. The camera is pretty impressive – it’s a Sony Exmor IMX230 sensor that’s used by many other smartphones that are twice the price of the M1, and boasts phase detection AF and the ability to shoot 4K. But before you get carried away with the specs of the camera, remember that the software of the device that accompanies it is as important for a phone – we’ll have to see for ourselves if the camera delivers on its beastly specs.


While the M1 isn’t the best looking phone in the market, it’s certainly one of the fastest, at least for its price range. It’s using MediaTek’s Helio X20 deca-core processor along with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of non-expandable storage along with Android Marshmallow.


MediaTek’s done a lot of work on the antenna side of things on the lower-end Helio P10 which managed to impress us with its LTE speed and GPS lock-on time. The X20 is a higher-end processor and should perform better, at least on paper – hopefully it’s capable of delivering on Cherry Mobile’s promise of a faster phone at relatively low prices.


That’s pretty much it. We’re still waiting for our review unit for the device, though you can buy the phone at the end of the month if you’re in Metro Manila.

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