We go hands-on with the Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon!
Last March Cherry Mobile took to the global stage to announce to new Windows Phone-powered devices: the Alpha Neon and View. Both phones were unveiled in Barcelona a few months ago, but it’s only now that we’re getting our hands on one of them. Which is problematic, considering that the company has already announced their upcoming Windows 10 phones, the Alpha Prime 4 and 5. This puts the Alpha Neon in a tough spot since people already know that there will be a better, faster and more feature packed Windows phone coming at under the same price point.
Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon specs
- 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor
- Adreno 302 GPU
- 1GB of RAM
- 5-inch HD IPS display, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 8GB of storage, expandable via microSD
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
- 2000mAh battery
- Windows 8.1 OS
Initial Impressions: looks and feels like a Lumia
Looking at the spec sheet of the Alpha Neon, it’s hard to be impressed with the hardware. If you compare it with the company’s previous Windows phone offering, the Alpha Luxe, you’ll notice that the Alpha Neon is almost the same internally – it’s powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, has 8GB of storage and features a 5-inch HD display.
The most prominent change with the Alpha Neon is its appearance – Cherry Mobile’s ditched the plastic, metallic looking frame and glossy, patterned back for a more simple and elegant polycarbonate body. The Alpha Neon has a slight concave shape to it, which allows people to better grip the Neon.
Overall the Neon feels better built than the Luxe and comes in more color combinations than the company’s previous Windows offering.
The overall design and styling of the Neon reminds us a lot of Microsoft’s Lumia line of phones, and the bright color options for the Neon just reinforces that feeling further. The back of the Neon is removable. Taking it out reveals the dual SIM and microSD slots on the back, as well as the removable 2000mAh battery.
While the Neon’s hardware isn’t going to set any speed records anytime soon, it’s good enough to ensure that most apps and games will run on the phone properly. Windows Phone 8.1 is better optimized to run on lower-end hardware than Android and iOS. Because of the similar hardware, you can probably infer the Alpha Neon’s performance based on our review of the Alpha Luxe (that you can read right here).
The biggest problem of the Alpha Neon that we can see is timing – with the arrival of Cherry Mobile’s new Windows 10 devices Alpha Prime 5 and 4, prospective buyers may hold off buying one and just go with the new ones instead. While the Neon will get a Windows 10 update in August, there’s a big chance that Cherry Mobile may cut the price of the Neon in preparation for the two new Windows 10 phones. Cherry Mobile themselves have said that the new phones will retail under 5K, which is exactly where the Alpha Neon currently sits.