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Cherry Mobile Apollo Review: One of the Best Smartphones Under Php7,000

It's the Cherry Mobile Apollo!
It’s the Cherry Mobile Apollo!

Full Review: Cherry Mobile Apollo

Aggressively priced at Php6,999, the Cherry Mobile Apollo offers features and specifications that you usually find on more expensive smartphones. Not only does it have a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, it also boasts of a 12.0-megapixel primary shooter and a 4.5-inch HD IPS display. Usually smartphones at this price have qHD screens and 8MP cameras (without BSI) so this is really an interesting proposition.

We’ve been using the Apollo as our daily driver for a couple of days now and we’ve spent enough time using it to share with you guys a complete and fair review. Before anything though let’s quickly take a look at the specifications again.

Cherry Mobile Apollo Spec Sheet

  • 1.2GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6589 processor
  • PowerVR SGX544
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 4.5-inch HD (720 x 1280) IPS display
  • 12.0-megapixels primary camera with LED flash and BSI
  • 5.0-megapixels secondary camera with BSI
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • HSPA+, 3G, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, A-GPS
  • 2,000mAh battery
  • Android Jelly Bean 4.2

As you guys can see it’s a solid spec sheet! Nothing really to complain about considering the Php6,999 price tag.

>>> SEE ALSO: Cherry Mobile Apollo Unboxing and Initial Hands-on

Chassis and Hardware: Average Design, Very Good Display

Average hardware design
Average hardware design

The Cherry Mobile Apollo is your typical candy bar-type 4.5-inch smartphone form factor. Main material used is polycarbonate plastic for the body and a more glossy type for the removable back plate. Up front we have the 4.5-inch screen. Both sides are fingerprint and smudge magnets.

Most of the buttons and ports are actually located at the top of the Cherry Mobile Apollo. You’ll find the Power Lock button, micro USB port, and headphone jack all situated at the top. One the side sits the volume rocker.

What the back looks like
What the back looks like

The Cherry Mobile Apollo is not the thinnest smartphone you can find at this price point but it’s not too thick either. It’s actually “just right”. It’s still easy and manageable to use with one hand and it has that reassuring heft and bulk which gives the impression that it’s solid and sturdy. Fortunately the manufacturer was able to make the plastic as compact as possible so the phone actually doesn’t feel cheap at all.

A word of caution on the camera lens though. The lens at the back is a little bit too protuding and it looks like it can get scratched if one is not careful in setting the phone down on a rough surface. It would be best to invest in a back case (even silicone or jelly) just to make sure the camera’s lens is protected.

Still easy to use with one hand
Still easy to use with one hand

One of the nicest things about the Apollo for us, which we actually found more appealing than the camera, was the quality of the display. It’s rare to find smartphones that offer HD 4.5-inch displays at Php6,999. The sharpness of the images and vibrant colors gives you an impression that the phone is much more expensive than what you paid for it.

Gorgeous display quality.
Gorgeous display quality.

Over-all you can’t go wrong with the value you get with your money when it comes to hardware for the Cherry Mobile Apollo. The display quality alone makes it worth every centavo! Definitely deserving of two thumbs up!

Performance: Reliable Quad-core Experience

Powered by a quad-core processor in tandem with 1GB RAM, the Cherry Mobile Apollo delivers a great Android Jelly Bean experience. As with other smartphones with this set-up, it scored a over 13,000 on the Antutu Benchmark Test. This is already the minimum benchmark to make sure that the over-all performance is fluid and has minimal lags/delays.

Apollo's score on Antutu
Apollo’s score on Antutu
Android Jelly Bean 4.2
Android Jelly Bean 4.2

Basic functions, animations, apps, and services all ran smoothly. When it came to gaming we tried our usual barrage of testing titles including Dead Trigger, Bard’s Tale, Wild Blood, and Zombie Wood. All of them played very well. The 4.5-inch display also definitely helped with performance since it doesn’t “overwork” the processor. The only instance wherein we saw the Apollo start to struggle was with the most demanding gaming titles like Asphalt Heat 8. Other than that though it was a strong performer!

The HD display also lets one enjoy HD videos. We watched a bunch of HD Full Metal Alchemist videos on the Apollo through YouTube and it was a great viewing experience thanks to the display quality and the powerful processor! Go Elric brothers, hehe.

Anime lang pag may time.
Anime lang pag may time.

Again when it comes to software we have to give the Apollo two thumbs up, especially if we consider the price!

Camera: Great for a Smartphone worth Php6,999

Now this is the part where it becomes a little tricky. The Cherry Mobile Apollo claims to have a 12.0-megapixel primary shooter with BSI technology (backside illumination). In good lighting the Apollo takes more than excellent photos. Here’s a sample shot we took during the podcast.

Paolo, Eason, Bur, and Alora!
Paolo, Eason, Bur, and Alora!

It starts to struggle though when there’s harsh lighting and when there’s little light. Here are sample shots of both instances:

Notice the harsh light at the back?
Notice the harsh light at the back?
This is taken with flash na
This is taken with flash na

It’s also a respectable shooter in mid-light environments. Sample shot below was taken when sun was about to set (white gloomy sky sucks when it comes to picture taking).

Nice.
Nice.

So how do we make sense of all of this? Simply put the Apollo takes much better photos than other smartphones in its price range if you have good lighting conditions. In dark scenarios you really have to invest in a better camera with better optics.

Battery Life: Surprisingly Long

Here’s a shocker — the Cherry Mobile Apollo has decent battery life! We were actually thinking that the HD display and the quad-core processor would be too much for the battery but it looks like the 2,000mAh is more than enough already to get you through a whole day. Just make sure you manage your brightness levels to around 30%. Increasing it to more than 50% drastically lowers lasting power.

Verdict: One of the Best Smartphones You Can Get Under Php7,000

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter! @unboxph
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter! @unboxph

Everything considered, the Cherry Mobile Apollo is one of the best smartphones we’ve used under Php7,000. It’s a strong and reliable performer despite the low price tag.

Two thumbs up Cherry Mobile, you’ve got a hot one here. 🙂

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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67 Comments

  1. Ok naman yung price..come on guys..you cannot expect an s3 over-all performance and looks sa presyo na ganito..if habol natin ganun, then double that price and get a brand new s3 or a one x..nice one CM..lets all remember, rather than just look at the nega points of it, try to look for the good ones and weigh it in..then decide..

    1. hnd totoo yung 4gb internal. 1.7gb lng po. nasabi ko po kc last year bumili ako ng apollo. until now gamit ko parin xa. very good specs. kso ung cam hnd nia kayang mag istabilize. dpat hnd ka magalaw kamay mo while taking pictures. kc blured outcome if ever.

  2. I already owned this device…after upgrading from myphone a888 massbi ko…Highly recommended!!! Ang bilis nito! Ganda ng display at design…

  3. compared to Omega Hd 2.0 , with almost the same specs , screen lang naiba(not a problem) , mas mura,konte lang difference sa batt. higher pixels pa ang front cam. FTW CM!

  4. it has been 5 days since i bought this. here are my observations. will update when i get to try the other functions.

    UI is great. no sluggishness.

    screen is good. good viewing angles.

    viewing movies is also good… well, that is until you use the scrub bar. mabagal sya mag fast forward/reverse sa mx player

    rear camera is good. front cam isn’t good.

    gaming… i’ve only installed 3 games. plants vs. zombie 2, real racing 3 and nun attack: run and gun. PVZ2 works. real racing 3 was horrible. everything was in slow motion. uninstalled it after playing 2 games. run and gun works but is choppy at times. there were also times that the player jumps by itself.

    touch sensitivity also isn’t good. it mostly works well but you have to apply a little extra pressure for it to register your touch input sometimes.

    speaker phone function is horrible. i haven’t tried the earphones it was supplied with but i used it with my earphones from my samsung GS3 and it was horrible.

    call quality was surprisingly good when not using earphones or the speaker phone. the person on the other line can hear me well even with noisy background (mall, street traffic)

    battery life is great even with wifi switched on the whole day. i haven’t tried using it with data yet since i use this on my pre-paid sim. battery drops like a rock when playing games. watching movies seems to drain less than games.

    internet browser is fast… it seems faster than the browsers i installed on my s3.

    1. i chose this over the OHD 2.0 since it was smaller. is the OHD 2.0 better at gaming? is it’s call quality also good?

      1. got me an omega hd 2.0. both phones are very similar except for the size.

        comparing the phones,
        – apollo has better battery life. the 5″ screen drains the 2000 mAh battery faster.
        – despite having similar antutu scores and hardware, the omega hd 2.0 is better at gaming. real racing 3 is playable on it but it was not on the apollo.
        – call quality was way better on the apollo. this may be due to the noise cancelling mic of the apollo since the omega hd 2.0 has none.
        – messaging was also easier on the apollo. i had lots of “missed presses” on the space bar of the omega hd 2.0.

        so… if you’re not really into gaming and if you don’t need the screen size, the apollo seems to be the better phone.

  5. I got one, very vivid and bright colors, high batt life, no lag games, nice speaker, high def camera, etc. Recommended. I got the white back because the black shows fingerprints and also bought a screen protector (removed CM pre-installed screen protector). Nice, recommended, affordable. If you flash it in a jeepney, heads turn 🙂

    1. Apollo na. The only advantage of Razor over Apollo is its Dragontrail glass and thin form factor. Disadvantages: only 1750 mAh, non removable battery, single SIM lang, and many reviews of lag response.

      Apollo display is stunning (I have it) (HD IPS LCD 1280 x 800 pixels as compared to Razors only 960 x 540 pixels; 12 megapixel camera with BSI & LED flash.

      I installed many games, plus flashlight, compass, swiss army,

        1. I don’t experience that, I just touch it the way I touch my previous unit, a Samsung Galaxy Y. Before, I wanted the CM Razor because of it’s thin squarish form but reading reviews about it, it says you have to exert extra effort in using the touch screen, probably because of the tough glass.Luckily, the stunning Apollo came along 🙂

  6. Hi, sana makatulong po sa mga questions about scratch resistance: Post ko po sa mga blogsites para sa mga users na interesado bumili.

    CM Apollo is Scratch Resistant.

    CM Apollo has G+G feature. If you’d look at the box itself, it is indicated there. Now others think it pertains to the Telephony Network (SIM1 GSM, SIM2 GSM). Others insist that it means Gorilla Glass, which, is related to the feature but not exactly at par with what it really accounts to. Ang G+G ay isa sa mga screen technologies na ginagamit sa phones. Ang Screen ay consisting ng maraming layer. Sensor, touch panel, diode, film at iba pa. Ang G+G ay technology na nagfu-fuse ng mga layers into glass para maging manipis at mas malapit ang display sa mismong touchpanel or outer screen para maging mas vivid at malinaw ang display. sa G+G, ung unang letra ay nagdedescribe ng Sensor type at yung 2nd letter ay Type ng screen, touchscreen, panel, or yung outer cover na nadudutdot, napipindot, nasasalat natin sa phone. So ang G+G means, yung sensor ng screen ay Glass type, at ang Touch Panel or outer screen ay Glass type din.

    Marami pong type ng screen techologies. Yung iba, ginagamitan din ng glass ang outer screen pero hindi tempered.Pero sigurado ako na sa G+G at sa OGS(One Touch Solution-mas manipis ito kesa sa G+G at High Resolution din) tempered or reinforced glass ang ginagamit.

    *note: Ang CM Apollo po ay rebranded na Cubot GT99 from China. Since Chinese technology sya, Naisip ko lang na kaya hindi nkasulat na Corning, Dragontrail or sikat na glass manufacturers as Tempered Glass na ginamit ay dahil china made din ang tempered Glass.

    Ngayon, eto ang magandang part, since G+G ang Screen natin, Ibig sabihin, ke-Corning Gorilla Glass, Asahi Dragontrail, Xensation Glass or ano pa mang tempered glass ang ginamit dyan, Scratch Resistant po ang Apollo. Hindi po ibig sabihin na hindi sya nagagasgas (scratchproof). Pero, mas mataas po ang resistance nya sa gasgas kesa sa ibang phone na ang gamit na touchpanels ay Plastic or Thin Glass or lower screen technology.

    Sana nakatulong.. Proud owner of CM Apollo and Flame 2.0 (OGS Screen)

    1. Nice to hear that Sir! But me, after I got my Apollo, I immediately purchased an expensive screen protector to be safe. From the store, it already has a pre-installed screen protector.

  7. Ugh kainis! Kakabili ko lang ng Starmobile Flirt for 6.5K a few days ago. Sana ito na lang. Bwisit kasi na CM nakakalito andami ng mga models nila.

  8. Is there any unconventional features ang Apollo? is it true na merong ‘flip mute’ at able to do screenshot ang Apollo?….planning to
    buy.

    1. For me the unconventional things I could tell of my Apollo are the apps that I installed. For example, I could scan a page, convert it as PDF or OCR for easy copy paste into MSWord or save it into a cloud server for anywhere access as long as I have wifi signal. Another is the app that could measure from afar, check level, check compass bearing, etc using the Apollo’s built in sensors (complete list here http://pdadb.net/index.php?m=specs&id=5175&view=1&c=cherry_mobile_apollo). Then, the flashlight app using the camera LED light. The amazing HD camera with lots of built in photo editor options and sharing. And lots of games, no problem with lag.

  9. hey guys,, pwede ba ang flow light application dito sa CM APOLLO for LED indicator? reply po kau plssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    1. Flow Light is a nice app, I’m not sure if it works with Apollo because I noticed that the light at the front is always blue and blinks when I have a message, or call, or notification such as low battery.

    1. Charged mine fully yesterday morning, played about an hour last night, took some photos and edited them right on the phone, scanned a document and uploaded it in Google Drive and check messages; now, it’s 3PM and it still has 60%. My settings are off Wifi when I don’t need to; off bluethooth, not so bright, short standby time, switched off location, GPS, etc, off data, etc.

    2. I had many instances wherein I was playing games or experimenting with the camera when the low battery warning sounds, pops up and led light blinks but I continued doing what I was doing and had never experience the battery immediately draining completely. It gives some time, I dunno for how long, to finish what you’re doing before plugging it in.

    3. It’s the 3rd day since I charged full my Apollo and it still has 29% right now, 1PM. And I thought mabilis ma low batt, haha, matagal pala, kulang lang ang pag monitor ko. Will post when mag low batt warning sya at when ma completely zero.

      1. I posted that message above using my Apollo, was already sleepy. I expected to find my Apollo dead by morning but surprised to see 4% battery life. I wanted to check what time it would get zero but had to charge it (not fully because I have to leave home for the office) in case I have to photograph something interesting. The Apollo’s camera is amazing.

  10. I got my CM Apollo via Lazada, one month na siya ngayon saken & i must say i couldn’t ask for more. walang errands/errors akong na experience. highly recommended ang phone na to’ for selfies or gaming pa. and ang price, you couldn’t really ask for more tlga. P.S i looked for reviews of CM apollo before i bought it & no regrets on burning my money for that phone at all. Two Thumbs up! 🙂

  11. Apollo is a great deal. but OTG capable is a bummer. but overall, GREAT!
    i dont know what to pick between Fuze and Apollo since i’m a hardcore user.

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