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Cherry Mobile Iris Unboxing, Initial Review: Eye Security

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One of the features that we miss the most from Samsung’s aborted Galaxy Note 7 is the iris scanning tech. If you don’t recall, the Note 7 had extra front facing cameras that read the iris of your eyes as an added layer of biometric security in addition to the fingerprint scanner and the customary PIN code to protect your phone. Unfortunately we all know what happened to the Note 7, and until other companies release their flagship phones with the tech, we’ll all have to settle with unlocking our phones with PIN codes and fingerprints.

But as luck would have it, Cherry Mobile has a phone that uses the same iris scanning tech as the Note 7 at a fraction of the price. The Cherry Mobile Iris is probably the only phone in the PH market right now with the capability to unlock itself with just your eyes now that the Galaxy Note 7 has gone the way of the Dodo. Today we’ll be unlocking this unusual budget phone to see what it’s capable of. But first, the specs:

Cherry Mobile Iris specs

  • 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6580 quad-core processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5-inch IPS HD display, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with AF, LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G HSPA+
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Iris scanning technology
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 2300mAh battery

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Packaging and contents:

The Iris’ packaging is pretty standard fare for a Cherry Mobile smartphone – a cardboard box that has the phone’s name and oimage on the front, with some of the specs printed on the rear.

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Once you open the box, you’ll see the charger, headset, USB cable and additional documentation on how to setup the iris scanner.

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Initial impressions: setup is a bit of a chore, but works beautifully once done

Just like its name, the Iris unlocks itself by using cameras to determine if you are indeed, you. And just like Samsung’s flagship phone, the Iris uses infrared cameras on the front to read the pattern of your iris. Why the iris? Well, fingerprints have been spoofed before and the idea is that a person’s iris is so unique that even identical twins don’t have the same pattern. It’s a more secure way of locking your phone, or that’s how it’s being marketed anyway.

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Back to that iris scanner. You’ll have to set it up the first time, and it’s not as easy to setup as the Galaxy Note 7. You’ll have to stay still while the iris scanner reads and commits the pattern of your eyes to memory which takes a few seconds.

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Once it finishes the initial setup though, it works as intended. You’ll have to keep the phone around 2 feet away from your face for the phone to quickly unlock itself, and it works even through clear glasses. It won’t work with tinted or colored glasses as it needs a clear view of your iris to work properly.

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Aside from the iris unlocking tech, the Iris is basically your run of the mill budget phone. The device has a primarily plastic body that uses a removable back which hides the dual SIM slot, microSD slot and 2300mAh battery. The volume and power button is on the right of the phone, while the 3.5mm jack is on top. The USB port is located on the bottom of the device.

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Powering everything is a MediaTek MT6580 quad-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of expandable storage. AnTuTu scores aren’t great but are expected from a phone in this price range, and the device uses Android Marshmallow to keep everything nice and smooth.

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At just Php 3,499, the Iris is a curious phone. It has a nifty, stand-out feature that feels a little out of place in a budget device. Hopefully the phone is just a proof-of-concept device as a way of gauging interest in the new tech. We’re hoping that Cherry Mobile implements the iris scanner in more expensive phones in the future.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

7 Comments

    1. Ang coño, so grabe! Pa-explain naman kung baket bothersome. Do you even know why there’s a bezel in the first place? Kung maka-bothersome naman. Arte much?!

  1. “The Cherry Mobile Iris is probably the only phone in the PH market right now with the capability to unlock itself with just your eyes now that the Galaxy Note 7 has gone the way of the Dodo.”

    Lumias beg to differ.

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