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

Cherry Mobile M1 10

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

Cherry Mobile M1 04

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.

Cherry Mobile M1 01

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.

Cherry Mobile M1 09

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.

Cherry Mobile M1 08

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.

Cherry Mobile M1 06

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.

Cherry Mobile M1 11

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.

Cherry Mobile M1 05

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.

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.

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19 Comments

  1. ayos sa mtk x20.. un lng 12k? un lng made of plastic.. un lng d appealing ang design.. 12K? pwede bang pang display? how about itabi sa 7k flash 2 or pag meron na ung 12k+ na zenfone 3.. ano kaya sa 3 ang lalangawin? un lng… at ano kaya ang magmumukhang bang for the buck.. un lng… 12K local phone compare to branded flash 2 and zenfone 3.. un lng!

    i got my flare, flare 2 and flare 3 well kahit papano nasatisfied nman.. lalo na sa flare kc umabot til 4.4 manually update using roms kc nga qualcomm.. ngaun nadala na ako.. naisip ko mukhang sayang lng pera ko.. d ko man lng maidisplay.. un lng..

    kaya cherry to stay alive lalo na stiff na ang competition with branded phones.. sana nman magkaroon tlga kau ng monthly firmware updates at o.s updates kung may bago.. kaso kwang kwang.. un lng!

    kaya cherry!!!! un lng!!!

    1. haha buy your self an iphone or a samsung.what do you expect for a 12k phone with high specs?of course it will have a downgrade.if you want a perfect phone both design specs and materials.go for a well known brand just like the 2 i mentioned

  2. Color me surprised. CM rebranded the Zopo Speed 8 and is selling it for lower than it goes normally at 12k (~$255, the normal price is $300).

    Regarding the Helio X20, the performance is great for the price but the battery efficiency is atrocious, if GSMArena’s review of the Meizu Pro 6 (with the Helio X25) is any indication. http://www.gsmarena.com/meizu_pro_6-review-1442p3.php

  3. Kung maganda ang camera nito in low light, pwedeng lumaban to sa mga naglalabasang mga phones. Make sure to get the black model because the border looks ugly AF!

  4. Price is almost the same with Samsung galaxy J5 (2016). Specs by specs, M1 beats J5 to pulp. How about the after sales support? Selling a product is only half of the job. The other half is customer support.

    I want a beatly phone that’s affordable but I also wanted a good after sales. Something I have to tinker about.

  5. Cherry mobile na outlet warranty lalo na sa bandang ebangelista makati ka bagal ng service isang buwan na naka tingga ang unit sa kanila as per ng cs nila initial palang yon ibig sabihin kapag my warranty na 1year any unit n m expired na ung wrnty di pa tapos gawin ang uni. pakibilisan nyo….ka bagal po ng serbisyo.

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