For most people, buying a phone is a tradeoff between performance and battery life. Sure you can probably get a high-performance phone, but for many benchmark scores and mobile gaming take a back seat to battery endurance. And in some ways, it makes sense – your high scoring, AntuTu breaking phone may have what it takes to run Asphalt 8 on high, but probably won’t last more than a day of continuous use.
That’s why phones like the budget Zoom that Cherry Mobile sells is appealing – it may not be the fastest device around, but man does it have a large tank. The fact that it’s less than 5K is just cherry on top. But does the rest of the phone deliver?
Cherry Mobile Zoom specs:
- 1GHz MediaTek MT6735P quad-core processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5-inch HD IPS display, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 16GB of expandable storage
- 13-megapixel rear camera with flash
- 8-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
- 4000mAh battery
Not the prettiest phone on the block….
Let’s face it, the Zoom isn’t going to win any beauty contests anytime soon. While the phone does try to infuse some good looks into its budget frame, the entire device is primarily made out of plastic. That’s not too surprising, considering other devices in the same price bracket use plastic bodies as well to cut down on production costs.
Still, we would have liked a metal frame, or at least a metal back, but all you’re left with is a plastic shell that has a faux aluminum finish. The phone’s curved sides make it easier to grab on to, though that’s not really too much of a problem considering it’s overall thickness, probably to accommodate that big battery inside (more on this later).
Once you do take off the back though, you’ll see the non-removable 4000mAh battery, two SIM slots and microSD expansion slot. Put it back on and you’ll see the 13-megapixel rear camera along with its flash, and the rear firing speaker near the bottom.
There’s nothing much going on the front of the phone – you have your 5-inch HD display surrounded by thick, black bezels, on-screen Android navigation keys, 8-megapixel front facing camera, LED notification light earphones and a proximity sensor. The power button is on the right while the volume rocker is on the left. The 3.5mm jack is on top while the USB port is on the bottom.
As far as overall display quality goes, the Zoom’s panel is alright. It has good color reproduction that’s in line with the other budget offerings of other companies. Viewing angles aren’t great but they’re okay, though the screen starts to distort at extreme angles. There’s also a bit of light leak in darker scenes, which is common for displays of budget devices in its class.
….nor the fastest
In a time where octa-core processors are the norm for phones priced at almost 5K, the Zoom sports a quad-core processor, and a slow one at that – a MediaTek MT6735P running at 1.0GHz. Surprisingly enough, it’s paired with 3GB of RAm, and 16GB of expandable storage, an oddity for its price bracket. Anyway, the phone’s processor doesn’t score that high in AnTuTu (in fact its benchmark score is a little depressing) but to its credit it managed to keep the UI in Android Lollipop fast and fluid despite its speed handicap.
You will have to accept the limitation of the phone though, especially when it comes to playing demanding games – games like Asphalt 8 needs to have its settings down to the lowest settings for it to run at an acceptable level. The phone fares better with less demanding games like Clash Of Clans.
We found that the rear-firing speaker was surprisingly loud, though audio quality isn’t the best, though would suffice if you needed to listen to your tunes without headphones in a pinch.
Call quality is good, with no issues making and receiving calls. The phone suffers from the same issues that previous MediaTek SoCs did when trying to lock on to GPS signals – it takes a while to lock and gets confused in areas where there are a lot of tall structures.
Camera isn’t bad for the price
The Cherry Mobile Zoom comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and AF. To be perfectly frank, images taken from the camera aren’t too bad, with good color reproduction and detail.
That’s more than what we expected from the Zoom to be honest, though we did notice one of our photos that used HDR had a yellowish tinge. Low-light performance is lack-luster with a lot of noise, but that’s to be expected with a budget phone.
Battery life is amazing
If there’s one thing that Zoom is good at, it’s keeping the lights on for a long, long time. The Zoom’s 4000mAh battery is complimented by the HD IPS display and the economical 1.0GHz processor. As a result, the phone managed to log an astounding 15 hour and 22 minutes. That’s only second to the much more expensive ASUS Zenfone Max, and guarantees at least three days of use on single charge.
One thing that we really like about the Zoom was that Cherry Mobile included a quick charger in the package, which is a 5V/2A charger to expedite charging. Unfortunately, we found that an hour’s worth of charge only brought the phone up to 48% from 0% – expect the phone to completely top off its 4000mAh battery in about two hours and ten minutes with the phone off.
Verdict: an awesome phone for people who prioritize battery life above everything else
While the Zoom may not be the fastest or the prettiest smartphone on the block right now, it’s certainly guaranteed to be chugging away while every other phone dies from lack of juice. And that simple fact will probably make the phone desirable to a large swath of the population that doesn’t want to take a power bank along with them whenever they’re out and about. Its budget Php 4,999 price tag helps too.