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Cherry Mobile Zoom Review: A Budget Phone With Long Legs

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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

Cherry Mobile Zoom 08

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.

Cherry Mobile Zoom 11

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).

Cherry Mobile Zoom 14

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.

Cherry Mobile Zoom 13

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.

Cherry Mobile Zoom 11

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.

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….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.

Cherry Mobile Zoom 16

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.

Cherry Mobile Zoom 18

Cherry Mobile Zoom 20

Cherry Mobile Zoom 21

Cherry Mobile Zoom 04

Cherry Mobile Zoom 03

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.

Cherry Mobile Zoom 01

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.

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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.

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. the Zoom is more capable in handling tasks because of its 3Gb RAM than on the P1Ms 2Gb. Both have thesame camera resolution front and back. I’m pretty sure the 13MP of Zoom is interpolated as most of their other smartphones. And there’s no significant difference on the quality. 😀 If the rumored OEM is Panasonic then the zoom is not that bad at all considering the brand Panasonic is way more great on performance or should I say better than of the Lenovo 🙂

      Just my opinion.. Peace y’all ^_^

  1. CHERRY MOBILE phones are defective. Dont be deceive by the specs and price. Because they are worst at after sales. Ill share my experience, i just bought s4 max and after tomorrow, i discovered their unit took 11hours before it fully charged. And easily drain. So i went back to the store to have replacement. They didnt replace, instead they want me to go to service center ( sm north ). I went there and had a talk with agent, everything was ok, they will replace my unit. But after hours passed by, they called me that my unit has scratch on the back. I was like WHY THEY DIDNT TELL ME SOONER? WHY THEY TELLING ME MY UNIT HAS SCRATCH AFTER I LEFT THEM? and its very impossible to have scratch on the back coz i bought jelly case on the same store after i bought it. They are definitely fraud! They didnt replace my phone. I have nothing to do they wont replace it instead repair it. And until now, my unit is still on process in their service center. DONT EVER BUY CHERRY MOBILE PHONE. THEY ARE WORST AFTER SALES. ZERO STAR RATE!

  2. does anybody has issues in sending sms in google messenger? mine always has error msg “no preferred selected sim…”.

  3. Weird aspect ratio when watching videos on YouTube. Maybe it has something to do with the annoying bezels on the edges. Other than that, the Cherry Mobile Zoom is okay.

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