The Cherry Mobile Nova is the first Android phone from local phone brand, Cherry Mobile, and it belongs to their Red Label collection (meaning not cheap). They’re known for affordable dual-sim phones but this time, they ventured into the world of smartphones.
The Cherry Mobile Nova is not exactly expensive, it’s affordable for an Android 2.1 phone with a price tag of Php11,490. But is it really worth the price? Can the Nova compete with other entry-level Android phones from big names like Samsung and Sony Ericsson?
I was able to play with the Nova briefly before they had to pull it out for unspecified reasons and here are my initial impressions about it.
In terms of build, you should expect the typical build of Cherry Mobile phones. It’s plasticky, feels fragile and a bit slippery to hold. It’s also light (slightly lighter than the Galaxy 5) which can be a good thing for some people. The plastic silver band on the side gives the phone a less boring design.
On the left side is the microUSB port with a fragile-looking cover and on top is the slightly protruding 3.5mm jack for your earphones. The lock/sleep buton can be accessed by a tiny nub beside the audio jack. On the right side is the volume rocker that also functions as zoom control for the camera. There’s also a dedicated camera button that is weirdly placed near the edge making it awkward to press when taking photos. You also need to press it hard to take photos.
The optical trackball feels flimsy compared to HTC phones and the two physical buttons beside it doesn’t have a nice feel when you press it. I would say they’re like buttons that are not used to being pressed. The Nova has dedicated touch panels for the four Android buttons but pressing them don’t give any feedback at all making you wonder if you’ve really pressed them. Those Android buttons don’t have backlight either which makes it hard to use in the dark with no physical grooves.
It has a nice, medium-sized HVGA 3.2″ capacitive touchscreen with a 320 x 480 resolution which looks really good compared to the HTC Wildfire or the Galaxy 5’s QVGA screen.
The Cherry Mobile Nova has the bare Android 2.1 UI. It doesn’t have any fancy UI layer on top of it like HTC’s Sense UI or Samsung’s TouchWiz UI or Rachel from Xperia. With that, you don’t get any fancy widgets which might not be a drawback to some people especially those who are new to Android.
I got mixed results navigating the user interface. I thought it would be smooth and snappy with its Qualcomm 600 MHz processor considering that there’s no fancy UI on it. However, at times swiping feels smooth, but there are also times that it took half a second before it realized that I wanted to switch panels. Games somehow tends to play smoother. Small games that is. If you’re in a store, better try it out yourself.
You should expect the basic smartphone feature set on the Nova. WiFi, 3G, web browsing, social networking, thousands of Apps and Games from the Android Market, Google account integration, GPS, basic multimedia functions like music player and FM Radio.
The CM Nova’s 5-megapixel camera with flash but don’t bank on point-and-shoot caliber photos for it. The results are less stellar than other 5-mp camera phones out there. And as I mentioned earlier, using the shutter button requires a firm press.
An odd thing here is that CM Nova outputs incorrect date stamps on the photos although the date used on their filename is correct.
Here are some sample photos taken with the Cherry Mobile Nova:
The Cherry Mobile Nova has a 1270 mAh Li-Polymer battery which is better than the 1200 mAh Li-Ion of the Galaxy 5 and the Xperia X8. By how much? Regular use with some WiFi and shooting photos will give you around 2 days or even more. Charging is done via the micro USB port on the side by the way.
I’ve been showing the Cherry Mobile Nova around the office and a lot were impressed by it. It has the best specs among its peers in the same price range which Cherry Mobile badly need to compensate for their not-so high-quality build and them being a new player in the mobile Android game.
I can’t say much about the sturdiness of the Nova which is the most suspect of all its features. Anybody here owns a Cherry Mobile phone? How’s the build quality on those?
If you’re not particular with the design and build, I wouldn’t hold you from getting the Cherry Mobile Nova. Sometimes, inconspicuous cheap-looking handsets are better especially if you’ll be taking it out a lot in public places or when commuting.
Cherry Mobile Nova Specs:
- Android 2.1 (Eclair)
- Qualcomm MSM7227 600MHz processor
- 3.2″ capacitive LCD (320Ã—480)
- 512MB internal memory, expandable up to 32GB
- 5mp autofocus camera with LED flash
- WiFi 802.11 b/g
- HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
- Bluetooth 2.1
- Li ““ Polymer, 1270 mAh
- SRP: Php11,490
Note: Like us on Facebook and be alerted once I updated this post with more performance, camera and battery info.