MTK6577's Last Hurrah
Cherry Mobile does it again. They manage to up the ante whilst preempting their competitors with a price to spec ratio they can't possibly match. Their offering this time? A 5.0" Android Jelly Bean phone graced by a fancy 1280x720 IPS panel equipped with Dragon Trail (think Gorilla Glass) glass and a 12 megapixel BSI camera. Asking price? Php 7,999.
The recent wave of Android phones from local phone brands have spurred customers here in the Philippines to be more vigilant and eagle-eyed with regards to the specs of the phones they are buying. Just like computers, they want the best hardware for a little money as possible. When the Omega HD's specs were revealed, the most worrisome sight though for those in the know is the pairing of the 1280x720 screen with PowerVR SGX 531 found on the MTK6577. A massive bump in resolution from the common WVGA and qHD resolutions we have at the moment was deemed too taxing. Alas, the Omega HD shows that the MTK6577 does still have a few aces up its sleeve.
Design and Build Quality
If anything, the Omega HD looks like Samsung's new flagship, the Galaxy S4. The thin bezel. The 5.0" screen. The chrome bumper. Even the earpiece design. It's definitely not a clone though. But essential elements are there. The design and finish is clean, minimalist, modern and devoid of anything visually unessential, like the myriad of "black dots" beside the earpiece on other phones which constitutes as sensors. It screams: "Hey look! We have a lot of sensors and stuff!". The amount of spacing between the functional elements on the facade is just right. The Omega HD remains trim and classy, not barren and dull which others mistake for minimalism. There are also just enough curves in the right places to avoid looking too "executive". In short, it is just a design that works and should cater to a majority of people compared to other designs.
The front simply features the front-facing camera on the left of the earpiece and the light and proximity sensor on its right. The three backlit touch buttons on the bottom (from left to right) represent options/menu, home and back functions. Below the options/menu touch button is a tiny slit which is the mic.
The back of the phone uses a plastic that is similar in feel to the white HTC One X. Located at the back is the 12 MP camera, single LED flash and single loudspeaker at the bottom.
The left of the phone features the volume up and volume down buttons and a button which serves as a hardware shortcut to the camera.
The top of the phone contains the micro USB port and 3.5 mm jack. The right side contains the power button.
The Omega HD's dimensions are 143.5 x 70.8 x 8.8 mm and weighs a relatively very light 140 grams. The extensive use of plastics and Dragon Trail can be attributed to the phone's feeling of lightweightedness. In comparison, the 5.0" Titan W500 weighs in at a hefty 205 grams. Despite being light, the Omega HD feels solid, particularly thanks to the bumper which also gives it a subtle contrast in texture when gripping it with one hand as you can feel where the back cover's slippery plastic ends and where the bumper's matte plastic begins. The weight is also evenly distributed. It can be described as having the same feeling as holding a bigger iPhone which uses the same plastics as the HTC One X, if that actually made sense. The build quality and construction is tangibly better than other rebranded Android phones from local brands in the same price range.
Only the Cloudfone Thrill 430x comes close thanks to the Thrill 430x's OGS (one glass screen) implementation where the panel and glass are fused as a single component. It should be noted that the Omega HD also has an OGS implementation, with the glass used being Dragon Trail. Dragon Trail glass is notably used on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active which is penned for being ultra durable. Cherry Mobile themselves have demonstrated that the Dragon Trail glass on the Omega HD is very resistant to scratches and other abuse. The OGS implementation also helps the phone maintain a very thin bezel since a singular construction on the front provides better support for the body, much like a strong frame. The thin bezels ensure that the phone stays compact whilst maintaining maximum screen estate.
My only caveat with their design choice is letting the rear camera protrude about 2 mm which increases its chances of taking scratches in the long run. Then again, having protruding cameras without protection seems to be the norm these days, even on high-end models by well-known manufacturers.
The Omega HD also comes preinstalled with a screen protector out of the box. Just peel the plastic off the screen and you will notice that there is a screen protector underneath.
Here is the checklist of what comes inside the box:
- 1x Cherry Mobile Omega HD
- 1x 2100 mAh battery
- 1x CM-800 charger
- 1x USB cable
- 1x Earphones
- 1x User's manual
- 1x Warranty card
The "HD" in Omega HD refers to the screen's 1280x720 resolution. The 5.0" 720p IPS screen which supports 5 point multitouch is a marvel to behold at this price range. No other phone, even at twice the retail price of the Omega HD, has a screen with this resolution. As an IPS panel, it offers excellent viewing angles and brightness. In addition, IPS panels manufactured today at this size all offer a full RGB stripe so people who are worried about getting a PenTile pattern display will be at ease.
Here are some shots of the Omega HD's screen demonstrating viewing angles: