Early November, I lost my trusty Samsung Galaxy S2. As my job will not allow me to be without a cellphone for an extended period of time, I had to replace it ASAP. My budget was less less than Php 10,0000.00, so buying another comparable Samsung smartphone was out of the question. That meant looking at the “local” smartphone offerings from companies like Cherry Mobile, MyPhone, Huang, etc. I chose Cherry Mobile’s Omega XL. At Php 7,999.00, this is what I what I think of it thus far:
(NOTE: This is not meant to be a comprehensive technical review. It is just my impressions of the phone based on 1 month of continuous use.)
This first thing you will notice about the Omega XL is its relatively big LCD. At 6” (measured diagonally) compared to the Galaxy S2’s 4.3″, the Omega XL has significantly more screen real estate than the S2. This is a major selling feature for me as I am constantly using my smartphone to read ebooks. Resolution-wise, the S2’s Super Amoled screen is noticeably sharper when compared side-by-side with the Omega XL; however, once you start using it without the S2 beside it, you will quickly forget the crisper resolution of the S2. The resolution of the Omega XL is more than adequate.
Looks-wise, the Omega XL looks like a Galaxy Note and it has that same light, plastic-y feel that the Galaxy models have. I personally prefer the solid, hefty feel of an iPhone4 or an XPeria Z, but that’s just my personal preference; it doesn’t mean that those phones are superior from the standpoint of features and/or quality.
Rated at 2450 mAh, the removable battery of the Omega XL is much bigger than the S2’s 1650 mAh. This translates to significantly more battery life despite the Omega XL’s more powerful quad core CPU. With my type of usage comprising of intermittent voice, text, browsing, video, and e-book reading, I noticed that the XL can last about 18 hrs whereas the S2 usually loses charge at about 10 hrs.
The Omega XL is much quicker when it comes to browsing and game playing than the S2. This, of course, is due to Omega XL’s 1.2 GHz quad core CPU compared to the S2’s dual core CPU.
Sound quality when making voice calls is clear enough, although not as loud as in the Galaxy S2. This may have something to do with Android Jelly Bean’s restrictions on volume in order to protect one’s hearing. Same thing applies to playing any sounds from the speaker: it is clear but not as loud as in the Galaxy S2.
The Omega XL’s main camera is rated at 13MP with a front camera rated at 8MP. This is a considerable upgrade from the Galaxy S2 cameras (8MP main and 2MP front); however, it seems as if the images captured from the S2 were marginally clearer with slightly better color saturation. Be that as it may, the differences were slight and there is almost no shutter lag with the Omega XL whereas there is with the S2. As an added bonus for those addicted to taking selfies in dark places, the Omega XL has a front facing LED flash.
I never cease to wonder at people who can keep their electronic devices pristine even after years of use. I am not one of those people. My electronics gets dirty after only a few days of use and with my portable devices, it is a sure bet that I will drop it as some point in time. I don’t do it on purpose; it’s just what happens with the hectic pace of my life. I was wondering how the Omega XL will hold up to such abuse and when I dropped it the first time, I consciously held my breath as I turned it ON and when it did, I was relieved. After the 2nd and 3rd time, I no longer worry about it. I treat it just like I did with my Galaxy phones, fully expecting it to survive.
Here are the CONS about this phone:
- As of mid December, there were still no accessories like jelly cases for this phone.
- At only 1G of RAM compared to Galaxy S2’s 16G, the available RAM is miniscule. With the amount of ebooks, MP3 and videos I like to keep on my smartphone, the Omega XL would be my 1st smartphone where a micro SD card is mandatory.
- I tried hooking up a flash drive to the Omega XL via a micro USB to USB cable and it did not work so USB to Go doesn’t seem to be supported with the Omega XL. I tried asking the Cherry Mobile sales staff about it and they just looked at each other and shrugged.
- This brings me to my biggest concern about the Omega XL: the company itself. Cherry mobile has tons of models to choose from compared to only a handful from MyPhone. How they can provide a quick and efficient repair turnaround for all those units that will inevitably need servicing is beyond me. I dread the day when my phone goes in for repairs.
With that said, due to the big screen with adequate resolution, long battery life, fast speed and seemingly robust construction, I give the Omega XL a cautionary thumbs UP, despite the low available RAM and major concerns about Cherry Mobile itself when it comes to servicing.