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The Cherry Mobile Ultra is the local company’s answer to the demand of affordable LTE phones. To date, the Ultra is the company's second shot in LTE bandwagon. And given the country's vast 4G network, the local leader might score another hit. But without the LTE capability, will the handset occupy a solid space in the fast-paced smartphone market?


The Ultra takes several nods in many aspects of its feature set. Clear display resolution?  Yes. Legit Qualcomm Snapdragon processor? Yes. Blazing fast connectivity? Absolute yes! There’s no question that the Ultra is one of the most bankable hardware around, but does having an LTE capability makes it an instant hit? Or will it suffer the same fate as the previous W900 LTE? Join us after the fold for our own review of the Cherry Mobile Ultra.

Display

First off, we’ll start with the display. After the full HD and Quad HD offerings, the Ultra's display is pretty much something that will get you hooked. The auto-brightness is something that the device is good at - it simply knows the timing on when to shoot you with intense brightness. However, you'll get quite an issue while reading under the direct sunlight. Other than that, reading with Ultra is such a worthwhile experience. With a 5-inch display, the Ultra is pretty easy to use unlike other bulky alternatives around.


Design and Construction

The Cherry Mobile Ultra has an iconic look. The design is pretty straight forward - hardware keys are supposed to be on their right places. Turning the volume rocker up on the left side of the device is such a walk in the park while listening to 5 Seconds of Summer in the background. Likewise, the power button is right where you wanted it to be. Unlike other locally branded Android phones, the Ultra feels good to the hands with its subtle texture of silky-plastic. And being a white slab with minimal hardware buttons, makes it a head turner in the wild.

Battery

On paper, the handheld touts a 2000mAh battery. This rating is quite an understatement when it comes to its real time performance. Under our battery test, this device squeezed up to 10 hours with the following usage condition: 5 dozen of shots using the 13MP camera, hour-long of internet usage via 3G, 30 minutes of music streaming over 3G, 15 minutes of video streaming via LTE, occasional texting and calling, 15 minutes of gaming and an hour of WiFi browsing. However, in my less demanding days, I could get a full day in between charges.

You'll also get a Qualcomm Battery Guru app right off the bat since the device ships with a Snapdragon 400.


Performance and Multimedia

Despite my concerted efforts to choke the device down by pulling up several apps and using gobs of graphics in the background, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 could hardly miss a beat. Of course, there are occasional lags but, the nifty processor catches up to every taps. I am a hardcore iPhone user and using the device for several weeks have been one of my best Android experiences for a rebranded phone so far, no pun intended. Surprisingly, going through the apps is fast and smooth. Ultra meets all of my actions on its interface.

Running graphic-intensive games is also pretty solid. The Adreno 305 GPU is one of the best mid-tier workers in this stage. My Intensity Warrior II and Need for Speed Shift experiences are flawless.



Check out our Antutu and Quadrant benchmark below. I also did a Nenamark 2.4 in my unboxing post of the device.


Messaging and Call Reception

The BlackBerry Z2-like white band at the bottom of the front panel certainly is an eye-catcher and offers a pivotal support when you're trying to compose a document. This device is "productivity-friendly." I usually don't compose a blog post in a 5-inch phone but the Ultra offers fast and intuitive typing experience.


Ultra also sounds great in calls. I haven't had any issue with call quality and reception.

Connectivity

LTE is blazing fast with this handheld under both Smart and Globe 4G network. The device also maintains the fast connections over LTE. Using the phone over WiFi is also a breath of fresh air.



Camera

The Cherry Mobile Ultra joins the league of the 13-megapixel camera holder. I find the camera merely good, nothing noteworthy here. In most of my pointing-and-shooting experience with the device, I find the camera software slow in processing series of shots. Like any other mid-tier Cherry Mobile phones, the tap-to-focus feature does not perform off-centered focusing of subject.




However, the output quality of the 13-megapixel camera is quite legit. There's good color reproduction. Sharpness is also decent except those taken in low-light.





Video recording also works well with the 13-megapixel camera.




The Wrap

The Cherry Mobile Ultra is easy on the eyes, and spending some time using the phone will make you discover several features that make it on my 2014 list. Whether it’s the performance-oriented Snapdragon 400 chipset, the blazing fast LTE, the hook to its minimalist design, the assurance of an ample battery life and the beautiful display, the Ultra is just a very solid handset.

There's no overlooking the thought that its camera's shutter speed couldn't keep up with the speedy CPU. However I find this trade-off reasonable due to the fact that it is justified by a better output quality. More than anything else, the phone will process all commands you throw at it in a fast fashion.

The Cherry Mobile Ultra has performed most of its essential roles of being a smartphone, and by far, having my value-for-money mentality, it's my favorite local phone of the year.


 Deal Makers
 Deal Breakers
 Good display
 Sluggish camera software
 Straight-forward minimalist design
 No off-centered tap-to-focus
 Snappy processor 
 Single-SIM
 Blazing fast LTE

 Acceptable battery life

 One of the most affordable LTE devices



Cherry Mobile Ultra Specifications

5-inch HD IPS display (1280×720 at 293ppi)
1.2 gigahertz Snapdragon 400 MSM8926 quad-core processor
Adreno 305 GPU
1GB RAM
8GB internal memory, up to 32GB via microSD
13MP BSI rear camera, LED flash
1080p video recording @30fps
2MP front-facing camera
LTE, HSPA
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
FM Radio
GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS
Single SIM (Full-size)
Android 4.3 Jellybean
2,000mAh battery
Php 8,999
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