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The Cherry Mobile Amber 2 is still one of the great deals from the local manufacturer in its price standpoint. I have been strolling across Ayala Center Cebu one weekend, gave in to the impulse-buyer in me and tried to check out why this quad-core smartphone's life seems to be a little longer compared to its peers. So I dish out some cash and took it away for review.






Construction

The Cherry Mobile Amber 2 has a solid construction. Its design has a striking similarity to the older HTC Desire handsets - it is curvy, easy to hold and basically defined by its chamfered edges. The device feels solidly built on the hands.


The chassis is made of a matte plastic material which made the handset fingerprint and smudge resistant. I tested a black-hued Amber 2 which is basically the better option among its other color variants. And the most important thing to note, this 118-gram device doesn't look cheap on the eyes.

Design

Buttons are on their unusual place for a four-incher device. While I expect the sleep/wake button to be on top, it is housed on the right side of the device just like that of other bigger phones.

The volume rocker lays on the opposite side of the power button; while the micro USB port, which is basically used for charging, is at the top side of the device together with the 3.5-millimeter audio jack. I had a couple of odd charging experience with the handset due to the fact that I am expecting the port to be at the bottom side but the Amber 2 places the microUSD slot on top. There is also a discrete hole for the microphone at the lower portion of the front panel.

Display

There's nothing much to say about the display. It's an entry-level WVGA panel, just like what we have been accustomed to with the original Flare at 233 ppi density. Technically, the screen is prettier compared to 5-inchers with qHD display. And yes, I am looking at you, Flare S3.

I am struggling to use it outdoors, especially under the heat of the sun. However, the display panel becomes legit when used in moderate to low lighting environment.

Touch is sensitive enough to keep track of my touches - thanks to the Android KitKat, by the way.

Performance and Software

Looks like the Amber 2 is quite a runner here. It is powered by the MediaTek MT6582 which is the same chipset that can be found in the heart of the popular Flare S3. The SoC is running in four cores with up to 1.3-gigahertz frequency. The graphics is supported with the Mali 400 MP2 GPU. 

The hardware is quite smooth in handling individual tasks. However, once I loaded up all my favorite titles like Clash of Clans, Over, VSCO Cam and Snapchat, the Amber inched slowly to being sluggish. Of course, the main culprit is the 512MB of RAM.

I am always tweaking my Android review units with Google Now launcher to have a Material Design interface. However, I could tell apps runs smoothly in the said launcher. Good thing about Android 4.4 KitKat is that you can choose between the Dalvik and the new ART runtime setting. Choose the latter to help your apps and system boot-and-reboot load faster.

Gaming

Running graphic intensive apps like Infinity Warriors 3 made the device choke a bit. But it is, by far, forgivable. Just don't try to left unused apps running in the background. The fact that it only has 512MB of RAM justifies the necessity. Other popular titles like Clash of Clans, Temple Run 2 and Candy Crush Saga run smoothly.


Benchmarks

The device’s benchmarks scores are quite impressive. Actually, I am even impressed that it scores higher than the Flare S3 in both Antutu and Quadrant. However, the Amber 2 is also prone to heating issues. In just the benchmark tests alone, the back panel heats up fast.


Camera

The 5-megapixel camera is not that impressive. It takes a long time for the device to register the actual shot from the time you press the shutter button. Just like any other local smartphone of the same caliber, there’s a plenty of job to be done in terms of taking quick shots.

The pictures are just near to being decent. Most of the outputs are low in contrast; these also struggles in lowlight. However, if not asking too much, the 5-megapixel camera could make you go through the normal pointing-and-shooting activities. Check out Amber 2's raw shots below.

Sample Picture 1

Sample Picture 2

Sample Picture 3

Battery

The device is only packed with a 1400 mAh battery. It is somewhat mediocre knowing the fact that the Amber 2 runs on four cores. In our battery test, we’ve tried 30 minutes of browsing over WiFi, 15 minutes of Clash of Clans (over WiFi) and 30 minute Spotify audio streaming. At the end of the first wave of tasks, the battery dropped to 47 percent.

I made another wave of 30-minute video streaming via YouTube, still on WiFi, and two dozen of shots using the rear camera. This time, the barrel registers red at 20 percent.

As you can see, the 512MB of RAM and the WVGA display do not take much juice; but the fact that it is powered by a quad-core CPU makes the battery life even shorter. For moderate to normal users, the Amber 2 could last nearly a day with occasional texts, calls and browsing.

The Wrap

The Cherry Mobile Amber 2 is a solid wingman device. At Php 2,999, it could be a good alternative if you are in the market for entry level device. If you’re coming from a feature phone, the Amber 2 is a good upgrade with its quad-core processor and solid design.


Cherry Mobile Amber 2 Specs

4.0-inch display with 800 x 480 pixels at 233 ppi
MediaTek MT6582 Chipset
1.3-gigahertz quad-core CPU
ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
5.0-megapixel rear canera
0.3-megapixel VGA Front Camera
512MB RAM
4GB built-in memory
Dual SIM/Dual Standby
2G and 3G
Wi-Fi b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
GPS with A-GPS
FM Radio
Accelerometer
Proximity Sensor
Ambient Light Sensor
118-grams weight
Android 4.4.2 Kitkat OS
1,400mAh Li-ion Battery
Php 2,999 Official Price
Php 2,890 in Lazada

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