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Cherry Mobile Cruize W280 Review

Updated on September 5, 2017

A Questionable Proposition of Value

Despite the lackluster release of Cherry Mobile's Omega as a result of changing the final OEM, they offer a cheaper reprise in the form of the Cruize. The Cruize came out as a surprise as there were no prior announcements several weeks in advance, just like the Blaze. More startling was the price of Php 4,499. That gets you a 5.2" Android ICS phone of questionable capability. Again, the point of focus here is the value of Cherry Mobile, which consistently offers cheaper (and often times better) Android phones than other local competitors like MyPhone and Starmobile.

I was hesitant to purchase the Cruize at first because of my experience with the Cherry Mobile Flare. I also bought a Flare back in December to review, but it came with too many compromises. The most devastating of the compromises being the incredibly low volume output via the 3.5 mm port. Not to mention the panel on the Flare wasn't an IPS as advertised as the top-side viewing angle resulted in posturization. An IPS has perfect viewing angles, regardless of position and angle. The screen was perfectly forgivable at the price, but the volume problem wasn't. The volume problem immediately reduced the capacity of the Flare as a proper media player. It was a terrible compromise which led me to sell the Flare immediately and dropped my plans to complete the review. I was afraid that the Cruize may bear such a compromise. I personally believe that a compromise that severely impedes usability is grave, and I speculated that the compromise may come in the form of game (in)compatibility due to the use of a Broadcom SOC that uses a very uncommon GPU, the VideoCore IV.

I found out that the Gfive G95 was the OEM of the Cruize before it officially arrived in the market and I had high hopes the "Broadcom CPU" used by Cherry Mobile in their teaser ads was a typo since the Gfive G95 is officially listed with a MediaTek MTK6575, the single-core variant of the MTK6577. The MTK6575 would mean that game compatibility wouldn't be a problem. Alas, the Cruize was finally released and the specs are confirmed to be a Broadcom Cortex A9-based SOC. Despite this, I decided to take the plunge as taking an unfamiliar SOC through the ropes was going to be interesting.

Design and Build Quality

The design of the Cherry Mobile Cruize is a bit similar to the Titan, but with more rounded corners. The Cruize comes in black or white and while the black variant has an "executive" look like the Titan, the white variant looks a bit more plasticky due to the chrome bumper's lack of sharpness, not to mention the white plastic they used is evidently on the cheap side. Hence, I decided to purchase the black variant instead.

Black and White
Black and White

The Cruize has a design profile that's similar to the HTC Sensation, but with a wider bezel and taller frame. The front is relatively minimalist, with a front facing camera to the right and light sensor to the left of the earpiece. Below the screen are the backlit softkeys, which from left to right, are the menu/options, home, back and search keys. I personally would've preferred that the dedicated 'search' softkey be removed as it isn't used very often.

The backlit softkeys
The backlit softkeys

The back of the Cruize has this "carbon fiber" look and finish that not only looks good, but is also textured and matte to ensure that your fingers have a good feel and better grip of the phone. The back of the phone contains the 8.0 megapixel camera, the single LED flash and the loudspeaker. The top of the phone contains the USB port for charging and plugging to the computer, and the 3.5 mm port. The bottom of the phone contains the mic. The left side of the phone contains the power button. The right side of the phone contains the volume up and down keys. There is no dedicated camera button.

Depending on how you put your phone in your pocket, the volume buttons on the right side of the Cruize is easily accessible with the right amount of softness and 'click' to it.

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Volume buttons on the right sideTextured matte backcover with 'carbon fiber' look feels great3.5 mm jack, USB port on the top sideExposed back reveals the microSD card slot, dual SIM slots, and the 2500 mAh battery
Volume buttons on the right side
Volume buttons on the right side
Textured matte backcover with 'carbon fiber' look feels great
Textured matte backcover with 'carbon fiber' look feels great
3.5 mm jack, USB port on the top side
3.5 mm jack, USB port on the top side
Exposed back reveals the microSD card slot, dual SIM slots, and the 2500 mAh battery
Exposed back reveals the microSD card slot, dual SIM slots, and the 2500 mAh battery

The Cruize may not be as solid as the Titan in terms of build quality, but it is not exactly shoddily built either. Then again, at this extremely low price point, it is difficult to ask for more. The device feels solid in hand and perhaps the excess of roundness and that fact that the phone could be a bit more compact lends to the feeling of it being more flimsy when it is in fact, pretty solid. Despite being 212 grams, which makes it technically heavier than the Titan (205 grams), the Cruize feels much lighter because the weight is more evenly distributed across the larger frame. Also, the roundness also makes it easier to hold the Cruize with one hand compared to the Titan because it contours to the grip whereas the Titan's edges are sharper and much less round. This also gives the illusion that the Cruize is thinner than it actually is despite being 10.9 mm thick compared to the 10.5 mm thickness of the Titan.

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Titan @ 10.5 mm (left) vs Cruize @ 10.9 mm (right)Titan @ 10.5 mm (left) vs Cruize @ 10.9 mm (right)
Titan @ 10.5 mm (left) vs Cruize @ 10.9 mm (right)
Titan @ 10.5 mm (left) vs Cruize @ 10.9 mm (right)
Titan @ 10.5 mm (left) vs Cruize @ 10.9 mm (right)
Titan @ 10.5 mm (left) vs Cruize @ 10.9 mm (right)

As usual, don't abuse it and it'll last you a while. The phone also comes attached with a screen protector out of the box.

Here is the checklist of what comes inside the box:

  • 1x Cherry Mobile W280 Cruize
  • 1x Earphones
  • 1x USB cable
  • 1x CM-800 Wall charger
  • 1x User's manual
  • 1x Warranty card
  • 1x 2500 mAh battery

Screen

There were significant compromises accompanied by the much lower price tag. While the Titan was very fortunate to still have a VA panel at its price, Cherry Mobile could no longer accommodate the same and stuck with a TN panel on the Cruize instead. The response time on TN panels are as good as on an IPS, but viewing angles are normally bad. On the Cruize, there are two good and two bad viewing angles. The left and top are the bad viewing angles while the right and bottom are the good viewing angles. I would also like to mention that the left viewing angle is nowhere near as bad as the top viewing angle.

Here are some shots of the Cruize's screen demonstrating the aforementioned viewing angles:

Upfront
Upfront
Left side viewing angle
Left side viewing angle
Bottom side viewing angle
Bottom side viewing angle
Right side viewing angle
Right side viewing angle
Top side viewing angle
Top side viewing angle

The screen on the Cruize has fairly low contrast and saturation at higher brightness and it is advisable to keep brightness at 60% and below, or keep the brightness on automatic. The general impression of the screen is washed out. Despite the lack of "wow" factor, the colors are fairly accurate and the screen is relatively sharp for landscape ebook reading. Portrait reading is also doable, but with the use of sans serif fonts like Arial or Calibri. But given the low pixel density, portrait reading is really pushing it unless you're gifted with 20/20 vision.

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Landscape ebook readingPortrait ebook readingLandscape web browsingLandscape web browsingLandscape web browsingVideo playbackVideo playback
Landscape ebook reading
Landscape ebook reading
Portrait ebook reading
Portrait ebook reading
Landscape web browsing
Landscape web browsing
Landscape web browsing
Landscape web browsing
Landscape web browsing
Landscape web browsing
Video playback
Video playback
Video playback
Video playback

As I've stressed in my review of the Cherry Mobile Titan, sheer screen size is a feature in itself as there are very few phones on the market with 5.0" or larger screens. The Cruize officially dethrones the Titan as the cheapest 5.0" or larger phone. The 5.2" screen of the Cruize allows you to easily view whole webpages, overviews of documents, ebook reading, etc. as you have more space to work with.

Despite the shortcomings of the Cruize's screen on picture quality, it makes up for it in size.

Below is a screen comparison between the Cruize, the 5.0" Titan and the 4.0" iPhone 5:

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5.0" MVA, Titan (top), 5.2" TN, Cruize (middle), 4.0" IPS, iPhone 5 (bottom)5.0" MVA, Titan (top) vs 5.2" TN, Cruize (bottom)5.2" TN, Cruize (top) vs 4.0" IPS, iPhone 5 (bottom)
5.0" MVA, Titan (top), 5.2" TN, Cruize (middle), 4.0" IPS, iPhone 5 (bottom)
5.0" MVA, Titan (top), 5.2" TN, Cruize (middle), 4.0" IPS, iPhone 5 (bottom)
5.0" MVA, Titan (top) vs 5.2" TN, Cruize (bottom)
5.0" MVA, Titan (top) vs 5.2" TN, Cruize (bottom)
5.2" TN, Cruize (top) vs 4.0" IPS, iPhone 5 (bottom)
5.2" TN, Cruize (top) vs 4.0" IPS, iPhone 5 (bottom)

Processor and General Performance

The Cruize is equipped with a Broadcom BCM21654 SOC which contains a single-core Cortex A9 and a VideoCore IV GPU. Ice Cream Sandwich/ICS (Android 4.0) was not exactly design for single-cores. While the Cortex A9 is relatively fast, much faster than what you'd find on other low-end Android devices, implementing an unpolished ICS ROM on a single-core device would be a disastrous for user experience. The sluggishness of the UI and constant performance problems with ICS on single-core Cortex A8 (same performance class as single A9s) has been well-documented by Sony Ericsson and Motorola. Motorola has even refused to provide an ICS update to some of their devices (those devices being mostly single-core) with reason being there was a performance impediment they feel their users should not experience. Put simply, they thought the cons outweighed the pros. My personal experience with the ICS update for my QSD8250-equipped SE Xperia Mini (Cortex A8 + 512 MB RAM) was disastrous. The UI was much more sluggish compared to the previous Gingerbread stock ROM.

Where I'm getting to is this: out of the box, the Cruize's UI is pretty sluggish. Touch response and sensitivity is excellent, but there is some screen tearing when swiping or scrolling and it doesn't feel anywhere near as smooth as on dual-core MTK6577 devices. This is not exactly to blame the Cruize for being a single-core Cortex A9 with ICS, but the manufacturer for not polishing it. My Xperia Mini and my Samsung Galaxy S i9000, both single-core Cortex A8 devices, were both updated eventually to custom ICS ROMs that were very smooth proving that with a little effort, the proper ICS experience was doable on single-core ARMv7 devices as well.

To make the Android UI smoother, it is highly suggested switching to a 3rd party launcher like Nova Launcher or Apex Launcher. Also, it is suggested that "Don't keep activities" be enabled under Settings then Developer Options. Setting 'Background process limit' to 'At most 4 processes' also helps with the UI smoothness. It won't make the Android UI on the Cruize anywhere near as buttery smooth as on dual-core Cortex A9 devices like the Titan, but it will be much more tolerable now.

Enable "Don't keep activities" to keep the UI smooth
Enable "Don't keep activities" to keep the UI smooth

This is not to say that single-core ARMv7 processor + ICS affects the entire performance of the device. From my experience with the Cruize, it only affects the Android UI. All apps run very smoothly and without the sluggishness of the Android UI.

Another notable thing on the Cruize is the Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU. There is very little known about this GPU. If there was anything I found out, it was highly scalable as the Nenamark 2 database suggests since there were devices with VideoCore IV GPUs getting very high and low scores. The range was pretty wide and I was hoping we would get lucky on the Cruize. Unfortunately, we got the short end of the stick as the VideoCore IV GPU on the Cruize scores an abysmal 17.2 FPS on Nenamark 2. Regardless of the performance, my initial concern with the VideoCore IV GPU was compatibility with games since obscure GPUs are usually left with little to no support from game developers. Thankfully, the Cruize is compatible with many games. Games tested so far on the Cruize that work smoothly are Temple Run 2, Angry Birds, Raging Thunder 2, Eternity Warriors 2, Battle Bears Royale. Casual games such like these are no problem on the Cruize. More demanding games are a hit or miss though. Of the more demanding games I've tried so far, Race of Champions, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Dead Trigger work smoothly. Need for Speed Most Wanted and Modern Combat 3 worked, but were pretty slow. Virtua Tennis and Beach Buggy Blitz refused to run or didn't render the game properly.

The video below highlights some games being played on the Cruize:

Games aside, application compatibility is very good and as I've stated, little to none of the Android UI sluggishness I mentioned earlier is felt inside applications. That said, the single-core Cortex A9 is a godsend at this price, as phones in this price range are usually occupied by ARM11 (ARMv6) devices. Support for ARMv6 devices is continuously waning and devices such as the Galaxy Y and Optimus L3 may not be able to run any of the applications or games launched in 2013. The A9-based BCM21654 inside the Cruize ensures that compatibility is at least ensured for years to come, at least until the Cortex A15 is replaced (and A15-devices haven't even arrived to market yet as of this writing). The Cruize scores a respectable 3885 in AnTuTu Benchmark and 2052 in Quadrant. These scores also reflect onto applications as most applications run smoothly. The performance of the Cruize is comparable to Cortex A8-based mid-range Android phones from 2011 and early 2012 like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V, Samsung Galaxy W i8150 and Huawei Honor.

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AnTuTu scoreAnTuTu detailed scoreAnTuTu device informationAnTuTu device informationAnTuTu device informationQuadrant scoreNenamark 2 score
AnTuTu score
AnTuTu score
AnTuTu detailed score
AnTuTu detailed score
AnTuTu device information
AnTuTu device information
AnTuTu device information
AnTuTu device information
AnTuTu device information
AnTuTu device information
Quadrant score
Quadrant score
Nenamark 2 score
Nenamark 2 score

Comparative Performance

The two videos below highlight a more real world performance comparison between the Cruize (single-core Cortex A9) and the Titan (dual-core Cortex A9). To mix things up a little, I've thrown in the iPhone 5 as a benchmark as Apple has always put user experience above all else and has been focused on creating a good impression through a silky smooth, no frills user interface. Also, as of this writing, the iPhone 5 carries the latest in mobile processing with their Apple A6 chip which contains a dual-core "Cortex A15"-class processor.

The purpose of these two videos is to allow you, the reader, to assess for yourself the possible user experience you will have relative to its value. Basically, "is this satisfactory for me?", "is this enough/ok for me?". Personally, I find the user interface of the Cruize to be sluggish, even with the fixes I mentioned (using a 3rd party launcher, enabling "Don't keep activities", and setting max background processes to 4). This stems from me accustomed to fast and/or well optimized phones, not to mention that Cherry Mobile's very own Titan is buttery smooth at only 2,000 Php more. 2,000 Php may not mean much to some of us, but in price-sensitive Philippines, it makes a big difference in making a purchasing decision for many people.

The tests below involved caching the respective pages beforehand in the browser to remove the network speed out of the equation. Also, loading of the webpages were not done at the same time because bandwidth will be shared by both devices. I believe the methodology of other reviewers tapping on the URL at the same time is wrong, as tapping just microseconds earlier on one device gives it bandwidth priority and thus, an unfair advantage. It's first come, first served. Anandtech, ArsTechnica and Yahoo! are content-heavy pages with plenty of HTML5, Javascript and other plugins to severely burden the device, thus I deem them suitable sites for testing real world browsing capability.

Camera

Cherry Mobile may have skimped on the screen and processor of the Cruize, but they didn't on the camera. It was very unexpected of Cherry Mobile, not to mention the Cruize actually has an 8.0 megapixel camera, not 5.0 megapixels as officially listed in the specs and box.

The image quality of the still shot camera on the Cruize is absolutely stellar at this price. The amount of resolved detail in decent to good lighting conditions is excellent. The entire image isn't subjected to much post-processing, but the final result upon closer inspection is slightly noisy and oversharpened. This doesn't change the fact that the resulting images look very good and should look good printed on 3R or even 4R paper for those Kodak-moment picture frames.

In spite of the excellent quality the still shot camera offers, the amount of manual controls available are little to none. There is no option to change the ISO, metering, sharpness, hue, contrast, scene mode, etc. The only available manual controls are white balance, exposure, flash and color effect/filter (i.e. sepia, mono). The only special shooting modes available are panorama mode and burst shot mode. Aside from that, the only other main caveat with the camera is the slow shutter speed, meaning you have to hold your hands still for about 1 to 1 1/2 seconds after pressing the shutter to ensure your shot is clear and blur-free.

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Still shot optionsStill shot optionsStill shot optionsStill shot optionsVideo recording optionsVideo recording options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Video recording options
Video recording options
Video recording options
Video recording options

In relation to the lack of manual controls on the camera, the Cruize automatically sets the ISO for you when shooting in low light. The low light images end up with plenty of noise, but surprisingly still captures plenty of detail and avoids excessive amounts of black clipping. The camera also does not have any special focus features like macro mode, but tapping the screen to focus on the selected area works just fine, even for macro shots. Closest possible distance for macro shots is about 7-8 inches.

Below are sample shots taken by the Cruize:
Please note that all pictures were taken with white balance set to 'daylight'.

Cruize Sample Shots (Good lighting)

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Cruize Sample Shots (Low light)

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Cruize Sample Shots (Macro shots)

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The biggest letdown on the Cruize's camera is the video recording, which is only capable of VGA (640x480) resolution max. On the upside, video recordings by the Cruize take only little space, only around 12 MB per minute of footage. That's around 700 MB for an hour of video.

Below are video recording samples taken by the Cruize.
Please watch the videos in 480p quality to see what the recordings actually look like.

Video recording sample 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmsXFOdlJ7M

Video recording sample 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaqmfpZRox4

It's hard not to be impressed by the Cruize's still shot camera. I was expecting an even worse camera compared to the Titan when I got the Cruize, but truth be told, the still shots made by the Cruize blow the Titan away.

Here's the lowdown on the Cruize's camera:
- Excellent shots in decent to good lighting, with very good resolved detail
- Good low light shots
- Good macro shots, with good resolved detail
- Minimal manual controls
- Video recording is ancient and outdated at VGA resolution

The front facing camera is typical, nothing noteworthy. It's perfectly usable for Skype and whatnot.

Battery

Another highlight of the Cruize is the large 2500 mAh battery. Usage-wise, the battery is about the same as the Titan's. This Cruize should last at least a day on moderate usage and should last at least 2 days with light usage.

To stress out a point, I've decided to conduct a battery test via looping video playback. The application used to play the video is MX Player. The following were the conditions during the test:

  • Screen brightness: 4/15 of MX Player brightness setting or about 30% of Android brightness bar
  • Volume: 15/15 of MX Player volume setting or 100% of Android volume bar, with earphones attached to Cruize
  • MX Player-specific settings: H/W+ decoder used for video. S/W decoder used for audio

The following are the details of the video file used for playback:

-click on the image to zoom in-
-click on the image to zoom in-

Video playback began at 1:15 am with battery registering 100% and 4.195V and was looped until 7:00 am where the battery registered 64% and 3.82V. The phone rested for nearly 3 hours and playback again began at 10:00 am. When battery reached 20% at 2:38 pm, I ended playback. Voltage was 3.68V.

The total playback time was 10 hours 53 minutes. The Cruize provided nearly 11 hours of video playback ensuring its viability as a media player that can still make calls.

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Battery usage during video playback testBattery usage during video playback test
Battery usage during video playback test
Battery usage during video playback test
Battery usage during video playback test
Battery usage during video playback test

Other Stuff

Aside from the great still shot camera, there are other things the Cruize does right.

The call quality is particularly good, with the earpiece having plenty of clarity and loudness.

Volume output is thankfully not a problem, unlike on the Flare. The sound output of the Cruize is much like the Titan. It's clean and more than adequately powerful. It can drive all my IEMs. No hissing when there's nothing playing. Goes very well with Poweramp and its myriad of options to improve your listening experience. When paired with my FiiO E6 amp, it can even drive my Superlux HD 668B without problems. This is a decent phone for music playback. The Cruize also has FM Radio.

The loudspeaker on the Cruize is clear and loud enough, about as loud as the iPhone. But some phones are still louder, like the Titan and the Cloudfone Thrill 430x I recently reviewed.

Also, you can only use 3G/3.5G (UMTS/HSDPA) on SIM Slot 1. SIM Slot 2 is 2G only.

Wifi reception on the Cruize is very good, being able up to catch signal at 13 meters afar and with 2 feet of concrete in the way.

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4 meters away from router, no obstructions6.5 meters away from router, 1 wall about 1 foot thick11 meters away from router, 2 walls about 1 foot thick each
4 meters away from router, no obstructions
4 meters away from router, no obstructions
6.5 meters away from router, 1 wall about 1 foot thick
6.5 meters away from router, 1 wall about 1 foot thick
11 meters away from router, 2 walls about 1 foot thick each
11 meters away from router, 2 walls about 1 foot thick each

The Cruize's screen is also 5 point multitouch, ensuring that games and applications that require several fingers on the screen at once work, not to mention it ensures that the right characters are pressed during rapid texting. The rapid texting problem was prevalent on the Flare because it only supported 2 point multitouch and people with fast fingers occasionally experienced the wrong characters popping up when skin accidentally touches more than two keys. The touch sensitivity on the Cruize is about as good as on the Titan which means even light finger touches are registered.

The Cruize supports 5 point multitouch
The Cruize supports 5 point multitouch

The Cruize also has built-in GPS with apparent A-GPS support, as the 'Location services' menu under 'Settings' do not contain the option to enable A-GPS, which retrieves the latest data on the internet on the GPS satellites so the phone can lock-in faster. The performance of the GPS chip inside the Cruize is decent, being able to acquire its first lock a little over a minute. Subsequent locks near the time frame of a successful lock take less than 10 seconds. Performing a new lock without an recent locks (as the satellites have different coordinates now) take as little as 30 seconds in ideal conditions and a stationary position.

As usual, for users wishing to use Google's own Navigation software, their turn-by-turn navigation with voice is not available in the Philippines. However, you can still use Google Navigation to get directions and plot points for you whether you are driving or just walking/commuting. Also, you can use other navigation software on Android with turn-by-turn navigation with voice. Aside from navigation software, there are also maps like MapsWithMe from the Play Store that work well with the GPS to identify your location. MapsWithMe is particularly good as the map data for the entire Philippines is only around 75 MB and can be stored on your phone for offline use.

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A new lockA new lockA new lockA subsequent lock, after turning the GPS off for a minuteA subsequent lock, after turning the GPS off for a minuteMapsWIthMe offline maps work well with GPS
A new lock
A new lock
A new lock
A new lock
A new lock
A new lock
A subsequent lock, after turning the GPS off for a minute
A subsequent lock, after turning the GPS off for a minute
A subsequent lock, after turning the GPS off for a minute
A subsequent lock, after turning the GPS off for a minute
MapsWIthMe offline maps work well with GPS
MapsWIthMe offline maps work well with GPS

Conclusion

What's the value proposition? Who is the Cruize for? To start with, the Cherry Mobile Cruize is by far and without a doubt, the best cameraphone for under 5,000 Php. The big battery also ensures prolonged use with the device, not to mention this is also the phone in Cherry Mobile's line-up with the largest battery at 2500 mAh. The processor they stuffed on the Cruize is just enough and given the price this isn't surprising. The processor is relatively up-to-date, allowing it to run virtually any application on the Play Store and the processing power is just enough to run the majority of games.

The natural comparison with the Cruize with be the Cherry Mobile Flare, which offers a dual-core Cortex A5 at only 4,000 Php. To simplify things, this is my shortlist of why you should pick the Cruize over the Flare and vice versa:

Why Cruize over Flare?

  • The Cruize has a giant 5.2" screen. The big screen enhances the experience of most smartphone activities like web browsing, games, video playback, document reading, etc.
  • The image quality of the still shot camera on the Cruize is vastly superior to the Flare's.
  • The 2500 mAh battery on the Cruize should last twice as long compared to the Flare. Note that battery drain isn't linear and varies at certain voltages. An increase of 1000 mAh isn't just an increase of 66% in capacity.
  • The Cruize has 5 point multitouch while the Flare only has 2. Games that require more than 2 point touch and fast texting is problematic on the Flare.
  • The Cruize has a more sturdy build and feels more solid compared to the Flare.
  • Most important is, the Cruize does NOT have the volume problem found on the 3.5 mm port of the Flare, thus allowing the Cruize to be a dedicated media player.

Why Flare over Cruize?

  • The Cruize has a giant 5.2" screen. The width of the Cruize is almost as wide as a credit card and people with smaller hands will definitely have a problem with one-handed operation. For people with large hands, it is most likely a non-issue. But for people with smaller hands, the Cruize is mostly a two-handed affair.
  • The Flare has a dual-core Cortex A5 and Ice Cream Sandwich is optimized for multiple cores. The Android UI experience on the Flare is smoother compared to the single-core Cortex A9 Cruize.
  • The Flare's TN panel has 1 more good viewing angle. The Flare has three (3) good viewing angles: the left, bottom and right side. The Cruize has only two (2) good viewing angles, the bottom and right side.

Given the strengths of the Cruize, it is most likely that is will be used as a media player and internet device more often than making calls or texts. It also has enough grunt to run casual games and not-too-demanding 3D games, but for gamers looking to run graphics intensive games like those offered by Gameloft, the minimum is a MTK6577 device. Even from my experience with the Titan, the MTK6577 may not even be enough for the absolute latest like Gameloft's Modern Combat 4. Hardcore mobile gamers should either wait for MTK6589 devices to appear, most likely by Q2 2013, or purchase mid-range phone from well-established brands instead. But overall, the Cruize is a very well-rounded phone for the price, particularly noteworthy is the surprisingly good camera. Is it the phone for you? That's up to you and your wallet.

Pros:
+ Massive 5.2" screen
+ Image quality of still shot camera is incredible; the camera is peerless at this price
+ Single-core Cortex A9
+ Dual SIM
+ High capacity 2500 mAh battery
+ Great ergonomics and feels sturdy
+ 4,499 Php only

Cons:
- 800x480 TN panel is not good; has 2 good viewing angles only
- Single-core + Ice Cream Sandwich doesn't go very well, UI out of the box is sluggish
- Incredible camera is let down by ancient VGA-only video recording
- Bezel is a bit thick and adds unnecessary width to the phone

Another thing we do know now is that Cherry Mobile has thankfully given their choice of phones a thought. None of the phones in their entire Android line-up have a processor lower than a Cortex A9 or A5, which means they are apparently aware that an ARMv7-based SOC is the minimum for a proper Android experience these days. To differentiate devices, they cut on other things like the camera, RAM, screen size and resolution, etc. But not the processor. Even their lowest-end Candy TV is equipped with a single-core Cortex A9-based MTK6575. This is product differentiation done right.

In contrast, the other local brands like MyPhone, Starmobile and Torque seem clueless as their lowest-end Android phones still consist on ARM11-based SOCs and this is unforgivable because half of the apps on the Play Store would be incompatible, not to mention they lack the processing grunt to play even Angry Birds. It automatically makes them "non-purchases". They might as well be feature phones.

Official Cherry Mobile Cruize W280 Specs

Broadcom 1 GHz processor
5.2" capacitive touch panel (800 x 480, 179ppi)
512MB RAM
4GB internal storage
Up to 32GB via microSD
Up to 3G/HSPA 7.2Mbps
Quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
UMTS 900/2100
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
GPS w/ aGPS support
Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby
FM Radio
5-megapixel rear camera with flash
VGA front-facing camera
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
2500 mAh battery
212g with battery
SRP: Php 4,499.00

© 2013 Kyle Lopez-Vito

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    • profile image

      Marlo 4 years ago

      Goodmorning ma'am, may i know if the cloudfone 430x battery can fit the titan w500. I saw some videos of samsung s3 or LG P970 batteries on cherry flare. I know its not exact fir but i was just wondering since the titans battery is bulky too. Thank you in advance. have a good day!

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ John V

      This review has become slightly irrelevant right now. At the price of the Cruize and the Flare, I would seriously take the MyPhone A848i at 4K Php instead. I can confirm the MyPhone A848i has an IPS screen and has a much faster dual core processor than the Flare (A848i's MTK6577 is faster than the Flare's MSM8225). If you really want a large screen, I suggest getting the Hyper instead for a little more.

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      John V 4 years ago

      Thank you for that detailed and intelligent review... I was having trouble deciding between the Flare and the Cruize and all my questions were answered with this article.

      Since I'm not a mobile gamer and I'll be using it mostly for browsing and visual stuff, I'll go with the Cruize thanks to the wider screen, longer batt life, etc.

      :)

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      jojo loves faye 4 years ago

      thanks for this blog. i don't know y i bought flare in first place . now i sell it. n now im planning to buy titan or cruize . keep up sir two thumbs up.....

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      ally 4 years ago

      hi. i'm planning to buy a CM brand that's why i'm really searching all over the web for more info. i'm really thankful i came across this very comprehensive review of yours.

      however, i actually fear for defects. well, i guess that thinking is not uncommon pertaining to local brands. most reviews i read, experience-wise, say that they experience this and that defects. but still, thank you. i might actually start considering cruize on my list.

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      emcee 4 years ago

      kuya @symphonyx7 just want to ask po how can i avail or use free facebook even with out wifi connection via opera mini? can u help me with this po since i read ur review last night i buy this CM cruize i have now...

      thanks again and hope to recive a reply from u

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      marty 4 years ago

      Muntik na ko naka bili ng flare nung makita ko na ang actual unit mas pinili ko ang cruize,ok sya ! Yuny gusto bumili ng jelly case meron sa st,francis square likod ng megamall,dun ko nahanap yung jelly case ng cruize with cover yun!

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      Cruize user 4 years ago

      Hi, great review. I've had my Cruize for a few weeks now.

      A weird thing about its design is that its camera is raised from the back panel. It's very easy to get scratches on the camera unless you can find a jelly case / some form of protection, which is difficult to find right now in stores -- I don't think they even offer it til now...

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ faye

      Viber and Skype work. As for video recording, check my video samples in the "camera" section of this review.

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      faye 4 years ago

      pwd po ba viber dito o skype?? ok din po ba ung resolution ng video?tnx

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      Ryan 4 years ago

      May I ask.. if how to activate the HSDPA/UMTS.. coz my phone doesn't have like this .. pls.. help!

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Aiza M

      I'm sorry, but I don't have the Cruize in hand anymore. I already sold it. However, I can confirm without a doubt that Avabel is working on the Cruize, at least the Japanese version which was the only version available on the Play Store at the time.

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      Aiza M 4 years ago

      Request naman po , can you please try to install and play the avabel's English version on your cherry cruize ? kasi english version nila hindi na nag aallow rooted or modified android devices . Kasi kung pagbabasihan ko yung review mu 7 weeks ago I believe na japanese version po yung test/nalaro ninyo (correct me If am wrong). Can you please give me a feedback or video?

      Looking forward to see your future reviews :)

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ anne

      Yes. You can download an app from the Play Store called "Super Video" which has a floating video function so you can watch videos while doing other stuff. Just make sure the videos are not HD, since the Cruize isn't fast enough.

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      anne 4 years ago

      pwede bng mg text habang nanuod ng movie like s3...?? nabasa ko lng po sa ibang comment..pwede po ba un?

      tnx.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Somedude

      An unfortunate incident. I wish Cherry Mobile would simply replace your phone, but I fear that's difficult considering even more established brands would also subject you to a long waiting time for parts.

      I am in no position to comment on Cherry Mobile's aftersales since my experience with their phones so far have thankfully been headache-free (the longest being my Titan which I used for nearly 5 months without problems). But as with local brands which have a more limited scope in aftersales and service, double-checking the product for defects during the purchase and taking extra care of the product afterwards goes a long way. I suppose the price difference between a similarly specced phone from a local brand and a well-established brand is proportionate to the peace of mind the customer is getting. But given the less developed consumer laws here in the Philippines, you'd be surprised that finding a defect in a unit from a well-established brand is as much a headache as one from a local brand -- the only difference being the incidence of defects from well-established brands is much lower.

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      Somedude 4 years ago

      I bought the phone after reading your review. I was very happy with this purchase. All that screen real estate was a blast to read emails and browse the web on. Coming from a Galaxy Y, this was night and day.

      However, my charger port came loose and almost broke off within 2 weeks of normal use. It's now in the service center and they say it'll take 4 weeks to fix.

      Hopefully this was just an aberration. Cherry Mobile does have a terrible reputation that I thought it didn't deserve, but I was quickly disappointed with my purchase. I'm hoping that when I get it back it'll last me at least a year.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ jerickpaul

      Download Kingsoft Office from the Play Store. It will read all your MS Office files without problems.

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      jerickpaul 4 years ago

      ask lng po . dba lht aman ng android e nakaka read ng documents? like PPT at MS WORD ?? bkit ung smen ndi .. not supported daw ??

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ 2-D

      PS1 and GBA emulators work on the Cruize. But for PS1 emulators (specifically ePSXe), it's kinda slow depending on the game. I suggest a phone with an MTK6577 for full speed PS1 emulation. The Thunder @ 5K Php has an MTK6577.

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      2-D 4 years ago

      Ps emulators and gba emulators playable in cruize? TIA

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      charles 4 years ago

      haha.salamat po sa magandang review.kmuntik n kong bumili ng flare.

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      Wii 4 years ago

      This phone seems like Infuse 4G of Samsung

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      jhai 4 years ago

      sir ask ko lng po kung ung nba2k13 eh gagana ng maayos s cruize...thanks for the review marami ko nlaman

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      ace L. 4 years ago

      which will you recommend the titan or the cruize?and how can you upgrade to a 5pt touch on the screen?tnx

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      wa-il 4 years ago

      please sire teach us how to Root CM cruize.. tks...

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      georgina 4 years ago

      Thank you. great review. I plan to buy Cherry Mobile Cruize next week, and your review makes me more excited to buy it. God bless!

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      John 4 years ago

      Great review! Makes me want to sell my flare and get the cruize.

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      joseph 4 years ago

      Sir i have my Cherry Mob. Cruize.. pero pg pnapasahan sya ng Picture or Videos,hndi sya maka receive? May sapat pa nmang space ung storage ko. Pls help nman sir. Thankyou.

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      rhynax 4 years ago

      Your reviews are better than yugatech and technoodling. I am about to buy the Titan TV because of your review but I'll wait a bit until CM releases quad core phones.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Gelo

      Unfortunately, the Broadcom BCM21654 on the Cruize can't hold its own against the MTK6577. Android 4.0 onwards is tailored for multi-cores and many apps are slowly going multi-threaded as well, despite the difficulty of programming for parallel. The base performance measurement of a Cortex A5 is only 1.57 DMIPS while a Cortex A9 is 2.5 DMIPS. A dual-core will double that score when running in full parallel, which highly optimized software can take advantage of. i.e. Android 4.0. That puts the CPU standings at MTK6577 (5.0 DMIPS), MSM8625/8225 (3.8 DMIPS @ 1.2 Ghz), and the BCM21654 (2.5 DMIPS) in last place.

      But really, performance numbers aside, it all boils down to how willing one is to accommodate it and what benchmarks we have right now. Heck, my O2 XDA II back in high school felt even more sluggish than the Cruize iirc, yet it was "the latest" at the time.

      @ Wends

      If you use your phone as a media player for music and video, please avoid the Flare at all costs. Really. As which to get aside from that, I have said everything I needed to in my review. I suggest you get the Cherry Mobile Thunder instead. It has an MTK6577 processor, slightly larger screen and battery (4.5" and 1700 mAh) at only 5K Php. But the Cruize should more suffice for browsing and social networking, and the 5.2" screen is a BIG plus for browsing.

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      WENDS 4 years ago

      Hi am planning to buy a FLARE but when I read your review about the Cruize am so amazed. I need your recommendation w/c mobile suits for me. Am more into social networking sites,browsing the internet through my mobile. Hope you can reply to this thanks :-)

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      @kish@ 4 years ago

      nice job...before i read this review, my mind is on 50-50 between flare and cruize..but after reading these infos i made it up..100% in favor of cruize..best review so far..keep it up! :)

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      idiboi edtajan 4 years ago

      Most impartial and technically educated review among countless reviews I have read on the internet. Not like that woman on CNET to whom every electronic gadget she reviews is automatically rotten if it is not a "fruit". And most others are not reviewers but propagandists, or salesmen, and worst: competitor bashers. Thanks. Keep up the good, honest work.

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      Gelo 4 years ago

      Very techy and rich review indeed, two thumbs up!

      One question that I think you will be able to answer due to your wide knowledge. They say that the cruize's processor is based on a Cortex-A9, unlike those dual core CM phones who's processors are based on Cortex-A5's. They say that cruize's processor can hold its own or even match MediaTek's dual cores, How true is this?

      Cheers Mate -Gelo

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Dean

      The Cruize's light sensor works fine. Just set the brightness to 'Automatic'. It isn't aggressive with the changes and takes about a 1 or 2 seconds to register the new lighting condition before changing the screen's brightness. As for the brightness values, I can't tell how many there are in between, but it certainly isn't just off or max. I guess it's about 3 or 4 levels of brightness.

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      Dean 4 years ago

      Kudos!!! Just the kind of review I'm looking for.

      One question, does the Cruize light sensor work? I'm asking because my experience with Flares' light sensor is that it functions like an ON/OFF switch, it is either 0 or 1 and nothing in between and it is supposed to be analog with lots of values in between.

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      jolem 4 years ago

      tanong lang po kung maganda ba pang regular call at video call ang cm cruize?

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      George 4 years ago

      Very good review. I wish you could have this framework on Starmobile Energy phone. I'm really contemplating between Cruize vs. Energy on which one to buy.

      Thanks in advance!

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      jhesslee tan 4 years ago

      pwede po ba akong pa help kung papaano to i root??

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      Pogz 4 years ago

      Nice review. Very detailed and well written.

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      Miah 4 years ago

      Thank you very much po! I agree with the "screw the blaze part" haha. My friend's really struggling with her phone right now. The battery can't barely last her a day. Based on what you said, I guess the i'm saving up for the titan :) Again, awesome reviews. very informative, best phone review i've seen on the internet so far

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Miah

      Screw the Blaze. For people who want to primarily play games on their phone you basically look for: a) good performance. b) good battery. I believe the Titan or Omega will suit you best due to the best in class processor (MTK6577) and large batteries. The Blaze has an MTK6577 but a minuscule 1500 mAh battery iirc.

      As for the performance, the Flare is better of course, gaming included. But you won't be playing long due to the small battery. Not to mention the MSM8225 on the Flare is slower than the MTK6577. Might as well get an MTK6577 device right? The Cruize plays most games smoothly, but admittedly some graphics intensive games run slow which is expected. As for MMORPGs, I've tried Avabel Online and Arcane Legends. They run fine on the Cruize and the big battery is a must for extended gaming sessions.

      Ask yourself, is the additional 2,000/2,200 Php for the Titan/Omega worth the extra performance?

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      Miah 4 years ago

      Excellent review! bukod dun sa phone itself, marami rin akong natutunan na ibang bagay. Very informative indeed. One question lang po, kasi ang preference ko po sa phone ay gaming and right now, I'm choosing between blaze and cruize, I tested Antutu v3.0.3 on my friend's blaze and got a whooping score of about 6,900. Sa nakita ko po sa review niyo 3,800 lang ang score. Malaki po ba difference niya in terms of gaming? kase experience ko po sa blaze, buttery smooth ang games, battery life lang talaga talo. The cruize boasts a 2,500mAh, is the gaming performance like/close to the flare? Hoping for your reply thanks! :)

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      biancs 4 years ago

      sir im a new android user..may i know how to close app in cm cruize? thanks!

    • symphonyx7 profile image
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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Darren

      I'm a Filipino. And that woman in my avatar isn't just any woman, it's my queen, Maria Sharapova.

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      Darren 4 years ago

      hello, great review! :) and i wonder if your're a filipino. haha. cause your picture seems a foreigner woman. if that. You're such an idol for having interest on Philippines local brand phones :)

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ eric

      Read first before making comments. I said that the camera is 8.0 MP. Also, that blog is wrong. He speculated the original Gfive G95 specs. Unfortunately, Cherry Mobile made a change.

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      eric 4 years ago

      sir nkita ko lng po sa blog na processor is a single core MTK6575 and its camera is 8mp not 5mp.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ biancs

      Yes. It has FM Radio. I'll make sure to include that in the review. Thanks.

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      biancs 4 years ago

      hi does this phone have a radio? thanks!

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      xnplx 4 years ago

      I've read all your reviews and I am quite impressed with their comprehensiveness and degree of technicality, which can hardly be said of other techblogs. In fact your review of the thrill 430x almost made me sell my A919 and buy one of those motolite phones--pangmatagalan. And now your review of the cruize makes me want to convince my wife to sell her flare in order to buy a cruize. Looking forward to your future revieews. Keep it up.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Puroy

      Thanks. Fixed it already.

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      Puroy 4 years ago

      Sir yung youtube link video recording mo was for titan, not cruize. Fyi

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ jun

      Sorry, NBA 2K13 is a bit too expensive on the Play Store since I won't be actually playing it. I'm mostly a console gamer.

      @ seph

      I have said everything I needed to say in my review. You decide. But frankly, if you can spare the cash go for the Titan instead (or Omega since they're practically identical). Totally worth the cash.

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      seph 4 years ago

      ok na ok yung review :) 2thumbs up .lalo na yung pag compare sa flare and cruize :) overall, sa flare pa din talaga ko kahit madaming sablay haha .dual core and mas mataas ung ppi nya :) mas ok skn si flare pang gaming . nakakadown lang talaga yung sa 2pt multi touch ng flare tsaka yung sa 3.5mm out .kapag sinasaksak ko sa speaker humihinto hinto yung sounds .. ask ko lang kung over all ano mas ok flare oh cruize ? lalo na sa gaming . binenta ko kasi yung flare ko pero bibili ulit ako wala lang ako mahanapan ng stock sa mga mall .kasi kung mas ok si cruize sa gaming . cruize nalang bibilhin ko :) para sakin kasi ang pagkakaalam ko mas ok si dual core 1.2ghz kesa sa single core :) ask ko narin kung sino mas ok si broadcom ba oh si snapdragon qualcom?

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      jun 4 years ago

      well explained sir!

      Ask ko lang sir kung kaya nya iplay yung NBA2k13? thanks :)

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      Aleix 4 years ago

      Very nice review.. ang msasabi ko lang khit mas maganda c omega ke cruize, cruize paren ang good buy. salamat sa napakagandang review pre.

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      bls 4 years ago

      taga better ka sir? saw the pictures and everything is familiar. from SMB, Mercury along doña soledad. :)

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      ralph 4 years ago

      Wow, one of the most comprehensive review ive ever seen, im not into Cruize but with the way you wrote it, I kept reading and reading. :) Hope to see some review on Cherry Mobile Omega. More power. :)

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      John A. 4 years ago

      @symphonyx7 I looked up the impedance of the HD201 and its just 24 ohms. That's less than half of yours. Probably the reason why the HD201 still works okay on the Flare. Thanks for the input!

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Somedude

      Sorry, no 'exact' option on the Cruize. If you insist on using a stylus, I really suggest either the Samsung Galaxy Note 1 or 2 instead. The stylus on the Note isn't ordinary and has a Wacom digitizer as part of the screen. It's on a different level.

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      Somedude 4 years ago

      No worries :D I really want to use the Cruize as a phablet with stylus and all, but does it have the same "exact" option that the Titan has?

      Thanks!

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Somedude

      I'm sorry, but I have no plans of purchasing an Omega anytime soon since its specs are practically identical to the Titan. The next phone I plan to review will most likely be any of the MTK6589-equipped phones our local brands could bring in around Q2 2013, unless they decide to bring out some other smartphone worth noting and not more of the same-same.

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      Somedude 4 years ago

      AWESOME review, I've been looking for these types of reviews for a long time, especially since our local models have not been getting in-depth reviews like these at all.

      Can you please do a CM Omega review next? I'm planning on getting a cheap phablet-sized phone and I'm debating between the Cruize, Omega, and Titan. I'm planning on using it mainly for reading documents, typing out emails, and GroupMe/WhatsApp for office work.

      Coming from a Galaxy Y though, I think even the Cruize would be a huge upgrade on all points. LOL

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ John A.

      With my Superlux HD 668B that has an impedance of 56 ohms which is relatively high for portables, I set my volume to max. With my IEMs, I normally set my volume to 8/10 of the volume bar. If I were to translate the Flare's max volume bar, it would be about 5 or 6/10 of the Cruize's volume bar. I'm very particular about power output because I always use an equalizer like in PowerAmp. Not enough power = loss of detail.

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      John A. 4 years ago

      Thanks for the very critical review. By the way, I often use my Sennheiser HD201 in my CM Flare and I need to get the volume up to 3/4 of the maximum to get to my normal/usual sound level. In the more quiet songs, I need to set the volume to the maximum to hear the song. In your usual day, at what volume level do you set the Cruize for headphone listening? Thanks :)

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      rde9 4 years ago

      It is like reading an engadget review or better.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Jay

      Thanks for the heads-up. I was typing that part around midnight, not to mention it's easy to mix up Cherry Mobiles. lol

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      Jay 4 years ago

      As usual, excellent review. How I wish the popular local tech blogs would make reviews the same way you do. Sa kanila kasi parang commercial/ advertisement madalas, hindi mo alam kung paniniwalaan mo.

      May minor typo lang,

      "The Cruize has a more sturdy build and feels more solid compared to the Cruize"

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      Albert Daniel 4 years ago

      Nice review sir, very helpful.