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Cherry Mobile is one of the youngest players on the entry level handsets in the Philippines. It has become a popular choice for budget conscious people. But recently, they have also decided to enter the Smartphone market with both Windows based and Android based devices. The first Windows Phone that they have released was Cherry Mobile Eclipse with Windows Mobile 6.5 Operating System. I bought this phone at a very tempting price of Php4999.00. With that price, this can be considered the cheapest WinMo phone in the Philippine market. I already have an Iphone 4, but because I am a traveller and needed a phone that's open line and I could take anywhere without the fear of being charged with Globe's ridiculous roaming charges, I decided to buy this one. I still need a smartphone that I can work with and I think Eclipse with the WinMo OS installed would be fine.
The 3.2 inch screen is great. But be warned, native applications are stylus driven.
The box contents are just very basic - phone, stylus, charger, battery, cable, earphone and manual. You still have to purchase a separate memory card. It can accommodate up to 8GB of external memory. The build quality is just ok. The back cover is made of brushed metal paint, but under that is all plastic. The black front face really brings a professional impression. There is a 2-megapixel camera at back (very basic and not the best of quality). It also has a sensor so you can auto-rotate the screen. The left side houses the volume rocker, lock key and mini-USB port. The right side only has one button which is the camera shutter. There are three touch sensitive keys on the bottom of the screen.
It's brushed rear cover gives a very good impression
The honeycomb style menu is very thumb friendly, but once you go into the menus, you'll find yourself using the stylus
The WinMo 6.5 OS installed on the phone comes with the "Today Screen" and then a Honeycomb grid as the main menu. But when you go deeper into the interface, you'll find yourself already using the stylus (which I find really annoying). So what I did was to download applications to improve the user interface and allow thumb input rather than using a stylus. I have installed SPB Mobile Shell version 3.5.5 and SPB Keyboard. Both can be found at http://www.4shared.com/ or http://www.umnet.com/. The already has a built in Facebook application. It's not as snazzy as the Iphone interface but much better than the Nokie Symbian Facebook app. And of course, they'll know your using a WinMo phone everytime you update because the status will also have a footnote saying "via Windows Phone". Other native applications include MS office mobile suite (which I think is the edge of this phone over android and Iphone). It has a good calendar and email application. And because of this, I have migrated by portable email onto this phone. In short, I have passed the "work" phone to Cherry mobile Eclipse. My Iphone is now my personal non-office phone.
The default screen would be the "Today Screen" which offers a snazzy inferface just like with Microsoft Zune
The camera is offer very poor quality, but the additional options make it look usable as well. There's timer, brightness, modes and such. The video camera is also ok - only usable for email. Don't expect DVD quality videos on the phone. Below are some sample photos.
Multimedia handling is also ok. It has the Windows Media Player that can play music and videos. You can download a DIVX application so you can watch .avi videos. The loudspeaker is not that good though as well as the earphones that came with the package. Please bear that this phone does not have a 3.5 mm jack, which means you can't use any standard earphone. It only houses a 2.5 mm jack, so this means you need to buy an adapter (probably in CDR king). But, again, as a regular user, I don't mind because I have another gadget to complete my music-listening and video-watching needs. All in all, the Cherry Eclipse is very good phone for its price range.
If you are techie enough, you can download applications that will improve WinMo's user interface
The SPB Mobile Shell application gives a better interface for your WinMo phone.
This may be the cheapest smartphone, but it can be a work horse. Since it's WinMo, it very easy to sync office files, calendars and emails. Multimedia is ok, but it's nothing compared to the likes of Android and Apple. The good thing about the phone is the freedom for me to tinker with the interface and do whatever I want. This is what I miss about an open source system. Oh, and did I mention it's dual sim... "So pick a fruit - Cherry, Apple or Blackberry"