Cherry Mobile Iris Review: High-end Security in a Budget Phone

Phone security has evolved from pin codes, to swipe commands, to finger biometrics, and now, to iris scanners. We all know that Samsung had initially released their now defunct Note 7 with this technology, but with the Cherry Mobile Iris, you get the same technology for a whole lot less.

 

CHERRY MOBILE IRIS

FeatureSpecifications
OSAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Processor1.3 GHz MediaTek MT6580 quad-core processor
Display 5.0-inch HD IPS LCD at 294ppi
Wireless Connections:3G; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
Memory1GB RAM; 8GB internal storage expandable up to 32GB via MicroSD
Cameras8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash; 5 megapixel front-facing camera.
SIM Card Slots Dual MicroSIM
Battery 2,300 mAh
PriceP 3,499

 

UNBOXING

Inside the Cherry Mobile Iris box is the unit, a USB charger head and cable, a pair of earphones, and starter guides.

LOOK AND FEEL

The Iris feels solid and sturdy, even if it’s a slightly lighter than most. It’s cased in full plastic, and sports a removable back panel. The thing with this phone is that as it doesn’t feature a tough glass display, the edges easily get chipped of by an accidental bump or fall. You’ll definitely need a casing for this one if you want to keep it looking pristine.

SECURITY

Let’s jump directly to its main feature — the iris scanner. After the initial set-up (which may take a while since you need to update almost all of the pre-installed apps), you get to play with a nifty, iris-scanning lock that is quite sensitive and easily unlocks (with the right pair of eyes of course). While some can unlock the phone even through glasses, I had trouble doing that with mine. Obviously, you won’t be able to unlock it with a pair of colored contact lenses on, but a pair of clear ones may work.

If in case the phone doesn’t recognize your eyes (because you’re either too near or too far) it defaults to the secondary security system which you’re required to input at set up, so you can still unlock your unit using a pass code or a gesture code.

When you think you’ll be checking your phone often, set up your screen time-out long enough so that you don’t need to use the iris scanner all the time. While cool, staring at your phone two feet away from your face can quickly become a hassle that you’d probably just turn the function off.

 

DISPLAY

The Iris’ display is pretty much what you’d expect from a budget phone with regard to clarity and sharpness, and it’s actually okay. My teeny-tiny pet peeve is that while it looks as if you have a wide display that reaches the right and left edges of the device, it still really has bezels that are around. Aesthetics, I guess.

CAMERA

The 8MP rear camera produces pretty sharp photos, which pleasantly surprising. A good tip is to use flash even for outdoor daytime shots for better details.

The 5MP front-facing camera wasn’t that great, though, since it tends to produce blotchy shots.

 

PERFORMANCE

The Iris works as any budget phone would: it can multi-task, but it can slightly slow down when too many apps are open. It’s good enough to run some power games such as DC Legends and complicated 8-bit RPGs, such as Final Fantasy Brave Ex Vius, but make sure that there are no other apps running in the background, and always bring a power bank with you since high-memory games can drain your juice pretty quickly.

What may be a bit of a downer for users is that the phone’s pre-installed apps take a huge chunk of 8gig you’re supposed to have, which leaves you to only a little bit more than half to play with.

Antutu gives the Cherry Mobile Iris a score of 24,255 which means that it’s okay for casual daily use.

CONCLUSION

The iris scanner which is the main selling point of the Cherry Mobile Iris is pretty impressive, but can easily get old, and once the novelty wears off, the Iris is just another run-of-the-mill budget phone. It’s not for the power user, but it can definitely make you enjoy good movie or two with its sharp display. Should you buy it? If you’re looking for a secondary phone with security that’s better than most, then this is a good pick.

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