The Old Reliable: Cherry Mobile Ultra Review

Built for Speed - Cherry Mobile Ultra Review

The Cherry Mobile Ultra is now sold at a huge discount on Lazada, so we’ve decided to take the last year’s LTE hit for a spin.

Cherry Mobile Ultra

Display: 5-inch HD IPS display with a resolution of 1280 × 720 at 293ppi
OS: Android 4.3 Jellybean
Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 MSM8926
Graphics: Adreno 305 GPU
RAM: 1GB
Internal Storage: 8GB expandable up to 64GB via microSD
Network and Connectivity: LTE, HSPA, 3G, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS
Camera/s: 13MP rear camera with LED flash; 2MP front-facing camera
SIM: microSIM (single)
Battery: 2,000mAh battery
Price: Formerly Php 8,999, now only Php 3,999 on Lazada

Design and Build

ultra-front

The first thing I noticed about the Ultra is that it has good weight. I’m all for smartphones being easy to carry, but a little weight is also good especially for those with butter hands (like me). It’s sturdy and curves just right to comfortably fit in one hand.

ultra-back
ultra-side
The back shell is made out of matte plastic that gives it a clean look. At the top part is the Ultra’s 13MP camera and its LED flash. The volume rocker is at the left edge, while the power button is at the right.

ultra-inside
Pop the back open and you’ll find that the Ultra only supports one LTE-ready SIM and a microSD card for additional storage.

Display

The Cherry Mobile Ultra has a workable display that goes for 293ppi. It isn’t the best, but it does the job. Screen brightness automatically adjusts depending on your usage, but it can’t compensate under bright sunlight.

Software and Interface

ultra-interface

The Ultra runs on the stable Android 4.3 Jellybean. It uses Start by Celltick for the lock screen, which enables you to access updates without unlocking your phone. Remember to download all Google app updates first, since Play Store tends to shut down without them. Albeit several hiccups during installation and running of heavier apps, the Ultra pretty much offers a smooth user experience.

Performance

ultra-batman

Once everything has been installed, the Ultra still proves to be a very reliable device. High-performance games such as Batman: Arkham Origins run without a hitch, and there’s little to no lag even when multi-tasking.

The Ultra purrs on LTE. However, once the signal falls to 3G, things start to get a little shaky. It took me almost two hours to download Facebook, and I was doing it within the Pasig business district where signal is often high. It’s pretty curious since another  phone that I was using was having no problems. Hopefully, it’s just an isolated incident.

ultra-antutu

Antutu gives the Ultra a score of 17,802, and falls right under the ASUS ZenFone 5. This means that the Ultra is still pretty solid and can be a trusted main phone.

Cameras

The Ultra’s 13MP rear camera produces relatively good shots, although you may need to snap twice to get let it re-adjust to the right lighting. My only gripe is that you lose the ability to auto-focus when HDR is on. With the automatic setting though, you can tap and focus on whatever subject you like.

Cherry Mobile Ultra shot: panorama, daytime, with sunlight

Cherry Mobile Ultra shot: panorama, daytime

Cherry Mobile Ultra shot: outdoor, daytime, slightly cloudy

Cherry Mobile Ultra shot: outdoor, daytime, slightly cloudy

ultra-indoor

Cherry Mobile Ultra shot: indoor, with florescent lighting, in low lighting, and with flash

The rear camera was a surprise. At 2MP, I wasn’t really expecting much, but it can take a pretty decent selfie with minimal graining, even if the colors are a bit washed out.

Cherry Mobile Ultra shot: indoor, with florescent lighting

Battery

The Cherry Mobile Ultra can last until 6 to 7 hours with regular use (texting, calling, intermittently viewing videos and streaming, going online, playing casual games). Considering it only comes with a 2,000mAh battery, that’s pretty impressive.

Conclusion

Yes, the Ultra is an old phone, what with something new coming out almost every month. But one can’t deny that it hasn’t lost its relevance and is still very dependable. Moreover, it’s one of the cheapest LTE phones out now since Lazada has brought it down to a very economical price of Php 3,999. So if you’re not out to grab the newest shiny thing in the market and are looking for a good phone, get the Ultra. It’s built for speed, and it hasn’t lost its edge.

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