In these times of the smartphone era, size matters. It has been predicted that 5-inchers smartphones shall dominate the mobile landscape this year. Almost all mobile cellphone brands are coming out with its new flagship phone having a 5-inch display as minimum. For local brand distributor–Cherry Mobile, a re-branded phone in the market could position well given an affordable price with almost the same experience than the so-called branded ones.
The CM Titan W500 is actually introduced last year during the time when the much-hyped CM Flare was launched. The Titan W500 is a re-brand of Konka W990 originally manufactured for a Chinese company Konka Mobile. Its closest rival in the local market is the myphone A919 which uses the same processor as Titan’s. Check the table below.
|Cherry Mobile TITAN W500||MyPhone A919 Duo|
|Operating System||Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich||Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich|
|SIM slot||Dual-SIM/Dual Standby||Dual-SIM/Dual Standby|
|Display||5.0-inch WVGA Capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixel resolutionPlastic display cover||5.0-inch IPS Capacitive touchscreen,FWVGA 480 x 854 pixel resolution|
|Processor||MediaTek MT6577 1GHz ARMv7 dual-core processor||MediaTek MT6577 1GHz dual-core processor|
|GPU||PowerVR SGX531 by Imagination Technologies||PowerVR SGX531 by Imagination Technologies|
|Memory||512MB RAM||512MB RAM|
|Storage||4GB internal storage(expandable up to 32GB via microsSD)||4GB internal storage(expandable up to 32GB via microSD)|
|Camera||4.9MP rear camera with flash, 2560 x 1920 Pixels, Digital Zoom, Panoramic shotsVGA front camera||8MP rear camera with Dual LED flashVGA 0.3MP front camera|
|Video Recording/Playback||720p HD video recording, Pop-Up Play||720p HD video recording|
|Connectivity||3G, HSPA+ 21Mbps (both SIM)Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspotBluetooth v2.1microUSB v2.0||3G, HSDPA, HSUPA, EDGE, GPRSWi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspotBluetooth v3.0MicroUSB v2.0|
|GPS, A-GPS||GPS, A-GPS|
|Battery||2350mAh Lithium IonStandby:Talktime:||2000mAh Lithium polymer batteryStandby: 180 hrs.Talktime: 5 hrs.|
|Sensors||Proximity, G-Sensor, Light Sensor||Proximity, Motion, Light sensor|
|Size||143 x 77.4 x 10.5mm , 205gms||147 x 76.5 x 9.7mm|
|Other Features||No TV out3.5mm earphone jackSingle mic||TV-out3.5mm earphone jackDual-mic noise reduction|
|Price||P6,499-P7,500Package includes a Smart Flip Cover||P7,999|
The AnTuTu Benchmark v3.1.2 tests the CPU integer performance and Memory, 2D graphics, 3D graphics, Database IO, SD card IO, and test SD card write speed on the Titan. However, testing stays at “Testing SD card write speed” for several minutes or more than 2 hours until i decided to abort the test. The score has reached 6503 but unauthenticated without testing SD card write/read speed. It performs right below the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (at the bottom) as shown in the chart below.
While testing the system stability, the stability chart indicates 35.81 as the highest change while the temperature chart shows an almost stable readings at 41. Under the system stability test, the smaller the curve changes, the better stability.
The NenaMark2 v2.4 gauged the PowerVR 5GX 531 of Imagination Technologies at its best–a mere 27.3fps far from the GPU powers of quad-core phones like Nexus 4(57.8fps) and Huawei Ascend D1(65.3fps).
The Titan review unit i received is already out-in-the-box, meaning it’s been previously used by others–probably by other reviewers or by CM personnel. The seal in the box was already broken when i received it and i had to request for its accompanying smart flip cover to protect the display from further eroding.
The phone at 205 grams (iPhone5- 112gms, Samsung Note 2- 183gms) is a little bit heavy both on your hands and pants’ pocket. The size is somewhat similar to other 5-inchers. I don’t know if the metallic trim all over its sides contributed to the weight of the phone but it helps the device look sturdy. Though, i haven’t dropped the phone yet. Not even once.
One of the things i’ve got impressed on the physical construction of the Titan W500 is its clean design despite the whole casing is made of plastic. The left side (image above) has no jacks or any controls while the right side has only the volume rocker (left image below) which is aesthetically designed to blend with the metallic trim.
The bottom side(right image below) has only the microphone (dot at the right side) and the name “Konka W990” is imprinted in very fine fonts at the center. The front has the usual touch controls: Menu, Home, and Back which are quite responsive. The first image on this post shows the front VGA camera, proximity sensor, and the earpiece slit. The front has a side bezels of about 1/8 of an inch that give an impression of an elegantly-designed phone.
The top side has the Power/Sleep button, mini-USB port, and the 3.5mm input jack. The 5.0MP rear camera and the LED flash are protected by a metallic housing at the back of the phone. To the right of the camera and LED flash is the speaker grill. The back cover is made of smooth non-glossy plastic.
The Titan W500 comes in Black or White. If i were you, choose the Black since the accompanying smart flip cover, made of leather material, is a dirt-magnet (see the image of a White model below). Besides, the plastic back cover is also not immune to dust, dirt and scratches.
Titan’s LCD is a WVGA capacitive touchscreen with a screen resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. That would translate to a pixel density of around 187ppi, way below the average for a 5-incher. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a density of 267ppi on a 5.5 inches screen.
The top cover over the actual LCD is made of plastic that can be easily get dirt and prone to scratches. The plastic cover extends to the entire front of the phone. My review unit has several scratches on its display upon receiving it (check left image below) prompting me to request Cherry Mobile for the smart flip cover to protect it from further damage. However, upon closer inspection i’d discovered that the screen display is covered by another layer of protection–a screen protector. Sadly the screen protector is not durable that it has several scratches already. So, i decided to remove the screen protector and see the undamaged screen (right image). Also, i observed the screen is responding more without the screen protector.
The Titan’s display is a no IPS. It’s just a capacitive touchscreen. Viewing angle is limited. If you tilt a little, you could no longer read the texts. The same experience when viewing images while tilting a little the device for another angle. You could see the scratches on the screen instead (when the screen protector was still on). However, viewing images on its normal viewing angle gives you a crisp look of the images. I set the display on “deep color mode” to attain the best possible quality of images. Glare is one factor to overcome with when viewing the display outdoors.
I was told that Titan’s display supports 5-point touch.It seems it is true when i tried it. Sensitivity is good as it responds quickly to swipe, tap, pinch, and other gestures on the screen.
I tried playing Temple Run 2 on the Titan and it performs well, including the response of the Gravity Sensor, except that the colors are not vibrant and looks pale.
The video playback of Titan has an extra feature–the Pop-up Play which allows you to minimize the video screen and position it anywhere on top of another opened app within a screen (see images below). But you can’t adjust the size of the video screen while on a Pop-up Play mode. It can’t also pop-up while on SMS screen.
The video quality is not that crispy as compared to an IPS screens but comparable to TFT LCD displays. However, playback is smooth and i haven’t experienced jitters on the video while playing an hour TV Show. It can play up to 720p HD video. I’d been watching HBO’s “The Newsroom” on it for few nights and enjoyed it.
Titan’s 4.9MP rear camera with flash, can shoot up to 2560 x 1920 pixels. It has Digital Zoom, Panoramic shots. It can shoot in High-Definition Resolution. Flash mode can be set in auto and manual. White Balance can be in Auto, Incandescent, Daylight, Cloudy, and Twilight. Color Effect setting includes None, Mono, Sepia, Negative, and Aqua.Scene Mode maybe at Auto, Night, Sunset. Party, and Portrait. Here are some shots under various light conditions, including a Panoramic shot i took in Baguio City.
The camera can record up to 720 pixels HD video. The Flash can be turned on to provide illumination. The White Balance can be set to Auto or any of the presets: Incandescent, Daylight, Cloudy, Twilight and Shade. The Color effect includes: Mono, Sepia, Negative, Aqua, and Blackboard. You can also insert Silly faces and Background images. Camera settings can be adjusted depending on your requirement.
PERFORMANCE UNDER ITS HOOD
The MediaTek MT6577 1GHz ARMv7 dual-core processor under the hood of Titan is not after all inferior in performance. The responsiveness of Titan is comparable to others having the same CPU strength. Navigation and browsing on the phone is fast unless you have a very bad data connection. Booting the unit takes only about 8-10 seconds.
The Graphics Processing Unit PowerVR SGX531 by Imagination Technologies proves that Titan is capable of handling 3D graphics and 1080HD video. Though, NenaMark2 runs the GPU at 27.3fps only–about half of the quad-core phones. But the reading is comparable to other dual-core phones.
Titan’s Operating System– Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich is out-of-the-box and is much improved though not the latest one from Google. The UI is quite familiar to me since i’ve been using ICS for a couple of months already.
Based on my usage and experience, the RF amplifier of Titan is much stronger since it registers a constant five bars of signal strength compared to other phones i’ve used in areas where cellular signal is not strongest. The same experience with its FM receiver though the sound quality is not impressing due to poor audio hardware of the Titan.
I don’t have issues on 3G connection as its 21Mbps 3G modem is enough to provide good connection. However, it is generally dependent upon how the mobile network performs. Both SIMs of the Titan can be used alternately for data connection by just a switch of a button. One thing i discovered an overheating issue on Titan’s RF section (see discussion below).
Wi-Fi connectivity is also doing fine as it can connect fast to an open network and remember the same the next time you’re in the same Wi-Fi zone. I haven’t try it’s Wi-Fi hotspot feature yet. Bluetooth and microUSB connections have no issues.
The 2350mAh Lithium Ion battery pack of Titan proves it is really big in size and in life. Recharging the phone is fast–about an hour only. It can also recharge through USB on our PC. I haven’t encountered any issue while recharging the phone except the overheating issue i mentioned in “Bugs & Defects section” below.
The first time i used the phone since a single recharged overnight showed some good signs that this phone is not a battery hog. I used the phone with about five calls and sending some SMS in the morning, left me about 92% of power until i turned on the Wi-Fi at 4pm. For an hour, with some browsing including updating of apps using Wi-Fi, i was left with 84% battery life. Until 1pm the next day while Wi-Fi was on the whole morning, the battery life was at 56%.
In another test, while the battery was initially at 99% and with the 3G was on since 8:30am until 2:45pm, the battery life marked at 8% remaining. So, i’ve noticed that it’s only the 3G that consumes a lot of battery life in this phone but it’s just fair enough considering i was able to use it as long as 6 straight hours.
I find the messaging features of Titan something useful and very functional. I could easily read long SMS messages in threaded SMS (shown in the leftmost image below). The TouchPal keyboard is better than the native Android keys.
You can play and stream video with average sound quality on Titan. It has also a built-in FM tuner unlike the Flare. The accompanying earphone works on the average but not really has the bass and treble you want to hear. The speaker of Titan is not good though it’s loud and audible.
BROWSING AND NAVIGATION
The phone has all the necessary features for location services like Google’s Location Service, GPS satellites, GPS EPO assistance, A-GPS, and Location & Google Search. Using the Navigation app, the aforesaid features proved useful when we had a tour recently in Baguio City. The exact location of the vehicle we boarded were precised and the indicator for the actual location of the vehicle moves as we follow the driving direction which is marked “blue” on the map(like the one in the image below).
The native browser of the Titan works fine. You can also install Opera Mini if you wish to have a choice. Both have tab browsing which allows us to easily discard open web pages or select what to open.
BUGS and DEFECTS
Bugs are almost present in most phones and gadgets. The CM Titan is not spared as it contain the following bugs or defects based on the review unit i’ve tested:
- Hangs are observed when 3G is on while charging the battery. I have to stop the data connection when recharging the phone to avoid hang. One instance, i have to remove the battery pack from the device to reactivate the phone.
- Also, Overheating is experienced while recharging the phone with the 3G is on. An alarm pops up: “The battery temperature is overheating”. But a check on the battery is normal. Upon checking, it’s the RF section of the phone that is overheating. In fact, the metallic housing of the rear camera is heating fast. Again, i have to stop the 3G connection to prevent overheating the unit. It could probably the 3G modem that is overheating.
- Screenshots feature can capture on-screen images but can’t save it to the storage. The alarm notice says “…the storage may not be enough.” I don’t think the captured screenshot would reach more than 100MB. The phone has still enough storage–both internal and external. (UPDATE: All of a sudden, my Titan unit can now save screenshots. I don’t know why and how. It just save a screen shot when i tried it again. See the image below.)
- Benchmarking on the Titan has also encountered difficulty upon reaching the “testing SD write speed” where it stalled. I had to abort the test after two hours with testing stayed at 87%. I had to proceed the benchmarking without the “testing SD write speed”.
- Battery life is longer.
- Fast navigation and browsing
- Messaging is fast and easy
- Display is not crisp
- Camera takes average pictures
- Audio quality of the earpiece
- It’s heavy
- Contain some bugs
The Cherry Mobile is not my ideal phone. It may not also yours. But for others who opted an affordable smartphone with a speed comparable to branded phones, the inadequacies of the Titan may be set aside. It’s still worth your money. One thing i can say, i enjoyed using the phone for about a month. 🙂