There aren’t that many 6 inch smartphones out in the market at the moment. There’s are a couple of 6 inch phablets from Kingcom and Torque that I know of, and then there’s Huawei’s Ascend Mate, which isn’t technically here yet. However the Cherry Mobile Titan TV is the most affordable of the bunch at Php6,999 and even manages to sport another intriguing feature that none of the others have: mobile TV.
To be honest, I’ve always considered the TV feature on most Chinese and locally-branded phones to be rather gimmicky, but that’s mostly because these phones typically have small screens. The Cherry Mobile Titan TV is intriguing because not only does it sport a large screen, but because the mobile TV feature can be enjoyed on a screen where TV can be given justice. However is a large screen and mobile TV enough to popularize 6 inch smartphones, or will the size simply be too much for the Philippines’ small-handed consumers? Read on to find out in my full Cherry Mobile Titan TV review.
Update: The Cherry Mobile Titan TV is getting updated to Jelly Bean! Head over here to find out how!
Build Quality and Design: Flare’s Big Daddy
The Cherry Mobile Titan TV has a rectangular body with rounded edges and basically looks like a scaled up Flare. The all-plastic construction isn’t cheap-looking, but it isn’t upscale either. It simply looks like a gigantic mid-range phone. Also it might not be that thin at 10.55mm, but because of its sheer size, the Titan TV still maintains a sleek profile.
The front of the Titan TV is dominated by the screen, with four capacitive navigation buttons along the bottom in a layout that should be familiar to Flare users. Above the screen is the earpiece, front-facing camera, and proximity and ambient light sensors along the top. The bezel on either side of the screen is a bit thick, but not that noticeable since the the screen is pretty big as well.
Hardware controls are minimal. The power/lock button can be found on the right side of the device, while the volume rocker can be found on the left. In terms of ports, there’s the 3.5mm headset jack at the top of the Cherry Mobile Titan TV and the micro-USB port at the bottom.
The back of the Titan TV is probably where you’ll find most of the aesthetically noticeable details. The 8mp autofocus camera and flash occupy the upper right of the Titan TV’s back along with a noise-cancelling microphone pinhole a little to the right. Smack dab in the middle is the Titan TV branding, and close to the bottom is the Cherry Mobile logo, which is right above the twin loudspeakers.
The Titan TV comes in two variants, both of which come with a black face, but one comes with a black back cover while the other one comes in white. To be honest, I prefer the white one because it stands out more thanks to the two-tone color scheme where the black face can stand out against the white cover. It should be noted that the Cherry Mobile Titan TV also comes with a flip cover that’s the same color as the variant that you will end up buying, although it’s nowhere near as nice as the smart cover of the original Titan. The Titan TV’s flip cover is something that you stick on to the existing back cover, and the white one is especially prone to getting stained.
The overall constructions is pretty solid. I’ve handled the Flare and Blaze in the past, both of which were a bit creaky when you would squeeze it over the back case, but the Cherry Mobile Titan TV has none of that. It is very solidly built and there’s no creaking whatsoever, whether you’re squeezing along the seams where the back case is secured to the main body of the phone or across the middle of the phone itself where you would expect some flexing. I don’t know about the Burst or Thunder, but this is certainly better when it comes to the kind of build quality that you would expect from Cherry Mobile.
I also like that the Cherry Mobile Titan TV‘s hardware controls have been designed for better handling, despite the physical size of the phone. For example, you would typically find the power/lock button on the upper right side of the phone, but on the Titan TV, that would be too far to reach, so it’s been placed on the right side of the device, and this time, a little closer to the center so it’s easier for a thumb or index finger to reach over and press it.
The Screen: The Titan TV Laughs at Your Puny Phones!
The screen is the Cherry Mobile Titan TV‘s most obvious selling point, as it simply dominates anything else out there in terms of sheer size. The Titan TV’s WVGA (480 x 800) TN screen is somewhere between 5.9 to 6 inches, resulting in a pixel density that’s in the 155-158ppi range. With a pixel density that low, the screen obviously isn’t going to be anywhere near as sharp as what you might be accustomed to from a mid-range handset and even some tablets.
It’s not that bad considering you’ll likely be holding the Titan TV a lot farther from your face than you would a more normal-sized phone. I could still comfortably read text messages, eBooks and web articles on the Cherry Mobile Titan TV‘s screen despite having set the font size to small in the settings and all my reader and messenger apps.
The viewing angles and color reproduction aren’t that great. Images start appearing washed out as soon as you tilt the phone and the colors appear a bit faded as well. Legibility under direct sunlight is particularly poor. The Cherry Mobile Titan TV‘s screen can get really bright on even medium settings, but everything just disappears out in the sun.
For a mobile entertainment device, the screen isn’t the best that you can get, but the sheer size of it makes up for a lot of things. A larger screen also has benefits that extend beyond just reading text, viewing images or watching movies. It also makes it easier when typing on the onscreen keyboard since there is a lot more space between the keys. I used to own a Galaxy Note and it was nice to have that much space to work with again after coming from the Cherry Mobile Flare and Blaze.
However the 240DPI is rather high, and it makes everything such as the UI elements and text look like they were scaled up to fit the 6 inch screen. People who want to buy the Cherry Mobile Titan TV hoping for a tablet-like experience will be somewhat disappointed because the high DPI makes it look more like a bloated phone than an undersized tablet.
The Chipset: The All-Too Familiar MT6577
The chipset that the Titan TV uses should be a familiar one to many of you by now. It’s the same MediaTek MT6577 CPU and PowerVR SGX531 GPU configuration that’s on the Blaze and the original Titan. To get an idea of just how well the chipset performs on the Cherry Mobile Titan TV, I ran it through four popular benchmarking tools. Keep in mind that good synthetic benchmark scores don’t necessarily translate into a good overall user experience, but it’s a start.
The first two benchmarks I ran it through were Quadrant and Antutu. Both of them test for things like CPU, I/O and graphics performance. The Titan TV’s scores put it somewhere between the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy 10.1 in terms of performance, which is pretty good considering we’re talking about a device that retails for less than half of either device. It should also be noted that the scores are comparable to the original Titan, which makes sense, since like I said, they sport the same chipset.
The other two benchmarking tools that I ran the Titan TV through were Nenamark 2 and KFS Benchmark. These two benchmarking tools put an emphasis on Open GL 2.0. This time, the Titan TV achieved a frame rate of 24.5FPS on Nenamark 2 and 18.5FPS on KFS. In real world gaming, those numbers are the bare minimum for the more system-intensive games to be playable. We’ll discuss that more in the gaming section of this review.
The Software: Vanilla-flavored ICS
Manufacturer skins like Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense tend to be an acquired taste, however, it’s hard to find anyone who can’t live with stock ICS. Thankfully, the skin that the Cherry Mobile Titan TV comes with is pretty much vanilla ICS. The only customizations you might find would be stock Cherry Mobile-themed wallpapers and a bit of bloatware, such as the Cherry Fun Club, Cherry Market, Click The City and the Opera Mini apps.
I’d delete the Cherry Fun Club and Cherry Market apps if I could, but I don’t root my phones so I’ll have to live with them. I actually like Click The City because I find it surprisingly useful as an establishment finder. Opera Mini is also great because it’s a lightweight browser that a lot of users prefer over Android 4.0′s stock browser app.
Navigating through the UI is fast and responsive, although I find the auto-rotate feature to be a bit slow. I hate too much lag time when I want to switch from portrait to landscape mode, but then, I’m coming from the Blaze, which was pretty fast to auto-rotate. One thing that I really do hate though is that there’s nothing in the settings that will make the UI elements smaller so everything doesn’t look oversized onscreen.
Telephony and Network Connectivity: Strong WiFi Pick Up
A phone this size probably won’t be used that much as a primary phone on the go and will likely function better as a mobile entertainment device. Still, you can always use it as a phone if you want to. The large 6 inch screen lends itself well to composing text messages and emails on the Cherry Mobile Titan TV, and since the screen supports 5-point multitouch, it easily detects individual keypresses even when you’re typing faster.
Making calls using without a headset is mixed bag. The sound quality from the earpiece isn’t very loud, so if you’re outdoors in the middle of a commute, you’ll probably find it challenging to hear the person on the other end. Using the Titan TV’s stock headset is slightly better, but you’ll definitely want to upgrade to a better headset, preferably an in-ear type. And you’ll definitely want to use a headset when making calls on the Titan TV because there’s no avoiding that sheepish feeling when holding it up something the size of a small notepad against your ear.
The Cherry Mobile Titan TV comes with your typical smartphone wireless connectivity options, specifically WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G support. The Titan TV was especially good at picking up a WiFi signal, even in the borderline deadspots in my home that my old Blaze had trouble with. It also had no trouble picking up and maintaining a data connection over 3G, which I would always do on my FX commutes home after taking my girlfriend to work.
One problem that continues to persist among all the locally-branded Android smartphones that I’ve used is the funky headset support. Standalone earbuds and headphones usually work just fine, but most headsets that come with built in mics or volume controls will produce robotic sound with little bass. Want to know if the headset you’re about to buy has a good chance of being compatible with the Cherry Mobile Titan TV and other locally-branded phones, take a look at the jack. Normal headsets only have 2 segments while those with built in mics or volume controls will have 3.
Imaging: Auto Scene Detect is Your Friend
When it comes to cameras on budget smartphones, I really don’t set my expectations high, especially when it’s a locally-branded budget smartphone we’re talking about. However, the Cherry Mobile Titan TV really delivers in the imaging department, reproducing a lot of detail in good lighting, despite the business of some of the scenes that I tested it on. Just click on the images below to enlarge.
The Cherry Mobile Titan TV’s 8mp shooter performed quite well considering the price tag. It did produce images with a lot of noise, particularly in the really dark shots, but I can live with that, especially when other budget smartphone cameras can barely reproduce images in poor lighting at all (here’s looking at you, Blaze). The Titan TV comes with a lot of camera options that you can tweak, but if you want to make life easier, remember to always use the Auto Scene Detect option. Trust me.
Entertainment: Budget Entertainment on the Go
In case you haven’t noticed it from the name of the device itself, the Titan TV has a built in analog TV receiver. This means you can actually watch TV from your phone. Simply take the antenna/stylus and plug it into the phone’s 3.5mm headset port. Unlike other phones with built-in TV receivers, the Cherry Mobile Titan TV‘s screen is large enough that watching TV on it doesn’t feel like a cheap gimmick, provided of course that you can get good reception wherever you’re at.
As a phone with a 6 inch screen, things like watching TV and movies and consuming other content through its gargantuan screen are supposed to be the Cherry Mobile Titan TV’s strong points, and for the most part, they are. It’s impossible not to appreciate not having to hold up the phone so close to your face just to appreciate more details in whatever movie you’re watching. That makes it a great and inexpensive portable entertainment device.
The large screen lets you better appreciate movies and even allows you to share it with some friends. The loudspeaker is also sufficiently loud for a group of you to be able to enjoy watching a movie in a small room. Sound output is also adequately loud whether you’re playing mp3s or just listening to an FM station. And if you hate mashing your thumbs against the capacitive buttons or the screen, there’s even a Gesture Mode feature that allows you to do things like skip to the next music track or swipe between images in the gallery by gesturing in front of the proximity sensor. It feels more like just a novelty feature though since it only got my gestures right a little more than half the time.
One thing I don’t like though is that headset compatibility issues persist, meaning you have to choose your headset wisely if you want to fully appreciate any sort of audio from the Cherry Mobile Titan TV. And since the antenna plugs into the headset port, you won’t be able to listen to TV through a headset, and you’ll have to make do with it on loudspeakers. Finally, sunlight legibility isn’t all that great on the Titan TV’s basic screen because it’s very reflective. Be prepared to cover the screen a lot with your hands if you want to be able to make out anything onscreen in direct sunlight.
Gaming: Plays Almost All of Your Favorite HD Games, But…
As I said before, I’m already quite familiar with the MediaTek MT6577 CPU and PowerVR SGX531 GPU configuration of the Cherry Mobile Titan TV. I’ve already experienced it for myself on the Blaze and it’s also the chipset that powers the original Titan. That being said, I had some reasonable expectations of the Titan TV even before I ran it through my favorite battery of games.
Surprisingly enough, NOVA 3 didn’t just load up, it was also playable, which was a nice surprise considering the Blaze could barely run it at all. That’s not to say the frame rates were choppy, because they were, but it was refreshing that I was able to get through 1 and a half levels of gaming on this notoriously system intensive game.
Another heavy game that I like to load up is Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Frame rates were much more acceptable in this game on the Cherry Mobile Titan TV, but the audio stuttered a lot, which sucked, considering it has a killer soundtrack. Still very playable though.
Lastly, I tested the Titan TV on Temple Run 2, the sequel to one of the most popular iOS ports to Android ever. The gameplay is a little simplistic and repetitive, but the visuals are much improved over its predecessor. Of the casual games that are on the Play Store, Temple Run 2 is probably one of the more graphically-rich. Unsurprisingly, it played just fine.
Battery Life: Impressive, But Don’t Let the Battery Heat Up
The Titan TV comes with one of the largest capacity batteries among locally-branded phones at 2,500mAh. For comparison’s sake, that’s the same capacity as the original Galaxy Note. However, the Titan TV also has a large 6 inch screen that surely sucks up more power than your typical 5 inch or less screen that most other phones have, so I didn’t really expect it to last longer than my old Note did. Back when I had my Note, it would only last me until the end of the day of active usage if I charged it in the morning.
To my surprise, the Cherry Mobile Titan TV didn’t just match my old Note’s battery life, it smashed through it and kept on going into the next day! On what I consider to be normal usage – normal texting along with the occasional call, WiFi constantly on and about 30 minutes connected to 3G while I was out – the Titan TV lasted 25 hours and 54 minutes. Very impressive, since I also played a few games here and there. On light usage where I didn’t play any games and kept strictly to calling, texting and browsing while being constantly connected to WiFi at home, the Titan TV’s battery life was even more phenomenal.
This is likely a result of having fewer pixels to process despite the larger screen. The Titan TV’s display only has WVGA 480 x 800 resolution, meaning there are 384,000 pixels to push, while my old Galaxy Note had a resolution of 800 x 1280, equating to 1,024,000 total pixels that the chipset had to render. That’s almost three times the graphical information that the Note had to process compared to the Titan TV, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Note sucked up juice much faster.
Update: If you guys read this review before, I discussed a battery flaw. However, I checked out other reviews and they did not report the same issue so I’ve taken my unit to the service center and deleted any reference in this review to the flaw.
Is the Cherry Mobile Titan TV More than Just a Novelty Phone?
If you prioritize the entertainment value that the Titan TV can give you, then this is likely the phone for you. The large screen practically screams at you to watch videos on it, and the sound output is sufficiently loud whether you want to listen to your mp3 collection or your favorite FM station. You can even enjoy analog TV on it, provided you can get a decent signal. Sunlight legibility is poor though, so you’ll want to keep your viewing indoors. And you also won’t be able to enjoy games as much because that battery overheating issue can be very limiting to how much you can actually play.
On the other hand, if you plan to use this as a primary phone, you’ll want to consider how much of an inconvenience carrying around a 6 inch phone can be. The Cherry Mobile Titan TV is just too large for even the back pocket of my jeans to accommodate comfortably, and pulling it in and out of my bag on a commute can be a hassle. My phone habits have evolved to a point where I only use the Titan TV for texting and calling at home and work, and nowhere else.
Even when the Titan TV was first leaked by Edriangelo Paule on a Flare user group on Facebook, I already thought it was a steal at just Php6,999 and it’s the most affordable 6 inch phablet in the market. Just make sure to remember that the Cherry Mobile Titan TV will give you an experience that’s closer to being a ginormous phone rather than an undersized tablet, so if it’s a tablet experience you’re after, then you’re better off getting a real 7 inch tablet. It takes a lot of getting used to, and your usage habits will change once you start using the Titan TV more as an entertainment device rather than just a phone.
Cherry Mobile Titan TV Specs and Pricing
- 1GHz dual core MediaTek MT6577 CPU
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- PowerVR SGX 531 GPU
- 5.9″ WVGA (480 x 800, 158ppi) 5-point multitouch capacitive display
- 1Gb RAM
- 8mp autofocus rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera
- GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
- 3G WCDMA 850/2100MHz
- 4Gb ROM, expandable up to 32Gb via MicroSD
- WiFi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 2.1
- 3.5mm audio port
- Micro USB 2.0 port
- Price: Php6,999