While large screen smartphones continue to be a thing, smartphones with 6-inch screens still tend to be a bit of a rarity. So when the Cherry Mobile Touch XL 2 came out, I was instantly interested because of its massive screen. Not only that, but it also comes bundled with a VR headset and a number of pre-installed VR apps to take advantage of it. Priced at Php3,499, there will no doubt be a few compromises though. But will they be enough to keep you from buying the Cherry Mobile Touch XL? Find out in my full review.
Cherry Mobile Touch XL 2 Specs
- 6″ HD IPS display (720 x 1280 resolution, 245ppi)
- 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6580 quad core processor
- Mali 400 GPU
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB internal storage
- 8mp AF rear-facing camera with LED flash
- 2mp FF front camera
- 3.75G/HSPA+, dual SIM (2x micro)
- WiFi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- GPS with A-GPS
- Price: Php3,499
Build Quality and Design
Once a smartphone goes below a certain price point, I usually stop expecting them to have any real aesthetic appeal. The Touch XL 2 though looks surprisingly good for a 6 inch phablet that retails for less than Php4k. It still makes use of the of the stealth bezel that Cherry Mobile has been employing since the Flare 4 series came out, giving the appearance of a larger screen-to-body ratio that tends to look more premium.
The design cue I appreciate though is the textured back. While glossy finishes tend to attract smudging, the texture gives it the appearance of brushed aluminum that ends up looking really nice and premium.
One thing that annoys me though is the really thing back cover. It’s super flexible and peels off, but I sometimes worry a bit about accidentally bending it.
The Touch XL 2’s 6 inch HD screen is one of its obvious highlights since you won’t typically find such a good display at this price point. For most purposes, such as reading web articles, viewing images, and watching videos, the Touch XL 2 serves quite well. Its 245ppi may be on the low side for modern smartphones, but most people will be holding it farther away due to its size so this isn’t much of an issue. Where it becomes an issue though is using it with VR apps and games, which I’ll get into a bit more later on.
Software and UI
The Touch XL 2 is one of the first wave of smartphones that are coming with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. As is usual of Cherry Mobile’s Android phones, the UI is mostly stock with the wallpapers being replaced with branded ones.
This being Marshmallow, the app drawer now scrolls vertically so it’s easier to reach apps, whereas before you would have to swipe through several pages. It takes some getting used to, but it allows you to potentially get to your preferred app in one swipe.
One thing I don’t like is the pre-loaded bloatware. I didn’t used to mind Cherry Mobile’s apps, but these days they tend to push more ads into your notifications. Once I’ve bought a smartphone, I’d prefer that it not advertise more stuff to me. After all, there’s enough freeware on the Play Store that does that already.
Benchmarks and Performance
As good as it looks, the Touch XL 2 is held back by its modest 1.3GHz MT6580 quad core SoC from MediaTek. It’s accompanied by just 1GB RAM and 8GB of internal storage, only 3.98GB of which is user accessible.
The limited RAM means multi-tasking often lags due to apps having to load themselves up again, and not much storage is left for media since installing your favorite apps will quickly use up what’s available.
As for the MT6580 SoC’s performance, it scored about 18k in Antutu, 1000+ in Vellamo Multicore, and 600+ in Vellamo Metal (Single Core), which doesn’t put it much above the MT6582-powered smartphones from a couple of years ago. It can still handle most apps and a few games, but it can get pretty sluggish, especially with today’s more demanding apps.
Telephony and Wireless Connectivity
Thanks to its MT6580 SoC, the Touch XL 2 comes with a complete suite of connectivity options, including HSPA+, WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. Unfortunately, there’s no 4G/LTE, but I wouldn’t expect that from a sub-Php4k smartphone. What is disappointing though is that it can be a bit weak at picking up WiFi and FM radio signals.
The Touch XL 2 comes equipped with an 8mp autofocus shooter with a single LED flash on the back to go along with a 2mp fixed focus selfie camera in front. The shots are serviceable, but shouldn’t replace your point-and-shoot camera if you already have one. Here are some samples you guys can check out.
This first shot is of Uptown Mall after a fire drill. Given ideal lighting, the Touch XL 2 is capable of some decent shots.
If you’re looking to use the Touch XL 2 for your Instagram food shots though, you may need to rely on filters a lot more often. With less than adequate lighting, the shots are disappointing.
Selfies are a bit of a mixed bag. The front camera still requires good lighting to capture anything decent, but the beautification feature helps make up for any blemishes.
Entertainment and Gaming
Thanks largely to its 6 inch HD screen, the Touch XL 2 makes for an ideal entertainment and casual gaming device, not to mention an affordable gateway to VR content. Despite its price point, it’s still quite capable of playing Full HD movies and just about anything else in your media library.
However, the Mali 400 GPU is several years old now and while you can still play a few casual 3D games, more demanding games are often unplayable due to the low frame rates. Not only that, but some of the more popular VR apps won’t even run on the Touch XL 2, which is a shame since you can’t take full advantage of the free VR headset that comes with it.
One area the Touch XL 2 performs exceptionally well is battery life. Thanks to a combination of a gargantuan 3,000mAh battery and Marshmallow 6.0’s background optimizations, it’s capable of lasting anywhere from 18 to 24 hours with 4hrs of active usage and 3G turned on. As an added bonus, the battery itself is removable too, in case it needs replacing.
So Should You Buy the Cherry Mobile Touch XL 2?
In itself, a 6 inch HD smartphone for just Php3,499 is already a pretty good deal. The chipset may be modest, but it’s capable of delivering just enough performance to drive most apps and games. However, it can get sluggish a lot of times, especially with apps and even just browsing the internet becoming more demanding than they’ve ever been. Still, if you’re looking for an affordable entertainment device, it’s hard to beat the Cherry Mobile Touch XL 2. And that free cardboard VR headset is just icing on the cake.