Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon Review: The Low-cost Lumia Killer

Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon

Microsoft has had some success pushing the Windows platform for phones thanks to inexpensive Lumia handsets. Now though, localized partners like Cherry Mobile may actually become more successful at delivering the genuine Windows Phone experience, especially if it comes out with more phones like the Alpha Neon. The Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon looks and feels like a Lumia, but does it have what it takes to be a Lumia killer? Find out in my full review!

What’s in the Box

The Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon comes with the typical standard retail package with a complete set of accessories that you would expect from most smartphones.

  • Handset
  • Headset with in-line mic
  • Wall charger (1A output)
  • USB transfer cable
  • Removable 2,000mAh battery
  • Manual
  • Cherry Play quick start guide

The headset is of the in-ear variety and is a step up over the bud-type headsets thanks to the noise-isolating design. The bass is muddy though, so you’ll want to get an after-market headset if you really want to enjoy your media collection.

Build Quality and Design

If there’s anything I like best about the Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon, it’s the Lumia-esque design. I love the bright matte yellow of the review unit I got, not to mention the curved back that allows it to look thinner than it really is. Another thing that gives it that legit Lumia look is the way the screen is slightly elevated from the bright yellow body.

Left Side

Taking a closer look at the device, you won’t find any details on its left side – not even an accent strip of any sort.

Right Side

The volume rocker and power/lock button can both be found on the right side of the device. Having these buttons on the same side is something I hate because it’s easy to accidentally lock the screen when you’re actually trying to lower the volume, and vice versa.


At the top is where you’ll find access to the micro USB and 3.5mm headset ports.


If you don’t look closely, you might miss the small microphone pinhole at the bottom.

At the back is where you’ll find the Alpha Neon’s camera and its LED flash. In the center is the Windows Phone branding, while closer to the bottom is the Cherry Mobile branding and loudspeaker. There’s also a small notch to the side to help pry the back cover off.

The Display


The Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon comes equipped with a 5 inch HD IPS scratch-resistant display that’s slightly elevated from the body, mimicking that Lumia look. Color reproduction is bright enough to appreciate the colorful Windows Phone UI, not to mention any images or movies from your media library.

Onscreen Keyboard

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be very responsive as mispresses are common. It’s accurate enough, which is important because the virtual keys on the Windows Phone onscreen keyboard are quite small. One thing you can easily do to improve the screen’s responsiveness is remove the pre-installed screen protector. It’ll leave the screen more vulnerable though, but it’s a risk I was willing to take as the screen protector was really making things frustrating for me.

Software and UI


Out of the box, the Alpha Neon runs Windows Phone 8.1. Navigating the UI should be fast and fluid because it’s a lighter OS compared to iOS and Android. That’s not quite the case though as it isn’t because of the relatively slow SoC that powers the device. Scrolling through the menus is noticeably laggy, even if there isn’t much bloatware to speak of.


You also have to consider that Windows Phone doesn’t have anywhere near the number of apps that can be found on Android or iOS. You should still be able to find the most popular apps though, and if you can’t, there’s usually an alternative app that will give you access to the same services.

Benchmarks and Performance

The Alpha Neon is only equipped with a lowly 1.2GHz quad core Snapdragon 200 SoC by Qualcomm, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that benchmark results won’t be that good. The Alpha Neon was only able to score about 11k points in the Windows Phone version of Antutu.


How does this affect the real world user experience? Since the Windows Phone platform is still pretty light, navigating through the UI is like a hot knife cutting through butter. Where the SoC shows its age is when you start opening apps as loading times are often quite slow, especially with more demanding apps and games.

Communication and Connectivity

The Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon comes with a slew of connectivity options, as any smartphone should. For mobile data, you can get as fast as HSPA+ speeds. WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS round out the rest of the wireless connectivity options available to you. The only thing that’s missing is 4G/LTE, but at this price point, you can forgive the Alpha Neon for skipping it.


The Alpha Neon does well enough as a communication device, whether for calling or texting. The large 5 inch screen makes it easy to read through text messages and emails, and I didn’t drop any calls with this handset. My only gripe is the stock keyboard and its smallish onscreen keys. Touch response doesn’t feel as accurate as it should be, and a smallish keyboard doesn’t help at all. It’s an annoying issue that folks with larger fingers might eventually get used to but can get on your nerves every now and then when you have to compose longer messages.



The Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon is equipped with an 8mp autofocus camera with LED flash along with a 2mp front camera for selfies. The back camera is serviceable enough in terms of image quality, just don’t expect to be blown away.

Entertainment and Gaming

As an entertainment device, the Alpha Neon won’t disappoint for the most part. The large 5 inch HD IPS screen lends itself well to viewing photos from your gallery or watching movies from your media collection. The limited onboard storage might mean you’ll need a spare micro SD card if you really want to take more than a couple of SD or HD videos with you though.

As a gaming phone though, the Snapdragon 200 chip and its Adreno 302 GPU leave a bit to be desired. There are a few games from the Windows Phone App Store that are graphically intensive such as Asphalt 8. Just don’t expect the smoothest frame rates.

Battery Life

Battery Capacity

The Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon is powered by a 2,000mAh battery, which is still quite acceptable for a 5 inch phone, although just barely. Thankfully, Windows Phone 8.1 as an OS doesn’t drain power nearly as much as Android does and I still got a full day’s worth of operation on a full charge.

So Should You Buy the Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon?

Alpha Neon with Box

Although the Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon may not provide the best Windows Phone 8.1 experience, it’s hard to beat its excellent mix of capable specs for the price. With its recent price drop from Php3,999 down to Php2,999, there just isn’t any other Windows Phone 8.1 handset that provides a better value.

Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon Specs

  • 5″ HD IPS display (720 x 1280 resolution, 294ppi)
  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 MSM8212 quad core processor
  • Adreno 302 GPU
  • Windows Phone 8.1
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 8mp autofocus rear-facing camera with LED flash
  • 2mp front camera
  • 3.75G/HSPA+, dual SIM
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • 2,000mAh battery
  • Price: Php3,999 Php2,999

3 thoughts on “Cherry Mobile Alpha Neon Review: The Low-cost Lumia Killer

  1. sir, mam; patulong na nga po sa inyo. hindi po ako makapag- upload ng pictures ko using cherry mobile windows phone 8.1 alfa neon. khit po malakas ang wifi signal namin at ok naman po ang koneksyon nito. baguhan po ako sa windows phone baka po may maituturo po kayo sakin. salamat po

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