Cherry Mobile just confirmed the key specifications of its latest quad core offering, the Skyfire 2.0, and guess what folks. The leaks were spot on. Spec-wise, the Cherry Mobile Skyfire 2.0 is sort of a cross between the Flame 2.0 and Omega HD, combining some of their best qualities into a package that doesn’t break the bank.
[Update 5/17/2013] Check out the benchmark results of the Skyfire 2.0 here!
The Screen: 5 inch qHD
For starters, the Skyfire 2.0 sports a 5 inch qHD scratch-resistant screen. Yeah, it ain’t HD, but the 540 x 960 resolution still offers a decent enough pixel density of 220ppi. At least the days of offering 5 inch screens with WVGA resolutions appear to be behind us.
However, it isn’t clear if the display is going to be an IPS panel or not. It wasn’t indicated on the spec list that Cherry Mobile sent to my inbox, nor on the official press graphic that also happened to have yummilicious Anne Curtis on it. Cherry Mobile usually advertises if a phone has an IPS screen, so it’s doubtful. The Skyfire 2.0 will likely have an MVA or, worse yet, a TN display.
The SoC: Quad Core Snapdragon S4
The Cherry Mobile Skyfire 2.0 is the local phone brand’s fourth quad core device to be introduced to the market. They only went so far as to reveal it has having a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S4 Quad-Core Processor. That sounds good and all, but it’s important to note that there is a huge difference between the regular S4 Play and the S4 Krait (Plus and Pro). At this price point, it’s unlikely it will be the S4 Krait and will probably be the same S4 MSM8225Q that’s on the Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0.One thing that’s great though about the S4 chips is that they typically use up less RAM compared to their MediaTek counterparts.
The OS: Jelly Bean 4.1
Another thing that I’m glad is behind us are the ICS 4.0 releases. Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2 have been around for a while, and it’s high time that the local brands started releasing and updating phones with Jelly Bean 4.1. At first glance, there won’t be that much of a difference in the way that Jelly Bean 4.1 looks compared to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, but once you start seeing the information-rich notifications, Project Butter optimizations and some of the other new features, you’ll wonder how you ever went without them.
The Cameras: 8mp Rear and 2mp Front
It’s nice that we’re seeing some better camera modules being used in our local brands and the 8mp rear-facing autofocus camera of the Skyfire 2.0 is looking to be really decent. The 2mp front-facing camera is also an improvement over the VGA front cameras we’ve seen in the past. 2 megapixel images aren’t actually that great, but they can mean the difference between a fuzzy shot and a really pixellated one. Don’t expect them to have BSI though since, like IPS, it’s a feature that you would expect Cherry Mobile to market heavily.
RAM and Storage: 1Gb RAM and 4Gb ROM
Another thing that is thankfully behind us, at least on the higher end locally branded phones, is 512Mb of RAM. We’ve been seeing local brands like Cherry Mobile launch more and more devices with at least 1Gb of RAM, and the Skyfire 2.0 is one of them. 1Gb of RAM allows for much more flexibility in the system while multitasking and allows some apps to stay cached so they don’t take a long time to relaunch again after switching back and forth between them.
4Gb of ROM is getting tiresome though. You would think that Cherry Mobile and the other local brands would start including larger storage space on the phones they imported, but apparently, that’s not the case. Anyway, it’s not a big issue as long as you can install the data directly to your external SD card, which weirdly enough, the A919i Duo doesn’t.
Connectivity: Everything is Covered
Being a higher end locally branded Android smartphone, you would expect the Skyfire 2.0 to have all your connectivity needs covered, and you would be correct. It’s got Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi b/g/n and 3G, although it isn’t clear if we’ll be getting up to HSPA+ speeds or just HSPA. HSPA+ is nice since you can get close to 4G speeds depending on the coverage, but HSPA is still fine for most people’s needs.
Battery Life: 2,000mAh
The Flame 2.0 was the first locally branded quad core phone to market, but it had one tragic flaw: a 1,600mAh battery. The Cherry Mobile Skyfire 2.0 addresses this issue by putting in a larger 2,000mAh battery. This can mean the difference whether your phone’s battery will run out before you get back home from work.
The A919i Duo, which sports the same capacity battery and its own quad core chip, typically lasts me 17-18 hours on WiFi and obligatory texting and 13 hours on commutes when I would occasionally use my 3G mobile data connection and consult my location through GPS. The Skyfire 2.0 sports a screen with lower resolution compared to the A919i Duo, so I expect that it’s battery life will be slightly better.
So is the Cherry Mobile Skyfire 2.0 a Good Buy?
When the Flame 2.0 and Omega HD first came out, they were instant hits, but they each had their own drawbacks. The Flame 2.0 had miserable battery life while the Omega HD’s chipset could barely handle the number of pixels it had to process because of the HD screen. The Cherry Mobile Skyfire 2.0 feels like the perfect compromise between the two, coupling a quad core processor with a larger screen without boosting the resolution in order to maximize performance. All this while maintaining a Php7,999 that should still be within reach of most price-sensitive Pinoys. So is anyone out there planning to get it when it starts rolling it out next week?