While we see smartphones today getting more better in camera, performance, and design, one division is still in the question every time we see one and that is durability. Durability is the utmost important feature for late age adopters of technology or especially people with specific jobs or hobbies that surround themselves to unreasonable surroundings for gadgets.
Enter the Cherry Mobile Defender, the answer for people who needs a smartphone that can survive water splashes, dust, mud and even shocks from falls and hits. This 4.7″ smartphone is housed in a strong and rugged body built to withstand the harsh environment of everyday use and even some torture tests.
For this review, our review is quite extensive as we used this smartphone for 2 weeks with no hesitations of its durability. We even compiled some videos for you to see, in what it endured over the past few weeks. Before we continue here is the complete specifications of the CM Defender.
Cherry Mobile Defender Specifications
- 2.0GHz MediaTek Helio P10 Octa-Core processor
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB of expandable storage via MicroSD card
- 4.7-inch HD IPS Display; 1280×720 resolution
- 18-megapixel rear camera
- 8-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM, LTE (Micro Sim)
- A-GPS, GPS, GLONASS
- IP68 Certified, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Screen
- 4200mAh non-removable battery
- Android Marshmallow 6.0
- Php 9,999
Design – Rugged as it can be
One look from the front makes gives you the impression that the Defender is no ordinary phone, with similar characteristics to a walkie-talkie it has a hard plastic coating on the sides along with another layer of hard rubber to protect the whole body.
The 4.7″ display is an IPS HD 720p display, it has good pixel density, decent colors and great brightness which we don’t mind at all for the screen size. But if we were to add a touch, we wished that the screen is already AMOLED especially for a 4.7″ screen.
The back isn’t any different either, holding the whole casing are four screws seen at the corners of the device. At the back is a military-inspired design along with the Cherry Mobile branding at the back where the sim is housed. At the bottom is even a latch for lanyards just in case you want to use it.
Holding the phone is another story, it’s quite thick and wide as compared to the usual phones it’s category. So imagine you’re holding a 5.5″ smartphone but chunkier, so the thoughts of one hand usage is very limited especially typing. Since the screen is 4.7″ only, traveling your fingers to the middle of the device to reach the keyboard will get some adjustments, we often make mistakes in the 1st 3 days but eventually adapted.
At the right side are the standard power and volume buttons for smartphone usage.
At the left is the special SOS button, black button for Push To Talk (PTT) and a dedicated camera shutter button.
The brand is also housing a special plate that protects the dual-sim tray and micro-sd slot. You would need to use the flat head screwdriver to remove the screws and access the bay.
As you can see you can insert two sims and 1 MicroSD for the Defender, if you look closely bits of dirt can be seen which are traces of our recent torture test.
At the bottom-front is a plate saying IP-68 which is too much of a statement for our opinion. We just hoped that Cherry had just removed this plate and replaced it or just completely removed it.
Touch buttons are located as well with the menu, home and back respectively, the menu button is rarely used now and we wished it was replaced as a recent apps key.
Flaps protect the headphone and micro USB ports. Cherry provided an extra set of flaps just in case the rubber wears out which is a nice gesture.
Performance – Just right
Powered by a Helio P10 processor, the Defender isn’t too bad itself as it has a lot of juice along with the 3GB RAM for multi-tasking. It got a respectable 48,753 points in AnTuTu benchmark version 6.2.7.
Casual gaming is permitted but the smaller screen wouldn’t really do justice for entertainment side purposes. But if there is a consolation, the back speakers are surprisingly loud though lacking in warmth for the bass.
Battery – It will last long
We are not joking, this phone is a monster with up to 2 days of battery life. Last new year’s eve, we charged the phone to full Dec 31, 2016, 10 am and unplugged it and celebrated the festivities and even withstand our heavy notifications of Facebook, Viber, Messenger about New year. Finally, it was January 2, 9 am before we needed to charge for another trip.
Now our notifications were sometimes via 4G LTE or via Wi-Fi depending on our location, but with decent brightness, we were able to last 2 days without any charge.
The battery efficient Helio P10 processor, decent 720p 4.7″ screen and monster 4200mAh battery was the perfect combination to achieve the long battery life. This phone is highly recommended to anyone who needs a long battery life.
Camera – Great detail but can still improve
Now the 18MP camera of the Defender is a bit puzzling, its interface is the same as previous or stock android phones but its response is a bit slow. This results to slow shutter speed and could lead to blurry photos for impatient people.
Cherry Mobile Defender Photos
Photos resulted in being sharp in detail, but zooming in will result in soft pixels which indicate that the camera is interpolated. Overall photos have good detail but lack color and a bit of dark in contrast which gives it a pale color impression.
The 8mp front camera is also struggling especially in capturing light, resulting in pixilated photos even in places well lit. Your patience might run out if you want to get the perfect selfie using the defender.
Video is unfortunately not good, colors are darker and cropping for the electronic image stabilization is too much which makes videos look pixelated. Plus we don’t understand why the format of videos is in .3gp which should have been mp4 by now for better encoding.
Hopefully, this can be solved with a software update as the camera is quite good, it’s decent enough for a rugged smartphone but can improve more.
Gripes / Flaws: Semi-Proprietary Port
Somehow the only hindrance we saw for the Defender is being too protective. We understand the flaps protect either the headphone jack or micro-USB port, but it resulted that the ports to be deeper than usual.
This means you will need long head MicroUSB or 3.5mm jacks that are slim in body.
Unfortunately, this kinda made the Defender a semi-proprietary as we were not able to find a similar cable with a long head that could fit the defender. One hack we did is to cutter a micro-USB cable in order to reach the port, but this method isn’t really friendly at all.
We are glad to share that the defender survived our series of drop tests and torture test including a hard dip into the pool + run through the dirt which you have seen in the photos earlier.
Here is a closer look of the billiard test we did in the video above, we actually did it three times where two of the test hit the screen and one on the side frame.
Admittedly the Cherry Mobile Defender isn’t a phone for everyone, it targets people with a specific function or needs a smartphone that can literally survive what they do. Having a balanced process, decent screen and outstanding battery performance then we recommend the Cherry Mobile Defender.
Priced at Php9,990 it’s reasonably priced to fight against smartphones its price range, although with the semi-proprietary ports and average camera performance might be a deal breaker for some.
- The Good
- Impressive built and durability
- Outstanding battery life
- Great speakers at the back
- The Bad
- Sharp camera but pale colors
- Semi-Proprietary ports as it needs to have a long head
- Flaps opening can be sometimes a hassle