After giving you guys an in-depth look of the Infinity and Spectrum, it’s time for us to shift the spotlight over to its pleather-backed sibling, the Cherry Mobile Omega Icon. Check out our full review after the jump.
The Cherry Mobile Omega Icon is one of the four latest additions to the growing Omega family and was launched alongside the Omega Aeon, Infinity, and Spectrum. In terms of pricing, the CM Omega Icon sits way below the Php15K Infinity and just slightly above the Omega Aeon.
Design and Construction
Despite of the impressive design of Omega Infinity, we still think that the Omega Icon is the most handsome of the four Omegas that CM released in recent times. And it’s not just because of its faux leather back cover, rather the combination of the little things like its two-tone (silver and black) paintjob, reassuring heft, the fact that it neither too big nor too small and its faint resemblance to the Google/LG Nexus 5 especially when viewed head on.
Much of the real estate at the front is occupied by the Icon’s 5-inch 720p display with a small room for a trio of capacitive keys at the bottom. The 5MP front-mounted camera sits above the display and is neighbored by the earpiece and the “selfie” flash.
The borders of the Omega Icon are painted in silver which creates a separation between the all black front and back panels. It house all the usual suspects which includes the volume rocker on the left, power on the right, as well as the USB and Audio ports at the top.
Apart from the rear camera and LED flash at the top and the speaker grill at the bottom, the pleather-covered back side of the Omega Icon is mostly barren. It does, however, hides the two SIM card slots, the lone Micro-SD card slot and the handset’s 2000mAh battery from plain sight.
Display and Multimedia
Like the Omega Spectrum, the Icon is equipped with a 5-inch HD IPS screen which equates to a respectable pixel density of 294ppi. In addition to that, it also sports an Asahi Dragon Trail glass which is laid on top of the display to prevent minor scratches.
It all sounds good on paper, but during our time with the handset we noticed that a few issues with the screen, one in particular is the vignetting (light fall-off), or Color Gradient if you will, around the edges of the display which is very noticeable when viewing contents with dark colors. Furthermore, some areas of the screen, especially round the edges are sometimes unresponsive to touch inputs.
Our woes extend to the audio department. Not only was sound distorted and lacked any hint of bass in it, the overall output was too soft for our liking that we often find ourselves cupping the backside just to get an audible sound out of its loudspeaker (if you can call it that).
OS, UI and Apps
Unlike with their other handsets, Cherry Mobile went for a more stock Android experience on the Omega Icon. Gone are the fancy customizations, funny looking icons, and stuff that you probably don’t need and just went for an almost Vanilla Android Jelly bean.
We say “almost Vanilla” since there’s still a few pre-installed third-party apps like the Start lockscreen app from Celtick, Kakao Talk and CM’s own apps store which, coincidentally, eats up some of the space on the handset’s modest 4GB internal storage. Other than that though, we think most Android users will appreciate the simplicity of the UI.
Performance and Benchmark
One of the many things that the Icon shares with the Aeon is the engine. Both devices are powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 chipset and have 1GB of RAM to boot. Such configuration makes these phones an interesting proposition for frugal folks who want an extra oomph on the performance end.
Based on our usage, we felt that the Icon performed slightly better compared to its MediaTek counterparts. We didn’t encounter any issues when multi-tasking and we were able to play Dead Trigger 2 on it without too much hiccup.
Quadrant Standard: 8,034
Vellamo: 1698 (Browser) / 615 (Metal)
If you happen to have the CM Omega Icon inside your pocket on a bright and sunny day, you’re most likely to be satisfied with the quality of the pictures you’ll get out of its 13-megapixel rear camera. The images come up with nice contrast and the colors are decently reproduced.
However, as the light slowly deteriorates, so does the quality of the image. The Icon’s 13MP snapper couldn’t quite compensate properly in poorly lit conditions and its accompanying LED flash doesn’t seem to help its cause either because it just doesn’t have enough pop to illuminate the subject.
The same can be said when recording videos. While it’s capable recording clips under broad daylight, we wouldn’t exactly recommend it for capturing videos indoors or when there’s insufficient amount of light.
Qualcomm has proven time and again that their Snapdragon processors are both powerful and energy efficient, and the Snapdragon 200 at the heart of Omega Icon is no different.
During our video loop test, we got around 7 hours of mileage on a single full charge. This is quite a feat considering that the smartphone is only equipped with a 2000mAh battery pack.
The Cherry Mobile Omega Icon serves as a proof that budget smartphones can be both beautiful and, at the same time, powerful. We were impressed by how well the Snapdragon 200 performed in light-to-moderate tasks and the fact that the processor doesn’t take too much toll on the smartphone’s measly battery.
But as with any other budget handset out there, the OEM has to cut corners in order to keep the price down. Most of them opt for a more generic design, hence the crappy-looking devices we often see on the entry-level segment. However, in the case of the Omega Icon, Micromax gave it respectable look in exchange for a subpar display and appalling speaker. Well, it only goes to show that you can’t have it all.
Cherry Mobile Omega Icon specs:
5-inch HD IPS display, 294ppi
Asahi Dragontrail Glass
1.2GHz MSM8212 quad-core CPU
4GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
13 megapixel rear camera w/ flash
5 megapixel front camera w/ flash
Android 4.3 Jellybean
What we liked about it:
* Great design
* Sturdy build
* Snappy performance
* Decent camera performance (well-lit and outdoors)
* Front-facing flash for selfie addicts
* Impressive battery life
What we didn’t like:
* Crappy display
* Poor sound output/quality
* Not compatible with all headset/earphones