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February 23, 2013

Cherry Mobile Thunder Review

Cherry Mobile’s latest affordable smartphone packs quite a punch. It features a 4.5-inch screen, a dual-core processor and dual-SIM capabilities. Hearing the Thunder is one thing, but there is more to it than we speak. Read our full review after the break.

The CM Thunder made quite when Lazada announced it’s going to be offered exclusively in their online store for a very competitive price of Php4,999.

Design & Construction

The Thunder is a tank. It’s one of the most solidly built phones of this class – no creaking, no soft spots, no flaws. Of course, just like a tank, it’s heavy and its design certainly looks uninspired. Up front is the screen, the earpiece, the front-facing camera and the three capacitive buttons – menu, home and back. The menu button looks like a multitasking button, which may confuse some people, but that won’t prove to be a problem anyway.

All around the phone is a dark chrome casing, including the volume rocker on the left and the power button on the right. Up top is the audio jack and the micro USB port. Only the microphone is to be seen down below.

On the back you’ll find the camera surrounded by chrome as well, together with the Thunder & Cherry Mobile branding and the speakers. The only problem that we saw was the weight and design. It’s not ugly, but it could use some improvement.

Display

The first time I powered the device on, I mistook it for having a qHD display when in fact it’s just a 4.5-inch FWVGA display. That’s how clear the display works regardless of the pixel density of 218ppi. The colors lacked the vibrancy that we wanted, but it certainly has fidelity.

display

Viewing angles were good as well from the sides and from the bottom, but when you look at it from an angle up top, there is major discoloration.

OS, Apps and UI

The Thunder runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a couple of removable apps – Cherry Fun Club, Cherry Market, ClickTheCity, eWarranty, Kabayan and more. We didn’t find any use for some of them, but it’s a joy cause they are uninstallable.

There aren’t many customized elements found in the phone, and basically it’s stock Android all the way, love it or hate it. There are bugs with the software also. For example, pressing the back button on the messaging app won’t close it – and putting the video recording settings beyond high will cause the camera app to close.

Multimedia and Camera

They don’t call this phone Thunder for nothing. The speakers are loud and clear, and video playback is quite bad but only because of the display. On landscape orientation, there will be slight discoloration which is very annoying to the eyes.

camera

We’ve spent quite some time with this phone, and one of the things we didn’t like was the camera. The camera on the back takes too much space and it creates an impression that it is a large sensor, when it fact it barely does things done.

The 5 megapixel camera takes muddy shots, and very noisy shots when not in good lighting. Apart from that, there’s no LED flash so say goodbye to clear photographs. Oh, and just in case you’re rushing to take a photo, it’s bad as well due to camera lag. If you want good photos, keep your subjects and your hands still.

Video recording isn’t any better. As you can see in our sample video, the room is well lit, but when the Thunder starts taking videos, it fails miserably. Early in the video, you’ll find some weird pixelation which is also present in green when playing in the phone itself. We’re not sure if this is a camera bug, but it really sucks either way. It does better in direct sunlight, but again, it’s barely close to decent.

Performance & Battery Life

Pressing the capacitive buttons down below was very slow. It responses but it takes a second for it to register. The screen is responsive as well, but you can notice the lag between slides.

The Thunder got 2,762 on Quadrant, 26.3 on Nenamark 2 and 6,765 on Antutu. Decent, and the CPU does really well. We think what we have to blame here is the RAM and the responsiveness. It’s okay for the most part, but not for impatient people.

battery

Battery life is great on this one. It can get us through one and half day’s moderate use; for heavy users, it will last for a day so don’t forget to charge.

Conclusion

We’ve said it in this review and we’ll say it again because it’s the perfect metaphor: the Thunder is a tank. It’s solid, uninspired, quite slow and not one used for creative purposes but it can surely get things done. A lot of the people I know mistook the phone for something else, and they didn’t believe it was only selling for Php4,999. Of course, with that price, you’re also buying into camera compromises and software issues.

The Thunder can be bought exclusively from Lazada. See listing here.

Cherry Mobile Thunder specs:
4.5-inch FWVGA capacitive display (480 x 854 pixels)
1.0GHz dual-core processor
512MB RAM
4GB internal storage
microSD up to 32GB
3G/HSDPA
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1
GPS
5 megapixel rear camera (no flash)
VGA front-facing camera
Li-Ion 1,800mAh battery
Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

What we liked about it:

  • Solid construction
  • Clear & crisp display

What we didn’t like about it:

  • Bad camera quality & no flash
  • Limited viewing angles
  • Unresponsive feedback
  • Noticeable Software bugs
YugaTech Giveaway: Cherry Mobile Thunder

42 Responses to “Cherry Mobile Thunder Review”

  1. JMBalicano
    Twitter: JMBalicano
    says:

    The back looks like a fingerprint magnet too.

  2. Edgar says:

    The Thunder can be bought exclusively from Lazada? Even before you announced that on your previous article, I already saw it on some kiosk in Southmall. So it’s not proper to say it’s exclusive.

    • yuga says:

      This is based on Lazada and CM’s initial agreement. It is possible that several units were already shipped out to retail stores when the agreement was sealed. The other possibility is that those retail stores might have bought from Lazada and resold them elsewhere.

      Same case with the iPhone , I guess. even if they were exclusive to Globe and Smart, you can still get units from Green Hills and other online stores.

  3. angelo
    Twitter: technohunk08
    says:

    just want to ask about the graph under “Performance & Battery Life”, the first phone is one x and it has the highest among the smart phone. Now, what does it mean?

    • yuga says:

      The benchmark charts will only show common devices that are within the range of the results of the device. It does not mean that if it’s on the top, it’s #1. There are other devices that have higher scores but cannot be accommodated in the chart.

  4. ty ser says:

    another phone that can go in the trash bin! yey! hahaha.,budget-friendly but not money-wise..CM trols…

  5. tmcr7 says:

    I think you’re too harsh on a 5k phone.

    • Bob Freking says:

      I was thinking about the same thing. The problem is. there are many more competitors within the same price range. Add a little more and you can even get something way better. It’s good for its price individually, but among competition, it can do better.

  6. Gtp says:

    Bob can you give me a phone that is within 4999-5999 that has dual core

  7. garz says:

    Let’s go Thunder!

  8. Jason Kua says:

    Mukhang s2 lang ah.

  9. rico says:

    i will definitely not buy this one! piece of junk

  10. Jarren says:

    For me this thunder of cherry mobile is weak. Sa unang tinggin ko palang madali masira lalo n ung Battery. Para naman sa Design ng Body ng thunder weak din pag professional ka na gagamit niyan parang nakakahiya gamitin. Para naman sa Software and Solution ng Screen napaka weak. Walang ganda… Mas matinu pa unng Myphone jan.

    • tryman says:

      Bakit ka bibili ng 5k worth na phone kung professional ka, nasubukan mo na ba ung phone? nahawakan mo na ba? Baka nga wala ka pambili nian eh kung mag comment ka. wew

    • Khristian says:

      another Myphone Employee!!! mas ok na to kesa may mapa ng pilipinas sa likod..hahaha

    • doy says:

      Bakit nandito ka? nag hahanap ka ba ng mura ? alam namin lo budget ka. at nag hahanap ka ng mura. gusto mo ba ma mura bobo ka ?

  11. exe says:

    What a pretty frank and bold review. Its very unusual for Yuga to say negative thoughts in his reviews but when he does, I pity the device he is reviewing.

    • me says:

      Yuga did not write this. please read the whole article up to the end where the writer’s name is indicated.

      Just bcoz its in yugatech doesnt mean he writes all the article.

  12. Rosenberg says:

    Mas superfast ang 6inch Titantv with 1gb ram.

  13. Jowen Palmaria
    Twitter: riyuwenji
    says:

    Well they must upgrade their RAM.

  14. Kitten says:

    Lot’s of bashes for CM.

    Well, between all the local phones in the market, it seems to me that CM is the one that’s really out there. And based on experiences from friends, they are quite happy with their Titan, Blaze and thunder. You couldn’t really complain given the price.

    If you use it for a phone and really just checking out your facebook, twitter and other social sites, it serves it’s purpose. I just hope that CM will improve their camera in the future.

  15. TacticalNinja says:

    What I don’t get here are people complaining about bad specs of a cheap-o phone. To me, any smart phone below the Php 15,000 range is considered a cheap-o phone, and I wouldn’t expect to see good specs with *very* solid builds (kung meron man edi okay). But if it’s a phone with a reputable name/brand/manufacturer with >= Php 15,000 range, that’s the only time that I’d care to say “WEAK”, “PANGET SPECS”, “PANGET CAMERA” (kung talagang panget man) because at those prices–specs should be considerably good.

  16. ryza samson says:

    Bakit sung thunder qo 1gig Lang ang internal memory eh 4gig nkakagay as box/ pls help po

  17. JR says:

    Good phone fast in gaming at very responsive and touch screen i have this phone na super sulit talaga unlike sa iPhone 4 na 1GHZ na Cortex A8 lng ang processor.

  18. boybata says:

    compatible pu ba d2 ung subway surf?

  19. renzy says:

    oo nga,1 gb lang din internal memory ng sken.. bat gnun to? sa mga games ok nmn tu.. panget pang text,, mas ok pa galaxy mini

  20. Nel says:

    I took a risk of buying this phone. Now, I have a CM Thunder and I have no regrets so far. Fair enough considering its price. Good battery life, minimal lags and never pa nag-crash ang mga apps. Regarding the camera, I downloaded a camera app kasi hindi masyadong maganda yung default cam niya.

    Satisfied naman ako overall.

    Nakakasawa na din kasi yung bibili ka ng sobrang mahal na phone tapos sobrang bilis naman mag-depreciate ng value.

  21. cherry mobile thunder is one of cheapest but good at its price.. fast internet browsing, fast game response, hd video player, multitasking, and multi touch. i bought one and infact, i used it to post here.

    • Lei says:

      Hi. Ask ko lang po. Kasi may nabasa ako na hindi makapaglipat ng apps sa memory card unless nakaroot yung phone? Totoo po ba? Thanks.

  22. popoybato says:

    ano po ba mas maganda CM Thunder, Huawei Ascend Y300 or O plus 8.52 ? Thanks.

  23. popoybato says:

    ano po ba mas maganda CM Thunder, Huawei Ascend Y300, O plus 8.52 thanks :)

  24. bahoutottae says:

    for short… this phone is a trash… for poor people and no money tang ina ang babaho nyo pag ganyan ang phone ko itatapon ko

    • Name: JuanDelaCruz says:

      @bahoutottae…

      yeah ryt…. this phone cud be a trash for you “GSM fanboy”, but it cud be a treasure for others, if ever your gonna have one, instead of throwing it away, why not atleast try & learn using it, and if its too much for your bird brain to handle just give it away as a charity, that way we’ll know that you are rich and not as bad as your stinkin name describes you…chill

    • LL says:

      Why bother checking articles about CM phones? ibig sabihin isa ka din sa mga “POOR PEOPLE” na sinasabi mo. If I know, hanggang sa mga review mo lang nararamdaman / na-sasatisfy ang sa sarili mo na may smartphone ka, because u can’t afford it, even this na tinatawag mong “trash”.I have work but i would still prefer buying cheaper but working products, specially mobile phones na ang bilis maglabas ng bago at mabilis bumagsak ang value.. If there is trash here, that’s your brain, stupid.

  25. Rowena ranalan says:

    Kakabili ko kahapon sa cm thunder.
    Bakit poh pag naka charge cya grabe subrang init.
    My defect bah ang battery or ang unit nya?

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Written by

Bob Freking writes, edits, & renders for YugaTech. He is also currently studying Business Administration in UST. You can contact, follow or tweet him at @bobfreking. For all his social media links, you can go to https://tinyurl.com/bobfreking

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