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Highlights

Cherry Mobile Desire R7 Plus Review




Cherry Mobile has started offering its Nougat-powered smartphones. One of them that is available now is the Desire R7 Plus. It’s a 5.5-inch smartphone with decent specs for everyday use and also a simple design. Here’s our review.

Design and Construction

The Desire R7 Plus is a typical candy-bar smartphone with a 5.5-inch display. There’s an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter although it doesn’t have a dedicated LED flash, unlike other Cherry Mobile handsets. There are no capacitive buttons as well as the handset uses on-screen navigation buttons.

Physical buttons are situated on the right-hand side namely the power/lock button and the volume rocker.

The left only has the card tray that accepts a nano and micro SIM card for dual SIM capability. The second slot also doubles as a space for a microSD card.

On top of the phone is the 3.5mm audio jack while the bottom end houses the micro-USB port and the microphone. There is also a pair of screws visible for repair services.

Checking out the back will show the rear camera bump housing a 13-megapixel shooter and its lone LED flash. A recessed fingerprint scanner is found just below the camera while the loudspeaker is located at the bottom right. The 3000mAh battery is sealed inside the chassis.

The phone is a solid piece of polycarbonate but it mimics the design of an all-metal unibody, complete with pseudo antenna lines. It would have been better to have an aluminum unibody though, as it will give some thumbs up for those who like better build material. Since it’s just plastic, it weighs less than your usual 5.5-incher.

Display and Multimedia

The display on the Desire R7 Plus is a 5.5-inch LCD panel with IPS technology. This gives the display wide viewing angles and good color reproduction. Although, it needs more saturation for a more pleasing picture.

The back-firing loudspeaker is adequate for a small enclosed room but you’re better off plugging in a pair of earphones. It gets muffled when placed on the table, so keep the speaker facing upward especially when you’re expecting an alarm in the morning.

OS, Apps, and UI

It’s just this quarter that Cherry Mobile has started to release budget devices running Android 7.0 Nougat. While 7.0 is not the latest Android version out there, it’s got the core Nougat features you’d expect like enhanced notifications and split-screen. We did encounter occasional app crashes especially with Opera Mini but it should just be a software issue that can be patched with an update.

The Desire R7 Plus doesn’t sport any skin on top of bare Android. You can easily customize the UI to your desire with the help of launchers available in the Play Store. A few Cherry Mobile apps are present including Cherry Fun Club, CPlay, and Movie Club. Cherry Prepaid’s Bonus Load and prepaid account app are also onboard. Other third-party apps like Enjoy and Info Center are pre-installed too but can be removed anytime.

Upon first boot, the handset gives 9.7GB of free space with its 16GB internal storage. You can pop in a microSD card into the card tray for additional storage. Keep in mind that it’s a hybrid card setup, so you’ll sacrifice the second SIM card for more bytes.

Camera

The shooters on board the Desire R7 Plus are more than capable of producing usable images. There’s a main 13MP rear shooter with a single LED flash and a pretty standard 8MP front-facing camera for taking selfies and whatnot. Even with Nougat, the camera launcher is as basic and bland as before. There are limited options and the UI is just uninspiring to use interact with, but it gets the job done.

The main shooter captures still images that are above average compared to its counterparts. They are detailed and have proper white balance most of the time, but we find the images to be oversharpened even though there are lots of light available. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, seems to struggle a bit in indoor lighting. It produces a bluish cast to the image making the environment cooler than it actually is. Here are some samples:

As for the video, well it shoots up to 1080p at a steady framerate of 30fps. It’s in .3gp format though with no .mp4 option available for a higher quality output. Check out the sample below:

Performance and Benchmarks

Since Cherry Mobile releases a number of devices within the same price range, the handsets have similar specs to each other. For the Desire R7 Plus, we have again the MediaTek MT6737 in the chipset department. It’s clocked at 1.3GHz with four cores. It has the Mali-T720 GPU on the side and gets help with the ample 3GB RAM.

General performance is okay with a few running apps in the background. The phone does start to slow down at times when memory hogging apps are open for quite a long period like Facebook Messenger’s chat heads. But, there’s nothing to worry about everyday usage (i.e. calling, texting, web browsing) as the 3GB RAM gives the phone more breathing space.

Gaming is relatively okay. Casual games are not an issue but graphic intensive titles need to be tweaked down in the settings to achieve a smooth framerate. Asphalt Extreme is playable in max settings while NBA 2K17 is better set at low to medium settings to avoid running into frustrating lags.

Here are the benchmark scores of the handset:

  • AnTuTu Benchmark v6.2.7 – 30254
  • Geekbench 4 – 578 (Single), 1601 (Multi)
  • PCMark – 2643 (Work 2.0), 3527 (Work 1.0), 1943 (Storage)
  • 3DMark – 108 (Sling Shot Extreme)

Call Quality and Connectivity

Calling on the Desire R7 Plus is just passable with its soft sounding earpiece. We always wish for a louder receiver when making calls over cellular networks. There’s no noise-cancelling microphone too.

As for its connectivity suite, we got Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 4G LTE. It’s got support for 700MHz Band 28 to get faster and better LTE reception whenever it’s available.

The GPS takes a minute or so to lock on but it’s accurate.

Battery Life

The Desire R7 Plus has a fairly large 3000mAh battery that’s sealed inside the polycarbonate case. With the PCMark (Work 1.0) battery test, it was able to last for 9 hours and 6 minutes.

It’s not that bad. It can easily last a full work day but you’ll have to keep your charger ready when you get home.

Conclusion

For sure, we are already flooded with handsets with same offerings and little differences. Perhaps what this particular handset can offer that others don’t are its Nougat OS and unibody polycarbonate casing. It looks decent too, perhaps even better if it’s in black.

For just Php5,999, there’s not much to ask about the Desire R7 Plus. Perhaps, we’re just really itching for something new and refreshing from local smartphone brands.

Cherry Mobile Desire R7 Plus specs:
5.5-inch IPS LCD @ 1280 x 720, 267ppi
1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 CPU
Mali-T720 GPU
3GB RAM
16GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 64GB
13MP rear autofocus camera w/ LED Flash
8MP front-facing camera
4G LTE w/ 700MHz Band 28
Dual-SIM (Micro + Nano)
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
GPS w/ A-GPS
Android 7.0 Nougat
3000mAh Non-removable battery

What we liked:

  • Nougat out of the box
  • Above average battery life
  • Decent camera
  • Lightweight

What we didn’t:

  • Soft sounding earpiece
  • Software bugs



This article was contributed by Daniel Morial, a film school graduate and technology enthusiast. He's the geeky encyclopedia and salesman among his friends for anything tech.

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