Cherry Mobile Iris Review
A few years ago, smartphone security mostly depended on PIN codes or swipe patterns. It then moved to biometrics using fingerprint and iris scanners. While the former is now in plenty of Androids, the latter is yet to become mainstream. Cherry Mobile aims to address that with the introduction of the affordable Cherry Mobile Iris.
Design and Construction
The Iris looks like your typical Cherry Mobile budget handset. It’s made out of plastic with a decent build but don’t let the modest look fool you. Upfront is the 5-inch display.
The display is bordered by a fair amount of bezel separating it from the trio of capacitive keys below and a number of sensors on top where the main feature of the phone is found. Aside from the usual front-facing camera and proximity sensor, there’s another camera that sees in the dark and scans your pupils with the help of infrared.
When it comes to build, it is made out of polycarbonate with rounded corners. The volume rocker and power-lock keys are both situated on the right-hand side leaving the left voided of any.
The bottom end of the phone only has the microphone as the micro-USB port and 3.5mm jack are located on top.
The rear of the phone features a clean design with just the main 8MP camera smacked in the middle with its LED flash on the side. The loudspeaker is located just at the lower end.
On the hand, the Iris feels far from premium due to its plastic body. However, it’s light and easy to handle due to its small size. It also doesn’t show any sign of creaking even with its removable backplate.
Display and Multimedia
The Iris sports a standard 5-inch IPS LCD packing 1280 x 720 pixels or equal to a decent pixel density of 294ppi. Colors are good with wide-viewing angles. Overall, it will suffice for viewing photos and videos.
As for its loudspeaker, it doesn’t have any noticeable bass so it sounds tinny. Its loudness is lacking as well although audible enough for handsfree voice calls. That said, you’re better off using a headset or an external speaker.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the operating system is Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Cherry Mobile kept most of it stock which is good. Pre-installed apps are kept to a minimum and only includes Google and Cherry Mobile’s own apps.
The latter might not sit well with some users, particularly the Enjoy app which puts ads on your lock screen in exchange of points. This delays the unlocking process which is very annoying. Not to mention there’s the occasional in-UI pop-up ads and notification ads as well.
Other apps include the Cherry Fun Club, Cherry Play, Cherry Prepaid, Movie Club and the new Chums Live which lets you view live broadcasts of models.
Storage-wise, you’re only starting with a measly 8GB with only 4.18GB left for the user. There’s a dedicated microSD card slot though should you wish to expand it.
Since this is an entry-level smartphone, the Iris is only equipped with an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front. Images produced have soft details with inconsistent color reproduction. Greens come out either dull or vibrant. Reds, on the other hand, are blown out. White balance seems to be off as well and tends to go from too warm to too cool. As for the front camera, it will suffice for casual selfies but don’t expect stunning quality.
As for its video recording prowess, it maxes out at 1080p at 30fps in MP4 format. Quality is similar to stills with some oversharpening. Watch the sample below:
Performance and Benchmarks
Setup of the iris scanner is fairly simple and straightforward. It’s even faster than the cumbersome setup of a fingerprint scanner. Just tick the settings to use iris scanning for unlocking then let the phone peek into your eyes during initial setup and you’re done.
Unlocking with the iris scanner takes less than a second which is impressive. It even works with eyeglasses on. However, we noticed that it works best when in low light. Using it outdoors, the scanner takes longer at about five seconds.
Powering the Iris is a MediaTek MT6580 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz and 1GB of RAM. That said, it’s not going to wow you in terms of speed and performance but it was smooth when it comes to basic tasks. As for gaming, we ran DC Legends and it was playable, although there is a noticeable drop in framerates in action-packed scenes. Check out the benchmark scores below.
* AnTuTu – 23,255
* Quadrant Standard – 7,712
* Vellamo – 1,147 (Multicore), 740 (Metal), 1,568 (Chrome)
* PC Mark – 1,567 (Work 2.0)
Connectivity and Call Quality
The Iris comes with basic connectivity features which include WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. It supports dual-SIM but only limited to 3G for mobile data. When it comes to call quality, the earpiece, although audible, sounds tinny which is not pleasant to the ears.
Providing juice to the Iris is a 2,300mAh removable battery which is below average. Considering the modest specs, it was able to last for around 7 to 8 hours with light calls and SMS and heavy social media browsing via WiFi. Using PC Mark’s battery bench, it was rated at just 6 hours and 38 minutes which is far from stellar.
If you look at the Cherry Mobile Iris’s specs, it’s far from impressive and won’t appeal to heavy users. However, it’s also one of the most interesting entry-level smartphones in the market thanks to its iris scanner. We actually enjoyed using it as it is accurate and responsive. Finally, we now have a smartphone for the masses with this kind of biometric feature.
On the downside, it doesn’t offer anything else which makes it boring over time. The good news though is that Cherry Mobile doesn’t ask much at Php3,499. With the launch of the Iris, we believe that the company is just testing the market for the said feature before introducing it to their future offerings.
Cherry Mobile Iris specs:
5-inch HD IPS LCD, 294ppi
1.3GHz MediaTek MT6580 quad-core processor
8GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 32GB
8MP rear autofocus camera w/ LED flash
5MP front camera
Dual SIM (Micro)
GPS w/ A-GPS
2,300mAh removable battery
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
* Fast and responsive iris scanner
* Affordable price
* Intrusive ads
* Underwhelming camera
* Short battery life
* Low internal storage
* No LTE