Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph Review
When Cherry Mobile announced the Alpha series, a lot of people were wowed mainly because they were bringing Windows to an affordable scale. The Alpha Morph is the 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, which as the name implies, morphs into something like a laptop with the detachable keyboard dock. So, did Cherry Mobile succeed in creating the ultimate affordable tablet-laptop hybrid? Read on our full review to find out.
Design and Construction
The Morph is off to a good start with its construction, but not so much in design. The front side is made and designed out of the things you’d expect from a 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, and the back is all soft touch material. The sides have a specific angling to them which makes the tablet comfortable to hold, but it still does have quite some heft.
The right side is clean from anything, below is the place for docking, above is the volume rocker, while the rest of the ports are on the left side, with matching labels for each! First off, the volume rocker on top is confusing, secondly, the ports could have lost the labels as it makes the Morph look cheap, and third, we wish the ports were evenly distributed across the device. The buttons aren’t so clicky either.
The Alpha Morph feels really nice in the hand, but using it was the thing that proved to have problems – it’s quite bulky while the buttons and ports were all too confusing and uninspiring.
There is a capacitive Windows Start button up front, and even when the device is asleep, it weirdly works – and that’s a bad thing. Simply touching the button will awaken the device.
A 10.1-inch 1280 x 720 LCD display rocks the front of the Alpha Morph, and we like it. You can make out with pixels if you look closely, but to the average consumer getting a device at this price range, it is more than satisfactory. It would have been better if it were slightly higher in pixel count, but it’s okay.
The colors and the viewing angles of this display are above average, and it’s fairly bright to be able to use outside but not in direct sunlight. We did however find the display showing off cooler tones than warmer ones, but it’s a small complaint.
Multimedia and Usage
A lot of people use tablets for their media, and if you happen to experience the Alpha Morph, you’ll find that watching videos on it is more than just enough. This is all due to, like what we’ve said, the colors, the good viewing angles and the decent resolution of the display. The audio you’ll hear on the other hand is only very similar to those you hear on smartphones, only a lot louder; it lacks depth and bass, and the highs and mids are the only ones heard for the most part. It’s decent, but having them firing off the back isn’t helping its case. Rest it on its back and you’ll get muffled sound – loud muffled sound nonetheless.
However, let’s be real. Not a lot of laptops even twice the price have stunning displays and great audio feedback, so these things aren’t really a bad thing to start with.
CM is packing in a keyboard dock for the Alpha Morph: it has no battery but it acts as a stand, hoping that you may look at the Alpha Morph as a machine to get tasks done. However, I honestly didn’t enjoy using it. The keyboard is cramped especially if you have big hands, the left and right clicks can only be accessed by holding down the Fn button and the trackpad is cramped and doesn’t feel good as well. On the bright side, the trackpad does support a few gestures like scrolling, and the keyboard is quite usable if you get used to it – but we really do advise you to get an external mouse (which will require you to use the bundled adapter, no USB port), because right clicking is a huge pain.
Another small thing is that when the tablet is docked, when you close it, the tablet doesn’t immediately turn the display off – which consumes battery and cause accidental presses when you forget to turn it off.
The cameras on the Alpha Morph aren’t anything special to talk about, just like any other Windows tablet for that matter. For the sake of describing it though, it’s usable for video chats online, but nothing more. Not even your selfies.
Performance and Benchmarks
Rocking an Intel Atom CPU at 1.33GHz, this device is a beast! I don’t see a lot of hiccups and lags especially on Windows 8.1, and with 2GB RAM, it’s far from disappointing as I find the performance comparable to other higher priced tablets rocking similar internals.
From multitasking with a few applications to going around YouTube videos and many other tabs in Chrome, the Alpha Morph is no slouch. You will be getting more than what you paid for when it comes to performance.
Here are the scores of the Alpha Morph in the Windows Experience Index:
- Processor: 5.9
- Memory (RAM): 4.5
- Graphics Score: 4.1
- Gaming Graphics: 4
- Primary Hard Disk: 6.9
- Base Score: 4
Do have to note that it does get hot on the lower left corner where you charge the device at times. It won’t burn your fingers, but it does get uncomfortable.
The 8,000mAh battery inside the tablet is mediocre at best. Watching a YouTube video from a full charge will only last you an hour on 50% brightness and 100% audio, but the life could be longer if you watch videos offline and if you have earphones on. The setting of the battery mode was set to balanced, as there were no other modes configured when reviewing the device out of the box. We also left the device asleep for a few days and it didn’t do so well conserving battery when not in use.
For most users, we suggest configuring your device well to conserve battery, and to hug a wall to charge when possible. You’ll be able to get stuff done with the Alpha Morph, but only enough for the day.
I like the Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph, because it’s the local company telling us that it’s not only interested in bringing only Android to the Philippines. With a 10.1-inch Windows 8.1 convertible coming from Cherry Mobile, people may finally be able to get some work done for just Php11,999.
However, it’s the little things that kill this tablet: waking up the display by accidentally tapping the capacitive button, not being able to sleep when you close it with the keyboard, bad button placements, a serious need for a mouse and more. Overall, the Alpha Morph is a great tablet for its price, but the experience you’re getting will be only equal to or less than what you paid for.
Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph specs:
10-inch HD IPS display @ 1280 x 720 resolution
1.33GHz Intel Z3735D quad-core processor
Intel HD Graphics – Gen 7
Up to 64GB via microSD
2MP rear camera with BSI sensor
2MP front camera
Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n
USB OTG ready
Windows 8.1 OS
Bundled Office 365, 1TB OneDrive
What we liked about it:
- Sturdy and solid soft-touch construction
- Loud speakers
- Trackpad supports scrolling gestures
- Keyboard case is still good to have despite flaws
- Great performance
- Bundled Office 365, 1TB OneDrive
What we didn’t like about it:
- Wakes up by the touch of the capacitive Start button
- Only 720p
- Cramped keyboard and trackpad
- Clicking with the keyboard case is a pain
- Display doesn’t turn off when closed with keyboard
- Gets hot
- Mediocre battery life