• Wednesday, January 23, 2013

      Cherry Mobile Fusion ice ICS tablet review

      Cherry Mobile has launched, yet another low-end ICS tablet that's light on the budget but heavy on features, it sells at around 3,690php, now that's low-end at its lowest, a price tag that directly compete with the generic no name tablets that you can buy at your local tiangge.

      The Fusion ice as CM named it is actually known as the Altina A600 in China, in fact the Opera app store still recognizes it from its former brand, a product originally manufactured by Ainol, which was then re-branded by Cherry Mobile then was reintroduce thereafter as the fusion ice........ I bought this tablet for my 4yr old son basically to aid him learn the alphabets, numbers, colors etc. until recently I found out that it was me who was reaching for it more. The Fusion ice is anything but flawless, something that you'd expect on a cheap device, the browser is a bit slow and it's not what you'd call a smooth web browsing experience, lags are visible too, but at such a low price it is almost forgivable.

      CM Fusion ice, Arnova 7 G2 comparison

      The CM Fusion ice and Arnova 7 G2 both clocks at 1Ghz, Fusion ice using A13 processor and the Arnova 7 G2 with Cortex A8 both having the same amount of RAM (512MB). Based on user experience and live side by side comparison, the Arnova 7 G2 out-perform the Fusion ice in almost all aspect, except gaming, the features highlighted the most was browsing speed, stability and responsiveness, the Arnova 7 G2 clearly was on top of the Fusion ice, but surprisingly, benchmark results using Quadrant Standard tell a rather different story; results shows that the Fusion ice have better overall performance than the Arnova 7 G2, scoring a total of 2,128 while the Arnova 7 G2 only got 1,021 barely half of what the Fusion ice had scored.

      Fusion ice benchmark result

      Surprisingly, with an emphatic lead over well known brands like HTC Desire HD and Samsung Nexus S, scoring a total of 2128.

      Arnova 7 G2 benchmark result

      Lags far behind the bottom position with a total score of only 1021.

      LCD on the Fusion ice is sharp and is capable of playing HD videos up to 2160p, unfortunately it suffers from poor viewing angles, "a catch from the price" it's kind of cliche` to see a 7 inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio it became the norm for most tablets, however, the Fusion ice is unique, it is the only 7 inch tablet with 4:3 aspect ratio that I've seen so far. The square screen provides better room for your fingers to move around and give better visuals on your documents and presentations, it also did great in displaying web pages; in a tablet's perspective. Music on the other hand is great on the Fusion ice I was completely blown away by the audio quality that this cheap device could give whether on speakers or headset. The mono speaker at the back of the tablet is loud, loud enough to fill up a mid-sized room and is great in watching online videos and playing games without the hassle of a headset wire.

      The battery life is a tablet user's must-know feature and has great effect on the device overall ratings, fortunately the Fusion ice dealt with it with flying colors, the 3700mAh battery lasted for more than 4 hrs of non-stop use and gave me at least 2 days of standby time, though charging time is frustratingly long, still, fare enough for such a cheap device.

      Internet browsing may be full of disappointments on the Fusion ice but Skype on the other hand will greatly exceed your expectations for a device as cheap as this, I did a lot of Skype calls with this tablet and so far it handles it well, conversations between two parties are well understood, all features of Skype are in working order including video calls, I actually prefer using the Fusion ice for Skype calls rather than my W500 Titan mainly because of its bigger screen.

      CM Fusion ice as a gaming console

      The Fusion ice is quite a gaming machine, the combination of a 1Ghz A13 processor with mali 400 GPU and a 5 point touch panel did well in handling games of sort, but still not strong enough to handle games like Dead Trigger and the likes, but to everything else you'll find it amusing here on the Fusion ice.

      Arcane Legends online RPG, I first had this on my Titan but later on I find the 5 inch screen a bit small for mmorpg games, so I decided to play it on the Fusion ice without any disappointments, honestly it did better on the Titan but the bigger screen put the Fusion ice on edge, you get to read the text and messages a lot clearer and see the mmorpg world in a bigger picture, more details on a sharp 7 inch screen.

      Predators, not much of a game too much expectations from fans put this game down but still a nice game to play with, it runs smooth on the Fusion ice and the 7 inch screen with 4:3 aspect ratio added more spice to the game.

      Call of Mini zombies, a zombie shooter game wherein you get to mingle with cute characters, even the zombies here are cute but not as cute as the zombie dogs, you'll have to fight your way a day at a time to finish a level, it is a fast pace full 3D shooter that feels almost at home on the Fusion ice.

      Bottom line: The Cherry Mobile Fusion ice may have its shortcomings, but given a chance, it still has a lot of good features to offer. For those who just wanted an ICS tablet experience and doesn't want to burn holes in their pockets, this tab is for you.

      PROS: very affordable, comes pre-loaded with useful apps i.e, viber, Kingsoft office, ES task manager, instagram, excellent multi media device, capable in gaming, works well with Skype, excellent slim design, decent battery life.

      CONS: slow browsing speed, visible lags, screen is warped. long charging time.


      PROCESSOR: 1Ghz A13 with mali 400 GPU.

      OS: Android 4.0 ICS.

      DISPLAY: 7 capacitive screen, 5 point touch panel, 4:3 aspect ratio, 800x600 resolution, 16 million colors.

      CAMERA: Front facing VGA 0.3 mega pixels.

      MEMORY: 8GB(ROM), 512MB(DDR3), expandable via micro SD 32gig max.

      USB: High speed USB 2.0, mini USB.

      WIFI: 802.11 b/g/n.

      BATTERY: 3700mAh.

      Monday, January 14, 2013

      Turn your DSi XL into an e-book reader (DsLibris)

      The DSi XL is the 4rth iteration in the DS family, in 2004 Nintendo made waves when they release their first DS and now after a mere decade of gaming supremacy, the bell starts to toll on the DS's life, sadly Nintendo has plans of pulling out the life support on the DS anytime this year, infact according to my resources only a handful of DS games will be scheduled for release this 2013, after that its sayonara DS.

      Cheer up! you can still make use of the DS by turning it into an e-book reader and what a fine e-reader the DSi XL can be, those massive dual 4.2 inch screen is an essential tool for book reading and no other e-reader could provide you with what the DSi XL could do; "you get to read it by holding it like a real book", but first you'll have to install the DsLibris homebrew app, the download link is in my DOWNLOADS AND EXTRAS, you'll also need an R4i (DSi/DSi XL) users or R4 (DS/DS Lite) users, after downloading the DsLibris zip file extract whatever is in there, then copy all the extracted files in the root folder of your sd card, when done insert the sd card back to your R4/R4i, turn the DSi XL on, press update and enjoy.

      DsLibris MANUAL

      E-book format = epub
      E-book location = book folder

      CONTROLS (in portrait mode)

      Left D-pad = back
      Right D-pad = forward
      A button = forward
      B button = back
      X button = toggles screen mode day/night
      Y button = brightness level
      Touch screen left side = back
      Touch screen right side = forward
      Start button = back to main screen
      Select button = bookmark
      Up, Down D-pads = scroll trough bookmarks

      Tuesday, January 8, 2013

      Cherry Mobile W500 Titan Review

      Cherry Mobile released their next generation line of dual-core android smartphones and somehow CM have managed to keep the price down regardless of the good feedback they got from these devices, one of which is the W500 Titan, the price is insanely low for a phone with this stature, at 6,500 pesos I got it just in time for the holidays.

      After testing the Titan for more than 20 minutes I got impressed almost immediately, CM had redeemed itself from the negative impression that I had from their previous phone (the ultra crappy W50 Touch phone). The Titan feels sturdy and looks solid, it has a minimalistic design written all over it, in fact it only has 2 hardware buttons overall, the power button on top and the volume rocker on the right side. The Titan boasts a generous 5 inch capacitive touch screen with (480x800) resolution, it's not the sharpest 5 inch screen out there, however, considering the price, you actually get the most out of it. The processor is the Titan's major asset it sports a 1 GHz dual-core Mediatek processor (MT6577), as expected, it gets the job done; browsing speed is fast, it opens and closes apps at great speed, scrolling through web pages, pinching in and out is seamless, there's hardly any lag on this one, it also comes with a Power VR GPU (SGX531), this Power VR model may be outdated but it already had proven itself in handling 3D graphics well, in the later portion of this article I'll show you how the Titan handles 3D gaming.

      What I do like about the Titan; it already comes pre-installed with useful apps such as Viber and Opera browser and out of the box it comes with a leather flip case that automatically sleep the device when closed you'll also get a screen protector as a bonus, nice move Cherry Mobile.

      In order to keep the price down, obviously some sacrifices must be made, in the Titan's case it is only blessed with a 512 MB of RAM and it suffers from poor camera performance, don't get it wrong low RAM doesn't mean slow performance, it's just that you can't open apps as much as you want and some games that uses more than half of it will seldom crash and games with a requirement of a 1 Gig RAM is out of the picture i.e, Justice league and Avenger's Initiative. The camera on the Titan is terrible CM claims it's a 5 meg shooter but is it? The Alcatel OT918N's 3 meg shooter takes better picture, to make things even worst, the LED flash only covers a limited range, and the auto-focus feature is a bit messed up, but it's not too much of an issue for me, for I don't normally take pictures on a smartphone except for FB purposes, besides, all those numerous positive features will let your brain automatically ignore those few negative ones.

      A smartphone ain't so smart if it's always out of juice, guess what? we're in luck the Titan runs ICS and some agreed that ICS is the most energy efficient firmware of android and to top it all, the Titan holds a battery capacity of 2,350 mah that will give you at least 3 days of standby time, more than a day and a half with wifi on and with moderate use it will surely last you a day, come to think of it, it's a smartphone with 5 inch screen, fare enough!

      The Titan as a music player is great it comes with a built-in equalizer and sound effects like bass boost and 3D effect, if in any way you find yourself craving for more enhancements, then feel free to download 3rd party music enhancement app via Google Play or better yet, use Dr. Dre headphones, the Titan uses a 3.5 mm jack, which will allow you to choose from a wide array of headphone brands.

      ShadowGun HD The Leftover (expansion pack)

      Dead Space HD

      Dead Trigger

      The Titan is quite impressive as a gaming console, truly the Power VR GPU is on a league of its own, it delivers high definition 3D graphics with jaw dropping qualities. Here are the list of games I currently have on my Titan; Dead Trigger, ShadowGun HD The Leftover, Dead Space HD, Splinter Cell Conviction, Contract Killer zombies, Predators and Death Dome. These are graphic intensive games and demands a lot from your system, surprisingly the Titan handles it well, an example of what a dual-core and Power VR can do, Dead Space HD is by far the most impressive of all, it looks great on a 5 inch display, despite having limited screen qualities, the Power VR still delivers it well in a 480x800 screen resolution and not even a slight graphical details have been compromised, the PSVita suddenly have an alternative and a cheaper one too. Next on my list is ShadowGun HD The Leftover, if you got a 20k android tablet that runs ShadowGun, well I got my 6,500 peso version and it runs it just as good.....with the Titan you'll never need a pure breed gaming handheld.

      BOTTOM LINE: Who would have thought that a device as affordable as the Titan can do pretty much everything we need, which most of as thought is only plausible on high-end devices, most consumers stay away from cheap devices as far away as they can because of the stereotype, experiencing the Titan, however, will change your perspective on that matter and will make you reconsider owning one. Cherry Mobile really do value our lifestyle.


      OS: Android, ICS 4.0.4

      PROCESSOR: Mediatek 1ghz dual-core (MT6577), Power VR GPU (SGX531)

      SCREEN: LCD 5 inch capacitive touch panel (480x800)

      ROM: 4GB/512RAM

      MEMORY: micro SD up to 32 GB

      NETWORK: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900/UMTS 2100

      CONNECTIVITY: WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1/ micro USB

      CAMERA: 5MP back with LED flash/ VGA front

      OTHERS: 2,350mah battery, 3.5 mm audio jack

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