It’s been a year since Google first came out with the Android One initiative and since that time, the project has managed to spread its wings, entering several markets in Asia, Europe and even Africa. Even though Google’s vision of an affordable, unadulterated Android phone hit rough patches, the search company isn’t giving up on the Android One initiative, and has slowly introduced new phones for the project. Cherry Mobile’s One G1 is the second generation Android One smartphone, and is probably the best of the bunch in terms of size, performance, usability and price.
Cherry Mobile One G1 specs
- 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 5-inch HD display, Dragontrail scratch resistant glass, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 13-megapixel rear camera with flash
- 5-megapixel front camera
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- 2,500mAh battery
Bigger, better, easier to use
While the first Android One smartphone of Cherry Mobile, dubbed the “One” was affordable and had Android Lollipop on board, it wasn’t what you’d call a powerhouse. Powered by the aged MediaTek MT6582 processor and possessing a 4.5-inch FWVGA display, the One held limited appeal to consumers who wanted a smartphone that had little bit more oomph. The One G1 solves many of the issues the original – it has a bigger, higher resolution display, more RAM and more importantly, a better processor along with LTE.
The overall design of the One G1 won’t blow you away, with Cherry Mobile going for a more utilitarian look this time around. Not that that’s a bad thing – the curved back of the One G1 makes the phone easier to hold, and the matte black back helps with the grippiness of the device thanks to its slightly rubbery texture. There are silver strips of plastic on the side of the One G1 to give it visual variety.
Up front you’ll see the 5-inch, HD display protected by Dragontrail Glass. The phone’s bezels are just right, and since the device uses on-screen Android navigation buttons, the top and bottom bezels are rather small. The earpiece is at the top, flanked on the left and right by an LED notification light and the front facing 5-megapixel camera, respectively. The volume rocker and power button are located on the right side, while the 3.5mm jack is located on top while the USB port is located on the bottom.
The phone uses a removable back, which exposes the two SIM slots, along with the microSD expansion slot. The 2500mAh battery is removable.
At its core, the phone is powered by Android 5.1 Lollipop. Since it’s part of the Android One initiative, the One G1 has no bloatware or a custom UI. It, along with the phones in Google’s Nexus program, are the very definition of the Android experience, which is obviously the whole point of choosing it over a myriad of other phones in the market. The phone is also guaranteed to receive Android Marshmallow once it’s ready, and other Android versions for up to two years.
Not the fastest processor, but Snapdragon 410 can still make quite a dent
Phones in the Android One initiative receive hardware that’s been certified by Google themselves, so phones under the program don’t necessarily have the latest and greatest hardware compared to its peers. That’s the reason why the original Android One phone by Cherry Mobile came with a dated MediaTek MT6582 quad-core processor at a time when octa-core processors were becoming the norm.
The One G1 still doesn’t come with an octa-core processor, but at least the hardware has improved. The One G1 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor running at 1.2GHz, paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It’s not an ideal combination for people looking for a phone that’s insanely fast, but the Snapdragon 410 processor is fast enough for most people, and is certainly up to the task of keeping the One G1’s user experience fast and fluid. It’s also thermally sound, meaning it doesn’t overheat as badly as Qualcomm’s other offerings and is very power efficient, which gives the One G1 more endurance over other, faster phones with the same battery capacity.
As far as gaming performance goes, the One G1 won’t wow you – Marvel’s Future Fight worked alright, though we got hit by lag once in a while especially with a lot of enemies on screen. Other, less demanding games like CoC ran fine on the One G1. Navigating through the One G1 was fast and fluid, without any issues whatsoever.
Camera is so-so
On paper the One G1’s 13-megapixel should be able to take decent photos. We use the word should, because that’s not always the case. We found that the One G1’s capabilities in taking snaps is directly influenced by the amount of light that’s available. Shooting during overcast skies (like the ones we’ve been having lately) means your photos will come out dull and muted, though utilizing the device’s HDR mode alleviates at least some of those issues.
Overall the photos are acceptable but aren’t ideal, but that’s pretty much par for the course for devices in the One G1’s price bracket.
Battery life that just won’t quit
If there’s one thing we like about the One G1’s processor choice, it’s longevity. Since the Snapdragon 410 is a power-efficient processor, the One G1 is able to keep going even with heavy use. On our PCMark Battery benchmark, the One G1 managed to record a score of six hours and twelve minutes, which is amazing considering the phone only has a 2,500mAh battery. We regularly managed to get a full day of really heavy use out of the One G1’s battery, and we’re sure that most people will be able to extend the One G1’s battery life even further with moderate or light use.
Verdict: A poor man’s Nexus, and every bit as good
Google’s Android One program has managed to finally release a phone that’s worthy of initiative. The Cherry Mobile One G1 improved on all of the faults of the previous device, and addressed many of the concerns of tech media when they finally got their hands on it. A better screen, more RAM, LTE and more importantly, a faster processor all contributes to a phone that even Motorola’s Moto G series of devices would fear. We’d even wager to call it a poor man’s Nexus 5, as it delivers almost exactly the same experience for far less.
The Cherry Mobile One G1 is priced at Php 5,999.