Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cherry Mobile Q1i Review

I borrowed a colleague's Cherry Mobile Q1i for a few days. This is the cheapest QWERTY phone in the Cherry Mobile line-up. It has a colored screen, slots for a micro SD card and two SIM cards, MP3 player and FM radio.

Let me go straight to my impressions:
  • Menu is okay and responsive - it's a typical MTK menu not much different from china phone menus.
  • You can use MP3s for ringtones and message alerts without any problems.
  • Aside from the occasional sticky key, the QWERTY keypad is responsive.
  • Call quality is good, more reliable than the average china phone. The processor is not too taxed by other features so call quality is not compromised.
  • The all-plastic case feels like you are holding a child's toy, which may be a plus or minus depending on your perspective.
  • Menu customization options are very limited: wallpapers cannot be changed outside the default 3 options.
  • Searching for names in your phonebook is not intuitive. You can hold down a key corresponding to the first letter of the phonebook entry, but it does not work everytime.
  • The MP3 player is crippled by the small underpowered speaker. You might need to convert your MP3s to mono, with a lower bit rate than 128K.
  • You can play MP3s and MIDIs, but not JPGs, 3GPs, or any other image/video files. Haven't tested other audio files aside from AACs, which does not work too.
  • Battery life is poor. Rated at 500mAh, do not expect this phone to go beyond one day of normal use. You might want to get a Class A Nokia battery with a larger capacity - but I did not actually check if this was possible.
  • Do not read the manual, unless you want to induce a headache with its small font and sometimes incoherent ramblings.
There you have it. The Q1i is a cheap call-and-text phone, nothing else. The assurance of a limited warranty only marginally places it at the same level with same-priced china phones. It is a good backup phone.

Here is a YouTube video (warning: shaky, low-res) showing the Q1i.

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