Specs of the Cherry Mobile Superion Odyssey (Price: P7,499):
1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek MT8389 chipset
PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU
8GB internal memory
microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
7.85-inch IPS display (1,024 x 768 resolution; 163ppi)
5-megapixel rear camera
2-megapixel front camera
Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
The Android tablet landscape isn't short of iPad mini knockoffs, so what's another one from a Philippine mobile brand? The Cherry Mobile Superion Odyssey even one-ups most of its near-identical competition, including the smaller iPad, with the addition of a SIM card slot for calls, texts, and 2G/3G data. It's already available nationwide for P7,499—less than half the price of the iPad mini with Retina display that's lacking the Odyssey's full range of telephony features.
Of course, the real question is whether or not its combination of iPad mini-inspired aesthetics, low price, and basic phone functions are enough to warrant a recommendation over either one of Apple's eight-inchers or just about every smaller-size budget tablet around. That's a tall order considering how great both generations of the iPad mini are and the abundance of compelling Android offerings. Either way, here's our review of the Cherry Mobile Superion Odyssey.
No surprises here, except maybe for the fact that the Odyssey is a smidge shorter and narrower than the iPad mini, owing to the latter's diamond-cut edges. It's hard to tell which device is lighter without a scale, which is definitely a plus for the Odyssey; you know how easy it is to carry the iPad mini. It's also a toss-up as to which one feels more comfortable to pick up and hold onto for long periods because both units have curved sides.
Of course, the more premium-looking, not to mention more expensive, iPad mini, with its unibody aluminum shell and first-rate craftsmanship, wins the beauty contest between the two. Despite its familiar appearance and silver, brushed-metal rear, what the Odyssey has in style, it lacks in execution. Case in point: the plastic trim, overly stiff hardware buttons, visible gaps on the sides—not to mention that it's impossible to remove the cover hiding the SIM and microSD card slots without getting that "I'm going to break this" feeling.
The overall package is a step above majority of devices in its price range, though, and the inclusion of a pulsating notification light is a nice touch.
The Cherry Mobile Superion Odyssey's screen measures 7.85 inches and has a resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels for a respectable density (by tablet standards) of 163 pixels per inch. As most IPS panels go, it delivers vivid colors and generous viewing angles, meaning you're more likely to get a better viewing experience on the Odyssey than on competing models without IPS technology. At high brightness settings, it's perfectly visible outdoors, even under direct sunlight. You'll also notice its black levels are fairly dark.
Just don't expect it to deliver the same performance as an iPad mini or a mid- to high-end offering; its color levels suffer from being a bit too saturated. You're looking at a sub-P8,000 tablet, after all.
Another thing to take note of: The Odyssey's software navigation buttons are blue, which is a departure from standard Android tablet keys. We neither love nor hate it, but we do find the switch from white to blue refreshing.
Cherry Mobile's Superion Odyssey runs a lightly themed version of Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and has a 1.2GHZ quad-core processor, PowerVR SGX 544MP, and 1GB of RAM inside. Internal memory maxes out at 8GB, though it is expandable via a microSD card up to 32GB in capacity. Given the specs, you'd expect it to operate with minimal slowdowns and crashes. And you're right: The tablet performs on a par with quad-core Androids in the bargain category.
It won't blow your mind in graphically intensive games and apps, but it lends itself well to basic tasks, such as playing movies and browsing the Web. It also did fairly well in benchmark tests, scoring 13,015; 4,735; 39.1 (fps); 1,563 (HTML 5); and 485 (Metal) in AnTuTu, Quadrant Standard, Nenamark 2, and Vellamo, respectively.
The call quality on the Odyssey is decent, even if we hardly ever use it to make or receive calls. Even with the aid of a headset to make things less uncomfortable, we still prefer using our phone as our go-to telephony device.
While on paper the tablet's 2- and 5-megapixel cameras above the display and on the rear seem good enough to match the optics of low-tier smartphones, in reality they leave much to be desired. The lack of an LED flash doesn't help either. In fact, the first iPad mini, with its 1.2- and 5-megapixel sensors, does a far better job at taking photos and videos. Images taken with the Odyssey generally appear dark and are also lacking in vibrancy and sharpness. That said, we don't recommend using the tablet as a camera unless absolutely necessary.
As for the default camera app, it's got the basic shooting modes you'd find on an Android phone or tablet, including HDR, panorama, and beauty modes.
Underneath its aluminum back panel, the Odyssey sports a 4,000mAh battery, which we found to be a little underwhelming. In our video-rundown test, with WiFi on and brightness set at 50 percent, the tablet played a high-definition video on loop for 4 hours and 48 minutes before powering down. That's about an hour less than similarly specced units. At roughly 11 hours, the original iPad mini more than doubles the Odyssey's output.
Under the same circumstances as our video-loop test, the Cherry Mobile tablet managed 4 hours and 35 minutes of continuous Web browsing.
There's no question that the Cherry Mobile Superion Odyssey offers a lot of value for money. It's an Android tablet-slash-phone with a fancy-looking rear and quad-core internals priced at P7,499.
What's actually debatable is where it stands in the tablet race given the wealth of options under P10,000. In the Philippines, you can get an Android slate with either a better build, higher specs, or both for about the same amount of money. What you won't typically find inside that unit, however, is a SIM card slot for basic phone functions.
That said, the Odyssey should prove to be a solid purchase if you can't afford a smartphone and a tablet, or simply want a tablet that can double as a backup phone.
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