Last September 9, Cherry Mobile announced their strategic partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows and Windows Phone OS to everyone through its Alpha series phones and tablets. It was an unprecedented event in the local smartphone scene, and they have actually put a significant dent in the industry.
Apart from launching the most affordable Windows phone in the world – Alpha Style – Cherry Mobile also launched a more powerful yet affordable variant, the Alphe Luxe. Let me share with you some unboxing photos and my first impressions of the said phone.
Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe was placed inside a quite familiar hard cardboard box. Its design takes a cue from the retail box of Cosmos One: 2 photos of the phone – one that shows the front , and other one that shows the back.
All the usual stuff you can find inside a Cherry Mobile retail box is inside Alpha Luxe’s. For starters, apart from the phone, there’s a 2,000 mAh battery, charger, micro USB cable, headphones, manual and warranty card. Surprisingly, there isn’t anything from Microsoft, which tells a bit about the software.
Most of us care about how our phone looks, right? Well, with Alpha Luxe, you’re in for a very good treat! The phone was aptly named – Luxe – because the phone just looks very luxurious. At PhP4,999, you will not believe that you’re going to get such value in the looks department. It’s a complete head turner. Period.
We’re used to seeing Android-specific capacitive buttons below the screens of Cherry Mobile devices. Well, not this time as Alpha Luxe has Windows capacitive buttons – back, Windows and search. I’ve got one complain though – the front panel and the LED light have a noticeable space.
Just above its 5-inch HD IPS screen are the earpiece, 2mp camera, proximity and light sensors.
Volume rockers are located on its left side, while the sleep/wake button is placed on the right. All ports – 3.5mm jack and micro USB port – can be found atop the phone.
Its back panel looks a lot like Nexus 4, albeit with bigger circles. I like the fact that Cherry Mobile has started implementing minimalist design on their devices as Alpha Luxe only shows the familiar Windows Phone and Cherry Mobile logos at the back. Both logos do not affect the phone’s elegance and beauty. Man, I still cannot believe that this is a Cherry Mobile phone.
[su_spoiler title=”Cherry Mobile and Micromax” open=”yes” style=”simple” icon=”arrow”]This phone resembles the Micromax Win W121. Thanks to Cherry Mobile for bring this to the Philippines.[/su_spoiler]
Performance-wise, Alpha Luxe has a pre-installed unadulterated Windows Phone 8.1 experience (OS build is 8.10.12393.890). All the new things found on most Windows Phone 8.1 devices are available in Alpha Luxe except for Cortana. Check out the process below to enable Cortana on your Alpha Luxe.
[su_spoiler title=”Enable Cortana on Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe” open=”yes” style=”simple” icon=”arrow”]
- Go to Settings
- Select “Keyboard”, and choose “English (United States)”
- Go back to Settings, then go to “region”
- Choose ‘United States’ on Country/Region, and ‘English (United States)’ on Regional Format
- Restart your phone.
- Go to “Language”, and be sure that everything is ‘enabled’ under English (United States).
- Go back to Settings, swipe to ‘applications’.
- You should see Cortana on top.
So far, my Windows experience on Alpha Luxe has been very fluid and fast. The simplicity of the OS gives a fitting experience to the rather convoluted and sometimes “messy” Android platform. Windows Phone OS highlights function over form, and it’s simply one of the best things about it. I’m really ecstatic to finally see and use this OS on Cherry Mobile devices.
Antutu Score: 10,990
Score is a bit dim on Antutu, but it’s somewhat unreliable at the moment because according to Antutu, “Because of the restrictions in Windows Phone, Antutu’s benchmark’s algorithms are not exactly the same as the Android version.”
Windows Store already has over 170,000 apps and games. A lot of these available software are A-list ones and even free, so if you think that the store still isn’t mature enough to satisfy your download-cravings, think again.
There is much to say about Alpha Luxe, which for sure, I shall cover on my full review soon. There are surprising features about this phone, which they did not highlight during the launch event last September 9. For now, I’ll be very happy to take your questions. You could be one of the people who shall feature on this post.
Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.