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Cherry Mobile Magnum 2X hands-on

Cherry Mobile has been having a great year, releasing Android-powered devices and amassing quite a number of loyal fans (last we checked Facebook, they were at 90,000 strong). The Magnum 2X is one of the most-hyped up smartphones in their 2011 collection. Read on to find out if it’s just hype or utter truth.

Looks and Display

Looking at it as it sits on our desk, the Magnum 2X doesn’t look like such a mighty smartphone but if there’s one thing we know, it’s not to take things at face value. We knew off the bat that the Magnum 2X had something powerful under the hood, but we knew nothing of its capabilities until we actually began testing it. The unit looks pretty good for something that’s encased in matte black plastic with a steel back cover, an unlock button on its right side and volume controls on the left.

The symbols chosen for Home, Menu and Search keys might seem confusing to new Cherry Mobile users but the quick response to key presses more than make up for it. We’d also like to mention that there is no power button, but that the functions of one has been incorporated into the unlock key – or did we get it twisted and the unlock functions were incorporated in the power button? Regardless, there’s basically one button for both unlocking, switching between silent and airplane modes, rebooting, and powering off/on. Just as you’d expect from an Android handset. Well, at least that’s one less button to worry about.

Edges are rounded which makes for a good grip. The actual display is behind clear plastic extending to the bottom part of the device but not quite covering the whole of it. The back of the phone is only slightly curved, but the thickness fills up that gap between your palm and the phone quite nicely. It’s a little heavier than we would’ve preferred, though. We appreciate the quick release buttons on either side of the back cover. No wrestling with the casing or broken nails here.

The screen is unlocked by dragging the lightspot to either the Home, Contacts, Phone and Message icon, one placed in each corner of the screen. Perhaps it would’ve looked sleeker minus the arrows pointing to the icons. Well, display is vibrant and we wasted no time changing the wallpaper to one of the live ones to fully appreciate the 3.8″ screen. The Magnum 2X allows you to have 5 home screens, each customizable with widgets and apps, but you probably knew that already. What we particularly liked about the apps layout was the fact that it wasn’t cluttered or confusing. Launching the app menu will display all of them, both downloaded and pre-installed. As opposed to other Android phones that display close to 30 apps on one screen, the Magnum 2X shows you 16 per scroll. It’s doesn’t seem like much but trust us, when you’ve been staring at your phone for a long time, less is more.

Pressing and holding on a blank space in the home screen will launch a menu that allows you to add Shorcuts, Widgets and Folders and change the wallpaper. The ability of the display to support colors and detail is pretty great. We loaded the Galaxy wallpaper and, to be honest, spaced out for a few seconds while shuffling through home screens as the “Galaxy” changes shape as you scroll.


The Magnum 2X runs on Android 2.2 FroYo which we feel is a bit outdated given that most flasghips today come with Gingerbread (although it is upgradable to it) but we’ll also be honest and say it runs great on the device. The combo of an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core, 1GHz processor chip and 512MB RAM spearheads the operation of this baby.

Somehow, the Magnum 2X reminds us a little of Pacquiao; friendly on the outside, mean on the inside. Things run quite smoothly on it even if challenged by us to search for Wi-Fi, download photos and sign into Google all at the same time.

At one point we ran all phone functions listed on the top of the notifications bar; WLAN, Data, GPS and Bluetooth but didn’t encounter any lag at all, although it did take a big bite of our battery life. Launching of apps is almost instant and it beats waiting for Facebook to load. Did we mention it also allows for tethering? If you’re the only one with an internet connection in the group you can share it with friends’ mobile devices, sort of making your phone in itself a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. The fact remains, Magnum 2X is impressive in the speed department.


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