Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 vs Starmobile Diamond X1

Michael Josh Villanueva
Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 vs Starmobile Diamond X1

OCTA-CORE SMARTPHONES. The Starmobile Diamond X1 (left) and the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z (right) are the first local smartphones with true octa-core processors.

Michael Josh Villanueva / Rappler

They run on the same MediaTek true octa-core processor, but which is the better smartphone?

MANILA, Philippines – Barely two months into 2014, Philippine smartphone brands Cherry Mobile and Starmobile have taken their rivalry into the “true octa-core smartphone” space. 

In January, both companies unveiled competing devices, the Cosmos Z2 and the Diamond X1 – the first, a 5-inch smartphone; the second, a 6-inch phablet. They have cosmetic differences, alright, but their shared 8-core heart begs for comparison: Which is the better smartphone? 

History of octa core

At the Mobile World Congress in February 2013, Samsung announced its Exynos 5 Octa, with a processor made up of two quad-cores: one for handling light tasks like email and Internet browsing, and the other for graphics-intensive apps like games. The Exynos 5 Octa powers the ZTE Grand S II and non-LTE variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

Nine months later, in November 2013, Taiwan-based semiconductor company MediaTek announced the world’s first “true octa-core smartphone processor” – the MT6592. Unlike with the Exynos 5 Octa, the 8 cores on MediaTek’s MT6592 operate at the same time, promising faster performance and better multitasking. 

The MT6592 is the processor found on the Cosmos Z2 and the Diamond X1. 

Spec sheet

On paper, the Cosmos Z2 is superior to the Diamond X1, but a device’s spec sheet is only half the story. 

Aside from the same 1.7 GHz Media Tek octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 18 and 8MP cameras, the Cosmos Z has better specs overall, including a full HD screen with Asahi scratch resistant glass, and double the storage. The Diamond X1’s only edge specs wise is a superior 2300mAh battery needed to power its larger 6-inch screen.

Performance

SPECS vs PERFORMANCE. On paper the Cosmos Z2 is more powerful. But the Diamond X1 does better in benchmarking tests. Photo by Michael Josh Villanueva / Rappler

Better specs doesn’t always mean a faster smartphone.

One way to measure how well a device performs is via benchmarking apps like Antutu. A free download from the Google Play Store, Antutu tests a device’s CPU, RAM, and GPU and gives it a 5-digit score – the higher, the better. 

In 3 consecutive tests, the Diamond X1 outscored the Cosmos Z2, scoring over 27,000 each time. The Z2 consistently scored above 25,000. 

Both results are nothing to be ashamed about. On Antutu, Google’s flagship smartphone, the Nexus 5, scores over 26,000, while the Exynos 5 octa-core version of the Galaxy S4 scores just over 28,000.

The scores are also a huge improvement over the device’s predecessors, the original Cosmos Z and the Diamond V7, which score over 15,000 and 13,000, respectively. If you’re upgrading from both these phones, you will surely feel a massive difference in their performance. 

For more real-world results, we also tried loading graphics-heavy apps, like the car racing game Asphalt 8 and Temple Run 2. In each of our tests, the Diamond X1 loads both games faster than the Z2. The X1 does particularly well with Asphalt 8, getting you to the start screen while the Z2 is still loading the game.  

Overall, the X1 feels snappier, possibly because of the device’s 720p display. Starmobile reps tell Rappler the decision to not put in a full HD display on the X1 was to ensure the “best possible performance.”

The X1 is a better device for multimedia consumption. The device has dual Yamaha speakers and when you’re listening to music, watching videos, or playing games without headphones, the difference is audible. 

 

Camera

18 MEGAPIXELS. Both Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 (picture here) and the Starmobile Diamond X1 come with 18MP autofocus cameras. Photo by Michael Josh Villanueva / Rappler

One of the most important factors in picking a smartphone today is camera performance.

On paper, both the Z2 and the X1 sport 18 megapixel main shooters. But overall we preferred the camera on the Cosmos Z2.   

Both phones sport similar camera apps, but we noticed there is a slight delay in the refresh rate of the X1 – that’s the ability of the screen to display what the camera is seeing. This is more evident with quick pans from left to right. 

Overall phones turned out pretty good 18-megapixel images. 

Under almost all conditions, the Cosmos Z2 took better shots.

The X1 seemed to lack proper levels and, as a result, shots turned out darker and without the same pop as shots taken with the Z2.

One area where the X1 succeeded was in focus distance. Despite its strengths, the closest the Z2 can focus on a subject is about a foot away. The X1 is able to shoot extremely up close and can produce pretty decent macro shots with creamy depth of field. 

 

Battery life

We used both phones for a week, and after a day of regular use that includes social media, watching videos, and playing games, we got pretty consistent results. The X1, with its slightly better battery and lower-res screen, lasted longer, 8 hours on average, compared to the 6 hours of the Z2.  

 

Software

ASSISTIVE TOUCH. Starmobile customized the user interface of the Diamond X1 adding features like software shortcuts to Home and Back buttons. Photo by Michael Josh Villanueva / Rappler
ASSISTIVE TOUCH. Starmobile customized the user interface of the Diamond X1 adding features like software shortcuts to Home and Back buttons. Photo by Michael Josh Villanueva / Rappler

Cherry Mobile did a good job customizing Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. We liked their flat redesign accentuated by thinner fonts and circular outlines. This design aesthetic is carried out into its app icons, settings menu, and messaging and camera apps. Unfortunately, customization stops there.

Starmobile prides itself in customizing for the Filipino user base.

You’ll see little touches here and there. The messaging app, for example, includes a return button (nothing new to iOS users, but not an Android default) because Filipinos supposedly love to send long text messages. They’ve also developed an app called Starmobile Sync, which allows you to import contacts via Bluetooth from iPhones and even candy-bar Nokia phones. 

The X1 also has a nifty iOS-like assistive touch feature that gives you a drag anywhere on screen shortcuts in lieu of having to reach for your phone’s back, home, and menu buttons. It’s perfect for a 6-inch device.

Price

When it comes to pricing, Cherry Mobile has always offered their phones at competitive rates. Cherry Mobile reps tell us this is one of the company’s core values, “low pricing vs profit margins.”   

The Starmobile Diamond X1 is priced at P13,990 while the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 is cheaper at P12,999.

Props to both companies for respecting the P15,000 barrier. Both phones are a steal for the specs they come with. 

Design

DIAMOND X1. Premium, not plasticky but with an oddly placed on/off button. Photo by Michael Josh Villanueva / Rapple

The Diamond X1 gets props for its ultra slim form factor (7mm thin) and aluminum back plate. We are not huge fans of phones that feel too plasticky, very common among budget smartphones. The Diamond X1’s aluminum design is the first for a local smartphone. 

One minor complaint, though: the X1’s power button is weirdly placed on the top of the device. Most users will be used to reach for the on/off switch on the right hand side of the device, and even after a week with the device, we were still unable to re-program our muscle memory.

COSMOS Z2. While made of plastic the Z2 doesn’t feel like a budget smartphone. Photo by Michael Josh Villanueva / Rappler

On the other hand the Cosmos Z2’s design isn’t too shabby either. While mostly plastic, it didn’t feel like a budget smartphone at all, according to many whom we asked to see it.

Buying advice

In the world of smartphones, judging a smartphone by its “cover” is normal and acceptable, not seen in the same superficial terms as judging another person. And while they are weaved together by a common thread, the X1 and the Z2’s aesthetic differences make the difference when it boils down to buying decisions.  

The Diamond X1 is thinner. The Cosmos Z2 is lighter. 

If you’re looking for a smartphone with a great camera and a slim form factor, then get the Cherry Mobile Z2. The phone looks and feels great, outperforms almost every other local phone today, and delivers the best value for money. 

If you’re looking for a phone with a bigger screen, one that’s perfect for watching videos, then get the Starmobile X1. The X1 is by far the best from Starmobile yet, can hold its own among other premium smartphones in the market today with well thought out software customized for the everyday Filipino. Rappler.com  

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