Cherry Mobile MF1 Review: 3G USB Dongle, Pocket MiFi and WiFi Phone

When my friend saw my introduction about this Cherry Mobile MF1, he decided to get one as he really need a broadband modem. He was so kind to let me have the device for a few days and then so here’s my review of this Cherry Mobile MF1.

He said there isnt anything interesting with the other stuff you can find on its box packaging. Its the same thing you can see on the usual Cherry Mobile basic phones. So were skipping the unboxing part.

Design and Construction

Cherry Mobile MF1 - broadband

Cherry Mobile MF1 beside a Globe Tattoo Broadband

My first impression with the Cherry Mobile MF1 when I had held it was: “Wow! This thing is really small! Kind of cute.” Made of plastic all over, the device is really light, and I didnt expected it to be that so small.

The screen is plastic I guess, but not that cheap plastic screen that can be pressed. Top and bottom is curved, the keypad keys are bit of small but easy to press.

Cherry Mobile MF1 - back

Cherry Mobile MF1 – back

The bottom part is removable, it serves as the cap on the USB connector. On the top you can find a port, which supposedly for the earphones. No cameras on the back, only the speaker grills.

On the side you can see these buttons:

  • WiFi button – press this and it opens up your Wi-Fi. This is when you want to connect on hotspots.
  • Web/Internet button – press this and it opens up your default browser.
  • MiFi button – on a single press of this activates/deactivates your own pocket wifi/mifi hotspot.
Cherry Mobile MF1 - side buttons

Cherry Mobile MF1 – side buttons

Cherry Mobile MF1 as a 3G USB Dongle/Broadband Modem

Just remove the cap on the bottom part and plug this MF1 on your computer. It will try to install the Cherry MF1 drivers, which are actually MTK drivers. Just let it do so, I have no problems with it on my Windows 7 laptop.

Once you plugged it in, you’ll be welcomed with these options on the phone.

Cherry Mobile MF1 connected

Cherry Mobile MF1 when connected

To use the MF1 as a 3G broadband modem just select the third option -USB Tethering. No more need for a dashboard, you will automatically get connected after a few seconds.

On papers, it has 7.2MBps HSDPA downspeed. With that, just like some of our modems we can expect actual transfer rates of  up to 700kb per second. Just for a trivia, those common Huawei E153 modems which are common to GLOBE Tattoo Broadband and Sun Broadband only have up to 3.6MBps configuration.

Cherry Mobile MF1

Cherry Mobile MF1

It charges itself while it is plugged in your computer’s USB port. However, I noticed timely disconnections. I do not know why this happens, maybe I am just getting it wobbly as I am using it in my laptop.

My friend told me that the MF1 comes with a male-to-female USB extension cord. He’s not using it as it disconnects as well. Maybe its the type of the cord which causes this. Him using it on a desktop PC, reported that there isnt this problem of disconnection when directly connected to the USB port of the CPU.

Since I cannot really spare to have a connection that gets disconnected from sudden movements, I spent more of the time using the pocket wifi capability of this device.

Cherry Mobile MF1 as a Pocket WiFi/MiFi device

You can go to its settings to set up your WiFi tethering/hotspot settings. Just the same as we know, set up the SSID, the security type, password, and auto-off. As I had said, this function can easily be activated by pressing the button on the side. On click and your hotspot is up.

Cherry Mobile MF1 - WiFi Hotspot

Cherry Mobile MF1 – WiFi Hotspot

WiFi is fast, I can get the same internet speed as being directly connected on the modem. Speed is always dependent on your network provider though. I am getting 400-600kb per second transfers on my download manager, this is on WiFi connection with the MF1.

Cherry Mobile MF1 Speed

Battery life of this MF1 as a pocket WiFi? The Cherry Mobile MF1 is packed with a battery of 430mAh in capacity. It is small thus keeping its size and weight. Small mAh capacity means smaller usage time. I had performed a test and here’s the details:

  1. Cherry Mobile MF1 fully charged.
  2. Started a MiFi connection, had one Android device connected to it.
  3. Used it continuously to browse the web and download apps on the Android phone.
  4. The MF1 hotspot passed out after 2 and a half hours, I had it in my bag and its really hot after then.

On standby, I guess the MF1 can last up to a couple of days. You might want to just turn off the hotspot if ever you are not going to use it to conserve battery charge.

Back at the hotspot review, I am not sure how many devices can connect to it. But on my experience, I managed to get my laptop and phone connected to it at the same time. Not being sure if having more devices connected to the MF1 will result faster battery draining.

As for me, I had this phone connected on my laptop while I am using it as a wifi hotspot. With that, no need for me to worry about this phone’s battery getting drained out.

Cherry Mobile MF1 as a basic phone with WiFi

The Cherry Mobile MF1 is a single SIM phone all being similar to the basic phones Cherry Mobile offers. The interface is the same, 9-icons, that font, and the CM wallpaper on the background of main menu.

Cherry Mobile MF1 phone

Cherry Mobile MF1 phone

It has a SD card slot, the phone features image viewer, music and video player, FM radio and WiFi. It can browse the web on its own with its default browser. There is a pre-bookmarked shortcut to the Youtube mobile site. I had tried to stream videos on Youtube and it can! Yes, the Cherry Mobile MF1 can watch Youtube videos on its own browser. This is possible via RSTP streaming.

It has games preinstalled, not that usual Sokoban we know. I just dont know the format of the games this might be supporting.

No camera here, usual SMS and MMS support, and other basic features we can find on a basic dumbphone. I did just not focused on checking each features out so I hope you dont mind.

3G Settings

You can set the default 3G settings you want to use on the settings menu of the Cherry Mobile MF1. Its just like setting a default connection on every China phone. Just have to make an APN connection then you are good to go after setting it as default. I think on GLOBE, these becomes automatic. Just be sure to use the connection with the http.globe.com.ph access point name.

Pricing

The Cherry Mobile MF1 has a current price of just Php1,999 which you can check out on Cherry Mobile stores/kiosks or other cellphone shops. For this price, I think it isnt bad at all. You get three items here; a usb broadband dongle, a pocket mifi, and a basic multimedia phone.

As far as I am updated, a dongle with that 7.2MBps configuration is worth Php1,200 or more and still its locked on a single carrier. The MF1 is openlined and you can use any SIM you want here. A pocket WiFi I saw on CDRKing is worth Php2,500 which we are still not sure about the quality and specs of this one; lastly a basic dumbphone from CM can cost you from P499-2k+ so this MF1 is obviously worth its price tag.

FAQs

Here’s some questions that my fans had asked me through my fanpage.

Cherry Mobile MF1

Cherry Mobile MF1

Q. Mabilis sya?

A. Yes po, depende sa connection and dapat naka 3G/3.5G. Naseset po yun sa settings na 3G only.

Q. ano yung mifi?

A. MiFi used as a name for wireless routers that act as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots.

Q. Kahit anung carrier yan..?

A. Yes po, it will work sa kahit anung local carriers as expected with CM phones.

Q.Mabilis mallobat? Ilang hours tinatragal pag tuloy tulloy gamit?

A. Standby –hindi naman, used as a normal phone –hindi naman. Pag lang used as hotspot, based on my test umabot hanggang 2.5hours.

Q. tol meron na ba talaga nyan? magkano?

A. Yes, already saw it sa isang cellphone shop sa SM Taytay since day 1 na pinost ng CM sa page nila tong about MF1. Price is P1,999.

Q. Dashboard? / panu po ung dashboard nito?

A. No need for a dashboard.

Q. Wow astig! Totoo ba yan? Hahaha

A. Oo naman. Haha

Q. pwede bang makainternet..?

A. Yes po, nakakapaginternet din sya gamit yung browser nya.

Q. Battery Capacity?

A. 430mAh

Q. Gumagana po ba to sa mga china android tablet o apad as usb dongle?

A. Hindi ko po maconfirm kasi wala po akong APAD.

Q. Nagchacharge ba to pag nakasaksak sa laptop?

A. Yes po, nagchacharge syempre.

Q. wifi redy ba yan oh??? kailangan parin ng load???

A. Yes it has WiFi and of course you need internet access on the SIM you are going to use po.

[source]

Thumbs-up!

If you need a broadband modem then this one is a really good choice. Plus if you have other devices as well that needs internet connectivity on the go via WiFi then you win more here.

Cherry Mobile MF1 Review

Cherry Mobile MF1 Review

Though there’s still some points to improve with the MF1, it is still a good thing that CM outs such kind of not-so-usual yet really cool and cheap phones.

Now back to my ZTE broadband modem as I had already returned the Cherry Mobile MF1 to my good friend.

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