Gadgetslab: Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph
Tablets are great, but even the smallest, lightest ones can still be a bit of a burden. It’s nice to have all that productivity around, but not everyone is constantly in the mood to bang out a New York Times bestseller on the bus, so hybrids are really starting to invade the computing scene. The latest manufacturer to join the hybrid party is Cherry Mobile. Their Alpha Morph is a solid 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet with everything you need to stay connected and productive, at a price that’s way more attractive that is fair.
The Alpha Morph has a design that’s purely functional. The front is plain, with nothing going on, save for the Windows logo at the center of the bottom bezel. The rear has a beveled edge, making it feel a little slimmer than it really is. The top center has the main 2.0MP camera. Flipped over, the right side has the power button, headphone jack, microSD card slot, microUSB port, power port and microphone. The opposite edge has the speaker grille, and nothing else.
They aren’t trying to win design awards with this device, but really, a computing device is supposed to perform, more than look pretty.
The Alpha Morph has some solid specs on paper. It comes with the quad-core Intel Atom Z3735D running at 1.33GHz. This low-power processor is a staple in a lot of mobile computing devices, and is a great choice for such a device. Paired with the processor is 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. Windows takes up a bit of that space, so it might be a good idea to invest in a sizeable microSD card for storage. Should that still prove lacking, the device does support the USB OTG standard, so with the help of an adapter, you should be fine.
It has everything you would expect from a current-generation Windows tablet, including an accelerometer, two cameras and a huge 800mAh battery. It of course has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for all the wireless accessories and browsing you might want. It even has GPS support.
User Experience: 4.5/5
Since the technology has finally matured, Windows Tablets have finally overtaken the small tablets in usability. The fact that you’ll be using the same software as your work machine, with no compatibility problems means that there is little compromise to be had. The Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph is no exception. The tablet, which comes out of the box with a keyboard dock, is the perfect combination of portability and functionality.
Firstly, the tablet performs smoothly. From startup, to multitasking, to system functions, there was hardly a point where I wanted more muscle. Launching programs happened quickly, and the morph wasn’t struggling to get the window open, even with a few processes in the background. Even with multiple browser tabs open, Spotify in the background and a few other apps open, it just chugged along with the ease of simpler, non-desktop OS tablets. This was a particularly difficult review to write not because the product is unremarkable, but because it performed exactly as I expected.
The keyboard doc/case, once connected, gives the device a whole new layer of usability. The ability to pick up the same device you were watching cat videos on, then suddenly transition to working on a spreadsheet for the 3pm product presentation never gets old, and while you could do the same on any old Android device, I doubt the experience would be anywhere as pleasant. Trust me, I’ve tried. It even has enough battery to get through a whole day of constant use, which is something we expect from mobile OS devices, but not really from a machine running Windows.
The Morph isn’t without its shortcomings though. The screen, though generous and bright, is a little lacking in definition. The edges, if you look a little closely, aren’t as smooth as some of the other similar devices in the market. It’s perfectly usable for practically every purpose, up to and including watching films, but is something you should be aware of. The build quality could also be just a little better, as there were some points where I felt like I had to take a little extra care in handling the device. It also takes a non-standard charging cable, so should something happen to yours, you will have to go straight to the manufacturer for a replacement. Could I be happier with the Morph? Yes, maybe. Would the shortcomings keep me from recommending the device to someone looking for a great deal on a Windows-powered tablet? Absolutely not. This is a great step towards everyone owning a connected, useful, usable device. I wouldn’t disqualify the Alpha Morph for a little hit here and there.
This is where Cherry Mobile shines, and the Alpha Morph is a prime example of how they do it. It doesn’t have any bells, whistles, or frills, and it’s so much better for it. It’s a device that does exactly what it promises, and does so in a manner that just works. We haven’t had the device for extremely long, but it seems like we’ve got a good thing going on here.
Comes with keyboard/case
Feels less solid than it actually is
Screen could be just a bit better
Tired of getting held back by a full laptop? Try this thing out and see what the world of hybrids has to offer.
Screen: 10.0-Inch IPS Display (1366 x 768 Pixels)
Processor: 1.33GHz Quad Core Intel Atom Z3735D
Storage: 32GB, Expandable up to 64GB via MicroSD
USB OTG Support
Micro HDMI port
2.0 Megapixel Main Camera
2.0 Megapixel Front Camera