I have a great affinity for kitschy and oddball products. It’s because these kinds of products are just so kooky, unique and just feel so original. This is precisely the main reason why I took it upon myself to look for Cherry Mobile’s Cherry Watch. Also known as the Cherry N5, this product is a combination of several products. Cherry Mobile touts the Cherry N5 to be a cell phone, a smart watch as well as a BlueTooth Dialer, so you can sync it to your “regular” mobile phone. Sounds pretty cool to me!
Now, The Cherry N5 is really hard to find. Not many stores carry it, probably because Cherry Mobile didn’t actually produce a lot of them. Why? Well, based on my experience with it, it’s not really all that good. Sure, it’s a mobile phone, wrist watch and a BlueTooth Dialer. It does all the things advertised. However, it doesn’t really do any of it all that well.
I will say the Cherry Watch/Cherry N5 does look really good. It does a good job in aping the look of the Apple Watch. From the housing of the watch down to the strap, it’s pretty easy to mistake the Cherry N5 for one of Apple’s products. It seems to have a solid construction as well. I tried wearing it around while walking around the streets and I’ve banged it up quite a bit but it never left a scratch. The button on the top-right portion of the Cherry N5 does feel rather flimsy but, so far, it hasn’t really caused any issues for me. But I do have more issues with that button but we’ll get to that later.
I’m also really impressed with the clarity of the screen. It’s not exactly an HD screen but really bright images really pop out. The screen doesn’t usually reflect any glare and you can actually view what’s on the screen at some extreme angles with no problems. The touch screen is fairly responsive. Scrolling through the menus can be problematic as there is sometimes a slight delay when you swipe the screen. Double tapping also feels like there is a noticeable lag at times. It can be difficult to aim for some icons and letters when trying to type in something because of the size of the screen. But the touch screen is still fairly responsive for the most part.
I actually found the build in loudspeaker rather incredible for a device of this size. The sound came out much more clearly that I expected. Voices were intelligible and not garbled. Playing music through the loudspeakers does have a “tinny” like quality but it’s not too bad. Also, the loudspeaker is actually incredibly strong for something so small. It’s not like you can cover an entire movie theater at its loudest setting, but it’s definitely loud enough to be disturbing to the people watching the movie.
While the Cherry N5 succeeds at being aesthetically pleasing, it fails in the functionality department as well as some weird engineering/layout decisions. Remember that button I mentioned earlier? Well, it’s just a button, not a dial nor a knob. It would have been a great design choice if Cherry Mobile’s engineers made the button as a way to navigate and scroll through menu items much like the Blackberry’s old trackball function. It’s probably something that could’ve been easily implemented and would’ve made the experience of going through all the menus much more user friendly and intuitive.
Also, for some odd reason, the Cherry N5’s camera is located on the bottom part of the watch’s face instead of the more logical location of the top part. It may not seem like a big deal… until you want to take a picture other than a selfie! You see, in camera mode, the shutter icon, the thing you have to tap on is on the right side of the screen. Because of the awkward placement of the camera, you have to twist your arm to make the face of the watch face forward, which means you can’t really see what your photographing!
Also, because of the placement of the shutter button, you may accidentally cover the camera with your finger! Once again, this is where utilizing the button as an additional way to interact with the phone, like making it a shutter button while in camera mode, would’ve enhanced the experience of using the Cherry N5.
Those two issues are actually things I can live with. However, the Cherry N5 suffers from three really huge problems: lacking smart watch fucntionality, low battery life and terrible reception of both cellphone signal connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity. As a smart watch, the Cherry N5’s functionality is severely limited.
You can make and receive calls using the N5 by syncing it to your phone. You can even use the Cherry N5 to send messages through your synced phone. You can read messages on your phone through the Cherry N5 and it does pop up an alert when your phone receives a text. However, the Cherry N5 also wants you to install an app to access other functions an ordinary smart watch can do out of the box. Too bad the app doesn’t work! I opening the app and syncing the watch’s camera to your phone, however, the Cherry N5 still wants me to install it even though it’s already running!
The battery life of the Cherry N5 is pitifully poor. With both the Bluetooth and cellphone receiver on, I can only get a standby time of 2 to 3 days, much worse if I’m trying to listen to music and actually use it! There are ways to lengthen the battery life, such as setting the Cherry N5 to automatically shut down and turn on as specific times. But a battery life of 2 to 3 days is pitiful!
But the worst thing about the Cherry N5 has to be how bad it is at connectivity. The range of the Bluetooth is incredibly crappy ; you can lose your Bluetooth connectivity to your device just by lifting your hand to your ear! This means that you have to keep your device close to the Cherry N5 for it to work, which defeats the purpose of having a Bluetooth dialer! Also, the thing has a problem with getting a cellphone signal in a building! Right now, I’m just in my home, a place where I have never had troubles getting a cellphone signal from my other phones. Yet, the Cherry N5 is saying there is no signal detected! This mean that you can’t even use the Cherry N5 as a reliable backup phone when your “main” phone dies.
The geeky side of me that loves kitschy products adores the Cherry Watch/N5. It’s actually a bundle of great ideas and smushing different devices into such a small container is pretty amazing. However, the practical side of me detests the product because of how bad it does a lot of things. I can’t really recommend the Cherry Watch/N5 because of all the negative aspects I mentioned. But, if you love how stupidly weird it is, good luck finding one!
Do you have a Cherry Watch/N5? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!