Firefly Mobile Inspire Tablet Review

I was asked to do a review of a tablet to be used by a certain office, so I got my hands on a demo unit of a Firefly Mobile Inspire.


Upon receiving the unit, I immediately inspected what the box has to say for the unit. Nothing much is given, since this is a demo unit, but there seems to be an array of icons which represent some of its features such us HD Movie, Web Browsing, Music Player, Wi-Fi capable, Game and HDMI. Not very informative, but at least it gave me a glimpse of what this tablet can do.

Upon opening the box, the tablet was placed neatly on the top with the included accessories below in a separate compartment. The accessories included in the unit is a wall charger, USB cable (Standard A to Mini), USB cable (Standard A receptacle to mini) and a Soft case sleeve pouch. The actual retail unit might have an earphone and a micro SD card included, but I’m not sure.


I didn’t find any information about this unit online, also the Firefly Mobile website doesn’t have any information available on their website at this moment.

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Single Core ARM v7 Processor (VFPv3, NEON) 1GHz
  • 4GB Internal Storage (around 3GB available for usage)
  • 360MB RAM
  • 7″ Capacitive Touchscreen 800×480 @ 68Hz
  • PowerVR SGX 540 GPU (OpenGL)
  • Bluetooth
  • Front-facing VGA camera
  • Gravity Sensor
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • USB Host/OTG
  • micro SD support
  • HDMI capable

Form Factor

Lock Screen
Home Screen

The Firefly Mobile Inspire looks like a typical tablet that you see everywhere else. Assuming that we are holding it in landscape (width is longer than height), it’s a black slate with a 7″ screen and a single round physical button in front on the right side of the screen, which serves as a Back button. The front-facing camera is also located above the screen with the Firefly Mobile logo embossed with metal highlights below. The tablet has metal edges which gives the impression of a sturdy build, though the front and back sides are made of plastic. On the top edge lies three physical round buttons. The left-most button is the power/lock button. And I have to say that I was surprised to know that the middle and the rightmost button are not volume buttons, they are Menu and Home buttons respectively.

Buttons on the top edge, Power/Lock, Menu and Home.

On the right edge lies all the I/O ports, (from top to bottom) 3.5″ headset jack, USB on-the-go (OTG), HDMI port, Reset button, USB host, charging port, Transflash slot, built-in Mic.

The tablet measures 197cm x 125cm x 10cm, thinner than the other tablets of its category. I’m not sure about the weight, but it’s not that heavy for a tablet. The back side is simply a black surface with a Firefly Mobile logo in the middle, the same as the logo in front of the device. The speakers are located on the upper and lower right corner of the unit when you are looking at the back side.

My Impressions

I wasn’t really expecting anything groundbreaking from this device. But I have to say that this device really performs quite well, but didn’t really surpassed my expectations. Performance-wise, this device did its job well. With a quadrant score of 1900, it has the potential to outperform some older Samsung tablets and phones. Scrolling through the home screen is good, with some 3D animations that resemble those of HTC phones. I’m too lazy to try and download HD games, so I stick with Angry Birds, and it was fluid and smooth as hell. Also tried playing HD videos, and surprisingly it can support 1080p, which I think plays well with rare to no occurrence of lag. The volume of the internal speaker is pretty bad, good thing there is headset jack available to plugin your earphones and speakers. Regarding the performance as well, when I enabled all the animations on the Settings, the UI stops responding (temporarily) and alerts me to Wait or Force Close the running application involved. It happened many times and I find it annoying, though the Android core itself didn’t crash and is completely recoverable, it’s such a waste of time to wait for an application to respond.

Scrolling the home screen without animations.

Quadrant Score of 1900.

The durability of the product comes to mind when you first see the tablet, since it’s build largely resemble the generic tablets from China that are usually rebranded by most companies. But I can safely say that although it looks cheap, somehow it doesn’t feel cheap, at least compared to generic China tablets. The physical buttons don’t feel like it can stand a beating like the big boys can (Samsung, HTC, Apple, etc.), but are pretty responsive. The capacitive screen is pleasant enough to use without frustrations. Though if you’re used to high-end tablets in the market, you’ll feel a very slight lag in the response of the screen. The screen brightness is good but not as bright as the AMOLED screens of Samsung tablets. I suggest to lower the brightness of the screen since it can really hog most your battery.

Regarding the camera, it is terrible. My decade-old Nokia phone can shoot better picture than this tablet. The picture that it takes is also reversed, just like when you are looking through a mirror. There are only a few customizations that you can do with the camera and most of them can be left untouched. Though we have to consider that this is a tablet and not a camera, if we want better pictures, get a camera instead.

Front-facing camera

The user-interface isn’t that bad, it’s a custom UI that still feels like a typical Android tablet. The notification bar is on the lower part of the screen. There are also additional icon buttons on the left of the notification bar for navigation as the Back, Home and Notification buttons respectively. And I’m pretty sure it was redundant since there are already Back and Home buttons physically on the device. They should’ve opted to place a physical volume button instead since some apps on the market doesn’t have a volume control, such as games, so adjusting the volume would be a pain to do.

Navigation buttons: Back, Home and Notifications

The battery is not up to par with the famous brands, in my opinion at least. I managed to have it on for only 3 hours on a full charge with Wi-Fi on and brightness at max while playing videos. Though charging the unit only takes around 2 hours using the included wall socket charger, proper techniques to preserve battery life must be taken care of. I suggest to always carry the charger with the unit or bring a portable power bank with you when going out for a trip since the battery is built-in, like most tablets, a reserve battery is not an option.

Like most Android tablets, the Android market is pre-installed and can be used to download apps like eBook readers such as Aldiko, Moon+ Reader and FBReader. I don’t think this product is available for retail as of this writing. When I visit their website, it only shows me their email addresses for inquiry, where I can safely assume that they can be contacted for bulk orders and such. No information or even a catalog is available at their website, which raises a question regarding after-sales support. We know that they will replace or repair products under warranty, but what about software maintenance? I’m not sure about how frequent will they release updates for Android, but there is an Updater (they spell it as Updatter) menu under Settings which checks for software updates.


The Firefly Mobile Inspire is just an average, typical Android tablet that offers you what a common tablet can offer. It’s quite hard for me to decide on how to rate this tablet since I wasn’t informed of it’s price. But if the price is under the P6,000 range, I’ll give it a thumbs up. Hypothetically speaking, the price shouldn’t go over P8,000 or else it will be pale in comparison even with other locally-produced (Note: not locally-made) tablet such as the Cherry Pad Turbo and CDRKing Fastpad. But for now, I could say that this tablet will do for an average user who simply reads ebooks and browses the web casually.

Front View of Torque Droidz View, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Firefly Mobile Inspire
Front View of Torque Droidz View, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Firefly Mobile Inspire
Rear View of Torque Droidz View, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Firefly Mobile Inspire

Rear View of Torque Droidz View, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Firefly Mobile Inspire

Another Update: I recently found a stall at our local mall, and the Firefly Mobile Inspire is priced at P6,490. Not that bad, huh?

Zoom G5 Announced

(Updated, see below) Zoom has finally announced another product from their long line of Guitar Multi-effects pedal, the new Zoom G5. The specs:

  • Simultaneous use of up to nine effects
  • Real tube booster for amp overdrive
  • Four large LCD displays with intuitive amp and stompbox interface
  • 3D Z-pedal for multi-dimensional parameter control
  • Over 120 versatile effects including 20 amp models
  • Looper function with 60-second phrase recording/overdubbing
  • Integrated drum machine and auto-chromatic tuner
  • Balanced XLR output for DI use
  • USB audio interface for DAW recording
  • Edit&Share software available through free download
  • Includes Steinberg Cubase LE recording software

Personally, I find the appearance to be a combination of the latest Zoom G3 and the older Zoom B9.1ut. The beautiful graphical interface of the G3’s large LCD screen (Stompbox interface) on top of the sturdy and streamlined body of Zoom’s flagship pedal for the bass, the B9.1ut, without the clutter of LED buttons and knobs. I think this was the answer of Zoom coming from the users’ comments regarding the steepness of the learning curve to customize the sound from a Zoom product. Considering the processor of the G5, I believe it shares the capabilities of the G3, including its processing limit, i.e., not being able to use multiple amps at a time.

If the capabilities of this new Guitar Effects pedal is the same as the G3, personally, I would still prefer the older Zoom G9.2tt. It’s true that the G5 may sound a bit better than the G9, but I would have to go for customizability for this one. The G5 may handle 4 simultaneous guitar effects at a time (3 if you’re using an amp model), but the G9 can do more than that. For example, I can do with a Compressor+Wah+ZNR+Stack Amp+Phaser+Delay+Reverb all at the same time. But the beauty of the Stompbox interface is the ability to switch the order of the effects chain, something that the G9 can’t do effectively.

I’m sure that this G5 is just a prelude to something much better. I would love to have the Stompbox interface on the body of the G9, including the Energizer and Accelerator tubes for the analog feel. Also regarding about the numbering, what happened to the G4?


According to Samson Website, the G5 can handle up to 9 stompbox effects. And if we look at the Z-pedal closely, it is very much upgraded and now looks like a single pedal and doesn’t look like two pedals on top of each other. This time, I’m changing my opinion, I definitely want one!!


Cherry Mobile Cutie P9

As I was strolling the mall a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a small phone from a Cherry Mobile kiosk. It looked like a cellphone split into two, length-wise. It reminded me of a phone from Samsung years ago, though I don’t know what model it was (Update: some people told me that it was Samsung SCH-U470, though I’m not really sure). The CM phone was a cute one, small indeed, hence the name Cherry Mobile Cutie. It really was a cutie phone about the size of a pocket MP3 player. I was about to ask the attendant on the CM kiosk, but I figured out that they’re not that sociable, they weren’t so enthusiastic to entertain potential customers, they just sit crouching down near the floor, texting carelessly, ignoring my curiosity. And yeah, it wasn’t the first time that they do that.

Then last week, as I was walking on another mall, I managed to pass by another cellphone store that distributes Cherry Mobile phones and decided to inquire. They were friendly and gladly answered most of my questions. I asked about the Cherry Mobile Cutie and here are some of the specs I managed to get from them, though I can say the specs are very rough, rough estimates especially if it was from a sales lady perspective: (See update below post for the official specs)

  • Colored screen (Probably TFT, not sure about the size, I think it’s around 1.2″)
  • Single SIM
  • Plays MP3
  • FM Radio
  • Bluetooth
  • microSD card slot
  • Available in different colors
  • No camera

The price is at P1,299, not bad for a small phone that packs most common feature that regular-sized phone has. Though I asked them if the unit can play videos, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and they said, “Uh, yes”. And of course I highly doubt it, due to the extremely small display. I believe that this phone has the potential and the cultural impact as the older Cherry Mobile P1 has. It’s an icon that can attract customers not as a for-techie-only object, but as a new meme.

I’ll probably come back later and shoot a picture of the Cutie and post it here.

Update: I added the pics and the specs from the box. And yeah, the person on the store is still snobbish, though they let me take the pictures.


  • 1″ Colored LCD Display
  • Single SIM
  • Dual Band GSM
  • Multimedia Player
  • MMS / WAP / GPRS
  • FM Radio
  • 3.5mm Headset Jack
  • Bluetooth
  • Calendar
  • Calculator
  • Alarm
  • SIM Toolkit
  • Cherry Shop
  • Micro SD up to 8GB