It took them a long time, but Cherry Mobile finally has a 5G smartphone. The best part is, that they didn’t just launch one, but two 5G-equipped phones. We’ll be taking a look at the cheaper option of the two, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G.
Priced at only Php7,999, even without 5G, this device is already one of the most equipped smartphones in its segment. But is it actually good? We find out in our Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G review.
Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G Specs
- Android 11
- Dual SIM, Dual standby
- 6.78-inch FHD+ IPS display
- 2.2GHz MediaTek Dimensity 700 octa-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- Mali-G57 MC2
- 128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 512GB
- 16-megapixel front camera
- 48-megapixel + 5-megapixel (ultra-wide) + 2-megapixel (macro) + 2-megapixel (depth sensor) rear cameras
- Single loudspeaker, Headphone jack
- Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
- HSPA+, 4G LTE, 5G
- WiFi, WiFi hotspot
- GPS, A-GPS
- USB Type-C
- Colors: Astral Gray
- 5,000mAh non-removable battery, 18W wired charging, 10W wireless charging
Design and Build Quality
The Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G has a pretty standard design. It’s not the most unique or best-looking smartphone around, but it looks clean and modern enough for a 2022 device.
On the back, we have a glass-like plastic panel. It looks really shiny, albeit really prone to fingerprint marks and smudges. Plus, it may attract hairline scratches over time, so you might want to install the included clear case. The said case does add some bulk to the phone, but it’s better than nothing.
With its enormous 6.78-inch screen and 5,000mAh battery, the Aqua S10 Pro 5G sure feels a little bulky, and operation with one hand is almost impossible.
Like a lot of modern phones, the back panel is slightly curved on the sides to make it a little more comfortable in the hands. However, the corners of the screen feel a little sharp.
Speaking of the screen, it has a pre-applied screen protector for extra peace of mind. The front-facing camera also sits on the punch-hole in the middle for a cleaner look.
On the left side, we have a SIM tray on the top that can house two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card. The volume controls are positioned low enough to be easily accessible by your fingers.
On the right side, there’s the flat lock/power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
The volume controls feel a little hard to press while the power button provides decent tactility.
On the top, we only have the secondary microphone for noise isolation, while at the bottom we have the single loudspeaker, 3.5mm headphone jack, the primary microphone, and the USB Type-C port.
Around the back, we have the aforementioned plastic surface, with the new Cherry logo at the bottom.
The vertical camera island looks really modern as it holds the three primary lenses on a single lane, with the fourth sensor and the pill-shaped dual-tone flash next to it.
Overall, the Aqua S10 Pro 5G has a fine design and build. It may not be the toughest nor the best-looking, but it’s more than enough for a modern budget phone.
Display and Sound Quality
The Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro has a large but standard 6.78-inch FHD+ IPS screen. It’s not AMOLED or has a high refresh rate, but considering all the other things it already offers, we’ll cut them some slack.
Display quality is fine, which is more than enough to say for a budget phone. The large size gives ample room for work and multitasking, more space for on-screen controls in games, and watching videos more immersive.
It also lacks a stereo speaker setup, but the single bottom-firing speaker already provides loud volume with a surprisingly full and balanced sound.
Hardware and Performance
With the Aqua S10 Pro 5G, you’re getting a 2.2GHz MediaTek Dimensity 700 octa-core processor, one of the first budget chips to come with 5G connectivity. It’s paired with a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage that’s expandable up to 512GB via a microSD card.
Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G benchmark scores
The actual performance was fine. Although you can definitely feel how lacking the 4GB of RAM is.
Multitasking between basic apps is decent, but you can feel it having a hard time when you run heavy programs like games.
Speaking of which, gaming was also fine, especially for a device under Php10,000. Call of Duty Mobile, on the default medium graphics quality and frame rates that it was set with, ran relatively smoothly with no noticeable hitch or lags.
The 5G performance on this smartphone was also superb, but the speeds would still depend if you’re within Smart and Globe‘s 5G coverage. In our case, we were able to get around 80Mbps of download and 14Mbps of upload speeds.
Software and User Interface
Cherry Mobile’s first Android phones will ship with a near-stock Android 11 interface. This is probably the cleanest interface we’ve seen on any Cherry device, which is great for those who don’t like clutter and prefer a straightforward UI.
It’s so clean that it doesn’t even come with bloatware. This means that, unlike other Android OEMs, you’re only getting a single photo gallery, which is Google’s Photos app. It also only uses Google Chrome as a browser, Google Contacts for calls, and of course, Google Assistant.
The only hint of any Cherry Mobile branding here is the specialized wallpapers, and there are quite a few of them to choose from in the settings. You can check out some of the special software features we found below.
The Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G has five cameras in total. The quad setup on the back consists of a 48-megapixel main shooter, 5-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel macro, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. While on the front, we have a 16-megapixel selfie camera.
Image quality from the main camera, like everything else on this device, is passable. They are definitely not the best and the color processing could be better, but still, they are worth sharing online. They have enough detail, acceptable contrast, and a decent dynamic range.
However, we’re having a hard time looking for the toggle for the 5-megapixel ultra-wide lens in the camera app. Either we’re missing something or a software fix is on the way. Either way, check out the samples below.
Selfies from the 16-megapixel front-facing camera are also decent. Color processing could be better, but it’s definitely enough for shooting TikTok videos or participating in video calls.
Just like most of its competition, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G comes with a 5,000mAh battery. In PCMark’s battery loop test, it was able to last for 12 hours and 32 minutes.
However, that test ran with all the connectivity features off and the screen brightness and volume set to 50%. That said, if you plan on browsing on 5G a lot, you may have to reach for the charger before the day ends.
Speaking of which, one of the device’s bragging rights is its 10W wireless charging. However, you’d be sacrificing speed over convenience. There’s still the 18W wired charger on the box, which can fully charge the phone for roughly two hours.
Without a doubt, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G is easily one of the strongest competitors that the local tech brand has come up with in years.
For a cheap price of under Php8,000, Cherry Mobile was able to cram 5G connectivity, a large display, and even wireless charging on the Aqua S10 Pro.
We just wish that the camera software handled images better and gave us access to the ultra-wide lens. Also, we can definitely feel the limitations of the 4GB of RAM. But still, for the price you’re paying, this device is easily one of the best you can get out there.
Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G pricing and availability
The Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Pro 5G has a price of only Php7,999 and is now available in physical and concept stores nationwide. You can also get it at www.cherryshop.com.ph, and the brand’s official stores in Lazada and Shopee.
- Budget 5G phone
- Clean interface, Stock Android
- Wireless charging
- Large display
- Camera software needs polish
- 4GB of RAM feels lacking