The Flare series is one of the most recognizable and successful lines of Cherry Mobile. Not too long ago, we reviewed the lackluster Flare 2.0. Not long after, Cherry Mobile released a beefier Cherry Mobile Flare 2X. At PHP 4,499, the specs aren’t too bad and is IMHO a much worthy successor to the original Flare than the Flare 2.0. But how good is it? Check it out on our full review.
Cherry Mobile Flare 2X Specs
- 4.0″ FWVGA display (480 x 800 resolution, 233ppi)
- 1.2GHz Quad-Core CPU with Adreno 203 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB internal memory, expandable via micro SD up to 32GB
- 8MP camera with LED flash
- 0.3MP front-facing camera
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, HSPA
- Dual SIM
- Android 4.1.2 Jellybean
- 1,500mAh battery
Compared to the Flare 2.0, the specs are mostly similar but you do get double the RAM and a higher MP camera. For some reason, you get a slightly lower battery capacity, with a 50 mAh difference, it’s not too much though that bet of an extra juice would’ve been much appreciated. Real world use didn’t show the lesser battery capacity either as I got good stamina out of the phone.
Packaging and Accessories
Packaging for this phone is standard Cherry Mobile fare, which means it doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, they haven’t changed the sparsity of their included accessories. It’s just the standard headset and a pre-applied screen protector (the application of the protector is good this time around, I hope this trend continues). I also would’ve wanted a free microSD card but that’s okay considering the price.
Design and Build
Overall, I can say that the aesthetics of the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X is good, but not great. It’s encased with shiny plastic with dark chrome-like trimmings. It’s not bad IMHO, though it’s far from being an eye candy.
That being said, the CM Flare 2X’s outer body seems sturdy, and while it doesn’t seem to scratch easily, the shiny plastic is certainly a finger magnet. It does feel good in the hand when in use.
Button placement is different from what I’m accustomed to, with the power button at the top and the volume rocker on the right. The left side is devoid of any buttons. The face contains three soft buttons arranged in the standard Menu, Home, and Back button placements. The microUSB is placed at the button, but it’s placed right instead of center.
The rear of the Flare 2X houses the phone’s main 8MP camera with LED flash and the loudspeaker. It’s all standard fare, so there’s no point getting much about it. You can yank the rear housing off to get to the battery tray, as well as to the two SIM trays and the microSD slot. Placement is good, with the two SIM slots snugly separated, meaning they’re easily accessible. Same goes for the microSD card.
Display and Touchscreen
Cherry Mobile Flare 2X’s 4.0″ is display with 480 x 854 screen resolution. It’s bright and clear and you won’t have any problem using it. Color reproduction is still the same as phones of this caliber, with colors being inaccurate and muted. But for the price point, it’s quite acceptable.
Touchscreen controls are smooth and responsive, and should you want to play games on this device, you won’t encounter any problems (provided the phone meets the game’s minimum requirements, which isn’t much of a problem given the generous RAM), or at least I didn’t. It’s also accurate enough that you won’t have problems typing.
I have to say, I got stellar performance out of the hardware. It was lag-free for the most part, and you won’t have any problems using it. The only time I encountered lag was with Dead Trigger 2 when I’m getting swarmed by the undead. But then again, my Note 2 experiences a drastic drop in framerate as well, so I’m not taking points away from this phone.
Despite the slightly lower mAh, battery life is still good enough. I was able to take a day’s worth of heavy use out of the phone, consisting of heavy calls and texts, occasional casual games, and always-on WiFi and internet. Playing high-profile games, like the aforementioned Dead Trigger 2, will suck up the juice considerably though. But that’s expected. Everything else worked well, and that includes GPS and Bluetooth.
Storage space is surprisingly generous when compared to its contemporaries. Of the 4GB internal storage space, a generous 1.4GB is available for the users. That would get filled up pretty quick, IMHO, that’s why it would’ve been nice to include a free microSD card, as you would really need the extra storage space.
The Cherry Mobile Flare 2X makes use of Android Jellybean 4.1.2, much like Flare 2.0. I would’ve liked it if it came with Android 4.2, or at least if a software update to that version was forthcoming. But that’s just nitpicking on my part because the version it came with is very stable. Normal operations yielded a lag-free experience.
For out-of-the-box software, there’s minimal customizations other than the contacts and messaging to accommodate dual-SIM capability, and some pre-loaded Cherry Mobile apps, such as the software Updater that lets you update the firmware OTA. Too bad there’s no update for this phone yet, but it’s not a bad idea to run this app from time to time.
Like some of the Cherry Mobile phones, Cherry Mobile Flare 2X comes with the TouchPal Keyboard 5 preloaded, but it’s not set as the default keyboard. It’s also missing Google Chrome, which is Android’s standard browser since ICS. In its place is Opera Mini. Regulars like Facebook and Twitter are also absent. However, it’s not a biggie since you can opt to download these missing apps from the Play Store if you wish.
As a phone, it does very well. Audio clarity is great, provided you have good reception. I had some problems with audio quality from time to time, but I’m chalking it up to Globe’s problems with reception. Microphone also does well. I’ve also hadn’t encountered any difficulty sending text messages. Dual-SIM integration is pretty much stable and you won’t have difficulty using that feature.
As an entertainment device, it’s pretty usable, and you’ll be satisfied just as long as you keep your expectations low. I was able to play high-def videos, though, and the screen does an acceptable job at rendering your video files, or when watching YouTube, etc.. Other than that, if you’ve had Cherry Mobile phones before, then there’s nothing new to see here.
Gaming is as good as it gets on a budget phone, although expect some high profile (i.e. resource-intensive games) to lapse from time to time. However, touchscreen sensitivity is tight, and I never encountered any problem whether it be in casual games or the high profile ones. Unfortunately, for some reason, I couldn’t take a screenshot while playing Dead Trigger 2. I kept getting an error. I don’t know whether it’s because of the app or what. It’s quite trivial, though, and not too many people would care.
Camera performance of the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X is also the same as its CM contemporaries, meaning it’s average at best despite having an 8MP snapper. This really shows you that MP isn’t everything. I find the flash to be on the weak side, though, but under certain circumstances, though it doesn’t bother me much. Personally, I prefer taking shots in ambient light (even during my photography days) and try avoiding making use of flash unless absolutely necessary. In this case, though, you would appreciate the existence of flash, especially indoors where low light performance is a bit underwhelming. Performance is much better outdoors, and while you won’t be making award-winning photos, you and your friends, etc would get a kick out of it.
AnTuTu Benchmark is average for budget phones, netting 11,186 points, putting it above Samsung Galaxy S2 and LG Optimus 2X. Notably, this also puts it above the Flare 2.0 phone. This solidifies my feeling that CM Flare 2X is the superior phone of the two.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X. While uninspired, the phone’s aesthetic design is not too bad. At the least, it doesn’t look cheap. Hardware and software work well together and it’s able to give me impressive performance as a daily driver. For PHP 4,499, it’s worth your hard-earned cash. There isn’t much fault to be found with the phone, and majority of my caveats are trivial (relative to budget phones).
I’m really quite happy that CM gave us a generous amount of RAM, as well as a bit roomier internal storage available to users. And putting it at the price point that it is is a sweet icing on a very delicious moist cake. As good as its performance is, I know it’s not for everybody. Gaming performance is acceptable, but is already impressive given the price point. As a media device, it won’t let you down but it won’t wow you. Actually, I’d say that I put Cherry Mobile Flare 2X is on par with my current Cherry Mobile phone favorite, the sublime Cherry Mobile Burst 2.0, with this phone having advantage with RAM and the latter with screen size and Android Jellybean version.