One of the reasons behind Cherry Mobile’s success is their vast product portfolio. So vast that even us, as reviewers, are starting to lost track. And during the conclusion of the review that you’re about to read, Cherry Mobile outed again a new Flare S6 variant — the Flare S6 Deluxe.
But before going to that, let’s take a look first at the standard model. The variant that doesn’t have the “Selfie”, the “Plus”, the “Premium”, and even the “Deluxe” branding. This is our review of the Cherry Mobile Flare S6.
Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Specs
- Android 7.0 Nougat, Cherry OS
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby (micro)
- 5.2-inch HD IPS display, 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, ~282ppi
- 1.3GHz MediaTek 6737 quad-core processor
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
- 13-megapixel BSI front camera, LED flash
- 13-megapixel BSI rear camera, LED flash
- Fingerprint scanner
- 3G, 4G LTE
- WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
- Bluetooth v4.1
- GPS, A-GPS
- USB Type-C
- Dimensions: 148 x 72.8 x 8.8mm
- Weight: 108g
- 2600mAh removable battery
Design and Build Quality
Just like what they are doing in the last couple of years, Cherry Mobile wants to sell you a smartphone by dressing it in good fashion. Their devices might be lacking in some areas, but it does look and feel good in the hands — or at least it feels that way during your first few moments with it.
But during my extensive time with it, the Cherry Mobile Flare S6 feels of average quality. The typical build and plastic cover at the back, plus its fiery color variant, are something really unique in its budget price range.
The buttons on the sides were surprisingly tactile, the fingerprint scanner at the back are within reach, and the capacitive buttons on the front are clearly labeled.
It also sports an iPhone-like antenna bands. However, I doubt that it really looks like Apple’s nor they are actual antenna bands. Upon inspection, it looks like they were part of the entire backplate. They were just carved to look otherwise, which was probably intended to add some design flavor to it.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the Flare S6’s design. It looks appealing, especially in this red variant. However, just like most budget smartphones, it doesn’t feel very sturdy so you have to give extra care to it for the device to last long.
The Cherry Mobile Flare S6 flaunts a 5.2-inch IPS display, with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, and a total of 282 pixels-per-inch. And to further differentiate it with the Flare S6 Plus, the Flare S6 has the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, while the latter gets to have the more trendy 18:9 screen.
For the price, this is probably the best display hardware that you can get. And thankfully, it did deliver acceptable performance. The HD resolution was decent enough to fill-up its 5.2-inch screen, however, it’s still nothing against a 1080p panel — but that’s just pushing it.
On the other hand, the colors are good. The whites are really whites, with no hint of that yellow-ish shade you see on most devices. However, having a completely white screen can be a bit eye-straining especially at night. But still, it does benefit from the display’s color accuracy.
The screen also has wide viewing angles. However, I did notice some color shifting when being viewed at a really bad angle. Screen brightness, on the other hand, is impressive and it’s decently viewable in direct sunlight.
Performance and Hardware
The Cherry Mobile Flare S6 is a sub-Php5k smartphone, which means that the resources they have to allocate for the device are a bit limited. With that, what we have here is a mediocre and standard-issue chipset.
It runs on 1.3GHz MediaTek 6737 quad-core processor, with 2GB of RAM, a Mali-T720 GPU, and 16GB of internal storage. While the storage is considerably low, it can easily be expanded further with the help of a micro SD card.
And it goes without saying that the performance is really underwhelming. The entire interface feels bogged down. The apps, even the basic ones like Facebook and Instagram, take a few seconds to start. It also doesn’t have the smoothest experience when scrolling through the news feed.
You can also expect the same experience in gaming. Light and casual games are playable, of course. But if you run titles like NBA Live, the chipset immediately gets stressed out. Both the frame rate and the graphics are a bit janky.
But all these are because we are used to using high-end and blazing fast smartphones. For those who are coming from a feature phone or older smartphone, the Cherry Mobile Flare S6 is definitely decent in performance. While it may keep you waiting for a second or two at times, it’s definitely serviceable for the most part. Browsing the web and surfing the social media networks are doable without much hiccups.
Benchmark test results
Software and Interface
Probably one of the main reasons why the chipset is having a hard time is because of the new Cherry OS. When the Flare S6 line was announced back in October, we were surprised when Cherry Mobile announced their own interface.
In our Flare S6 Selfie review, we praised the Cherry OS’ basic looks by not going far south from Android’s stock aesthetics. However, for the cheaper and underpowered Flare S6, the processor could have performed better if it’s running on stock Android.
Also, it appears that those annoying pop-up ads aren’t going anywhere. We’re still seeing it pop-up multiple times whenever we’re using the phone.
But still, I’d like to give props to Cherry Mobile by being brave enough to launch their own interface. We just hope that further updates and patches would arrive as fast as possible so that the handset could be properly optimized.
2017 is the year where the facial recognition feature has flourished. This is all thanks to the iPhone X. Both OPPO and Vivo already have it in their flagship devices. But for the likes of Cherry Mobile, facial identification is still quite outlandish to adopt.
However, if ever the company acquires such technology, I highly doubt that it will first debut with a cheap device like the Flare S6. Without surprise, the only thing we have here is a fingerprint scanner at the back.
It might not be the fastest sensor of all, but it’s still reliable. Based on my experience, I really think that using a fingerprint scanner is more convenient and speedy than facial recognition.
The whole unlocking process takes for about a second or two. That’s from the sensor recognizing your fingerprint up to the flashy transition effect.
To add on all of the basic things that the Cherry Mobile Flare S6 has, the company has decided to equip it with 13-megapixel BSI shooters. Just like the Flare S6 Plus, the younger brother will utilize the same sensor in front and back. Although the Plus variant gets a better 16-megapixel sensor, also in front and back.
The images it can produce are really unsurprising. Sure, its 13-megapixel sensor does provide decent sharpness, however, there’s more to a smartphone camera than the pixel count.
With that said, I noticed that the camera is a bit slow, especially when shooting in low-light. The colors also look a bit washed out, the contrast is just average, and the dynamic range is just plain awful.
And since our demand for perfection is heavier on the rear camera, the sensor’s performance as a selfie shooter was passable. The pictures taken on both good and bright lighting were decent. The accompanying flash also adds a right amount exposure when taking selfies in a dim room.
A lot of manufacturers have been trying to up the selfie capabilities of their smartphones. And with Cherry Mobile, their trying to do the same by incorporating a Beauty Mode, Snapchat-like face filters, and of course, portrait mode.
The Beauty Mode on this thing works decently if you’re really into those kinds of things. When the effect is maxed out, your face can appear a little fairer and slimmer. The face filters, or as Cherry Mobile calls it “Face Cute” has tons of fun effects to choose from. From bunny ears, Super Mario Hat.
You can also enable Portrait Mode to achieve that professional, DSLR-like blurred background. But just like most smartphones that does this trick, the effect isn’t 100% believable. The edges of the foreground aren’t completely isolated in the background. But unless you’re really picky, the effect looks pretty cool.
Considering the incredibly low price, the camera quality is not so bad at all. For as long as you take your time on shooting, do some minor edits, then your next Instagram post is gonna be lit. Just make sure that you compose the photos well and shoot in good lighting conditions and you’re good to go.
And just like everything else in this review, the Flare S6’s battery performance is also mediocre. While it might not be the best, we definitely have seen worse in other affordable smartphones.
Its 2,600mAh battery delivered an on-screen time of around 6hrs and 18mins in PCMark’s battery stress test. While during a real-world usage, the device was able to last me for a day of casual use with moderate web and social media browsing, taking pictures, and receiving calls and texts. But if you’re into a lot of gaming and streaming videos, you better carry a power bank with you.
With the Cherry Mobile Flare S6, you’re getting all of the necessary antennas needed for you to stay connected. It has 4G LTE connectivity, which worked reliably during my time with it. I also didn’t notice any signal drops when connected to my home and studio WiFi network.
The Bluetooth v4.1, despite not being the latest, was able to stream my music through a wireless headphone and our Sembrandt SB750 soundbar. Cherry Mobile also managed to incorporate a USB Type-C port on the Flare S6, beating other more expensive devices, who still utilizes micro USB implementation.
The Cherry Mobile Flare S6 is clearly one of the best smartphones in its category, even though we experienced hiccups here and there. Overall, despite minor annoyances, it won our hearts.
First off, the good stuff. Undeniably, the Flare S6 is a stunner, especially on this red color variant. The HD screen is also acceptable for the price. Its size is also a sweet spot for not being large nor too small.
And lastly, if you’re patient with it, the camera can deliver acceptable results.
But the thing is, for me personally, devices under the sub-Php5k category should focus their strength in both the processing performance and the interface’s look and responsiveness. And clearly, it is not the Flare S6’s priority. But that’s just me. For most consumers, the even spread of priority to the hardware and design is actually the most sensible way to go.
If you’re on a really tight budget and a good-looking phone to flash around is a top priority, then the Cherry Mobile Flare S6 is definitely worth a look.
Pricing and Availability of Flare S6
The Flare S6 retails for only Php3,999 on all Cherry Mobile stores, kiosks, and third-party resellers nationwide.
- Good design
- Decent display quality
- Capable camera
- Performance could have been better
- CherryOS interface still needs polishing
- Random ad pop-ups