It’s no denying that Cherry Mobile is one of the most prominent local smartphone manufacturers today. From blockbuster devices like the Flare X, the recent Flare S4 devices, and the MAIA line-up; the company was able to manage to deliver products that can surely satisfy your hard-earned money, up to its last drop.
Cherry Mobile is at it again with the Flare Selfie. Just by the name itself we can already guess what this phone is about, since this is not the first one to have the same title. We have already seen Asus’s Zenfone Selfie, a device that holsters a capable front-facing camera, to cater those selfie junkies. But Cherry Mobile goes beyond that; while offering a 16-megapixel sensor at the front, they were still able to squeeze in a 3000mAh battery, an octa-core processor, and a fingerprint scanner; all with an asking price of only Php 7,999.
So, is the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie is actually a good overall device? Or only those who die for selfies are going to be pleased? Let’s figure that out.
Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Specs
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
- 5-inch IPS LCD (720×1280 HD), ~294ppi
- 1.3GHz octa-core processor
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- microSD support up to 32GB
- 16-megapixel main camera, with autofocus and LED flash
- 16-megapixel front camera, with autofocus
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Dual micro SIM with dual standby
- 3G HSPA+, 4G LTE
- Bluetooth 4.0
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- Dimensions: 143.5 x 69.4 x 7.99mm
- 3000mAh battery
Video Review of Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie
Design and Build Quality
If there’s one thing that Cherry Mobile is becoming really good at in the past few devices is their design know-how. Despite the cheap price tag, they were still able to build a premium looking and feeling device. Just like the Cherry Mobile Flare S4 Plus, the device’s sides is wrapped with metal. A material called 2.5D CNC Aluminum, which feels very sturdy and nice in the hands, with the volume and lock/power switch made from the same material, which made it very tactile and satisfying to press.
Also, the entire face of the device is covered with Dragon trail glass, which can withstand some minor scratches and bumps. So you don’t have to worry about dipping the Flare Selfie in your pocket, together with your keys or some coins. Although, the front and back were treated with plastic, it still didn’t made the device any less premium. Thus, it actually complimented the overall finish of the Flare Selfie for making it lightweight.
At the front, we do have the 5″ HD IPS display, a very flashy light and proximity sensors, the earpiece, the 16-megapixel front-facing camera with Flash, and turning on the display reveals the on-screen buttons. It is very disappointing that they didn’t included an LED notification indicator, a hardware that is present to almost any devices today.
The left side has the tray to house two micro sim cards, with the other slot can alternatively accommodate a microSD card, that is capable of up to 32GB. A lot of brands are doing this already, but I wish Cherry Mobile still went to the traditional setup; which is giving the user the ability to have two sim cards plugged in, with a separate storage expansion slot to utilize.
The left has the volume controls and the lock/power switch.
The top has the 3.5mm headphone jack and the second microphone for noise cancellation.
At the bottom we have the other built-in microphone, microUSB port, and the loudspeakers. Yup, the bottom looks very identical with the iPhone 6 and later. From the vertical line accents, which actually serves as an antenna for wireless networks; and of course, the tiny and easy-looking speaker grills. Whether having the same design footprint to a prominent device is good or not will now depend on personal preference; but for me, I think it works well with the device, despite the lack of originality. And speaking of the speakers, the drivers beneath it delivers excellent performance, with decent volume and fine clarity. But, the speakers placement makes it easily obstructed or covered, especially when playing games and watching videos, since you’ll be holding the device on landscape during those situations. Once covered, the speakers goes almost completely silent.
At the back of the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie, we have the 16-megapixel primary camera with a dual-tone flash, and of course, the fingerprint scanner. We’ve already seen other leading brands chose the same location for the reader, and I think, having it on the top-back is really the best choice. The scanner is placed where your index finger usually rest, thus, the ease of access. The fingerprint reader can read your prints quite fast, for as long as it actually detects it. Why? Well, the success rate of it reading your fingerprint correctly is sometimes low. During my tests, there were times that it just doesn’t recognize my prints and prompted me to try again, and again, and again; I tried wiping my fingers and the scanner itself for suspected dirt that may have caused an obstruction of each other, but still no luck, thus, using the other registered finger to unlocking it, or do it manually via a 4-digit PIN code. But nevertheless, on my greater time with the device, the scanner would read my finger perfectly, and unlocks the device instantly.
The scanner can store five different fingerprints, just like the majority of the devices that has this feature; and it can also be used to lock and secure different applications, which you can choose which one to protect on the settings menu. The sensor also serves as a shutter button, which makes a lot more sense when taking selfies.
I really liked the overall aesthetics and build of the device. It’s elegant and feels really nice in the hands. Although, I wish there were other color options. The Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie is only available in white, unlike the other devices from them that are offered in various colors.
The similarly priced Flare S4 Plus utilizes a sharper Full HD display, in contrast with the HD screen that the Flare Selfie has. This may be a bad news to those pixel aficionados, but quite forgivable for some people like me, since Cherry Mobile spared some value to other components, which, are not found in the S4 Plus. With that said, we have a 5″ HD IPS display, which has a 1280 x 720 resolution, and has 294 pixels-per-inch.
The display of Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie is definitely not the sharpest of all, considering the presence of 1080p and 1440p devices, but details are still projected beautifully, without the presence of any easily visible pixels. Texts from web pages and other places are comfortable and easy in the eyes. Colors also looks fantastic. Just like other IPS displays, blacks are deep, with the just right saturation to make colors pop, but not to exaggerate it.
Although, screen brightness is a bit disappointing on this one; sure, you can still see it clearly outdoors, but I still crave for some extra brightness.
While viewing angles is wide; you can easily spot almost all the details on the screen from any position you are in.
The Flare Selfie runs under Android 5.1 Lollipop, a software version that are present to almost all of Cherry Mobile’s recent devices. But unlike its siblings, the device gives you an option to either sport the stock Android interface, or utilize their new launcher. Either of the two that you shall pick, you can make the decision on the settings menu. The Cherry launcher is live automatically out of the box. You can switch to the standard Android look by enabling Stock Launcher from the options.
With that said, there’s hardly any difference from the two. And besides, it is just a launcher, so the look of the home screen is the only thing that is different. The Cherry Launcher gave a custom look to the app icons; there are also some few themes presets, which can be changed in a snap by tapping the icon ‘Theme Change”; and probably the biggest change is the disappearance of the app drawer. Yup, all of your applications are scattered on the home screen, only the apps from Google were batched on a single folder initially, it is up to you to sort the others.
There are also some off-screen gestures present like the Double-Tap to wake the device and Smart Gestures, where you can instantly launch an app while the screen is off by drawing a letter on it. The corresponding app to each 9 available letters are can be modified on the settings menu.
Other than that, 5.1 Lollipop is still what we have known and loved. Although it is known for mismanaging RAM, but it is barely noticeable as the device is equipped with 3GBs of it. Overall, it was a seamless user-experience on the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie. Here’s to hoping that a more refined 5.1.1 version arrives on this one, or better yet, a 6.0 Marshmallow update.
We got a MediaTek MT6753 chipset that is powering this device. An octa-core processor with a clock speed of 1.3GHz, with a Mali-T720 GPU, and 3GB of RAM. This is probably the usual SoC that we are seeing in almost all budget-friendly eight core devices lately.
Processing performance have been seamless. Everything was fluid and smooth, from browsing the homes screen, scrolling through different social media apps, and of course, gaming. I have tried titles like SimCity and UFC, and the gameplay just ran flawlessly, with no visible frame drops or stutters. The device does get warm, but overheating is barely existent.
The 3GB RAM is also showing off big time on this thing. You can go back from a previously opened app from where exactly you left. You can also load an hours worth of YouTube video, and scroll back and forth from the timeline without any worries of restarting the buffer. I wish that there’s a multi-window function that comes right in, to fully utilize this spacious workspace.
And we’re here at the main event. Well, the device’s name gave it away already; the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie is a snap-shooter’s device. Holstering a 16-megapixel BSI primary camera, and an equivalent 16-megapixel front-facing one with auto-focus, this device is really targeted to someone. But, are those big numbers really produced the expected photo quality? Here’s our test results.
The primary camera sure did delivered awesome results, but it doesn’t have a “Wow” factor. Photos looked sharp, although zooming-in reveals a lot of digital noise, which we have already scene in some other competing devices; also, dynamic range is average; saturation is not exaggerated, although shots looked a little plain and muted due to its low contrast, even in scenarios with good lighting and bright sunlight. Color reproduction is also impressive, although it sometimes fail at some shots, due to the white balance aren’t set right in some occasion.
The sensor can produce decent and usable photos at low-light and indoor scenes, although the aforementioned digital noise are now more visible.
While, the shooter at the front also entails the same sentiment. Although, it is a different story around here. Having a pixel-packed and sharp quality photo is already satisfying and more than good enough for selfies. Also, I’m really liking the flash that it was partnered with. The light has a subtle intensity, so it doesn’t blow the contrast, plus, the flash itself has a yellowish shade (the same one that was on the primary dual-tone flash), thus, complimenting the human skin tone.
The device can also shoot 1080p videos, with Electronic Image Stabilizer tucked-in. Video quality has the same results as with the stills. Digital noise are inevitable, and colors are lame. (Check our video review for the sample.)
Now to the essential component, the camera app. There’s nothing to much special about it, since it is the same one that Android made for us. Other than the standard photo mode, you can shoot Live Photo, Motion Track, Panorama, and multi-angle. We are not seeing any “Beauty Mode”, that we usually get in smartphones like this, which has an exaggerated front-facing camera.
Cherry Mobile covered all the basics with the Flare Selfie. We got WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 — there’s no fancy AC WiFi or NFC, but we do have 4G LTE networks.
The device also has a Turbo Download feature, which can utilize both the wireless network and WiFi, simultaneously, to double the download speeds. We rarely see this feature in today’s devices, so it is a big plus to have it here.
Cherry Mobile may have taken some compromises to other departments of this device, but they sure know what are the vital parts, and things that are needed to be prioritized. With that, they planted a large 3000mAh battery on this thing. Despite how thin and lightweight the device is, they were still able to pack as such. But I still wish that they made it removable, rather than leaving the user no options to replace the battery as it runs out, or when it becomes defective over time.
Battery longevity is what you’ll expect — it’s great. Screen-on time, which consisted of uninterrupted gaming, streaming videos online and etc. lasted the device for up to 5 hours. That’s far north from the usual 3 to 4-hour mark that we usually get on other devices.
While light to moderate usage like casual web browsing, sending/receiving calls or texts and listening to music gave the device 13 hours of time before reaching 15%, the battery percentage that is optimal for recharging.
Speaking of recharging, the device took almost 3 to 4 hours before it went back to 100%. It is sure is lengthy, but considering the large battery that it needs to refill, plus, there’s no support for fast charging that we usually get on high-end devices, it is pretty forgivable.
It’s possibly the best device in its category, but there are really a lot of things to like about the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie. The device goes head-to-head with its brother, the Cherry Mobile Flare S4 Plus, which we have reviewed just recently. Both are coming from the same price tag, but, with a slightly different set of cards up in their sleeves. While both having the same beautiful design and build quality and a spacious 3GB of RAM; the Flare Selfie brags a fingerprint scanner, Turbo download, and of course, a large camera sensor at the front.
Generally, this device also offers an impressive battery performance. An aspect that a lot of local manufacturers seems to have at their bottom list. Processing performance has been satisfying, which makes the Flare Selfie a device not just for novelty-fans, but also for those serious, and hardcore users.
There are some things that I wish Cherry Mobile didn’t compromise. Having a removable back panel could have gone a long way; the omitted LED indicator, despite seemingly insignificant, is still a big hit to the Flare Selfie; also, I kind of hoped that the rear camera and display brightness could have performed better.
To wrap it up, the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie is a great smartphone. There are sure is a lot of other alternatives out there, considering the price drop of a lot of devices from international and well-known brands; but for the Flare Selfie’s Php7,999 price tag, it is still a great contender.
- Elegant iPhone-like design, sturdy build
- Fingerprint scanner
- Powerful performance, large 3GB RAM
- Pixel-packed front-facing camera
- 4G LTE, Turbo Download
- Impressive battery longevity
- Non-removable battery
- No LED indicator
- Not so good rear camera