Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Review: Budget Camera Phone At Its Finest

Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Review: Budget Camera Phone At Its Finest
Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Review: Budget Camera Phone At Its Finest

INTRODUCTION:

Earlier this year, Cherry Mobile, one of the biggest local smartphone brands that gone global, released its most advanced device yet, the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie.

The Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie, as the name implies, is a cross-breed between the popular Flare series and the Selfie line - a powerful, yet affordable Android phone with the ability to capture great self-portray photos.

CPU-Z Information
CPU-Z Information

It has practically the same internals with the Cherry Mobile Flare S4 Plus, save for the better front camera - 16MP versus 8MP, slightly bigger battery - 3000mAh versus 2800mAh, and fingerprint sensor.


UNBOXING:

Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Unboxing and Hands-on

The retail package contains the unit itself, the charger, USB cable, wired headset, manuals and ejector pin. The unit's front and back are covered with temporary plastic, the one in the front shows all the major specs while the one at the back teaches you how to insert the SIM and micro SD card.

The phone has a premium build quality and looks premium too, it has one of the nicest designs among Cherry Mobile devices today. The frame is made of aluminum with beveled edges and round corners. The front is mainly covered by the display, wherein above it you will find the hidden sensors, earpiece grill, 16MP front camera and its accompanying LED flash. Going at the back, you will see the main camera together with its dual-LED flash positioned near the upper-left edge while the fingerprint scanner is placed in the center horizontally about one inch from the top. The left side holds the SIM/micro SD tray, the right has the volume keys and power button, the top has the 3.5mm audio jack and secondary microphone while the micro USB port, primary microphone and loudspeaker grill are all located at the bottom.

To learn more about its physical appearance, you can watch the unboxing and hands-on video above.


DISPLAY:

Display Information
Display

The Selfie has a 5-inch display with IPS and HD resolution, which is currently the norm among the Flare Series. What makes it standout is the 2.5D screen covered with Dragontrail glass for added protection. The display looks sharp and vibrant in real-life with color accuracy being consistent in almost any given angle.

See Also: Cherry Mobile Touch XL 2, 6-inch Quad Core Marshmallow with Free VR Glasses for Php3,499


SENSORS:

Sensors
Sensors

Aside from the usual accelerometer, ambient light and proximity sensors, it is also equipped with a fingerprint scanner, which is one of its main selling points. The fingerprint sensor is very fast and accurate and can recognize up to five different fingers. Apart from unlocking the phone, users can also lock any applications installed, wherein opening that particular app will require a password or authorized print.


BENCHMARKS:

Benchmarks
Benchmarks

Powering the device from the inside is the 64-bit MediaTek MT6753M processor that has 8 CPU cores clocked at 1.3GHz and Mali-T720MP3 GPU, the same chipset being used by its cousins like Flare 4, Flare S4, Flare S4 Plus and even the latest Flare Mate. Therefore, the performance is expected to be similar, but surprisingly, it scored slightly better than the Flare 4 -36593 in Antutu v5.6, 38279 in Antutu v6, which are 2K more than the 34214 and 35658 of the latter. Other benchmark scores are 3867 in PC Mark, more than 22K in Quadrant, 55.4 fps in NenaMark2, 3782, 1194 and 1550 in Vellamo Browser, Metal and Multicore respectively.


SOFTWARE:

Software
Software

It runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop with slightly customized UI on top, such as removal of the app drawer and pre-installed third-party applications. Other than these, it is still pretty much stock Android interface. It is also worth noting that the Flare Selfie continually receives wireless updates from time to time.


CAMERA and VIDEO:

Stock Android camera UI
Stock Android camera UI
UCamera interface
UCamera interface

The phone comes with three pre-installed camera applications, the default stock Android, UCamera and Beauty Camera, the first two work on both the front and back while the last one is dedicated for taking selfies only. The UCamera is a great substitute for the stock camera interface as it offers more intuitive and playful UI loaded with tons of features, such as Effect, Collage and Scenery.

Sample Photos:

Indoor shot through a glass window
Indoor shot through a glass window
Without HDR
Without HDR
With HDR
With HDR
Without HDR (1)
Without HDR (1)
With HDR (1)
With HDR (1)
Close-up
Close-up
Without flash
Without flash
With flash
With flash

Both the back camera and the front facing one boast a 16MP sensor and if I am not mistaken, this is the best combination of cameras in any Cherry Mobile device. In real-life scenarios, the main snapper proves to be a good contender in the sub-Php8K bracket. The outputs are full of details, color-rich and has natural tone, especially in good lighting conditions. The dual-tone LED flash is also strong enough to lit up the dark space and the focusing ability is commendable. Of course, it is not a perfect one and can be hardly compared to high-end smartphones from international brands, but nonetheless, it is a great shooter. Some minor issues though, are the inconsistent metering and exposure compensation, thankfully there is an HDR mode to fill the gap.

The same thing can be said with the front camera, provided that you have a very steady hand as in stone cold and has the patience to wait for the good focus, otherwise the resulting images might be blurry, especially in challenging light conditions.

Sample Videos:

1080p sample video

720p sample video

The main camera can shoot videos up to 1080p resolution when video quality under the settings is set to fine. The output can be considered as good, though exposure could have been better. Watch the sample videos we prepared above, FHD and HD.

Also Read: Cherry Mobile Flare XL 2, 6-inch Octa Core LTE Marshmallow for Php5,999


GAMING:

Modern Combat 5
Modern Combat 5
Overkill 3
Overkill 3

The Flare Selfie uses a decent MediaTek MT6753M SoC, which has 64-bit octa core processor clocked at 1.3GHz each and Mali-T720MP3 GPU. The gaming performance is slightly better, compared to other device with the same chipset, which can be attributed to the 3GB RAM.  For instance, playing Modern Combat and Overkill 3 is smoother and has less hiccups compared to Flare 4.


CONNECTIVITY:

Connectivity, LTE Speedtest results, (L) Globe & (R) Smart
Connectivity, LTE Speedtest results, (L) Globe & (R) Smart

The phone supports dual SIM cards, each can be assigned for cellular data one at a time. There is no issue or whatsoever in terms of LTE connection, both Smart and Globe networks are tested to be working just fine. Other connectivity sets include WiFi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio jack and micro USB 2.0 with OTG function.


GPS:

Location and GPS
Location and GPS

From cold start, it takes about a minute or two to get a satellite lock while with A-GPS data pre-loaded, it is almost an instant with an accuracy of 8 feet.


BATTERY STATS:

Battery stats
Battery stats

Underneath the unibody housing is a 3000mAh non-removable battery, in our PC Mark Work Battery Life test, it managed to last 9 hours and 32 minutes, which is very satisfactory. As a backup phone with one SIM card inserted, it usually lasts for more than a week.


CONCLUSION:

The Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie is a great device among the competitions under the 8K price category, it can be a serious option for consumers that wants to have a premium looking smartphone that offers smoother overall performance, capable camera and above average battery life, not to mention fast 4G LTE connectivity and accurate fingerprint sensor.

PROS:

Premium build quality
Above average main camera performance
Impressive battery life

CONS:

No LED notification light
No dedicated micro SD slot

Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Specifications:

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • WCDMA: 850/900/2100MHz
  • LTE: 800/1800/2100/2600MHz
  • Dual micro SIM, dual standby
  • 5-inch IPS HD (1280x720) capacitive touchscreen display, Dragontrail Glass protection
  • Dimensions: 143.5mm x 69.4mm x 7.99mm
  • Weight: TBC
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 64-bit 1.3GHz octa core Cortex-A53 CPU, Mali-T720MP3 GPU, MediaTek MT6753M chipset
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 16GB internal storage, expandable up to 64GB via micro SD card using SIM 2 tray
  • 16MP BSI auto focus main camera with dual-tone LED flash
  • 16MP auto focus secondary camera
  • Multimedia player
  • FM Radio
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Micro USB 2.0 with OTG function
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Sensor: accelerometer, light, proximity
  • Battery: 3000mAh, non-removable
  • Price: Php7,999

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