Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Review; Brilliance Within - TeknoGadyet
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Monday, November 12, 2018

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Review; Brilliance Within

INTRODUCTION:

Every year, Cherry Mobile updates their Flare series, and this 2018 is no different, as the most valuable local smartphone brand unveiled the S7 family, headed by the Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus, which is the focus of this review.

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Review; Brilliance Within
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Review; Brilliance Within

The Flare S7 Plus is Cherry Mobile's top of the line offering for 2018, a kind of handset we haven't seen for quite a while from them. If my memory serves me right, it was its predecessor, the Flare S6 Plus, that holds the position for about a year now, since the Flare S6 Premium is not commercially available. So, let's begin and see what it has to offer!


PHYSICAL:


Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Unboxing and Hands-on

When we get hold of the Flare S7 Plus, we immediately feel its premium and solid construction. In fact, it is the most eye-candy phone from Cherry Mobile, and without any brand marking anywhere, people looking at it always mistakenly identify it as a handset from international brands. Yes, others argue that it looks boring without any marks that identifies it as Cherry Mobile, but let's admit that it is indeed refreshing.

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front
Front

The front is mainly occupied by the 6.18-inch touchscreen LCD with FHD+ resolution, that is 2246 x 1080 pixels, 19:9 aspect ratio, a notch up top, and covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Just like most brands, they have to name something with something, if OPPO call theirs as Waterdrop, Vivo as Halo, then Cherry calls this as Trueview Notch Display. By the way, there is also a free tempered glass that fits perfectly into the unit.

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Trueview Notch Display
Trueview Notch Display

Speaking of notch, it occupies about half of the width, and looks quite as large as that found on the Apple iPhone X. It may look awkward at first, but you will slowly get used to it, especially if you owned a notch phone in the past. Nonetheless, there is an option to hide the notch deep in the settings, and an option whether the apps cover the full screen or just the 18:9 portion.

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Display Info
Display Info

The display is more than good enough for everyday use, and sunlight legibility and readability are both OK, however, it tends to be a bit reflective at times. There is also an option to adjust LCD color temperature from normal to cool or ward. Moreover, it also has Smart Eye Protection, which you can set manually or automatically. Meanwhile, multiple touch supports up to five fingers.

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Back
Back

Flipping the phone over, you will find the dual rear cameras and LED flash mounted vertically in the upper left hand, while the fingerprint sensor is horizontally placed in the center. There is a barely noticeable camera bump, and with the free clear case in place, you do not need to worry getting it scratched. The back has a glass-like glossy finish, which looks elegant, it is not a fingerprint or smudge magnet, but can easily get micro scratches. Again, there is no marking of any kind here, so there is no way you can tell it is a CM phone.

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Sides
Sides

Moving to the sides, the top has nothing on it, the right houses the volume keys and power button, the bottom is quite busy with the microphone, loudspeaker grilles, and USB Type-C port, while the left is where the SIM tray is located. Oddly enough, the tray still accommodates Micro SIM + Nano SIM, instead of the usual two Nano SIMs. And if your SIM card happens to be a Nano type, you won't be able to expand the storage as it shares the same slot with MicroSD card. Take note also that there is no 3.5mm audio jack port, so you either have to use a Bluetooth headphones or resort to the USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter if you still insist on using wired earphones.

It measures 155mm x 75.5mm x 7.85mm, which is smaller in all aspects when compared to Vivo V11i's 155.97mm x 75.63mm x 8.1mm, however, it is way heavier at 200 grams as opposed to just 163.7 grams of the latter. To know more, you can watch the unboxing video above.


SOFTWARE:

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Software
Software

The Flare S7 Plus runs on Android 8.1.0 Oreo, it ditches the CherryOS we've seen with the previous generation of Flare series, however, it still does not provide a pure Android experience as it still has a minimalist skin. But, one thing is certain, it is less buggy and more responsive than CherryOS. It also offers useful features such as Smart Gestures, that allows users to perform several actions with simple gestures, and Data Clone that lets you transfer text messages, files, and apps from your old device. More importantly, there is no pop up ads, and very few pre-installed apps.


PERFORMANCE:

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus CPU-Z Info
CPU-Z Info

The Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus boasts powerful internals, it is in fact the most powerful Cherry Mobile handset to date. It is has MediaTek MT6771 chip, popularly known as Helio P60, that has 2GHz octa core CPU, ARM Mali-G72MP3 GPU, NueroPilot technology, and Edge AI processing unit. It is based on the 12nm FinFET manufacturing process, and the same silicon found inside the Vivo V11i, OPPO F9, and Nokia 5.1 Plus.

Released earlier this 2018, it is still quite powerful. Check out its raw processing capabilities below:

Antutu - 136,804
Geekbench - 1,519 (single core)
Geekbench - 5,717 (multi core)
Geekbench - 5,401 (RenderScript)
PC Mark - 7,628
3D Mark Sling Shot - 1,628
3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme - 926 (Vulkan)
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme - 1,042 (OpenGL ES 3.1)
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited – 21,480
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme - Max

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Benchmark Scores
Benchmark Scores

The benchmark scores are on par, and even better in some points when compared to Huawei Nova 3i that has HiSilicon 710 chip. Both the Helio P60 and Kirin 710 are built on 12nm FinFET process, however, the former has some edge when it comes to GPU. The Mali-G72 GPU of Helip P60 is not only more powerful than the Mali-G51 GPU of Kirin 710, but also more power efficient as it is built on 16nm FinFET process as compared to 28nm HPM process of the latter.

It terms of actual usage, it is pretty fast and responsive, navigating and switching between interface and apps is smooth. Moreover, playing games like Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile, and NBA 2K18 is enjoyable because of lag-free game play even if the settings are set on high. There are minor dropped frames when there are lots of characters on the screen, but those times are hardly noticeable. For those who are concerned about heating issue, we are glad to report that there is nothing to worry about.

The Face Unlock works pretty well and fast even in low light situations, and most of the time unlocks faster than the hardware fingerprint scanner, thanks to the IR camera mounted beside the selfie snapper.

Meanwhile, the audio quality using the bundled earphones is not the best in its class, but good enough for day to day listening, just be reminded that you need a dongle for that. It only has a single firing loudspeaker, and occupies only one side of the uniformed grills that you see at the bottom, the other one is for the microphone.


CAMERA:

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Dual Rear Cameras
Dual Rear Cameras

The Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus is equipped with four cameras in total, however, only three of them are used for photography purposes, while the other one is used to aid the Face Unlock feature of the phone. The rear ones have 16MP + 5MP back-illuminated (BSI) sensor, while the front-facing one is 16MP module. Both are assisted with artificial intelligence for scene recognition and beautification. Cherry Mobile also introduces Flare Moji, their very own animated emoji.

Dual-Rear Camera Samples:

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Noon, Baguio Cathedral
Noon, Baguio Cathedral
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Noon, Lion's Head, Normal Zoom
Noon, Lion's Head, Normal Zoom
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Noon, Lion's Head, 2x Zoom
Noon, Lion's Head, 2x Zoom
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Afternoon, Fountain
Afternoon, Fountain
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Afternoon, Obando River
Afternoon, Obando River
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Afternoon, Strawberry Farm
Afternoon, Strawberry Farm
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Night, Swimming Pool
Night, Swimming Pool
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Night, Overpass
Night, Overpass
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Night, Burnham Park
Night, Burnham Park
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Indoor, Other Side
Indoor, Other Side
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Indoor, Voodoo
Indoor, Voodoo
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Indoor, McDiabetes
Indoor, McDiabetes
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Close-up, Wildflower
Close-up, Wildflower
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Close-up, Dessert
Close-up, Dessert

The dual rear cameras produce great quality images with good color reproduction, lots of details, and nicely resolved highlights, that is when shots are made during daytime or when there is good lighting condition. This is a quite impressive feat, and results are comparable, if not at par, with popular smartphones from global brands. To be honest, it has a wow factor, and we are very much impressed. Auto focus is also fast, and HDR works well as it should

Meanwhile, shots taken at night or in very low light situations tend to be a little noisy, digital noise that is. This is because the phone compensates the little amount of light passing through it by increasing the ISO, which in most cases are above 1000, and there are times it reach to about 4000. Don't get me wrong here, the resulting images still look fine, especially when viewed directly on the phone.

It also has a professional or manual mode, but it is hardly usable, especially at night as the images produced are always overexposed no matter how much you tweak the parameters. Hopefully, Cherry Mobile resolves this soon via software update.

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera
Front Camera

Front Camera Samples:

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Selfie without Face Beauty
Selfie without Face Beauty
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Front Camera Sample - Selfie with Face Beauty
Selfie with Face Beauty

The front snapper tends to follow the characteristics of the main shooters, nice selfies with full of details and punchy colors are captured when there is ample lighting, while shots at night look a bit soft and slightly grainy. It has Face Beauty mode that has Smoother, Whitening, Slimming, and Eye Enlarger effects that users can adjust from 1 to 100.

Meanwhile, the focusing speed is a bit slow. From time to time it is still able to nail nice images when capturing moving subjects and/or capturing subjects while you are moving, however, scenarios like it usually result in blurry pictures.


CONNECTIVITY:

The Flare S7 Plus has only the basic connectivity features, namely dual SIM slot that supports 4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and USB Type-C port OTG function, all works well without any known issues. It also has an FM Radio receiver, however, to use it, you need a wired headphone plug in, which means, you also need to connect the USB to 3.5mm audio dongle.


BATTERY:

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Battery Info
Battery Info

It has a non-removable 3,050mAh battery, it is slightly small in today's standard, especially for a phone with lots of features to offer. However small it may seem, it still managed to last through the day when used moderately, which includes light browsing via mobile data, taking photos, checking and answering emails every hour or so, replying to messages, and a few minutes of calls. But, when you add playing games, watching offline and online videos, and continuously connected to WiFi or LTE with apps syncing in the background are added on the list, it only lasted between 6 to 8 hours. We also run PC Mark battery life test, and sadly it only scored 6 hours and 40 minutes.

At times that the power adapter or external battery pack is not available, and you need to somewhat extend the battery life, there is what you called Extreme Mode. All widgets will be replaced with only the essential and apps that users selected. You can still use WiFi or mobile data while in this mode.

In terms of charging, it is quite fast, as it managed to be fully charged in just 1 hour and 17 minutes using the supplied 10W charger and USB cable. Take note that for some reason, it is not compatible with Huawei's USB cable. It also supports Qi wireless charging, and if my memory serves me right, a feature that we don't see anywhere in this price range, and also something that we seldom see even on flagship devices.


CONCLUSION:

The Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus is a proof that the most valuable local brand is still capable of producing a device that packs great specs at a very reasonable asking price. It has tons of features that you cannot find with similarly priced devices. For one, it is the most affordable smartphone that is powered by Mediatek Helio P60 chipset. It is also the most affordable phone with Qi wireless charging capability. Add the IR-assisted Face Unlock, nice sets of cameras, great overall performance, and there is no denying that it is indeed a decent handset offering!

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Specs:

  • Dual SIM (Micro+Nano), dual standby, supports 4G/LTE connectivity
  • 6.18-inch Trueview FHD+ (2246x1080) capacitive touchscreen, 19.9 aspect ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 75.5mm x 7.85mm
  • Weight: 200 grams
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 64-bit octa-core (4x2.0GHz Cortex-A73 CPU + 4x2.0GHz Cortex-A53 CPU), Mali-G72MP3 GPU, Mediatek Helio P60 chipset
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via MicroSD card, uses SIM 2 slot
  • 16MP + 5MP main cameras with LED flash
  • 16MP secondary camera with AI Selfie
  • Multimedia Player
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • FM Radio
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth v4.2
  • GPS with A-GPS, BDS
  • USB Type-C with OTG support
  • Sensors: fingerprint, acceleromoter, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope (TBC)
  • Face Unlock
  • Battery: 3050mAh with fast charging and wireless charging
  • Price: Php11,999

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