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Cherry Mobile Aqua Infinity Unboxing, Review: Sleeper Hit

Verdict: Cherry Mobile’s surprise comeback with the Aqua series continues with the Aqua Infinity, a budget phone with an unusual combination of features headlined by an Helio P60 processor, making it an interesting offering at under Php 8k. While there are several compromises to the phone, Cherry Mobile made up for it by focusing on features that its target market wants, with none of the stuff that it doesn’t need. 

The Cherry Mobile Aqua Infinity is priced at Php 7,999.

cherry mobile aqua infinity phone and box

Pros

  • Helio P60 still a good processor for budget phones
  • 128GB UFS 2.1 storage and whopping 8GB RAM
  • Decent 2x digital zoom and night mode for the main camera

Cons

  • Flimsy backplate for the battery cover
  • Awkward loudspeaker location
  • The other 2 rear cameras have little to no use
  • So-so selfies

While there’s much talk with Cherry Mobile’s Aqua S9 Max, there’s plenty of conversations to be had with their Aqua Infinity. It’s one of the few phones under Php 8K that has 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage as well as a capable Helio P60 processor and removable battery. The phone’s an oddball for sure, but is it any good?

Packaging and contents

Like the more premium Aqua S9 Max, you also get a black and turquoise-themed box with the photo of the phone and Cherry Mobile’s new Aqua branding. The back part of the phone highlights its key features, the most notable one being the ginormous 8GB RAM and 128GB UFS storage that comes with it.

Inside the box, you get the phone itself, a 10w USB-C charger, headset, USB-C cable, TPU case, Quick Start guide, and its removable 4000mAh battery. While removable batteries have largely gone away, this particular budget device is a throwback of sorts, making it one of the few phones in the market with that feature.

Design

The Cherry Mobile Aqua Infinity looks more upscale compared to other Cherry Mobile phones with its matte-finish back panel and a large, circular camera module that’s reminiscent of Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro. A large chrome ring surrounds the four cameras inside the module, with the LED flash set right beside it.

While having a removable battery is great, take note that the back panel is pretty thin and flimsy on the phone. Despite the phone sporting a matte coating, the back still gets smudged pretty easily, and we recommend you using the included TPU case if you want to keep the phone looking pristine.

cherry mobile aqua infinity back panel removed

Taking off the back panel reveals the battery, along with two NanoSIM card slots and a MicroSD card slot. As for the ports, you get a headphone jack on top, power and volume keys on the right side, and loudspeaker, USB-C port, and microphone at the bottom.

I have some gripes with the placement of the loudspeaker at the bottom, as it tends to get blocked by my hand when playing games in landscape mode. Save yourself (and the people around you) the annoyance and pair the phone up with wired earphones or TWS earbuds.

Display and speakers

As a proper 2021 budget mid-range phone, you get a 6.5-inch HD+ display with a rather thick chin and an aging dewdrop notch that houses an 8-megapixel f/2.2 selfie snapper. Just like with recent Cherry Mobile phones, the Aqua Infinity uses a significantly better display with decent colors and a brightness level that is enough to make the phone usable even in bright daylight. Watching videos on both Netflix and YouTube is capped at 720p, though the overall image quality is pretty much what is expected on a budget mid-range phone.

The same cannot be said for the speaker, however. Aside from having an awkward placement when using the phone in landscape mode, the sound quality is not as good, with the audio becoming tinny when you go beyond 60% of the volume output. Like I mentioned earlier, you’re better off using earphones (wired or wireless) with the Aqua Infinity.

cherry mobile aqua infinity camera review Cherry Mobile Aqua Infinity Camera Review

While it may sound impressive that the Aqua Infinity has four rear cameras, only two of them are useful–with the other being pure gimmicks: there’s a 12-megapixel f/2.2 main camera and a 20-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor. The two other sensors are composed of a 2-megapixel sensors–which are a monochrome sensor and AI sensor. Both of them are more of stat stuffers since the depth sensor has more than enough resolution to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to aiding the 12-megapixel main camera.

When it comes to camera performance, the Aqua Infinity performs well in daylight scenarios, though its dynamic range is limited especially when dealing with backlit conditions even with HDR enabled. Focusing is fast even in low-light situations, though images become soft in low-light unless you shoot using Night mode. With Night mode, there’s a noticeable increase in sharpness and highlights to improve overall image quality.

The main camera also has a 2x digital zoom feature, though the quality of photos shot in this mode is dependent on shooting conditions.

For videos, the main camera is capable of shooting Full HD video (for both regular videos and timelapse footage), along with 2x digital zoom.

As for the 8-megapixel front camera, the Aqua Infinity needs a good amount of light to deliver good selfies. Otherwise, we got images that are soft or lack good dynamic range–the latter being evident with backlit lighting conditions.

Cherry Mobile Aqua Infinity Internals and Battery Life

Now this is where things are very, very interesting with the Aqua Infinity: for the RAM and storage configuration, you get an extra generous 8GB LPDDR4X RAM–the most ever in any Cherry Mobile phone–and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage. That combination is a unicorn in the under Php 8k segment. Powering the Aqua Infinity is a relatively old Helio P60 processor. It is the same processor that powered the Flare X3 and Flare S7 Plus, though the higher RAM and internal storage gives the Aqua Infinity extra muscle.

cherry mobile aqua infinity performance chart

While the Helio P60 is part of MediaTek’s early-generation, AI-sporting processors from 2018, it is still a good processor even by 2021 standards. In fact, it can go head-to-head with the newer Snapdragon 460 and Snapdragon 662 processors.

With a capable processor and loads of RAM, multi-tasking should not be a problem–especially since you get a clean, bloatware-free version of Android 10 with it. Multi-tasking also applies with switching between games, and the Aqua Infinity’s overall performance shows that it can run most popular games with decent frame rates and overall stability.

While getting 60FPS is not feasible given the Helio P60’s age, most games are playable, with average FPS ranging between 29 (with Asphalt 9) and 34 (with Call of Duty Mobile). Playing Genshin Impact–arguably one of the hottest RPG mobile games right now–is possible at low graphics settings. However, an average FPS of 18 would mean that the Aqua Infinity is not meant for competitive gameplay–instead, it is best suited for those who casually play the F2P game.

As for battery life, the removable 4000mAh cell gave us a little over 10 hours with our YouTube video loop test, which is just fine for a days’ worth of use. The removable battery is a plus, as you can choose to swap batteries in case one runs out of juice. For topping up the battery, you get a conventional 10w USB-C charging which should get the Aqua Infinity ready in a little under 3 hours.

Wrap Up and Conclusions

If you care about having copious amounts of RAM and internal storage for under Php 8k, the Aqua Infinity is the phone for you. It has unusual features like a removable battery and no fingerprint sensor in sight, but the Helio P60 processor proves that it is still a capable processor despite being close to three years old already.

The cameras are more of a mixed affair–its 13-megapixel f/2.2 main camera can only do so much, and the other two 2-megapixel cameras are more of a stat stuffer since the 20-megapixel depth sensor is enough to push the main camera to excel in some features–2x digital zoom, timelapse, and Night Mode specifically. The selfie snapper is not the best one out there–but then this is not the Aqua Infinity’s intended audience.

Overall, the Aqua Infinity is catered to those who want to play casual games, love to multitask a lot, and would probably take a few snaps while on the go. At Php 7,999, the Aqua Infinity is an unusual offering, but Cherry Mobile made sure to focus on what is deemed essential to its target audience.

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