Is An Affordable Dual Cam Snapper Worth It?
Back in April, we got a quick peek at Cherry Mobile’s crack at dual camera equipped smartphones with the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 and P1 Plus. The software for the phone when first got our hands on it wasn’t final, so it took awhile for the phone to arrive at our doorstep. A week ago, the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus finally arrived at Unbox HQ, so it’s time that we share our thoughts on whether or not this affordable dual camera equipped smartphone from the local brand is worth its Php 5,990 price tag. First a quick reminder of what the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus is packing.
Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus
- 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737T quad-core processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch full HD IPS display, 1920 x 1080
- 16GB of expandable storage
- 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel secondary camera, LED flash, AF
- Dual SIM
- LTE, 700MHz ready
- 3G, HSPA+
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, fingerprint scanner
- 3000mAh battery
- Android Nougat
Hefty Device is Hefty
John mentioned that we weren’t expecting much in terms of the P1 Plus’ design and build quality in his quick review, but it’s nice to see the local brand use premium materials in a phone just shy of Php 6,000; after all most devices within this price range use polycarbonate plastic as their material of choice for their chassis. There’s still a bit of plastic used on the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus, but only on the top and bottom portion as to not get in the way of the phones’ antennas.
Aside from that you’ve got a metal bod that are rounded around the edges to help you get a better grip on the device, which is built really well with no flex or play during our time with it. It’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet, so keep a microfiber cloth on hand to keep the device as pristine as possible.
Speaking of fingerprints, it’s always a good thing when you can unlock your device using your biometrics and the fingerprint scanner on the Flare P1 Plus is pretty accurate. It’s not the fastest thing on the block but, in this regard, we’ll take accuracy over speed any day.
The device is rather weighty and actually feels heavier that an iPhone 7 Plus. While a bit of heft can help give a device a bit more of a premium feel, the weight of the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus is a little excessive. We’ve definitely seen phones rocking the same internals and are similarly built, but are noticeably lighter than the P1 Plus. You definitely don’t want to be falling asleep while watching a video in bed or at least you better be on your side if you like to browse your social media feeds before turning in.
Display Gets a Passing Grade
The Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus comes equipped with a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display;another pleasant surprise, since we’re used to seeing 720p displays on more affordable phones. It’s contrast ratios could be better and the colors are a little muted but, considering how much the Flare P1 Plus is, it gets a passing grade.
Visuals are only part of the equation when enjoying content, and you’ll definitely want to be using headphones with the P1 Plus. As the lone speaker at the bottom phone sound tinny and the audio gets distorted at around 80-percent.
Annoying Pop-up Ads
Under the hood of the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus is a MediaTek MT6737T quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. We adjusted our expectations when we saw the spec sheet on the P1 Plus and you should too. It won’t multitask like a boss nor will it handle extremely compute intensive tasks without exhibiting signs of struggle, but it is good enough if you’re going to be using the device primarily for browsing your social media feeds or getting in touch with your family through calls and texts, or through your messaging app of choice.
If there’s anything that got in the way of enjoying our experience with the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus, it’s the pop-up ads that show up from time to time. This is something the local company may have done in order to lower the price point of the device. While we completely understand this move, it doesn’t distract from the fact that it’s annoying when your YouTube video gets rudely interrupted by a very intrusive pop-up ad. These ads show up at the lock screen too, by the way.
We tried a few games on the Flare P1 Plus. You’ll have to turn the settings all the way down on games like Asphalt 8 to get it to run as smoothly as possible, and are going to have to contend with major frame rate drops if you want to play games like Injustice 2 or NBA 2K17. We don’t see it running into any issues for lighter games like Mobile Legends, if you’re into the popular mobile MOBA.
Riding the Dual Camera Wave
It’s no secret that having a dual camera setup, whether it’d be in the front or the rear shooter of a device, is kind of the current fad for mobile devices and that’s the major draw of Cherry Mobile’s Flare P1 and P1 Plus. They happen to be two of the most affordable phones (at the time of writing this article) to take part in the dual camera craze, but does the P1 Plus actually take great photos? All things considered, it actually does.
We’re not saying to expect photos as if they came from the current crop of flagship devices, but the photos are at par with the results of slightly more expensive smartphones. Of course, it’s best to stick to well-lit areas, because you are getting a huge amount of noise in low light situations; that goes for both the front and rear cameras, by the way.
On to the topic of its dual cameras. As we all know, having a dual camera means being able to adjust the bokeh effect even after you’ve taken a photo. Does this work well on the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus? If you frame your subjects properly and choose the right software assisted aperture size, it actually does. If you don’t, then it actually looks really awkward. It takes some trial and error, but ultimately it gets the job done.
While having a dual camera on the Flare P1 Plus isn’t completely necessary, it doesn’t hurt to have the option to play around with software-assisted depth of field either.
It Needs More Juice
We had high hopes when we saw that the P1 Plus was packing a 3000mAh battery; thinking it had more than enough juice to push the pixels on its Full HD display and for all the tasks that are expected of a smartphone these days. Sadly, if there’s anything that we wish that Cherry Mobile had made sure the Flare P1 Plus had, it’s lasting power.
Running PCMark Benchmark’s battery test, gave us a poor result of just 5 hours and 27 minutes; that’s about half a day considering how I personally use a mobile device. You’ll be needing to plug in to a power bank or a wall outlet for quite some time as well, as 30 minutes of charging on the Flare P1 Plus only gave us 20-percent of juice and a little over 2 hours to get it from 0 to 100.
Verdict: Good But Needs More Optimization
As a phone whose primary thrust is mobile photography, the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus actually does a good job and the phone is built really well. At Php 5990, you’re getting a pretty good phone for the money you’re paying. However, there are a few things getting in the way of getting a glowing recommendation from us. Like we mentioned above, those pop up ads can get pretty annoying, but it’s really how much power this device draws from its 3000mAh battery that had us shaking our heads. This is something that, hopefully, Cherry fixes in the near future through software updates. If they do, you’ve got a pretty solid device for taking photos at a really good price.