We review Cherry Mobile’s Flare Selfie!
2016 has barely gotten off the ground yet local outfit Cherry Mobile has already launched another major product: the Flare Selfie. Part of the company’s bang-for-the-buck Flare lineup, the Flare Selfie combines awesome features with good design and more importantly, and affordable price point. The Flare Selfie represents the opening salvo of yet another release-heavy year for the local brand, and if their other phones are as good as the Flare Selfie, 2016 should be a great year for budget phones.
Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie specs:
- 1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5-inch HD display, 720 x 1280 resolution
- 16GB of expandable storage
- 16-megapixel rear camera with AF, flash and BSI, Samsung sensor
- 16-megapixel front camera with flash and AF, Samsung sensor
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint sensor
- 3000mAh battery
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
A design that’s premium and easy on the eyes
Cherry Mobile’s Flare series of smartphones haven’t been the most fashionable of the company’s offerings, seeing as they’re supposed to be for the more budget-minded consumer. That’s changed with the Flare 4 that the company released late last year – metal frames and stylish bodies are now the norm for the lineup moving forward, and that’s certainly the case with the Flare Selfie.
The Flare Selfie has an all-metal, gold colored frame that adds a nice premium touch to an otherwise budget device. The rest of the phone isn’t too shabby looking either, sporting a plastic, gloss white finish on the front and the back. The edges of the metal frame on the Flare Selfie are chamfered for that extra bit of polish, and overall the phone’s construction feels premium and solid despite its price tag.
Both volume and power keys are on the right, while the 3.5mm jack is on the top of the Flare Selfie. On the bottom lies the USB port, along with the speaker grille, microphone and the antenna bands. We love the placement of the speaker as sound isn’t muffled when you lay the phone flat on the table, with the screen up.
Up front you’ll see the 5-inch HD IPS display that has on-screen capacitive keys located on the bottom. We’re a little bit disappointed at the size of the lower and upper bezels of the phone, considering it uses on-screen navigation keys. The side bezles aren’t the thinnest but they’re good enough for the time being.
Right on top of the display you’ll see the 16-megapixel front camera, along with an LED flash that’s supposed to brighten up things when the lights get low. Unfortunately, the selfie flash is weak and doesn’t do a very good job of lighting anything up, so we’re going to recommend that you find a bright corner of whatever restaurant or location you’re taking a selfie in before you press the shutter button.
Flip the phone over and you’ll see the oh so subtle curves of the back, along with the round fingerprint scanner. The Flare Selfie borrows quite a few design cues from the current flock of Nexus smartphones in terms of the scanner placement and design. On the upper left corner of the back you’ll see the 16-megapixel rear camera along with the dual LED flash.
The phone is quite easy to use and navigate through one handed owing to its smaller screen size compared to its other Flare brothers. The display is nice and bright, has 5 multi-touch points and has generous viewing angles. Colors are nice and vibrant, details are sharp and even though the display is just HD everything still looks nice and crisp.
Octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM keeps everything nice and smooth
The Flare Selfie shares the same MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor as the new, revamped Flare X, Flare 4 and Flare S4 Plus. That’s paired with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. MediaTek’s “super-midrange” processor is powerful enough for 90% of the populace, and that, combined with the 3GB of RAM ensures the phone breezes through most apps and games that typical users have.
Navigating through Android 5.1 Lollipop is quick and fast, with no trace of slowdowns whatsover. Cherry Mobile has included their own Cherry Launcher with the phone that essentially strips out the app drawer and lays everything out in the open like the offerings of Huawei (EMUI) and Xiaomi (MIUI) but thankfully you can switch back to the look of stock Android if you don’t like it.
As far as call connectivity is concerned, calls made to and from the Flare Selfie are clear and crisp. There’s a bit of lag when it comes to locking on to GPS satellites and LTE connectivity isn’t quite as good as the chip offerings of Qualcomm, Intel or Samsung but that has been the weakness of MediaTek and not something you can attribute to the phone itself. As for the fingerprint scanner itself, it works reasonably well and detected our finger most of the time. It’s not as fast as the scanners on more expensive smartphones, but you’re essentially just waiting a few milliseconds longer which isn’t a big deal.
Capable camera, but the front selfie flash is kind of useless
The Flare Selfie’s main headline feature are the 16-megapixel front and rear cameras of the phone which are higher than the typical cameras of other devices in the same price bracket. The sensors are provided by Samsung and are capable of taking good photos provided there’s enough light around. The rear camera is good, and performs reasonably well even under challenging lighting conditions.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the front facing camera. While it may be the same resolution, there’s plenty of noise introduced in photos taken under less than ideal light. Like we mentioned earlier, the front facing flash doesn’t really help – in fact, it’s pretty useless as it emits only faint light when taking photos.
Cherry Mobile has included the Beauty Camera and UCamera app to augment the built-in camera app that comes with the Flare Selfie. While the Flare Selfie’s stock camera is good enough for most people and comes with a variety of shooting modes including beautification, burst, panorama and live photo mode, the two additional camera apps add new functionality to the picture-taking experience. Beauty Camera does exactly what it says on the tin, and “beautifies” you by smoothing out wrinkles and other imperfections in your face to make the photo Facebook profile (and Tinder) worthy.
UCamera can do the same thing, but it adds some manual control to the mix as well. What’s even better is that you can actually use manual controls on the front facing camera as well, which opens up a whole new dimension in selfie captures.
Excellent battery life
With a 3000mAh battery, 5-inch HD display and a power-efficient octa-core processor, we knew that the Flare Selfie would score big in our PCMark battery benchmark test. We were right – the Flare Selfie scored 8 hours and 40 minutes in our battery benchmark test. In actual use, the Flare Selfie lasted us a day and a half with moderate usage. We’re sure you can probably extend that even longer with the right battery management. Color us impressed.
Verdict: A fantastic phone for the selfie-inclined
If you’ve been looking for a good selfie smartphone for yourself, you need to consider the Flare Selfie. It has an excellent feature set, good design, fingerprint scanner and 3GB of RAM, making it almost as good as the current generation Flare X in terms of performance. While the selfie camera on the front needs a bit of work, overall the Flare Selfie delivers a great mix of performance, looks and battery endurance. It’s one of the best budget selfie smartphones in a while, and signifies a fantastic start for Cherry Mobile this year.
The Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie retails for Php 7,999.