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Cherry Mobile Flare X Review: Bang For The Buck Killer

Cherry Mobile Flare X 09

We review the Cherry Mobile Flare X!

Local brands have had it rough for the past few months when it comes to the 9-5K price segment. High spec, low price phones (the so-called bang for the buck devices) from all manner of international brands have slowly started to dominate the conversation in local technology circles, even if their actual sales are still a drop in the bucket compared to the overall sales volume of local brands. While Cherry Mobile hasn’t exactly been quiet the past few months, their recent product announcements haven’t struck a chord with local techies as much as the devices of international brands have.

This changed completely last week when Cherry Mobile officially unveiled what we’d call their Alcatel Flash Plus killer, the Flare X. The Flare X beats the Alcatel Flash Plus in nearly every category, but the question remains: does the Flare X deliver all that it promises, or is there a catch? Let’s find out.

Cherry Mobile Flare X

  • 1.7GHz MediaTek 6752 octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD IPS OGS display, Gorilla Glass 3, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of storage expandable via microSD card
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, Sony IMX214 sensor, BSI
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat with OTA for Lollipop
  • SRP: Php6,999

Cherry Mobile Flare X 03

Overly safe and uninspiring design

If you’re looking for a phone that has a design that pushes boundaries, then it’s safe to say you can take the Flare X off of your list. The phone is as unoffensive looking as dry bread and plays it completely safe in its design sensibilities. The Flare X uses a plastic cover that’s reminiscent of other Flare smartphones, and sport curved sides for better grip and handling during one-handed use.

Cherry Mobile Flare X 08

The good thing about the overall design of the Flare X is the fact that users can access the battery compartment and the microSD slot (and the two SIM slots) easily, which isn’t present in its closest competitor, the Alcatel Flash Plus.

Cherry Mobile Flare X 07

The volume and power buttons are located on the right side of the phone and sport metallic trims to break up the monotone matte black finish of the Flare X, though we noticed that the buttons are wee bit too small for our liking. The 3.5mm jack is located on the top while the USB port is located on the bottom.

Cherry Mobile Flare X 06

The Flare X uses a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display with OGS and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Right below that are the capacitive Android Navigation keys that light up when in use. As far as overall display quality goes, we’re pleasantly surprised at how bright and vivid the Flare X’s display is. Viewing angles are very good, and the overall contrast ratio is excellent. The only complaint we have is that the display scratches rather easily, which is surprising considering the phone is advertised as having Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Our advice is to swaddle the Flare X like a newborn baby until you can find a screen protector for it when you buy one.

Cherry Mobile Flare X 04

A beastly processor and RAM combination

The Flare X uses MediaTek’s MT6752 octa-core processor, which is the speedier variant used in the Alcatel’s Flash Plus and Lenovo’s A7000 (these two phones use the MT6752M variant, running at 1.5GHz). That processor is paired with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage. As far as actual benchmarks go, the Flare X lags behind the offerings of other companies in the same price point, scoring around 39K AnTuTu.

Cherry Mobile Flare X 10

Of course, benchmarks aren’t everything – that AnTuTu score reflects the challenges in driving a full HD display compared to the HD ones in its competitors. In actual use, the Flare X demolishes almost every app that we used on it, without any kind of lag whatsoever. That 3GB of RAM also comes in handy when you’re a multi-tasker, since there’s more space for apps to run in the background, which allows you to switch to apps quickly, without the phone needing to restart them when you work on something else. Games like Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3 and Modern Combat 5 ran well, as you can see in the gaming demonstration above. We did see some lag issues with Modern Combat 5 in some sections, but it never got bad enough that it’ll detract from the game.

As far as LTE performance goes, the MediaTek 6752 processor performs the same way as the ones in the other bang for the buck phones. The phone is capable of connecting to LTE networks though network stability and speeds are not as good as phones running Qualcomm or Kirin processors, sadly.

And while the phone isn’t in Lollipop, Cherry Mobile said that it’ll come with an OTA update for Android 5.1. We’ve discussed why the phone isn’t in Lollipop already before, but we’ll quickly remind you guys: stability. Android 5.0 has a lot of issues when it comes to overall stability and usability, and Cherry Mobile opted to go with a more stable and proven OS over the latest and greatest.

Cherry Mobile Flare X 01

Surprisingly good camera for its price

While bang for the buck phones usually have good specs for the price, some sort of compromise is needed to prevent the price of the phone from rising uncontrollably. The compromise usually happens in the phone’s imaging capabilities as we found out in previous phones. That’s not true in the Flare X – we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the 13-megapixel camera is capable of taking rather good photos in both bright light and low light without too many issues.

Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 04
Some slight purple fringing at the very top of the photo
Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 05
No purple fringing anywhere in this photo taken around 2PM in the afternoon
Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 07
Taken from outdoors, light source behind
Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 06
Photo taken outdoors, around 2PM

For one, we didn’t see prominent purple tinge that another phone from a local brand, the Allure 64 LTE exhibited while taking photos in bright light. While there is purple fringing on the top of the first photo, it’s not as prominent as the one in the Allure 64 LTE. We were also surprised at the phone’s low-light performance – while there’s a definite loss in detail, the camera still produces usable photos that are perfectly acceptable for social media use.

Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 08
There’s definite loss of detail in this night time shot, but nothing major
Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 02
Phone had trouble focusing a little on Mr. Pusakal
Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 01
The clock tells when exactly the photo was taken.
Cherry Mobile Flare X camera 03
Taken at around 6:45 PM
Front facing cam shot, taken around 5 in the afternoon
Front facing cam shot, taken around 5 in the afternoon

Screenshot_2015-06-25-20-32-08

Long battery life

MediaTek’s MT6752 SOC is shaping up to be the company’s most power efficient yet. We’ve seen the processor post rather long runtimes in other phones like Alcatel’s Flash Plus and Lenovo’s A7000, and the Flare X is no exception. While the Flare X takes a hit in overall battery life because of its hungrier full HD display, it’s still able to post around a day and a quarter of useful battery life with moderate use (LTE on, light gaming, internet, Facebook). That means you can probably get away with not charging the Flare X once the day is over and still have a little bit of battery left the next day before it completely discharges. We ran battery drain test with the Flare X, streaming a full HD video from our NAS via WiFi on 50% brightness and 50% volume and we got a result of 5 and 42 minutes before the battery went down to 15%.

Cherry Mobile Flare X 02

Verdict: this is Cherry Mobile’s next hit phone

Cherry Mobile has seemingly done the impossible: offer a phone that meets and exceeds the offerings of international brands that have been dominating the sub 9K market in the past few months. While the Flare X is around Php 500 more expensive than its closest competitor, the Alcatel Flash Plus, that extra Php 500 gives you a better display, 1GB more RAM and a comparatively better camera. There’s been a veritable hype train surrounding the Flare X ever since Cherry Mobile announced it a week ago, and we’re happy to say that the hype is real.

With the official release of the Flare X into stores in July, Cherry Mobile now has a very, very large stick in which to beat the opposition senseless in the next few months. Unless the competition can respond with their own Flare X contender, then Cherry Mobile can expect the Flare X to fly off the stores once it hits stores in July.

The biggest challenge now is longevity – Cherry Mobile has a perceived problem with the durability of phones, with opinions on both extremes. To answer that, we’ll be doing another review after 30 days, and will be using the phone as our secondary unit.

The Flare X is priced at Php 6,999.

Read more about the Flare X:

Why Doesn’t The Flare X Come With Lollipop?

Cherry Mobile Flare X Camera Samples [Updated with Low Light Shots!]

Cherry Mobile Unveils Flare X, 3GB, LTE, Octa-core Smartphone for Php 6,999

Cherry Mobile Flare X Hands-on, First Impressions: Alcatel Flash Plus Killer?

Watch: Cherry Mobile Flare X Unboxing and First Impressions Video!

Watch: Cherry Mobile Flare X VS Firefly Mobile Allure 64 LTE Initial Comparison Video

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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104 Comments

  1. You should do a separate camera review for all the phones you have at this segment. Please include video, zoom, similar subjects from different phones to better compare quality, etc.,

  2. Totally agree! 39k points in antutu for a full HD screen. That’s almost the same as the other bang for the buck which are sporting only a HD screen. Good work Cherry Mobile! Will definitely recommend this. Definitely bang for the buck!

    Hopefully MyPhone and Starmobile could come up with something at par or better than this. Nice Move Cherry Mobile! :)

  3. A definite must have mobile phone. Great camera, performance, battery, everything’s great!

    Just a quick question, does it have a quick charge equivalent just like with other phones? Thanks unbox.ph for the an awesome review.

  4. Some stats. Some pictures. ‘full review’ na? C’mon John Nieves, you can do way better than this!

    1. Agree, The screen protection is still suspect, sana may scratch test, plus some other things

      1. Charging current/ capacity
      2. Usable Space
      3. Call / sound Quality
      4. Wifi signal strength

      1. I don’t think useful ang scratch test kasi hindi naman din natin ma-co-confirm kung Gorilla Glass 3 nga talaga ginamit ng ODM ng Cherry Mobile dito. Saka sa normal use ba, gagasgasan natin intentionally phones natin? Sa normal scenario kasi, magagasgas lang screen ng phones natin ng sand or anything na di natin napapansin unless naka-diamond ring ka tapos sa hinlalaki mo yun sinusuot.

        P.S. Pag tiningnan mo naman sa website ng Corning, wala ang Cherry or kahit man lang ODM nila.

        http://www.corninggorillaglass.com/en/products-with-gorilla

    2. A full comprehensive review like other sites isn’t the style of Unbox. We like to keep it simple and easy to understand for our less techy readers. We suggest going to other sites if a full on technical dissection is what you’re looking for.

  5. Now that’s there is competition. Wonder if the Alcatel Flash Plus will sell out like before. It will go on flash sale again this June 30 at Lazada.

    1. Feeling ko oo. Wala pa naman stock ang Flare X and knowing Cherry Mobile, a lot of consumers will be wary to be their early adopters. Tatambay muna mga yan sa TCP at Facebook groups haha

      1. Dapat unahan nila si Alcatel sa 30. Mas maganda kung mas maaga nila ‘to irelease para magkaalaman na kung sino talaga ang patok sa consumers. Sa nakikita ko madaming interesado sa phone na ‘to :)

        Alcatel sold their units not less than 20 minutes sa Lazada, that is for all the batches na nagsched sila ng sale, and then another sale coming this June 30.

        I got my afp nung second flash sale ng Lazada. Wala naman problem sa phone. Pero interesado din ako sa Flare X, ang lamang niya sa AFP would be yung procie, screen & ram.

        Lamang naman ni AFP would be yung front cam, battery.

        I don’t know kugn same sila ng gpu.

  6. i hope unbox will also do a test on video recording of Flare X. As per other post reviews on its rebranded name (Jiayu S3). Meron daw bug, reducing the quality of the video.

  7. Good specs and good price= winner :) Same price as my Apollo; choose a white back if you want less fingermarks.

    1. This will be sold at the beginning of July in Metro Manila, with eventual roll out to other provinces (and hopefully the entire PH) by the end of July.

    1. Ang Mga local brands, parang mga politiko lang yan, ipapangako lahat para makuha approval mo, at alam mo mangyayari sa bandang huli

      however, if you choose a ”hot seller” like this one, papatok ito sa modding Community and you don’t have to worry about updates kung marunong ka sa custom rom installation

  8. Please include in the specs the audio chip used. Yan kase pinakaimportante for music lovers such as myself.

  9. Off topic…What with those pesky Intel ads, which is a pop over or pop under ad. Make navigating on mobile phones a chore…

  10. Matanong ko lang, how’s audio performance on this, loudspeaker aside? Is headphone output clean and loud? :)

    Just to note, my point of comparison is an Xperia smartphone (clean output, low volume)

    The top-of-the-line Zenfone 2 is my other choice, seeing its audio performance as measured by GSMArena, but It’s just out of my reach, sadly.

  11. Kuya John, may compass po ba ito? Naghahanap kasi kami ng bang for the buck phone na pwede panggeotagging. (Aside sa GPS, kailangan namin ang compass)

  12. It is already July 1 and yet, wala sa lazada site yung ads nitong flare X. Just wondering. Also, IMO, using this as a secondary phone already questions its durability.

  13. Kuya John, wala ka bang na encounter na issue sa battery. Kasi ang tagal mag charge ng CM flare ko umabot ng 8 hours and succeeding charge mga 6 hours, ang bilis ma low bat. Is this normal ba?

    1. sakin din nung una 8 hrs ang full charge nagulat din ako! pero naka-on pala ang screen nung time na yun. may glitch siguro. yung mga succeeding charges ko mas mabilis na 2 hrs ata basta nakacharge lang. baka masmabilis kapag nakaoff

  14. In fairness maganda talaga ang CM flare x. lahat ng areas it really performs except for the battery issue.

  15. Paki-tignan naman po in detail ang long-term performance ng Flare X. Inaalala ko kase kung kaya ng phone ang pangmatagalang gaming. Baka kase seryoso ang effect ng thermal throttling sa kanya. Naka-Note 4 Exynos ako ngayon, at kapag mga 5 minutes na ang paglalaro ko, naglalag bigla. Please look into this. Thank you very much. Suggest ko lang po na gamitin niyo yung GFXBench 3.0. Thanks again. Looking forward to it.

  16. battery good unlike others camera exelent unlike others 3gH+ and 4g signal good unlike others hd screen and strong lcd good unlike others speed of proces exelent unlike others games performace full graphics set but some lag isue over all exelent he can handle all android games unlike others

    for now i have no encounter for bug isue averall this phone is good

  17. meron nako nito maganda xa grabe linaw ng camera tapus smooth sya kahit anong games with full graphics pa ung 3k15 lang medyo lag pero gumamit ako gl tools ayun ok na un lang matagal icharge pero grabe tagal malowbat di tulad nung mga naunang phone ko ok itong phonenato mahal na ito sa iba pero mura na ito compare sa iba

    1. You have a false impression. The MT6752 chip is already 64-bit, meaning an OS that supports 64-bit can take full advantage of it. KitKat however is not a 64-bit OS, so the MT6752 is essentially going to waste without Lollipop or higher.

    2. Jiayu officially partnered with the TF Android Developers group to use their ROMs as the official firmware upgrade to Lollipop 5.1 for their S3 (the ODM of the Flare X). We can thank the substantial popularity of JiaYu in Germany and Spain for that, with an active development community. So yeah, don’t diss this phone, as using this ODM is probably the one thing CM did right this year.

      On JiaYu’s official forums there is a post instructing users how to upgrade. It’s in Chinese, so for everyone else, googling gets you the answers you want fairly quickly.

  18. Good afternoon! ask lang po mga mam/sir, playable po ba dito NBA 2k16? and if ever, smooth parin po ba gameplay? thanks po in advance!..

  19. bakit po ang flare x pag 10% na battery madali na ma drain within 3 mins pero standby lang…..any suggestion kung paano to….. tnx

  20. Guys just booth flare x and to my surprise version 2 na pala ang mga bagong labas. Ang nakita q na changes is from 1.7ghz naging 1.3 nalang. But the good thing is lollipop na siya. Diko pa na try ang mabibigat na games. Coc pa lang. The rest specs same lang. Any addition sa iba ba nakabili?

  21. nakakainis even just for browsing the Apps for this Flare X 1.3Ghz – nagiinit na agad…. last time naka charge lng xa…. sobra init iniwan ko lng then Corrupted na ung OS.. after magBoot bigla mag-o-off ung screen…. buti nlng gumagana ung Factory Reset using Buttons d katulad sa Lenovo na Lalong massira kpg ginawa un

  22. I have just brought home a flare x. All OK until I tried connecting thru my data plan. Zilch. The phone would not connect to other Internet no matter what juggling I do with the data configuration. A big let down since I have a 2014 carry over unlimited data plan. Will storm cherry mobile store tomorrow about this

      1. the OS itself eats a lot of memory though, ganun talaga haha android eh, try looking at your files if you have some placed in your phone memory, move them to your Sd card :)

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