Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Review: The Selfie Centric Powerhouse To Start The Year With A Bang!
Now the question is, is it worth all those attention? Let's all find out in this review.
Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Specs
Unboxing / Accessories
Build Quality / Design
|At the back of the phone showing the fingerprint sensor at the back, camera and semi curved glass like plastic|
|At the top you see the smooth rounded corners, 3.5 mm jack and microphone|
|Below there's another microphone, micro usb charging / data port and speakers|
|At the right side the power button together with the volume rocker is ergonomically placed|
|On the left, you can see the removable dual SIM / micro SD card slot tray|
Also gone is the scarier to drop 2.5D curved glass panel which is replaced by the standard flat one with Dragontrail glass protection to prevent scratches.
You also get the parts, ports and buttons placed on the right places here as the volume rocker at the right, charging port below and 3.5 mm jack on top is easy to locate and / or press. To nitpick a little, I would just like it better if the SIM tray is located on the right side of the phone as well ala Honor 6 Plus to find it faster.
|Flare 4 and Flare Selfie side by side|
The display of the Flare Selfie has some resemblance to the Flare 4 except for the lack of 2.5D curved arc panel and the physical capacitive keys. Then even with the black thing that to surround the main screen, the bezels are still fairly thin.
Going to the quality it there's also hardly noticeable difference between the two as both rocks sharp, eye popping, not-overly saturated and well balanced display that should make most fall in love with. The IPS OGS panel was also able to provide more than decent viewing angles which is still nicely viewable under direct sunlight at max brightness.
|5 points of multi touch screen shot and display options|
It also has 5 points of multi touch for better navigation and miravision technology that improves the overall display performance of the phone.
|Also goes with interesting audio options that you can play around with (though it sounds better when off most of the time)|
When it comes to audio quality when using your favorite pair of earphones or headphones, I'm glad to say that the Flare Selfie was able to sound almost as good as the Flare 4.
This time, they added some warmth to the bright sound output of the Flare 4. They Flare Selfie is better for pop, rnb and rock music which I find slightly more relaxing as well. It's still a slightly V-Shaped set that provides a lot of emphasis on the bass and treble regions. The bass response is slightly meatier here and has great crawling sub-bass effect while maintaining good speed and tight bass punch.
Vocals performed relatively nice as well which is I find very clear and detailed for a midrange phone. The highs this time is also slightly toned down that lessens ear piercing effect. Another thing that I liked here is has the same level of soundstage and loudness compared with Flare 4 that will surely give a lot of "wow effect" especially to non-picky listeners.
Again Cherry proved with the Flare Selfie that they can create smartphones that could sound as good as entry level HiFi music players.
Note: The Flare Selfie is also good in video recording and calls, thanks to the dual microphone setup found in this unit.
|Visible here is the screenshot of the battery test and power saving options of Flare Selfie|
Rated at 3,000 mAh with just a 5 inch HD screen paired with the power efficient MT6753 octa core processor. The Flare Selfie was expected to perform very well in this department. And we got decent results even under heavy usage as it was able to surpass the 4 hour mark at Geek bench battery test with max brightness, Bluetooth, data, WiFi and GPS on settings.
Under normal daily usage, I was able to use it from 1 pm to 12 mn with 35% of battery left. My operation includes WiFi or LTE all the time, occasional music playing and video watching and general phone usage like call and text. It's that good!
|Normal charging cable on the left and good quality charging cable on the right|
The wall charger of the Flare Selfie is rated at 1.5 A, making it one of the fastest charging charger found in a Cherry Mobile package. That is a great thing, however, I also discovered that the charging / data cables included isn't a good one. Using the stock cables it was able to charge the device in 6 hours and 20 mins from zero to 100 % which is pretty bad.
When I tested it with my trusty cables, my charging time is at 9:30 am to 12:35 pm only which is just a little more than 3 hours. Cherry should do something about that cables in their future releases as it may lead to frustrated customers.
|Crazy! Manual controls on Selfie mode!|
The Flare Selfie is a highly touted camera phone under 10K Pesos. Why? This device boast that 16 MP Samsung sensor at the back with auto focus, BSI technology and dual LED flash. In front it also has a 16 MP Samsung sensor with AF and single Flash that makes it a good selfie phone.
Going to the quality of the camera, the rear camera sensor is excels better than the selfie camera in my opinion. It was able to produce amazing shots with good amount of details and very nice white balance. It works wonderfully under good lighting situations such as daylight and bright room lighting that's not grainy at all. The shutter and focus speed is also very fast as I can even capture moving objects at times.
The selfie camera on the other hand even if it's not as good as the rear camera is one of the most detailed selfie camera in the under 10K segment right now. There are even times that it's even sharper than the ZenFone Selfie, but it falls short in challenging conditions and low light situations even with the use of the weaker than expected yellowish front flash.
Update: Also noticed that the focus of the selfie cam is slower in low light
As we proceed to the camera app, the Flare Selfie goes with more than one Camera app. First you'll find the stock camera app with surprising built in features for your standard photography needs. The Beauty camera with a lot of filter perfect for taking selfies and the feature packed UCamera loaded with crazy cool features that even has manual controls to let you unleash the photographer in you.
While all those features in each camera app are exciting, I would have loved it better if Cherry just used one optimized camera app with all the combined features to avoid confusion. The lack of one really good camera app also made me feel that it's the reason for some inconsistencies with my shots.
Note: The exact Samsung sensor is still unconfirmed. If it's really the popular 16 MP sensor by Samsung it might be the same ISOCELL used with the Galaxy S6, but I doubt it as the color signature is different. This could be a different variant.
Rear camera samples
|Rear camera sample in daylight showing good white balance|
|Great accurate color details visible in this shot|
|Normal mode on left and HDR mode in action in right|
|The scared kitten shot|
Showing crazy sharpness (the other photo isn't zoomed, only cropped to 100%)
|Focus and nice blur (bokeh) effect on the left photo and a bit of super close macro weakness in right|
|One of the cool effects found with the UCamera|
|Signs of struggle in bad lighting conditions|
|The dual LED flash of this unit is surprisingly great and not yellowish at all|
Selfie camera samples
|Shamless "bigote, balbas" selfie here to show you guys how detailed the selfie cam can get|
|Accurate colors using normal mode on the left and HDR mode that overexpose a little on the right|
|Dim light selfie: Beautify mode on max level here|
|Normal mode in lowlight on the left and selfie with flash on the right|
|I also tried the flash in dim mood lighting situations|
Flare Selfie vs ZenFone Selfie mini front camera comparison in photos (normal setting)
|ZenFone Selfie and Flare Selfie side by side|
|Flare Selfie on top - more accurate colors and better details|
ZenFone Selfie below - which looks less detailed and overexpose a little
|Flare Selfie on top still looks sharper here|
ZenFone Selfie below handles lowlight better
|Flare Selfie using flash on top|
ZenFone Selfie using flash below
It has one problem though, I wasn't able to move apps to the micro SD card. So basically, the use of the micro SD is to just store files such as movies, music, pictures and other files. Let's hope that Cherry will do something about it so that users can install more apps in this highly capable phone.
Note 1: I was able to play Mortal Kombat X, Godzilla and Real Boxing smoothly with rare frame drops sometimes.
Note 2: I only experienced normal heating at most while playing games with LTE on at the same time.
|The new Cherry UI|
|Fingerprint setting and special functions like double tap to wake and smart gestures|
This UI is also pretty speedy as I have to experience bugs yet as of this writing. Going deeper to the features of the Cherry UI packs some serious customization abilities. In just one click of the Theme Changer you can change the theme in an instant then you can also customize the font in the phone settings.
It also comes with smart gestures like double tap to wake and letter writing on the lock screen that works as a shortcuts to designated apps.
One of the main highlights of this phone by the way is the fingerprint sensor. This is Cherry Mobile's first device to have that kind of next generation type of security feature. It can store multiple fingerprints that it can recognize to unlock your device. Aside from that you can also use the fingerprint sensor at the back to take photos. Going to the speed and accuracy of that sensor, I was super impressed as it rarely fails to unlock my Flare Selfie in a touch.
Cons - Too many camera apps, weak selfie camera flash, stock micro USB data/charging cable doesn't perform nicely
Update: Good News! Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Gets OTA Update! Can Now Move Apps To Micro SD Card! Click Here!