Cherry Mobile Flare Infinity Review - No More Bezels!

At GIZGUIDE, one of the most common concerns of our readers before buying a phone lies the thickness of screen bezels. It's the black border lines on the sides of the display that doesn't really look that good at all. However, most phones with slim bezels are expensive.
Cherry Mobile Flare Infinity Review - No More Bezels!
Cherry's Flare Infinity with edge-to-edge screen!

Cherry Mobile knows that issue and they have a solution - the Flare Infinity, the most affordable smartphone in the country with edge-to-edge screen design today.

On top of that, they made sure that the Flare Infinity is a capable midrange phone. It's equipped with large 4 GB of RAM to ensure smooth sailing multitasking, USB Type C port (reversible and faster charging), capable 16 MP Samsung main camera, gyroscope sensor for AR / VR, and fingerprint scanner on the right side for added security.

Now it's time check if this handset is for you. Let's start!

Disclaimer: This Flare Infinity is a loaner unit from Cherry Mobile for an honest review.

Cherry Mobile Flare Infinity Specs

Display: 5.5 Inch FHD LTPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass 3 protection at 401 ppi
CPU: 2.0 GHz 64 Bit Helio P10 octa core processor
GPU: Mali T860
RAM: 4 GB
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 64 GB
Back Camera: 16 MP f/2.0 Samsung S5K3P3 sensor w/ PDAF and dual tone LED flash
Selfie: Camera: 5 MP f/2.8
Battery: 3,000 mAh
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, HSPA+, LTE, Bluetooth, USB Type C, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM
Others: Side facing fingerprint sensor, AW8727 independent amplifier
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, proximity, orientation, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Dimensions: 151.5 x 73.5 x 8.6 mm
Price: PHP 12,999

Unboxing / Accessories

The box and the phone
The box and the phone

Unlike most Cherry handsets, the Flare Infinity arrived in a longer looking black box that's easy to open and has better partitions inside.
Inclusions inside
Inclusions inside

Upon opening the box, we were greeted with the 2A USB wall charger fast charger, long USB to micro USB charging / data cables, and an IEM (in-ear monitors) w/ microphone for calls or voice recording. It also has the usual paper manuals and documentations. Lastly, the company included a pre-installed screen protector to prevent you from scratching its beautiful display.

However, unlike other local flagship smartphone offerings, other important freebies like leather flip cover case or even just a TPU case is nowhere to be found.

Build Quality / Design

View at the back
View at the back showing the slightly protruding main camera, dual LED flash, and thick white antenna lines

Cherry made sure that the Infinity is premium all-over! It's exterior is mainly made out of a slim yet solid slab of aluminum with chamfered edges, rounded corners, and arching back design. It's buttons on the side is also made out of stainless steel. In front, the beautiful edge-to-edge 5.5 inch 2.5D curved glass is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass to prevent scratches and damage from light drops.
This phone is made out of premuim materials designed to last!
Given those materials used and how heavy it feels, this handset feels denser and tougher than your regular aluminum framed handset. It'll be just prone to minor hairline scratches without a case.
3.5 mm audio jack on top
3.5 mm audio jack on top
Microphone, USB Type C port, and single speaker below
Microphone, USB Type C port, and single speaker below
Hybrid dual SIM slots at left
Hybrid dual SIM slots at left
Fingerprint scanner, textured power button, and volume rocker at right
No doubt, Cherry's Flare Infinity is the most beautiful sub PHP 15K phone yet!
Checking its aesthetics, we are confident to state that this is the most beautiful local phone today. The bezel-less screen looks stunning, the frame isn't chunky, and it doesn't feel like a phablet with 5.5 inch screen as that edge-to-edge design saved a lot of space. We just find its antenna lines thicker than usual and its main camera has slight protrusion.

All its buttons are also easy to reach due to its standard placements. Only its fingerprint scanner located at the right will feel awkward initially, but you'll get used to it in a day or two.

Display Quality

Infinity screen looks great!
Infinity screen looks great!

We all know that the main highlight of this device is its edge-to-edge screen, but that won't be that appealing if the screen quality is bad. Fortunately, the Cherry's Flare Infinity is equipped with one of the best screen in the sub PHP 15K today.

The best screen on any local phone yet!
To be more precise, the Flare Infinity is loaded with a 5.5 inch FHD LTPS (Low Temperature Poly-silicon) panel w/ sharp enough 401 pixels per inch. It's the type of display that's only found with higher-end HTC phones before. It's color gamut is wider / vibrant but not over saturated, contrast levels are find, and blacks are deep. Viewing angles are also amazing due to its 2.5D curved glass and bezel-less style. In my personal opinion, I even prefer the color signature of its display over some FHD AMOLED screens we tested in the past.
10 points of touch!
10 points of touch!

Touch response for typing, swiping, and gaming is also amazing due to its 10 points of touch.

Audio Quality

At first we thought that this device is equipped with dual speakers below. Unforunately, only one of them acts as a speaker and the other one is the microphone. In terms of quality, it can deliver tunes with acceptable clarity and details. It also doesn't sound as muddy and distorted against other lower-end phones. However, but it isn't loud even on a quiet room in our opinion.

On headphone audio out, it's capable music player. While it is far from HiFi sounding, this handset was able to deliver well balanced tunes. Bass levels are okay and barely overpowers, mids are clear enough (minimal noise only), and highs aren't peaky even if there's some slight hiss. Soundstage isn't just wide and separation of details are kinda hard to notice. Driving power is average at best.

For calls, microphone quality did an okay job, but it is weak and noisy for recordings.

Battery Life

7 hours and 25 mins at PC Mark's battery test
7 hours and 25 mins at PC Mark's battery test

Packing a 3,000 mAh of battery on a 5.5 inch screen and these type of configuration, we expected it to be just fine. In our battery test, it got a score of 7 hours and 25 mins which is still on the average side of things.

In real life moderate usage, it lasted from around 8 am to 1 pm only. That's not enough for an entire day of use, so better bring your battery packs always.

Charging time is 2 hours and 30 mins using its 2A fast charger.

Camera

Main camera behind
Main camera behind

Just like the impressive CloudFone Next, the Cherry Mobile Flare Infinity is equipped with the same real 16 MP f/2.0 Samsung S5K3P3 ISOCELL sensor w/ PDAF and LED flash behind which can take great photos.
The simple camera software of Infinity
The simple camera software of Infinity

However, Infinity's camera software is plain which might be too bland for its price. It only has basic HDR, beautify, and panorama modes. It doesn't even have a grid for guides, timelapse, and pro camera mode which is commonly found in other devices in its similarly priced competitors. Autofocus speed and tap to focus is also slow, but fortunately it can focus up to 3 inches near and its shutter speed is quite fast.

In terms of picture quality, it is inconsistent, but ranks among the best when you hit the right spot.
It has the identical color signature found with Next except that is has better saturation levels, tends to capture slightly more details, and haw nicer dynamic range. However, due to its inconsistencies (maybe because of its software), there are times that images will look washed, soft, grainy or all of the 3 at times. Using its HDR mode can solve the problem but it isn't a fast shooter so steady hands is required to achieve great shots. For macros, background blur is present and it can even create bokehs.

In lowlight, we have captures with amazing levels of details and minimal noise. Again due to its inconsistency, you won't get that at least 80% of the time. You may just use its dual LED flash to rescue images in the dark. Just don't take it too close or overexposure will be your enemy.

Rear Camera Samples

Standard daylight shot
HDR mode
Indoor with good lighting
Indoor background blur
Washed, but still decent in lowlight
Washed, but still decent in lowlight
Lowlight mode, showing great dynamic range
Night mode
Night mode

For selfies, the Infinity sports a 5 MP f/2.8 sensor without wide angle lens and LED flash. It has beautify mode in its software and can do HDR, filters, and panorama. It doesn't have autofocus though and not the speediest shooter so steady hands is required to get serviceable snaps.
Selfie camera software
Selfie camera software

Unfortunately, its quality didn't live up to our standards especially for an over PHP 10K phone. Why? Its sample images we took tends to be washed and soft even on well lit places. There's also a lot of noise most of the time. Lastly, there's no flash to  salvage your selfies.

Selfie Camera Samples

Groufie in daylight
Groufie in daylight
Selfie indoor
Selfie lowlight

For videos, the main camera can record up to 1080p with good colors in daylight. It'll be shaky on handheld use due to its lack of stabilization, but its quality is acceptable if you have steady hands or your have a tripod. In front, there's up to 720p video recording, but again we won't recommend its use unless you have no other choice.

Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores

Packed with a 64 bit Helio P10 chip paired with Mali T860 GPU and 4 GB of RAM, and the Flare Infinity is loaded with capable specs. It even has ample 32 GB of expandable internal storage for your files and apps.
However, it doesn't have the firepower we are expecting for a PHP 13K Cherry Mobile flagship phone.
NBA 2K17 settings on Flare Infinity
NBA 2K17 settings on Flare Infinity

Fortunately, it is still a capable setup if you are not a gamer or heavy user. It is smooth in performance for calls, sms, social media, watching 1080p videos, and switching from one app to another.

In heavy 3D gaming, we didn't have problems with Asphalt 8 on default settings, but it lagged and heats up with NBA 2K17 in medium and low settings. Then if you have it opened in your background, expect your handset to slow down a little as well.
The UI
The UI

In terms of software, it still has the same plain looking Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS found with usual Cherry devices. It is speedy and saved some space in its storage as it doesn't have tons of bloats. However, we discovered that there's annoying adwares (pop-up ads) that appears randomly when connected to the internet. We don't want and need that. Hopefully, Cherry can do something about in in their future updates.

Going to its security feature, this handset has a fingerprint scanner on the right side of the phone just below the power button. It can record several fingers and can unlock your phone quickly when you hit the right spot. However, it is inconsistent which can't recognize my fingerprint all the time.

To complete the experience we like thats USB Type C port is OTG ready, Bluetooth works (a little slower though), telephony signal for calls / sms is strong, and LTE connectivity is stable on places with proper signals.

Pros - Beautiful build / design, great type of bezel-less screen, large 4 GB of RAM, capable main camera, USB Type C, LTE connectivity, gyroscope sensor
Cons - Helio P10 isn't the best chip for the price, fingerprint scanner on the side is fast but not accurate, selfie camera is far from great, adwares

Verdict

Cherry's Flare Infinity is the best looking local phone today! It feels premium, has decent entry-midrange performance, and can shoot great Instragram ready photos most of the time.

However, we find its price a slightly steeper than expected at PHP 13K. Why? It doesn't have the fastest chip at this price point, software isn't refined yet (too plain), and has troublesome adwares popping out.

Anyway, despite of those issues, no one can deny that the Flare Infinity remains a stunner in the aesthetics department.

GIZ Rating: 4/5 Stars
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