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Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie Review - the BEST selfie-centric phone under PHP 8K?

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In our initial impressions, the pre-production Cherry Mobile Flare S6 selfie was great but could have some tweaking. Now we dive into the full retail version!
Flare S6 Selfie!

We had the pre-production for a while and we got the retail software several weeks after.


Here is our review!

Display Quality

FHD screen!
FHD screen!

The Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie boasts a 5.2-inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass at 424 ppi.

We like that it comes in 1080p out of the box!

It is the new resolution standard and we are happy with it. The colors have decent color saturation and the refresh rates is good. We never experienced screen tearing. It is smooth and we like it.

One other MINOR gripe is that the blacks don't feel black because they look grayish beside the black bezels, Other than that this is so good!

The Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie's screen has average brightness but we wished the maximum brightness was raised by a little bit to truly be readable in direct sunlight.

On the software part, it has a Miravision built in which makes your pictures and your images pop more and be more pleasing to the eye.

It has 5 points of touch.

Audio Quality

Only one side works!
Only one side works!

The single speaker isn't able to do it justice. At low to mid volumes the sound is good with the mids shining, but when you reach the higher volumes there are noticeable distortions.

The maximum volume is able to fill a small room but will struggle in a noisy environment like a busy street full of cars.

In our earlier reports, the Flare S6 Selfie sports a good HiFi DAC. And this shows, the sound stage is large and powerful with details defined. 

For headphones and earphones, the stock earphones does better and is able to keep up with the DAC. This is where the sound stage and the details really shine. We tried the VE Monk Plus with it and all the positives were multiplied exponentially.

We highly recommend getting a VE Monk with this phone. The sound stage and the bass is unreal!

The microphones are clear and clean enough for calls and recordings. We never had an issue or a caller comment that our voice had concerns during calls.

Battery Life

Only one side works!
It clocked 4 hours and 33 mins

We received a phone that had pre-production software and one of the areas that the Flare S6 Selfie really suffered is optimization. We ran our benchmarks twice and it always got under 4 hours in PCmark.

In our daily use of email, texting, calling, social media interactions, YouTube streaming, we were getting 4 to 5 hours of on screen time. We always had to have our Tronsmart power bank. We hope the day one Software update would fix this.

Update: We received the production software and it ran better at 4 hours and 33 minutes. In real life we got 5 to 6 hours of real world use of battery life. This is still underwhelming though.

Charging time is 90 minutes from 0 to 100! Not bad! It does use USB Type-C so if you lose your cable you'll have to get another Type-C cable.

Camera

The rear camera is a 16MP Samsung S5K3P3 f/2.0 w/ AF and LED flash. This setup is impressive for the price on paper!

It has a new set of modes like Panorama, Photo, Bokeh, Video, Beauty, Mono and Night modes. We couldn't find the Manual mode. It does feature a standard 1x to 1.5x zoom. It wasn't mentioned whether it was optical zoom or digital zoom. We think it is digital zoom. There isn't a huge loss of detail to the image quality though. It is nice to have the option of a zoom feature.

It performs decently for its price. It's not the best but the detail is there. It's sharp but the colors and the contrast on the other hand is a hit or a miss. There were times where the colors and the contrast pops while we also got images where the images are washed out.

The pre-production model's software also weighed down the camera. Don't get me wrong, the images have decent color and resolution. The blues, reds and yellows really pop! BUT the camera tends the sensor tends to overexpose highlights quickly in day light! If you will notice is our shots below, the skies are almost always pure white. This is because the highlights clipped easily!

Update: The Production Camera software Improves the camera performance significantly! The concerns we had with the pre-production model was alleviated. The Autofocus in both stills and video is fast and mostly accurate. We were surprised how it was able to follow subjects well in continuous autofocus! 

The Beauty mode uses a slider without hard stops so it is difficult to quantify how many levels of beautification is activated. We find the results okay. It does soften imperfections but it is somewhat noticeably artificial.

The Mono mode feels like a black and white filter because a true monochrome sensor would have been needed to have true monochrome. The images are okay but like the standard mode, contrast is a hit and miss and we get images that either have decent contrast or very little.

Rear Camera Samples

Main Camera Daylight!
Main Camera Daylight!
Main camera daylight close up!
Main camera daylight close up!
Main camera indoor
Main camera indoor
Main camera low light 1.0X without flash
Main camera low light 1.0X without flash 
Main camera low light zoom 1.0X with flash
Main camera low light zoom 1.0X with flash
Main camera low light zoom 1.5X without flash
Main camera low light zoom 1.5X without flash
Main camera low light zoom 1.5X with flash
Main camera low light zoom 1.5X with flash
Samsung made selfie camera!
Samsung made selfie camera!

The selfie camera is a 16MP Samsung S5K3P3 f/2.0 w/ LED flash. It fared better than the rear camera with even sharper details with a slight punchier color and contrast.

The autofocus in all modes like selfie stills and video are great even in continuous autofocus. It doesn't suffer from the hit or miss with the rear camera. For the price, the images are okay but we've seen better. This was weird for us because the rear and the selfie camera supposedly have the same exact Samsung camera.

The beauty mode on the selfie camera is similar with the main camera but with punchier colors and contrast.

The Bokeh mode is the type wherein you have you snap your subject first and then move the camera in an upward direction. The results are also a hit or miss. There were situations where it blurred the background in a decent manner. It did have a hard time with blurring hard edges like hair but it was okay. Other times it blurred even the subject itself. Given that the new software from Cherry is new, this is something they can work on it and update it.
Selfie daylight in Thailand!
Selfie daylight in Thailand!
Daylight selfie with filters!
Daylight selfie with filters!
Indoor selfie!
Indoor selfie!
Low light selfie 1.0X zoom
Low light selfie 1.0X zoom
low light selfie 1.5X zoom
low light selfie 1.5X zoom

The video performance of the Flare S6 selfie is good from both selfie and rear cameras. The EIS works wonderfully that it reduced annoying handshakes wonderfully. The autofocus was able to follow the subjects without problem in most cases. The metering does change a lot but we find pretty good for its price point. The Video game of this phone is strong.

The camera app doesn't explicitly say the resolution and framerate of the video recording. It does however allow you to record in low, medium, high and fine. When we checked the video files after, the fine of the selfie camera is 480p while the fine of the rear camera is 1080p.

Performance

Benchmarks! Sweet performance!
Benchmarks! Sweet performance!

The Flare S6 Selfie has the 1.5GHz 64-bit MT6750T octa-core processor with the Mali-T860. This coupled with the 3GB of RAM is up to near or up to par with most of the competition.

The above components are enough to keep the phone at a speedy pace. It does have some quirks with software but that can easily be fixed via firmware updates.

It does okay with multitasking. We never had any stuttering or slow downs when we had multiple apps running.

The 16GB of storage is a little lacking now that apps like Facebook need more than 100MBs. It can be expanded up to 128GB.

We played games with this phone for extended periods. It can't run the top games at all high settings but at medium to low, the framerates were decent and no heating issue occurred. It got a little warm but it wasn't enough to alarm us.
New Cherry OS!
New Cherry OS!

The new Cherry OS is good. We have some few gripes like the app drawer design and constant ads popping up in our notifications. We do however like the new look and the new feel of it. We liked some features like the clone app and the 360 security app. It is a new Android based OS so there is some improvements can be done but for a first try this is a good one. Don't expect it to be the most polished OS out there though.

We have an in-depth look of the new Cherry OS that you can read more here.

The fingerprint scanner is decent in speed and accurate. The rest of the telephony experience is stable as well. GSM / LTE / WiFi signals are strong, Bluetooth is stable, and OTG works.

Pros - Improved hardware design, FHD screen, speedy enough performance, 700MHz LTE, new and improved Cherry OS, good rear and selfie camera autofocus in stills and video, audio game is strong, USB Type-C
Cons - Stills camera images are inconsistent, battery life lasts for 5 hours only 

Verdict

The Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie is a good phone for its price. The HiFi DAC and Camera autofocus for stills and video are better than a lot of phones that are priced higher than it. Cherry OS is good even though it is new but there are some improvements that we would like to see that will alleviate the compromises like the 5 hour battery life and the inconsistent camera images. If you are in the market for a Php 7,999 phone, this is good enough but it faces stiff competition with the latest from competitors.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4
Audio - 4.5
Battery - 3.5
Camera - 4
Performance - 3.75
Average - 3.95 / 5
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