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Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Review - A surprise for the price!

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Cherry Mobile is back with a new device with a lot of firepower for the price, the Flare S7 Plus. Based on its specs, it is one of the best in its class.
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Review - A surprise for the price!
Meet Flare S7 Plus!

The Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus is equipped with a real metal and glass design, 2.0GHz 64-bit Helio P60 octa-core processor with dual-core AI, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, USB Type-C port, wireless charging technology, AI-assisted quad-camera setup, IR face unlock, and more.

Normally, phones with the above-mentioned set of features are found on mid-range to flagship category.

Let's see if this handset is worth all the hype. Here's our full review!

Unboxing/Accessories

Everything inside the box
Everything inside the box

The package of the Flare S7 Plus is quite loaded. It'll come with a 5V/2A USB wall charger, UBS Type-A to USB Type-C data/charging cable, in-ear earphones with mic, TPU clear/flexible case, tempered glass, SIM ejector tool, and paper documents.
Qi wireless charger
Qi wireless charger

Those who pre-ordered the phone will get a FREE wireless charger worth PHP 2,000. Yes, again, this phone has wireless charging support.



Quite impressive so far!

Build Quality/Design

Sexy glass back design!
Sexy glass back design!

It screams premium quality, especially for a mid-ranger! There are very few phones with legit metal and glass build at this price point. The curved back is glass, the frame is solid metal, and the screen has Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

Like what we mentioned earlier, this phone will even come with a FREE case and tempered glass for additional protection.
Speaker, Type-C, and mic below
SIM tray slot at left
SIM tray slot at left
The dual SIM/microSD card tray
The dual SIM/microSD card tray
Power button and volume keys
Power button and volume keys

Looking at its design, the Flare S7 Plus is like the long lost twin of the Xiaomi Mi 8. They have similar curves, paint finish, and overall design. The Flare S7 Plus doesn't have Cherry Mobile's logo though. Some may like it, some may not.

Premium build and design for LESS!

But one thing is for sure, it is a premium looking device for a price. I won't blame you if you will compare its looks with most high-end phones.

The phone is also quite slim. It is just 7.8 mm thick. It has a camera bump, but it is considered as small compared with the camera bump of the iPhone X. The case can hide it and protect the lenses somehow.

The body is also considered as small for a phone with large 6.18-inch panel. It measures at just 155 x 75.7 x 7.8 mm. It is even shorter than the 
158.4 mm height of the iPhone 8 Plus with small 5.5-inch screen.

How and why? The Flare S7 Plus has a tall 19:9 screen ratio with tiny side bezels and not that big chin bezel. It has a notch though. The notch is bigger than the notch of the P20 Pro.

Most of the ports and buttons are on familiar locations as well. The earpiece, selfie, camera and several sensors are found on the notch. The fingerprint scanner and the dual-camera with flash are at the back.

There's nothing on top, there's a mic/speaker and USB Type-C slot below, hybrid dual SIM tray/microSD card tray at left, and power button/volume rocker at right.

Sadly, you won't find a dedicated 3.5 mm headphone jack slot anymore.

Ergonomically, the phone is comfortable is to hold and it is not slippery at all. It is just prone to fingerprint smudges. It is also a bit heavy at 200 grams.

Display Quality

Large screen, small body
Large screen, small body

The Flare S7 Plus sports a large 6.18-inch screen. It has a 19:9 screen aspect ratio and 2246 x 1080 resolution at 403 ppi. It has has sharp details and neutral color reproduction with nice contrast. Viewing angles are also okay since it is using an IPS panel.
Nice screen quality
Nice screen quality

Its screen brightness is isn't strong though. The result, outdoor legibility is isn't that great. You will need to set the brightness to max level to make text and images under direct sunlight hit.

Big screen on a small form factor is nice!

On the software part, you can adjust the color reproduction. You can set it to neutral, cool, and warm. You can also turn the smart eye protection feature to reduce the harmful blue light when reading in lowlight scenarios.
Notch settings
Notch settings

If you do not like the notch, you can turn it off in the settings. Just select features, turn on the notch screen gesture, and swipe down on the upper left side of the screen.

It is one of the easiest way to turn on and off the notch yet.

In total, it has 5 points of multitouch. It would have been better if it has 10, but 5 is not bad at all. It has decent swiping and typing touch experience.

Audio Quality

Cherry Mobile with DTS audio!
Cherry Mobile with DTS audio!

The Flare S7 Plus comes with a single speaker at the bottom. It can produce respectable loudness when you are on a quiet room. Clarity and separation are nice, but do not expect it to produce the bass response you will find on higher-end speakers. It won't also have the soundstage of phones with stereo speakers.

The audio is can produce via wired USB Type-C headphones is a different story though. It has one of the cleanest sound I've heard for the price. It has a balanced sound signature that has great clarity. Instrumental separation is also great. I also like that it can make most of my HiFi in-ear earphones shine.

It also has DTS audio. You can see different sound effects for your headphones and audio presets.

The Flare S7 Plus also has Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity for your Bluetooth headphones. The audio via USB Type-C is obviously cleaner.

Mic for calls is crisp and clear. The earpiece also has decent quality. The mic below for recording audio is respectable. But it is a bit noisy for my taste.

Battery Life

PC Mark score

To my eyes, one of the downside of the Flare S7 Plus is its 3,050mAh of battery. It is considered as small for a phone with big 6.18-inch screen with FHD+ resolution. 
Fortunately, it has a power efficient Helio P60 processor by MediaTek built under the 12nm FinFET process.

Small battery capacity, but with average performance

At PCMark work battery life test, it locked 7 hours and 35 minutes. Obviously, that score is not as high as other phones, but it is considered as acceptable.
Battery usage and screen on time
Battery usage and screen on time

Actual usage showed that it lasted for 8 hours under my usual heavy usage which include 4G LTE all the time, WiFi hotspot occasionally, taking photos, and more!

The screen on time I recorded is decent. It clocked 4 hours and 50 minutes. That score is almost as good as the Nova 3i with 5 hours and 3 minutes.
The power manager
The power manager

To conserve battery further you may pick the power saving mode and the extreme mode.

Charging time using the 5V/2A is a little over 2 hours from 0 to 100 percent.

The wireless charging feature is also nice to have. It is one of the very few mid-range phones with that function.

It can charge the phone for a little over 3 hours with standard Qi wireless charger.

Camera

Dual-cam!

One of the key highlight of the Flare S7 Plus are its cameras. It has four cameras in total. You will see two cameras behind and two cameras in front.
The camera UI
The camera UI

At the back, you will see a 16MP f/2.0 OV16885 sensor paired with a 5MP depth sensor. It has PDAF, BSI, AI and LED flash.
AI scene detection
AI scene detection

Yes, this is the first Cherry Mobile device with AI for scene detection. To our surprise, it can improve most our shots without oversharpening and oversaturation. It can detect if you are taking a photo in lowlight and more then adjust the settings properly.
Camera features
Camera features

It also has a lot of modes like the HDR, face beauty, night, panorama, live photo, and professional mode. You will also see a lot of filters like vivid, mono, and more.
The pro mode
The pro mode

The pro mode will allow you to adjust the EV, ISO, white balance, shutter, and focus. It has up to 12s of shutter speed. Not bad!


Impressive cameras!

Our shooting experience using the Flare S7 Plus is superb for the price. Autofocus is really fast and saving time/shooting speed is quick. It can take macro shots up to around 3 inches near the subject which is nice. But, make sure that you will tap to focus properly to make sure that the image that you will get is good.

In daylight, details are crisp and noise is not noticeable. What I like the most is its life-like color accuracy. It can produce some of the most realistic colors at its price point. It has good contrast and decent dynamic range as well.

The bokeh mode works and there are times where it can produce images with clean looking edges. The 2x digital zoom is also quite impressive. It is close to lossless in daylight to my eyes.


In indoor indoor dim lighting conditions, you will notice that the focus would be a bit slow and it will struggle at times. But, the output is still considered as decent to good especially for the price.

In lowlight, it can still deliver shots with plenty of details. But obviously, it will be softer than your daylight shots. Dynamic range would be less as well. Use the pro mode, night mode, or the flash to take better lowlight images.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1
Daylight 1
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Against the light
Against the light
Close-up
Close-up
Normal
Normal
Zoom
Zoom
Indoor bokeh mode
Indoor bokeh mode
DC Cafe steak
DC Cafe steak
Indoor dim
Indoor dim
Lowlight 1
Lowlight 1
Lowlight 2
Lowlight 2

For selfies, you will see a 16MP f/2.0 primary shooter for selfies and an IR camera for 3D face unlock and the FlareMoji animation ala Apple Animoji.
Selfie cam

As expected, it has BSI and AI face beauty. It also has a group selfie mode and face beauty that can smoothen and whiten your skin.

Selfie camera UI
Selfie camera UI

It also has a bokeh feature for blurred background effect and a tap to focus feature to help you take sharper selfies. Shooting speed is also less than a second.
FlareMoji
FlareMoji

As expected, the quality of selfies it produced are good in bright daylight scenes. Most of the selfies and groufies we took arrived with plenty of details and good colors.

The bokeh mode works, but you cannot adjust it unlike the bokeh mode from the back cameras. The face beauty won't make your face look too soft until level 40 of skin smoothening effect.

It even goes with decent performance even in lowlight. You can use the screen flash for better and sharper selfies in lowlight.

Selfie Camera Samples

Well-lit selfie
Well-lit selfie
Selfie bokeh 1
Selfie bokeh 1
Selfie bokeh 2
Selfie bokeh 2
Face beauty
Face beauty
Lowlight
Lowlight

For videos, you can select up to 1080 30 fps video, slo-mo and time-lapse. It is one of the main weakness of this phone though. Details are okay (acceptable for the price), but stabilization needs improvement. It has no EIS and OIS at the back and in front.

Video Camera Samples


Performance

Good scores!
Good scores!

The Flare S7 Plus runs with the MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core processor with dual-core AI clocked at 2.0GHz. It is paired with Mali-G72 MP3 GPU, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage.

Really fast performance for the price!

Coming from the OPPO F7 with similar processor, RAM, and ROM size, the performance is identical. It will pick it personally over the usual Snapdragon 636 chip found at the price point. It is as good or even better than the Kirin 710 of the Honor 8X and Nova 3i.

The result, it is extremely fast for the price! Opening of apps will be silky smooth and switching from an app to another won't be a problem most of the time.


Gaming is also great. It can play PUBG and NBA 2K18/19. For NBA, it can run it even with ultra high cloth simulation on.

But of course, do not compare its speed with flagship phones.

Cherry also improved the software they are using. It runs with Android 8.1 Oreo OS with a custom yet clean looking OS. It is close to stock looking, but without an app drawer. I like its icons, themes, and wall papers.

It has few pre-installed apps like Facebook, Instagram, Chums Live, and Firefox Lite. It also has a lot of Google apps out of the box. The pop-up ads are gone as well.

It even has its own System Manager and lot of other features like gestures, data clone, and more in the settings.

This is easily, the smoothest skin of Cherry yet.

The rest of the features

As expected, the Flare S7 Plus has a fingerprint scanner at the back. It is snappy and really fast. It works even if your finger has some dirt on it.

The IR face unlock is also impressive. It works even in lowlight. It is also quite fast. The speed is just below the unlocking performance of the iPhone X. It is on par with the Nova 3 based on my experience in that regard.

This device also has good telephony performance and 700MHz 4G LTE for better indoor signal mobile internet connectivity. You will also find Bluetooth 4.2 and a stable type of GPS. 

It also has USB OTG, gyro sensor, and a hybrid SIM slot.

Pros - Premium design, good performance, great photography experience, IR face unlock, USB Type-C port, wireless charging, affordable price tag
Cons - No 3.5 mm headphone jack slot, video recording

Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Specs

Display: 6.18-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3 protected IPS screen w/ FHD+ 2246 x 1080 resolution at 403 ppi 
CPU: 2.0GHz 64-bit Helio P60 octa-core processor with dual-core AI
GPU: Mali-G72 MP3
RAM: 4GB
ROM: 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera: 16MP f/2.0 OV16885 + 5MP w/ PDAF, BSI, AI and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.0 + IR camera w/ BSI and AI face beauty
Battery: 3,050mAh w/ 5V/2A and wireless charging support
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, IR face unlock, USB Type-C, Colors: pearl black
Dimensions: 155 x 75.7 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 200 g
Price: PHP 11,999

Verdict

The Flare S7 Plus is a proof that Cherry Mobile can create a solid product that can go toe-to-toe with some of the best mid-range phones in the market today.

Arguably, it is even the most elegant looking and feature-rich in its class. Personally, I like that it has a premium looking metal and glass design, speedy processor, USB Type-C port, wireless charging technology, IR face unlock, and pretty good cameras.


Build / Design - 4.25
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4
Battery - 4
Camera - 4.5
Performance - 4.75
Average - 4.29/5
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