Initial verdict: It took almost two years before Cherry announced a new Aqua S series phone, and the S11 Pro looks very promising with its Php 8k asking price. It has a solid set of internals that can rival the competition, along with a display that’s unheard of in its price point.
-Most affordable with a Helio G99 chip
-120hz AMOLED display with slim bezels
-Rest of the rear cameras are fillers
-Only Widevine L3
Cherry is back, and the Aqua S11 Pro might be their best shot at staying competitive in the under Php 10k segment. Being the only Filipino phone brand that’s surviving in 2024, Cherry has made us intrigued with the Aqua S11 Pro with all the features it has to offer. Does the Aqua S11 Pro give Cherry that much-needed competitiveness to match what its rivals have to offer?
Cherry Aqua S11 Pro Philippines: Unboxing and Packaging Contents
Cherry decided to give the packaging for the Aqua S11 Pro a full makeover. With thre box decked in white, you have the Aqua branding with a holographic treatment while the top part of the box has the latest logo of Cherry.
Inside the box, you have the usual contents: the phone itself, a jelly case, documentation, SIM ejector tool, a 33w charger, USB-C cable, and (believe it or not) a headset. It’s a nice sight to see phones still offering a headset as part of their packaging, and we got to give props to Cherry for that.
Cherry Aqua S11 Pro Philippines: Design
Compared to the Aqua S10 Pro, the Aqua S11 Pro has a modern design that’s in line with current budget phones. You get a square module that houses the Aqua S11 Pro’s three cameras and LED flash, along with the Cherry logo at the bottom. Unlike the competition, Cherry opted for a matte black finish for the back panel, which is a godsend for those who hate fingerprints and smudges.
For the button and port layout, the Aqua S11 Pro has a headphone jack, USB-C port, and loudspeaker at the bottom, and the SIM tray on the left side. The right side has the volume controls and power button–and surprise: the Aqua S11 Pro implements an in-display fingerprint scanner, which brings us to one of the reasons why it’s a solid budget phone.
Cherry Aqua S11 Pro Philippines: Display
What immediately caught our attention with the Aqua S11 Pro’s display is that the bezels are very slim for a budget phone. It’s a design aesthetic that you wouldn’t expect from Cherry, and the Filipino phone brand is setting the standard on what one should expect on a budget phone when it comes to bezels.
The display itself is impressive: its a flat AMOLED panel that has a 120hz refresh rate–a combination that’s unheard of in any budget phones until now. The colors are vibrant–a bit too vibrant for our taste–and the brightness range is good enough for outdoor viewing.
What’s unusual is that you only get Widevine L3, which limits Netflix streams to standard resolution. While we wished that the Aqua S11 Pro had Widevine L1, it’s really hard to complain–we can’t think of any other phone to offer a 120hz flat AMOLED display at under Php 8k. The closest we can think of is itel’s S23+, which offers a 60hz curved AMOLED display for under Php 8k.
Cherry Aqua S11 Pro Philippines: Cameras
The Aqua S11 Pro has a triple rear camera setup, but the main deal here is the 64-megapixel OV64B sensor used on the main camera. The other two cameras are fillers–a 2-megapixel macro camera and a QVGA depth sensor–and we wished that Cherry just ditched both in exchange for an ultra-wide camera.
The OV64B sensor caught our attention, as a number of mid-range phones use it for their main camera and some higher-end devices utilize it for their telephoto cameras. The Aqua S11 Pro is the most affordable phone to use this particular sensor from OmniVision, and it looks very promising on paper.
We still have to take the Aqua S11 Pro around for sample photos, and we will get back to you in our full review for our full assessment of its camera performance.
Cherry Aqua S11 Pro Philippines: Internals and battery
While the Aqua S11 Pro loses 5G connectivity, Cherry equipped it with a Helio G99 processor, which is more powerful than the Aqua S10 Pro’s Dimensity 700 especially when gaming is considered. You also get more RAM and storage at 8GB and 256GB respectively, which is slowly becoming the norm even at the under Php 10k segment.
Aside from the 120hz AMOLED display, what makes the Aqua S11 Pro an attractive offering is its use of a Helio G99 processor–which is very rare to see at the under Php 8k segment. Aside from that, the Aqua S11 Pro’s UI is close to stock Android, with very minimal bloatware preinstalled.
You still get a 5000mAh battery with the S11 Pro, and while Cherry dropped support for wireless charging, you get 33w wired charging–which is a fair compromise.
Cherry Aqua S11 Pro Philippines: Wrap-up and Intial Conclusions
Compared to 2022’s Aqua S10 Pro, the Aqua S11 Pro packs more features on paper–and made excellent picks when it comes to the processor and display. It’s Php 8k asking price makes the Aqua S11 Pro competitive, and we really hope it can help the country’s lone smartphone brand give a fighting chance in the very saturated budget segment.
Cherry Aqua S11 Pro Philippines: Price
The Aqua S11 Pro is priced at Php 7,999.