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Cherry Aqua SV Review Philippines: Comeback Done Right

by Duey Guison  May 8, 2022

Review verdict: Cherry returns to form via their new Aqua SV. The phone is equipped with a 5G-capable processor and a great-looking curved AMOLED display at a price that’s very hard to beat. 

Pros:

  • One of the best displays for the price
  • Good 5G processor of choice
  • Improved main camera performance

Cons:

  • So-so ultra-wide-angle camera
  • Battery on the small side
  • Limited to 2K video recording

Cherry Aqua SV Review Philippines specs

  • Dimensity 810 processor
  • 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 128GB UFS 2.2 internal storage
  • 6.6-inch Full HD+ Curved AMOLED display, 90hz refresh rate
  • 64-megapixel f/1.8 main camera, 5-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel depth sensor, 2-megapixel macro camera, LED flash
  • 16-megapixel main selfie camera, 2-megapixel depth sensor
  • LTE, 4G, 5G
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, in-display fingerprint scanner
  • 30w wired charging
  • 4200mAh battery
  • Android 11

The wait for 5G devices from local brands is over with Cherry’s unveiling of its first 5G-ready devices. The more premium Aqua SV is here to impress, incorporating features we rarely see at its price point. Is this the Cherry comeback we have been waiting for?

Design

Cherry went all-in with the design of the Aqua SV. The faux leather-like rear panel is one of the most unique designs we’ve seen on the Cherry phone, and we like how it’s resistant against smudges and is durable enough that you can opt to not use the included case. The camera module has a good design, giving emphasis on the capabilities of the 64-megapixel main shooter–more on that later.

The attention to detail also screams premium with the red-colored power button, curved display, and embossed Cherry logo at the back. Our only complaint with the Aqua SV is the omission of the headphone jack–thankfully, Cherry did include a pair of USB-C earphones out of the box.

Display and speakers

The biggest surprise with the Aqua SV is Cherry’s decision to use the best possible display in its class: in this case, you get an adequately large 6.6-inch curved AMOLED panel with a Full HD+ resolution, 90hz refresh rate, and an in-display fingerprint scanner. Considering that this is an under-Php 12k phone, it’s an incredible feat for Cherry to pack a top-notch display on the Aqua SV.

The display does come with its own quirks (which is understandable at this price point) which include inconsistent palm rejection rates, blacks being not dark enough in some situations, and being confined only to Widevine L3–limiting you to only SD streaming on Netflix. Other than those details, you get vibrant colors and a bright display on the Aqua SV’s panel, and you also get an in-display fingerprint scanner that does a good job of recognizing our registered fingerprints.

The single speaker, on the other hand, is pretty much on the average side. The overall audio fidelity is typical of what you expect in budget phones–as long as you don’t push the volume beyond 60%. If the audio quality of the loudspeaker is not your cup of tea, you can opt to use the included USB-C earphones instead.

Cameras

Cherry is catching up in terms of camera sensors compared to its competitors, as the Aqua SV’s main camera comes packing na 64-megapixel Omnivision OV64B sensor. We’re pretty familiar with that particular module at this point as it’s a sensor we’ve encountered in a number of mid-range (and even budget flagship phones).

The main camera performed better than previous Aqua and Flare phones we have reviewed in the past, with good detail retention even in low light conditions. Its HDR feature is a bit on the mild side, while the night mode has vastly improved–compared to the Aqua S10 Pro 4G and Aqua S9 Max, shadows and details pop out nicely with the Aqua SV.

The ultra-wide-angle camera, on the other hand, has the same issues we encountered on the Aqua S10 Pro 4G: it has difficulties in balancing exposure in mixed lighting and suffers from loss of detail in low-light scenarios. The ultra-wide-angle camera’s functionality is limited too: you can’t adjust the exposure manually, and you can’t even use it for shooting video

When it comes to selfies, the Aqua SV performs better in controlled lighting and prioritizes proper exposure of your face always. The 16-megapixel selfie snapper generally performs its job well, and the additional depth sensor does help when you use portrait mode in taking selfies.

Moving to videos, the limitations of the Dimensity 810 removes the ability to shoot 4K videos. You’re limited to shooting at 2K (1440p) resolution, which is a fair compromise over being limited to Full HD resolution like other similarly-priced phones.

Internals and Battery Life

The Aqua Sv comes with a considerably good set of internals for its price: A 5G-ready Dimensity 810 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB UFS 2.2 internal storage. It’s nice to see that Cherry went for the Dimensity 810, which has better CPU and GPU clock speeds and a more efficient 6nm process than the Dimensity 800.

The Dimensity 810 may trail behind the Snapdragon 695 in terms of CPU speeds, but the MediaTek processor goes head-to-head when it comes to GPU-related tasks. In terms of price-to-performance, the Aqua SV ranks very high, with only the Zero 5G showing strong competition against it.

The Aqua SV is capable of gaming as we discussed in a separate article, further cementing its excellent price-to-performance ratio. It’s one of the most affordable phones that allow you to run Genshin Impact at high graphics comfortably and is currently the most affordable phone we have tested so far that can run Asphalt 9 in 60FPS–and do so with flying colors.

A point for concern with the Aqua SV is battery life. Despite being rather small at 4200mAh, we managed to score around 10.5 hours in PCMark’s battery test with 90hz refresh rate enabled. That should make the Aqua SV last for roughly a day on medium use.

Topping up the battery is nice and quick: with support for 30w wired charging, we managed to top up the battery from 19% to 100% in around an hour. The Aqua SV supports USB-PD standards, so you have a broad set of supported charging brick and cable options in case you opt to use your current crop of chargers.

Wrap up and Conclusions

While it is more expensive than your usual Cherry phone, the brand went all in to give an excellent price-to-performance ratio to the Aqua SV. At Php 12k, you’d be hard-pressed to find any phone with both a capable 5G processor and a best-in-class 90hz curved AMOLED display.

Cherry Aqua SV Review Price Philippines

The Aqua SV is priced at Php 11,999 and is available at Cherry’s Shopee store.

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