We review Cherry Mobile’s Flare 4!
Every few months or so Cherry Mobile outs brand new members of its Flare family of phones, and every time they have a major release, the benchmark of what a budget phone should be gets redefined. It happened a few times already with their Flare X and the Flare 3, and we gather it’s happened again with the new crop of Flare phones, specifically both the Flare 4 and Flare S4. Both devices offer really good specs for the meager price of just Php 4,999, and holds the title as the most affordable LTE smartphone in the land under 5K with 2GB of RAM. Is the Cherry Mobile Flare 4 worth the hype, or is it another phone that you’ll want to pass on? Find out in our full review below:
Cherry Mobile Flare 4
- 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 5-inch HD IPS display, Dragon Trail glass protection, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
- 13-megapixel rear camera, BSI
- 5-megapixel front camera, BSI
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- 2100mAh battery
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
- Php 4,999
Stylish, premium, affordable
It’s difficult to find a stylish phone at around the 5K price range that’s built with premium materials – you’ll have to compromise somewhere, after all to turn a profit – but the Flare 4 is one of the few budget phones that actually looks good in your hands. Metal bodies and frames at this price point are unheard of, that’s probably the reason why the Flare 4 managed to impress us with its build quality and overall styling. The phone sports a metal chassis that have beveled edges that are usually associated with more expensive handsets.
The Flare 4 and Flare S4 are virtually identical phones, with the Flare 4 being targeted at women because of its sexier curves compared to the Flare S4. The Flare 4’s smaller size may also endear it to ladies as well as opposed to its bigger brother the Flare S4 Plus – it’s easy to use one handed, and the button layout (volume rocker on the left, power on the right) makes it easy to access the controls even if you have small hands.
Up front, you’ll see the 5-inch HD display, which is protected by Asahi Dragon Trail glass. There are physical capacitive keys located just below that. The earpiece is located on top, flanked by a sensor and the 5-megapixel selfie camera. Both the 3.5mm jack and USB port are located on the top of the phone.
Flipping the phone over you’ll see the 13-megapixel rear camera plus the LED flash, along with the oddly placed speaker grille. The Flare 4, like the Flare S4, uses a removable back cover that exposes the two SIM slots and microSD card slot, along with the removable 2100mAh battery.
Overall display quality is quite good, and while there is some backlight bleeding it’s not that terrible to be honest. Color reproduction is good, and there’s really nothing we can complain about with the display quality. Sound quality is a bit meh, probably because of the placement of the speakers on the back.
Enough power for most users, plus LTE
Under the hood of the Flare 4 beats a MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor chugging along at 1.3GHz paired with 2GB of RAM. This hardware combination is identical to the Alcatel Flash 2, and just like that phone the Flare 4 is capable of running most games with decent settings, though more graphically intense games (like Need For Speed No Limits) won’t be able to run on the device smoothly without compromising some detail.
Casual games like Clash of Clans will run just fine on the Flare 4.
The Flare 4 has enough horsepower to run most apps without any issues. That, coupled with a mostly stock Android 5.1 Lollipop OS, made the phone a joy to use though there’s still some bloatware installed on the device when we got it. You can easily uninstall them, however, and you can add more storage if the 16GB of space in the device isn’t enough for your needs.
There are a few negatives with the SoC, none of which are Cherry Mobile’s fault. GPS signal locking times are quite longer than chips of other manufacturers, namely Qualcomm and Samsung, and the phone is a bit slower to switch to 4G in known areas with LTE compared to the offerings of said companies. It’s something that MediaTek is working on, though the fruits of their labor won’t show until their new SoCs roll out.
Okay-ish camera, but could be better
If you’re an avid reader of Unbox, you’ve probably seen the first shots of the Flare 4’s camera. While the phone is capable of taking decent snaps, the photos are a bit underwhelming especially in low-light. Colors are a bit muted and not really that vibrant, though with enough light they’re sort of okay, certainly good enough for uploading to your favorite social networking site.
Excellent battery life despite the small, 2100mAh battery
If there’s one thing people will harp on with the Flare 4 (aside from the slightly underwhelming camera) is the battery – at 2100mAh, it’s not much. We were expecting a lower than normal result in our PCMark Battery benchmark with the relatively small battery.
Imagine our surprise when the phone managed to score an impressive 5 hour and 55 minutes. For reference, the Flare X, which has a bigger 3000mAh battery, only scored 5 hours and 19 minutes. To be fair though, that Cherry Mobile phone has a bigger, more power hungry display and a faster processor, but still – you can’t really beat the power consumption on the Flare 4.
With actual use, we managed to log just around 8 hours of moderate use before our phone hit the critical 10% mark at the end of the day – that’s more than enough for most people.
Verdict: another game-changing smartphone from Cherry Mobile
The term game-changer gets thrown around a lot in this site, but it’s the perfect descriptor for the Flare 4. Cherry Mobile has managed to redefine the budget, 5K segment again with their new Flare phones, providing excellent value for money. The Flare 4 isn’t perfect, it strikes the perfect balance between style, power and affordability. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a phone that has as much bang-for-your-buck as Cherry Mobile’s Flare 4, especially at under 5K.
The Cherry Mobile Flare 4 retails for Php 4,999.