The best Cherry Mobile phone ever?
Good things come to those who wait: that’s apparently Cherry Mobile’s motto this year with their new mid-range smartphone, the Flare S7 Plus. Faces with increasingly stiff competition from international names, the local brand has had to rethink the way it released phones.
The Flare S7 Plus is one of the brand’s most important releases to date, representing a marked shift in strategy. With class-leading tech, powerful internals, beautiful design, and an aggressive price point, the Flare S7 Plus is able to give offerings of international brands a run for their money.
What is it?
The Flare S7 Plus is Cherry Mobile’s most daring phone to date. It is a major departure from previous Cherry Mobile phones and is a huge departure from the local brand’s usual offerings with its premium and elegant build.
That notch is quite big.
While almost every brand nowadays has embraced the notch, only a few have done so for the right reason. The original idea behind the notch was to give the phone a space to put the depth sensing camera on the iPhone X along with all the other sensors that are included in a modern smartphone. The Flare S7 Plus’ large notch has a similar purpose: it houses an IR camera that’s used for facial recognition, alongside the normal selfie camera and the earpiece.
If you find the notch annoying, Cherry Mobile included a gesture that lets you easily switch from 19:9 to 18:9 by putting black bars on either side. While the gesture makes it convenient, switching to an 18:9 ratio puts the notification and status bar below the notch—not on opposite sides of the notch like in other phones.
Is there a camera bump?
Yes, but it is barely noticeable. You can lay your phone flat on the table without worrying about the camera module jutting out like other phones.
There’s zero Cherry Mobile branding on the phone’s body, and the back is covered in glass and has been treated with a glossy black finish. There’s no fancy gradient option but the Flare S7 Plus’ sleek, elegant exterior doesn’t really need it, in our opinion.
Are the internals really powerful?
Yes, and it is, in fact, the most powerful Cherry Mobile phone to date. The local brand has a penchant for using dated processors in its phones with its previous releases, and the Flare S7 Plus breaks that trend. Armed with an Helio P60 processor, which is MediaTek’s latest AI-powered processor, the Flare S7 Plus is one of the most powerful mid-range phones available today. Aside from having a higher clock speed, the Helio P60’s Mali-G72 MP3 GPU gets serious work done especially with games.
Since we could not install Asphalt 9, we chose Need For Speed: No Limits instead, and the Flare S7 Plus performed well.
As with PUBG Mobile, the Flare S7 Plus performed well in Medium+Balanced graphics settings.
How’s the rest of the phone?
While the Flare S7 Plus ditched CherryOS, there is still a UI overlay. It’s not as cluttered or as bloated as CherryOS, which is a relief. Everything on the new overlay is more organized and less buggy compared to last year’s CherryOS.
While it has both face unlock and fingerprint scanning, we noticed that the former is much faster compared to the latter thanks to the IR camera. The Flare S7 Plus comes with a USB-C port, but ditches the headphone jack in favor of symmetrical speaker grilles; though only one of them holds the speaker, while the other houses the microphone. To make up for the omission, Cherry Mobile bundles a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle with the Flare S7 Plus.
The Flare S7 Plus comes with DTS built in, offering you a plethora of sound effects and audio tweaks depending on the cans you are using.
Are the cameras any good?
They are, and they are arguably one of the best camera setups you can find on a Cherry Mobile phone. Consisting of a 16-megapixel f/2.0 primary and 5-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensing rear cameras, the Flare S7 Plus performs very well in daylight and tricky lighting situations. The Flare S7 Plus also comes with AI tricks that help in processing photos properly according to the scenery. Here are some of the photos we took:
In general, color reproduction and dynamic range is good, and the Flare S7 Plus makes an effort in nailing low-light shots at the expense of noise. The same goes for video, where the Flare S7 Plus can shoot up to Full HD.
Can it last the whole day?
Don’t count out the Flare S7 Plus’ 3000mAh battery: on PCMark’s battery test, the phone scored a respectable seven and a half hours. When we were in Bangkok, we used the Flare S7 Plus the whole day for taking photos, shooting videos, answering through emails, and occasional checks to the site with enough juice left at the end of the day when we went back to our hotel.
You have two charging options for the Flare S7 Plus: if you want to juice up quickly, you can use the phone’s 10W wired charger via its USB-C port. If you are not in a hurry (ie. you just want to charge up your phone while sleeping), you can charge it wirelessly at 5W with any wireless charger that uses the Qi wireless standard.
Should you buy it?
Whatever pre-conceived notions you have with Cherry Mobile, chuck em all out the window with the Flare S7 Plus. The local brand has stepped up significantly this year, and the Flare S7 Plus has several features that you would not find in similarly-priced phones.
While it is arguably the best Cherry Mobile phone in recent memory, the Flare S7 Plus is facing tough competition against other Chinese brands: there’s the big-screened Honor 8X that’s only Php 1k more than the Flare S7 Plus, and there’s the newcomer Realme 2 Pro with a Snapdragon 660 processor and a cheaper price than the Flare S7 Plus for the same 4GB/64GB configuration.
Regardless of the competition, Cherry Mobile’s efforts for the Flare S7 Plus is commendable, and we look forward to seeing the local brand launch equally compelling offerings in the future.
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus Specs
- 2.0GHz MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core processor
- Mali-G72 MP3
- 4GB RAM
- 6.18-inch Full HD+ TrueView IPS display, 19:9 aspect ratio, Gorilla Glass 3
- 64GB internal storage, expandable via MicroSD up to 256GB
- 16-megapixel f/2.0 and 5-megapixel f/2.4 rear cameras with PDAF, AI Scene Detection, dual LED flash
- 16-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Fingerprint Scanner, USB Type-C, IR face unlock
- 3000mAh battery with 10W quick charging and 5W wireless charging
- Android Oreo 8.1