Cherry Mobile fights back!
Despite brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, and vivo aggressively competing at the sub-Php 6k segment, local brand Cherry Mobile isn’t about to throw in the towel. Far from it—the brand actually just launched a plethora of phones under the Flare S8 series, with the Flare S8 Pro leading the charge.
Priced at a hair under Php 6k, the Flare S8 Pro has an up-to-date design with dual rear cameras and a dewdrop notch, and internals that can rival its similarly-priced rivals.
- Good price-to-specs ratio
- Large battery
- Less bloatware than your usual Cherry Mobile phone
- No headphone jack
- Small f/2.8 aperture on the main rear camera
Unboxing and Packaging contents:
The Flare S8 Pro’s box has a photo of the phone in front, along with a rundown of its key specs in the back.
Inside the box, you get the phone itself (with a pre-installed screen protector), a tempered glass screen protector, jelly case, USB-C cable, 10W wall charger, USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, SIM ejector tool, and documentation.
Up-to-date design with a more solid build
Since the Flare S6 series, Cherry Mobile has been leveling up the design of its phones to match those being offered by its rivals, and the Flare S8 Pro is no exception. It has a slender polycarbonate frame that has gentle curves, making it easy to hold despite having a 6.5-inch display and a generous 4000mAh battery inside—more on the latter later in the article.
Our review unit is black, and unlike typical black-colored phones, the Flare S8 Pro’s back panel shifts to a dark gray hue on certain angles. The glossy polycarbonate back panel has a solid feel but is a fingerprint magnet, so you will need to use the supplied jelly case to avoid constantly wiping the phone of smudges.
The Flare S8 Pro’s 6.5-inch display is large for its price, and the panel is bright enough for outdoor use. The HD+ resolution may be underwhelming at this size, but it is hard to find a sub-Php 6k phone with such a large display.
In its push to make its phones up-to-date, Cherry Mobile equipped the Flare S8 Pro with a USB-C port. The drawback, however, is that Cherry Mobile axed the headphone jack in favor of a bigger battery while keeping the Flare S8 Pro as slim as possible. Before you get annoyed at the omission, Cherry Mobile includes a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter with the Flare S8 Pro so that you can still enjoy your favorite wired cans.
Small aperture a hindrance for low-light photography
For the cameras, you get a 20-megapixel f/2.2 front camera and dual rear cameras that consist of a 20-megapixel f/2.8 main camera and 5-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor. On daylight, we got photos with good color rendition and a fairly balanced dynamic range. The f/2.8 aperture on the main rear camera becomes a problem in low-light shooting, as we end up with blotchy images.
While it is a budget phone that can shoot decent photos in daylight, we hope Cherry Mobile updates the camera app to add missing features such as HDR and night mode, as it’s AI photo feature does work but only to a certain extent. For videos, the absence of EIS makes it hard to shoot stable footage on the Flare S8 Pro unless you have a tripod or gimbal.
Decent internals for a sub-Php 6K phone
Cherry Mobile managed to tick all three with the Flare S8 Pro—at least 4GB RAM, at least 64GB internal storage, and a power-efficient processor—while keeping it at a sub-Php 6k price point. Powering it is a MediaTek Helio P22 processor—a 12nm processor that comes with MediaTek’s NeuroPilot AI and Bluetooth 5.0 and is the Taiwanese chipmaker’s answer to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 439.
Running Android Pie out of the box, the Flare S8 Pro has features such as raise-to-wake, digital wellbeing, and navigation gestures—with the latter being easy to set up depending on your preferences. Elements of CherryOS is present with apps like Game Box, Hi Weather, Power Manager, and Property System.
Multitasking and browsing with the Flare S8 Pro is smooth, and it helps that Cherry Mobile significantly reduced the number of bloatware apps to make the most out of the phone’s overall performance. While it can handle popular titles like Call of Duty Mobile, you will need to tone down graphics settings and enable Game Box’s performance-enhancing features to make the Flare S8 Pro usable for gaming.
The Flare S8 Pro is one of the most battery-efficient Cherry Mobile phones in recent memory, clocking in at 12 hours in PCMark, which translates to at least 1.5 days of use. Charging the 4000mAh battery takes around 2 hours with 10W charging.
Verdict: The best Cherry Mobile offering for 2019
It took a while for Cherry Mobile to find the perfect balance between a good price and a feature-packed phone, and the Flare S8 Pro is one of their best attempts to date. While it has some flaws, the Flare S8 Pro is a solid proof that Cherry Mobile is making a great effort in improving its offerings to go against budget phones from its Chinese rivals.
The Flare S8 Pro is now available at all authorized Cherry Mobile stores for Php 5,999. Each purchase comes with a Helo LX Wellness Band.
Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Pro specs
- MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- 6.5-inch HD+ display
- 64GB internal storage
- Dual rear cameras: 20-megapixel f/2.8 main camera; 5-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor; with PDAF, LED flash
- 20-megapixel f/2.2 front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Fingerprint Scanner, Face unlock, USB-C
- 4000mAh battery with 10w charging
- Android Pie
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