We’ve been using the Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 as our primary device for a whole week now and so far we’re very much satisfied with it except for a few issues. Let’s have a look at what CM’s first quad-core smartphone is capable of by reading our full review after the break.
Before reading further I suggest reading our first impressions of the device here which include a hands-on video and benchmark results.
Design and Construction
One of the first things you’ll notice when you look at the Flame 2 are the wide bezels at the top and bottom. Thick bezels may not look good in today’s smartphone designs but the one on the Flame 2 does not look bad at all. The bezels house the earpiece, VGA front-facing camera, and light sensor at the top, And the four capacitive buttons at the bottom. The rest of the front real estate is taken up by the 4.5-inch display.
Located on the right side is the volume rocker while the left is devoid of any buttons. Found at the top are the headset jack and power/lock button while the microUSB port and microphone are found at the bottom. Flip it on its back and you’ll see the 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and the speaker.
The Flame 2 is equipped with a 4.5-inch qHD (540×960) display which calculates to a pixel density of 245ppi. It doesn’t have IPS so viewing angles are limited but it does come with the One Glass Solution touch screen. This means that the display panel is thinner and optically clearer. It also has great colors but still susceptible to glare.
OS, UI and Apps
The Flame 2 runs Android 4.1.2 Jellybean with some UI customizations by Cherry Mobile. Basic UI navigation is slightly different from your standard Jellybean device as it uses four capacitive buttons (Home, Options, Back, Search) instead of the usual three (Back, Home, Recent Apps). If you want to access recently opened apps you will have to press and hold the Home button for a couple of seconds. The capacitive buttons are also difficult to see if it isn’t illuminated so we sometimes experience pressing the wrong button.
Cherry Mobile had some apps pre-installed like benchmarking tools and the Juice Defender app which helps you monitor battery usage. All these apps can be uninstalled except for Cherry Mobile’s own apps and the Opera Mini browser.
Camera and Multimedia
The Flame 2 is equipped with a 5 megapixel shooter with LED flash. While the camera is smaller compared to other quad-core phones with large cameras, the images produced by the Flame 2 is pretty much decent. Colors appear washed out but with acceptable amount of clarity and will suffice for uploading to SNS like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Although image quality is acceptable, camera speeds are not. When shooting in Normal mode we have to wait two seconds before we move on and shoot another. Not doing so will result to a blurred subject. There’s a Speedily option which shoots faster than the Normal mode but you’re restricted to using an aspect ratio of 4:3.
Aside from HDR and Panorama, the camera also has a feature called dual-shot which lets you take a photo or video using the rear and front camera at the same time. The camera then overlays the front camera’s capture on top of the rear’s. This mode only works when you’re shooting in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
As for video recording capabilities, the Flame 2 can shoot videos of up to 720p resolution at 30 fps. At the same time it also has the capability to capture photos while recording. Take a look at the sample video below:
Sounds coming from the speaker is audible but does not provide much power especially when it comes to bass. You may crank up the volume to fill a room but expect the sound to be a bit hissy.
Performance and Battery Life
Performance is good on the Flame 2 and you can definitely say that this phone is carrying a quad-core processor and a big RAM. We played Temple Run 2 and Dead Trigger in their highest graphic settings and I’m glad to say that it managed to run smoothly. There are occasional lags but can be easily disregarded. You can watch our Dead Trigger game test in the video below:
As for battery life, the Flame 2 comes with a removable 1,600mAh battery. So far this is the lowest battery capacity we’ve seen on a quad-core phone. During our use which consist of two SIMs on standby, constant WiFi connectivity, playing a few sets of Candy Crush, moderate calling and texting, the Flame 2 was able to last for 11 hours. But add mobile data and graphic intensive games and you’re down to 6 hours of battery life.
Cherry Mobile is aware of this concern that’s why they pre-installed the Juice Defender app and included a power bank promo for early buyers.
Overall, we’re satisfied with the Flame 2′s performance. UI navigation is fluid, gaming is fast, and the display is crisp and clear. The only gripes that we have here is the poor camera performance and short battery life.
Probably the best part here is the sub-Php7K price tag. Some people stereotype affordable phones with a “you get what you pay for” attitude. That a low price tag would always equate to a poor performing device. With the Flame 2, I believe that doesn’t apply. A 4.5-inch qHD OGS display, a quad-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, and Android Jellybean in a nicely built package? You actually get more than what you pay for.
Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 specs:
4.5? qHD (540×960) capacitive display, 245ppi, OGS technology
1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm MSM8225Q Snapdragon S4 processor
Adreno 203 GPU
4GB internal storage
microSD up to 32GB
5MP autofocus camera with LED flash
720p HD video recording @ 30fps
VGA front camera
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Dual SIM, Dual Standby
FM Radio, Bluetooth with A2DP
Li-Ion 1,600mAh Battery
134.6 x 66 x 9.3mm
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
What we liked about it:
*Fast UI & gaming performance
*Android 4.1.2 Jellybean out of the box
*OGS display technology
What we didn’t like about it:
*Poor camera performance
*Short battery life
*Limited viewing angles