Cherry Mobile has recently launched its latest gaming smartphone, the Aqua S9 Max. It has a decent display, a good processor, and a large battery. Another contender in this category is the recently introduced POCO M3. Given their affordable price tags, which gaming smartphone is worth every peso? Let’s find out.
|Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max||POCO M3|
|6.53-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080) IPS LCD, 395ppi||6.53-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080) IPS LCD, 395ppi|
|Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|MediaTek Helio G90T 2.05 GHz processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 2.0 GHz processor|
|ARM Mali G76 GPU||Adreno 610 GPU|
|Liquid Cooling Technology|
|4GB RAM||4GB LPDDR4X RAM|
|128GB UFS 2.1||64GB UFS 2.1, 128GB UFS 2.2 storage|
|microSD card (dedicated slot up to 256GB)||microSD card (dedicated slot up to 512GB)|
|Quad rear cameras:|
• 48MP Sony IMX582 F1.79 (main)
• 8MP F2.2 (ultrawide)
• 2MP F2.4 (depth)
• 2MP F2.4 (macro)
|Triple rear cameras:
• 48MP F2.0, PDAF main
• 2MP F2.4 macro
• 2MP F2.4 depth
|32MP front-facing camera||8 MP, F2.05 front-facing camera|
|Dual Nano-SIM||Dual Nano-SIM|
|4G w/ VoLTE support||4G LTE|
|WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|GPS, A-GPS||GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BDS|
|USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|Smart PA (Hi-Fi) audio chip||Hi-Res Audio certified|
|3.5mm headphone jack||3.5mm headphone jack|
|Fingerprint sensor (rear-mounted)||Fingerprint sensor (side-mounted)|
|Face Unlock||Face Unlock|
|Android 10||MIUI 12 (Android 10)|
|5130 mAh w/ 18W fast charging||6000 mAh w/ 18W fast-charging and reverse wired charging|
|162.86 x 77.05 x 10.15 mm||162.3 x 77.3 x 9.6mm|
|Jade Green||Cool Blue, POCO Yellow, Power Black|
Summary of advantages
Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max
• More powerful chip
• Quad-rear cameras
• Built-in Liquid Cooling Technology
• 48MP Sony IMX582 sensor for the rear main camera
• Ultrawide lens
• Higher resolution for the front camera
• Smart PA (Hi-Fi) audio chip
• TÜV Rheinland-certified display
• Faster storage for 128GB variant
• Dual speakers
• High-Res Audio certified
• Expandable storage up to 512GB
• Larger battery capacity
• Reverse-wired charging
• IR Blaster
Table of Contents
In terms of display, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max and the POCO M3 both sports 6.53-inch FHD+ displays with a waterdrop notch that houses its front cameras. However, the POCO M3 is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for unwanted scratches and accidental drops. It also has a TUV-Rheinland certification that emits lesser blue light to prevent eye strain. Meanwhile, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max did not mention if it gets any protection for its display. Should you want a decent FHD+ display, take the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max. If you value additional eye and display protection, go with the POCO M3.
A MediaTek Helio G90T processor with a maximum clock speed of 2.05GHz and an ARM Mali G76 GPU powers the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max. The POCO M3, on the other hand, has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor clocked at 2.0GHz with an Adreno 610 GPU.
Cherry Mobile’s chipset is on the upper mainstream, while POCO M3’s processor is on the lower-midrange bracket. Users can still expect good performance from both devices, though. Our initial benchmark on the POCO M3 got an AnTuTu score of 171,316. We’re yet to benchmark the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max, but based on the realme 6 with the same Helio G90T chipset, it recorded a higher AnTuTu score of 290,161.
As for the memory, both smartphones come with 4GB RAM. The POCO M3 has LPDDR4X RAM and comes in two configurations: 4GB + 64GB UFS 2.1 storage and 4GB + 128GB UFS 2.2 storage. Locally, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max is available in 4GB + 128GB UFS 2.1 storage. POCO’s UFS 2.2 standard for its 128GB variant allows for faster application startup speed and cache loading to its device. Although both devices have dedicated microSD slots, the POCO M3 provides larger expandable storage up to 512GB while the Cherry Mobile supports only up to 256GB.
For the camera category, Cherry Mobile offers more with its rear quad cameras. It sports the typical vertical rear camera module consisting of a 48MP Sony IMX582 main, 8MP wide-angle, 2MP depth, and 2MP macro lenses. This means that the Aqua S9 Max will provide more flexibility to the users, especially when taking group photos and landscape subjects. Meanwhile, the POCO M3 settles with triple rear cameras with the same 2MP depth and macro lenses. However, it comes with only a regular 48MP main sensor. The story is different for the front cameras as the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max has a higher resolution 32MP camera, while the POCO M3 has a smaller 8MP.
Connectivity-wise, Cherry Mobile supports 4G with VoLTE while the POCO M3 has the faster 4G LTE network. Both come with dual-nano SIMs, Wi-Fi 5, and Bluetooth. Cherry Mobile features a built-in Liquid Cooling Technology and a Smart PA audio chip for protecting its hardware from overheating and providing high-fidelity audio. The POCO M3, however, has an IR blaster, which turns the smartphone into a universal remote controller for home appliances. It also has good audio, thanks to its Hi-Red Audio-certified dual speakers.
As for other hardware features, both come with a USB Type-C port. The POCO M3 has a 3.5mm audio jack. Cherry didn’t mention if there’s any for the Aqua S9 Max. The POCO M3’s fingerprint scanner is mounted on the side for biometrics, while the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max has it at the back below its rear cameras.
In terms of software, both devices are on the latest Android 10. However, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max runs the mentioned operating system out of the box, while the POCO M3 has its MIUI 12 customized skin on top.
Designed for heavy users, both smartphones are equipped with large batteries. The POCO M3 has a larger 6,000 mAh battery compared to the Cherry Mobile’s 5130mAh battery. Both also feature 18W fast charging. However, the POCO M3 supports wired reverse charging, allowing the smartphone to function as a power bank for other devices. The POCO M3 also comes with a 22.5W charger.
Which one to get?
The POCO M3 comes with a display, an improved UFS 2.2 storage for the 4GB + 128GB variant, an IR blaster, and a larger 6,000mAh battery with reverse charging. Meanwhile, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max comes with quad rear cameras and a higher resolution primary rear and front cameras.
So, if you value a smartphone with a good screen and a larger battery, then the POCO M3 is for you. Should you want a device with a more powerful chip, more cameras, and a built-in cooling system, then pick the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9.
Starting November 27, the POCO M3 will be exclusively available online on Lazada for PHP 6,990 (4GB + 64GB) and PHP 7,990 (4GB + 128GB) respectively. Those who will purchase the smartphones from 12 AM to 2 AM will receive the Mi In-Ear headphones Basic Piston Earphone (while stocks last). On November 27 to 28, it will retail for PHP 5,990 (4GB+64GB) and PHP 6,990 (4GB + 128GB).
Meanwhile, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 will be on sale at PHP 6,990 (from PHP 9,990) from November 26 to 27. Those who will get the smartphone during the pre-launch will get freebies worth PHP 2,000, including a wireless speaker, game controller, and tempered glass. This offer is exclusively available online through the Cherry Shop.