Cherry Mobile recently introduced its first 5G-equipped smartphones, one of which is the Aqua SV 5G. While it took the brand sometime before joining the fray, they made sure that they do so without sacrificing one of the things the brand is well known for – affordability. Promising to provide more than just improved performance and connectivity at a very affordable price range, let’s see if it has the chops to compete at this price range.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
The Cherry Mobile Aqua SV 5G is a pretty tall device and chunky at 8.8 mm, design-wise, it’s impressive. It has a sleek metallic frame that makes the device feel like it’s thin. It also has a decent heft at 196 g. The back panel looks luxurious with its faux leather material. It feels nice and doesn’t attract fingerprints and smudges but if you want to protect it from drops, there’s a clear case included in the package.
Flip to its front, the device houses the 6.6-inch AMOLED screen with curved sides and a punch hole at the top for the selfie camera. Placed above the screen are the earpiece and loudspeaker.
On the right, we have the power/lock button in red, and the volume buttons. They’re solid and clicky, and we like that they’re placed near the middle of the frame for easy reach.
Up top, there’s the secondary microphone and the earpiece.
At the bottom, we have the card tray for two nano-sized SIM cards, the main microphone, USB-C port, and the loudspeaker.
Display and Multimedia
For a phone at this price, having a 6.6-inch Full HD Plus AMOLED screen is already a surprise at this price range, as the colors are very vibrant and punchy. Together with a higher 90Hz screen refresh rate, you get a smooth viewing experience which is rare at this price range.
If that’s not enough, the screen itself is curved at both sides to minimize bezels and give off a look that screams premium. It would be advisable to use the provided jelly case as the curve feels sharper than we’d like and is also prone to accidental touches from our palms. For extra peace of mind, Gorilla Glass 5 protects the entire display.
On top of your regular display settings, you can set the display refresh rate to 60Hz if that’s your thing, and the screen has three preset color modes, Standard, Vivid, and Cool color.
The top area of the screen reserved for notification icons is quite large due to the camera cutout size, and trying to hide this area won’t really result in loss of screen real estate as it does not move the icons but will cause apps to not use this area, but we think the feature can still be optimized so videos that use a wider aspect ratio won’t be blocked off.
There’s a single downward-firing speaker which is heavily tuned towards enhancing vocal frequencies so expect to reach for your favorite pair of Bluetooth or type-C earphones if you need a more immersive experience as the phone does not have a headphone jack.
The Aqua SV 5G is equipped with quad cameras consisting of the 64MP main, 5MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth, and 2MP macro. And for selfies, we got dual front cameras consisting of the 16MP main and 2MP depth.
The app also features a number of camera modes which also include a 108MP mode, something that seems a bit off since the official specs say that the main camera is only 64MP. Whatever the case, the images produced by the rear cameras are pretty impressive. They’re sharp with punchy and vibrant colors. Low-light performance is also good just make sure you have steady hands as it gets blurry.
The front camera performance is okay, even if beauty mode is turned off, it looks like you’re using a beauty filter. It’s also prone to blur.
When it comes to video recording, the main camera can record up to 2K with no video stabilization. Quality-wise it’s still usable for social media postings.
OS, Apps, Features
The Aqua SV 5G runs on a pretty stock version of Android 11, with all the apps appearing on the home screen in the absence of a dedicated app drawer. We find it nice that Cherry Mobile used Google apps as its default and the amount of bloat is pretty much non-existent.
The only apps that you might consider as “bloat” are the Sound Recorder and FM Radio apps, with the latter requiring type-C headphones connected to receive the appropriate radio signals. Children Space is also available to limit features and app access when handing your phones to your kids
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Cherry Mobile Aqua SV 5G is a MediaTek Dimensity 810 chipset with an octa-core CPU, Mali G57 GPU, 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and 128GB UFS 2.2 storage. Considering the lightness of the android build, the phone feels very snappy and is very responsive for most use cases. Graphic intensive games in their default settings will run pretty smoothly in this device, but of course, don’t expect high frame rates as that’s reserved for devices powered by higher-end chipsets.
If you’re curious about benchmarks. Check them out below.
- AnTuTu v9.2.1 Storage Test – 35,440 (952.6 MB/s Seq. Read, 347.9 MB/s Seq. Write)
- Geekbench 5 – 575 (Single-Core), 1,710 (Multi-Core), 1,614 (OpenCL)
- PCMark – 11,998 (Work 3.0)
- 3DMark – 454, 2.70 FPS (Wild Life)
Note: AnTuTu v9 fails to provide results at the time of writing.
Connectivity and Battery Life
Connectivity-wise it supports dual-SIM with 5G connectivity, WiFI 802.11, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, A-GPS, and USB-C. For the battery, it has a 4,200mAh battery with 30W fast charging. The PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery test rated it at 11 hours and 28 minutes. It’s a decent capacity for a smartphone and was enough to last a whole workday.
At a retail price of PHP 11,990, the Cherry Mobile Aqua SV 5G definitely punches above its class with its curved AMOLED display, premium-looking design, 5G connectivity, and a light Android build. We think this phone is Cherry Mobile’s best device so far and is a capable contender to other brands out there with its interesting value proposition. So, if you’re in the market for a new phone at this price, definitely take a look at this one.
Cherry Mobile Aqua SV 5G specs:
6.6-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080) AMOLED Curved Edge display
90Hz refresh rate
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC
8GB LPDDR4X RAM
128GB UFS 2.2
• 64MP main
• 5MP ultra-wide
• 2MP depth
• 2MP macro
• 16MP main
• 2MP depth
5G, 4G LTE
WiFI 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Fingerprint scanner (in-display)
4,200mAh battery w/ 30W fast charging
160.5 x 73.8 x 8.8 mm