Cherry Mobile Flare J1 (2017) Quick Review
t’s Cherry Mobile has a new entry-level smartphone that claims to have a durable display. Aside from that, how is it an everyday smartphone? Here’s our quick review of the Flare J1 (2017).
Design and Construction
The Flare J1 (2017) is a fairly generic-looking device. The front of the handset sports a 5-inch TFT LCD display with a pretty broad top and bottom bezels. The display is surrounded by the navigation buttons and the 5MP front-facing camera.
Going to the sides, we have the physical buttons for volume and power/lock at the right-hand side while the left is voided of any.
The top and bottom sides of the handset also share a similar setup. We have both the micro-USB port and 3.5mm jack at the top while the bottom is virtually blank aside from the microphone pinhole.
The back has a removable rear panel with a faux-leather texture. It reminds us of the design material used by Samsung for its former flagships and has a good grip when held. At the back, we have the main 8MP shooter along its dual LED flash and a loudspeaker just beside it.
Removing the back cover reveals the cards slots for two micro SIM cards and a microSD card for storage expansion. Also, we have the user-replaceable 2300mAh battery.
Display and Multimedia
Being an entry-level handset, the 5-inch display only has a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels and equates to a jagged 196ppi. Also, it’s got poor viewing angles and easily strains the eyes. Only long-term real-world usage can attest to the durability of the display but we did try to hit it on hard surfaces and, so far, it’s still in good shape.
It has a mono loudspeaker firing from its back. It sounds hollow and tinny so you’re better off plugging in a pair of earphones.
OS, Apps, and UI
The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with no skin on top. Just like with all budget Cherry Mobile handsets, things are kept stock to help with its underwhelming processing power.
We have the usual set of the pre-loaded apps from Cherry Mobile including Cherry Fun Club, Cherry Play, and Cherry Prepaid. There’s also the Enjoy app for lock screen reward points.
Out of the 8GB internal storage, you’re left with 4.52GB for apps and other files. As for the software updates, we’re pretty sure the phone will never get a taste of Nougat but hopefully, they’ll push security patches.
The camera department has an 8MP fixed-focus rear shooter and a 5MP sensor for selfies. The fact that the main camera doesn’t have autofocus is disappointing. The rear camera shoots mediocre pictures with muted colors and blows up exposure every time. The front camera, on the other hand, will suffice for video chats.
It can record 720p videos but the quality is similar to the stills. Here’s a short sample you can check out:
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Flare J1 (2017) is a Spreadtrum SC7731 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz and the Mali-400 MP2 GPU. The chipset is then paired with just 1GB of RAM.
There’s not much to expect to here, aside from getting everyday tasks done. You may still play casual games available in the Play Store but you’d have to resort to ‘Lite’ versions of some apps just to be sure of smoother performance.
Here are the benchmark scores, just in case:
- AnTuTu Benchmark v6.2.7 — 21,094
- Geekbench 4 — 381 (Single), 919 (Multi)
- 3DMark — 1,246 (Ice Storm Extreme)
Call Quality and Connectivity
A common issue with entry-level devices is the expense of good telephony. The earpiece sounds metallic and not loud enough during phone calls.
Other connectivity features include 3G Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and GPS. The phone accepts two micro SIM cards on both its slots and a microSD card.
Despite the dense-looking body of the Flare J1 (2017), it only has a 2300mAh battery. With our standard video loop test, the phone was only able to last for 8 hours and 6 minutes. Good thing the battery removable making replacement easier if you have a spare one. PCMark battery tests won’t run due to incompatibility with the video codec.
The Flare J1 (2017) is priced at just Php2,699. We don’t have many expectations from it aside from the assurance of a durable display. It’s a budget smartphone and Cherry Mobile has skimped on features to make it more affordable. That said, it’s good as a basic phone if you’re just into calls, texts, and social media, or as a backup phone that won’t hurt the pockets.
Cherry Mobile Flare J1 (2017) specs:
5-inch TFT LCD @ 854 x 480 pixels, 196ppi
1.2GHz Spreadtrum SC7731 quad-core CPU
Mali-400 MP2 GPU
8GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 32GB
8MP rear fixed camera w/ dual LED flash
5MP front-facing camera
Dual SIM (Micro)
GPS w/ a-GPS
2300mAh removable battery
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
What we liked about it:
- Thick protective glass panel
What we didn’t:
- Low-res, low-quality display
- Dense and hefty
- Mediocre cameras