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Highlights

Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Review




Cherry Mobile has announced a new line of Flare flagship devices last October, and the Flare S6 is poised as the to-go device for those on a budget with stacked internals at a Php4k price. Is it the budget device worth getting this holiday season? Here’s our full review.

Made available in stores last month, Cherry Mobile has claimed to have sold 300,000 units of this device, after which the company celebrated by releasing a limited red variant. It’s also one of the most affordable devices that sports a Type-C USB port to date.

Design and Construction

The Flare S6 seeks itself to be a premium-looking device in the sea of budget smartphones, and it proves its point: the design is seen to be from those of smartphones in the mid-range segment with a look often only seen on mid-range devices.

The front design, in black, is laden with an eight-megapixel selfie camera, the usual front sensors, and the 5.2-inch display, coupled with the non-illuminating capacitive keys at the bottom. These are all covered with a 2.5D glass that’s quite a joy to navigate with. There’s no mentioned protection here, but Cherry Mobile has pre-installed a screen guard on the phone.

A red unibody shell completes the two-tone characteristic of the device. The right side of the device houses the volume rocker and the power/lock button, while the left side is devoid of any buttons.

There’s the 3.5mm audio port up top, while the USB Type-C port and the mono speaker are placed at the bottom.  It also has two sets of speaker grilles.

As you flip the device at its back, we have the 13-megapixel rear camera that protrudes by a centimeter from the back casing. As such, you’d notice this when you look up atop and can suffer a bit of a beating with more possibilities for scratches on the glass cover. There’s also the accompanying LED Flash, the Cherry Mobile logo, a fingerprint scanner, and two patterned, embossed lines at the top and bottom parts which shouldn’t hamper signal reception so we think that this is just a design to make it look more like the devices in the upper ranges. All of these are placed with the sophisticated-looking matte polycarbonate back that repels most smudges and grime.

Two micro SIM cards and a dedicated microSD card slot are available once you remove the unibody shell. The battery’s non-removable, though, as it’s been secured with screws.

Despite bearing similar characteristics to similarly-priced handsets — it’s a bit heavy compared to other phones and the polycarbonate shell can be removed to reveal the card slots — the Flare S6 is a good-looking device. It’s pretty, it’s something that can be held well with one hand for navigation, and the keys are accessible no matter which hand you use. The fingerprint scanner placed on the back is also a treat as it’s good ergonomic-wise.

Display and Multimedia

The Flare S6 sports a 5.2-inch IPS display that extends directly to the sides without any black borders. It bears an HD resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio, giving it a 282 pixel-per-inch density that’s reasonable for everyday use. Its brightness is good as it’s still usable when viewed outdoors, and dark enough for bed reading when set at the lowest point. The display also produces vibrant colors with decent contrast, comparable to my daily driver. We have dropped this a few times and have not experienced scratches or dents, but the pre-applied screen guard suffers from a lot of scratches even when just placed in your pocket.

Sound quality is decent with average loudness (around 77dB), decent bass and treble and doesn’t crack up when the music is set to the highest volume. Decent music can also be heard from its 3.5mm audio port as we’ve not had any problems with the assortment of headphones and ear gear we have.

Camera

The cameras built in this smartphone is good for a budget phone. A customized camera app provides options for different modes including FaceCute (similar to real-time facial effects in Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook), portrait mode, beauty mode, an expert mode for manual shots, real-time filters and time-lapse effects.

The 13-megapixel rear camera produces photos with good colors and decent contrast and sharpness, although low-light scenarios are far from perfect. The camera’s focus tends to whack out in macro shots, especially on dark scenarios, and its ‘Pro Mode’ only offers tweaking controls such as ISO and exposure. The 13-megapixel front camera, on the other hand, is decent for quick selfies but isn’t anywhere near the quality of the rear one. There’s also a dedicated LED flash to help in low light scenes. Here are some sample shots:

Likewise, videos have the same saturation and overalls as it does with photos, but lacks the focal lock as it refocuses when you move the camera. Videos are also regulated and can only be produced in 720p. Here’s a sample clip:

OS, UI, and Apps

Cherry Mobile introduces its first customized UI simply called the Cherry OS, and it’s not something that one would take a huge learning curve to get used to, In fact, it still retains the look and feels of stock Android but with added customizations. It’s worth noting that there are also pop-up ads that appear every now and then when you browse the phone.

Several added features include a setting dedicated to permissions, breathing light, and better app management system which we’ll discuss later on in this review. There’s also an option to change your phone time (the default theme’s icons are very reminiscent of Apple’s), speed your phone up with a tap, freeze seldom-used apps to save power, and clone messaging and social media apps to have multiple accounts.

Speaking of apps, a lot of them are pre-installed and can be used from the get-go, and those include Cherry Mobile’s own homebrew apps including Cherry Fun Club, CPlay, MovieClub+, and Info Center. Installed system apps include Privacy System, App Cleaner, Health Guard, a plethora of Google apps, and others such as 360 Security and Uber. Those account for 695MB of storage and leaves only less than 8GB out of the 16GB available for the user to install additional apps and for files.

Performance and Benchmarks

Armed with 2GB RAM and a 1.3GHz quad-core chip, the Flare S6 is capable enough to multitask given that the CherryOS provides a better app management system — it freezes apps on the background after being inactive for a certain period of time, and focuses its resources more to those are that are often used. As such, we haven’t had moments of stutter and lag, save for a few app crashes here and there which were quickly resolved by just reinstalling and setting specific permissions for them.

As for gaming, the device can play casual games such as Zombie Tsunami and Temple Run decently without any stutters. Intensive titles such as Asphalt 8, on the other hand, could take a few skipped frames and delays, which would go worse if you run multiple social media apps in the background. Here are some benchmarks results:

AnTuTu – 27,806
GeekBench – 528 (Single Core), 1,449 (Multi-Core), 912 (Compute)
3DMark – 100 (SlingShot Extreme)
PCMark – 2146 (Storage), 3347 (Work 1.0)

Call Quality, Connectivity, and Battery Life

Calls made using the Flare S6 are decent with a good audio reception and more than reasonable microphone quality. Signal wasn’t an issue as well and can quickly capture LTE signals without any hassle, provided the area is supported for such. Other connections work great as well — WiFi works pretty good and can still be available despite being a bit distant from the router, Bluetooth connection is good for sharing and wireless listening, and GPS isn’t much of a worry.

There’s also USB Type-C which is one of the first for a device in this price range, and it’s quite fast especially when connected to a computer for data transfers. The fingerprint scanner, on the other hand, offers saving up to five different fingerprints for easier unlocking.

The Flare S6’s strength, despite the price and the seemingly measly 2,600mAh capacity, is its battery life. Believe it or not, the smartphone is well-optimized and could take a better beating on daily tasks, thanks to a better battery management system that lets you choose between three sets of modes that could further extend your phone’s juice. By default, the device is set to Smart Power Saving mode, which adjusts the resources according to needs. There’s a regular mode that is suggested to be the best choice for games, as well as an Ultra Power Saving mode that will disable background applications.

The results are surprising: We were able to last more than a day of moderate to heavy use with the device which includes calls and SMS sent, game plays, and social media and website browsing both on mobile data and WiFi. Our PCMark Battery Test gave the device a 10 hours and 11 minutes score while our video loop test measured 12 hours and 26 minutes, both in Regular mode. Battery charging, though, may take quite some time as we had around1.5-2 hours charging from 15% to 100%.

Conclusion

After multiple years of throwing to us budget devices they could offer, Cherry Mobile has finally made one of their greatest bang-for-the-buck smartphones to date and it’s called the Flare S6. At a Php3,999 price, the Flare S6 can finally kill the Cherry Low-batt moniker it has been known for as this has good things to offer — the great battery life, the good device aesthetic and build, and the fact that you actually have a USB Type-C device with a fingerprint scanner at this price are some worthy features that deem of consideration.

I’m not sugarcoating, the Flare S6 does have really strong points for a smartphone priced this low. Despite that, there are still notable areas that could be improved as there are compromises that are made to fit the phone to the price: that rather unusually slow charging time, the proliferation of bloatware and pop-up ads, and the decent cameras that could use a few updates to be further optimized are some things to look at . Nonetheless, this device has now set the higher standard for budget smartphones and is worthy of your purchase this holiday season.

Cherry Mobile Flare S6 specs:
5.2-inch HD IPS display @ 1280 x 720 px, 282ppi
1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737 Quad-Core CPU
Mali T720 GPU
2GB RAM
16GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD card up to 64GB
13MP Sony IMX135 rear camera with LED Flash
13MP OmniVision12830 front camera
4G LTE (B1/B3/B7/B28)
Dual SIM (micro), Dual Standby
WiFi 802.1.1 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
GPS, A-GPS
Fingerprint scanner
USB Type C
Android 7 Nougat (Cherry OS)
2600mah battery (removable)
148 x 72.8 x 8.8 mm
108g

What we liked about it:
– Great battery life
– Good form factor
– USB Type-C
– Better App and Battery Management
– Affordable Price

What we didn’t like:
– Slow charging time
– Bloatware and annoying Pop-up ads are still there



Get in touch with Carl at @lamielcarl on Twitter or visit his website for more updates!

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25 Responses

  1. sebastian says:

    okay na sana kung 3gb yun ram at andaming apps pre installed na naman na walang kwenta pandagdag kain ng memory ok sana kun pede iuninstalled at yun battery weeeeeewwww… sana 4kmAH na! mas astig pa rin si Flare S4 para sakin

    • Mr. B says:

      Binas mo ba yung article? Abi niya at the 2600mah e umaabot na ng matagal ang battery. Higher number is pretty much useless basta naoptimized ng maayos yung unit gaya nga nitong s6.

    • AntiCherryMobile says:

      kahit anong optimize mo pa, a 2600 mAh will always be 2600 mAh (and possible pa miss-labeled)

  2. GG says:

    Review of FLARE A5 please! A5 or S6 pinagpipilian ko eh.

  3. elisha says:

    Mabilis uminiy yung phone po?

  4. elisha says:

    Mabilis uminit yung phone po?

  5. dru says:

    para sa kin ang Cherry Mobile is THUMBSDOWN! why? the audio sound is so flat. Im always listening to ASMR(Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) sa youtube, which is 3D sounds or sound illusion,kung ang bumubulong sa kaliwa, sa kaliwa mo din maririnig, pag sa kanan, sa kanan, minsan yung sound ramdam na ramdam mo yung pag ikot.Simula ng etong Cherry Mobile ang gamit ko,di ko akalain ang flat,hindi umiikot yung sounds. Buti pa yung MyPhone na jellybean ng kapatid ko hindi ganun, maging yung My Phone Rio Craze ko dati, ang laki ng pakinabang ko.Hinding hindi ko ipapalit sa Iphone! yun lang dumating na sya sa hangganan ,at kamalas malasan pa, di ako kasama sa pagbili,pero kung kasama ako, NEVER kong pinili ang cherry mobile

    • Menlu says:

      sa sound, nung una e frustrated ako dahil mono lang sa headphone, pero nung huli e nakita ko rin sa setting na naka on yun mono, so, ok na ngayon..

  6. Mon says:

    it was actually pretty good as of now, been using the phone for like a week already.. the camera is fine but im not so cool with it. thanks to adobe lightroom thou.. for faster charging you can enable the flight mode coz that’s what i’m doing. it heats up when you’re using it thou while charging..

  7. Apparently, I bought Cherry Mobile Flare S6 and still have it for 3 months and I like it so much but I was dismayed because there are no accessories up available as of now for that model. I am scared to let those days that my phone get cracked, dents, or even broke from sudden events or accidents. I hope so you’ll hear and answer my concerns creator of this one. Thanks in advance!

  8. KD says:

    My bf bought his Flare S6 in January. And I bought mine after a few weeks after. Apparently, after a month of using it his Flare S6 became “hard-touch” and stopped working. Dinala namin yung phone niya sa service center and sabi it would take 3-4weeks pa daw bago maayos yung phone. Come 5th week and di pa rin nila nirerelease. April 3, bigla nalang naghard touch yung phone ko. Kinabahan na ko kasi baka magstopworking din siya. Until lag ng lag na yung phone ko. And then April 4, hindi na nagfufunction yung softkeys (home, menu & back). We’ll have to go back to the service center to get my bf’s Flare S6 and to get mine fixed. Sana di abutin ng 5 weeks kasi sobrang hassle na.

    • Carl Lamiel says:

      It’s most likely the software update as per a few users in a Flare S6-centric group. You may check on common issues and workarounds at the group (Cherry Mobile Flare S6 group – search on FB)

    • John says:

      Flare s6 user here,meron akong sinalihang group po sa fb, search mo na lang po Cherry Mobile flare s6 support group. So far ok namn po unit ko . I updated it to the latest version which is V16.

  9. Jose Geoffrey says:

    I bougth chery s6 last month hope to have a good phone because its feature is epic but i just waste my money i droped it one time the screen was damage i had to brougth it to cherry station they til me its just normal fr cp to have a crack screen after fal and they didnt even open it fr check up they just told me its may fail to open sometime since i drop it o come on i had different phones and i droped them many times even wet them but stil i cn use them. But this one aside frm the signal sometimes not working well u cnt trust ur local center it has a weak materials substandard may be

  10. jonalyn del rosario says:

    @KD same prob here isang araw my part na hindi ko sya ma touch na di ko pinansin din kanina pag gising ko di ko ma touch ung hommenu and back nya huhuhu

  11. Flo says:

    User po aq ng flares6 di ko magamit ang back menu.dko n tlga xa ma touch.minsan hard touch.poor cm flares6 sayang pera ko?

  12. emem says:

    user of flare s6 , anu po ba problem ng phone ko bali kasi lahat ng isaksak ko na cable data ei, umiinit mga 1week napo sya ganito , then knna paggising ko ayun dna sya nagccharge
    kala ko sa cable data lang , bbili na sana ako ei tinesting ko muna bago ko bilhin kaso ayaw parin nia magcharge kaya, d nlang ako bumili
    hindi po kaya sa charger pin/charger port ? ang hirap ng ganito

  13. Will says:

    purpose po ng breathing light sa settings? hope ma notice

  14. Jhona burgos says:

    Hmmm ang panget this september 10,2018 ko lng sya na avail. Ang hard touch nya then logging ang camera. Kainis!!!

  15. sebastian says:

    Mr. B Binasa mo din ba ang article? wag ka mag mamarunong man. 2600 mAh battery ano pinag lalaban mo dun eh kung unit mo yan for sure yan sakit ng ulo mo ang battery nyan. ok sana kung huawei yan accurate ang battery optimizer nya gaya ni GR3 2017

  16. jc says:

    how to enable po ung media transfer ? kasi pag saksak sa laptop walang usb option na lumalabas e

  17. ken2tan says:

    andaming hanash ng mga utaw
    yung phone ko binili ko Dec 2017, until now functional pa naman
    its a budget phone wag nang umangal pa
    im contented specwise, yung ayaw ko lang is yung HALO effect
    kapag nilagayan ng tempered glass, nakita ko sa pic
    nakatemp glass na, paano nyo nagawa yun author

  18. john says:

    Hi yugatech
    have you tried the usb type to hmdi connection for wired display? if yes, is it working. tia

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