Cherry Mobile Flare X Lite Review
Cherry Mobile’s Flare X has a smaller sibling in the form of the Flare X Lite — a 5-inch phone packing a Full HD display, octa-core chip, and 3GB of RAM. Is it the budget powerhouse device everyone is waiting for? Here’s our review.
Design and Construction
The Flare X Lite’s design is far from inspiring — it sports a polycarbonate look that’s plain-looking and reminiscent of other phones you can actually buy today. The front panel has the five-inch Full HD display, the front camera and the typical sensors at the top, and the non-lit capacitive buttons at the bottom of the device. Given the slim bezels on its sides and compact frame, the display panel takes up most of the space at a 72.8% screen-to-body ratio.
Accentuated chrome linings break the monotonous one-color profile of the Flare X Lite and are placed at the edges of its side frame. At the right side of the device are the volume rockers and the power/lock button. The volume rockers needs a little effort to press but isn’t anywhere near uncomfortable levels.
The microUSB port and the 3.5mm port are placed side-by-side at the top of the device, while the microphone hole is the lone feature at the bottom area. Due to its size, the audio port cuts a part of the back cover but is not in any way protruding outside of its design.
Rotating the device to its back reveals the backplate with a pearlescent white color that may be a host to fingerprint smudges due to its semi-glossy finish. Also found here is the 16-megapixel rear camera accompanied by a LED flash, the Flare logo, and the small speaker grill is laid out at the lower-left side. The camera protrudes slightly onto the top part, but does not affect the overall balance of the device when laid out on a flat surface.
Opening the back part reveals two dedicated SIM cards, as well as a slot for microSD storage expansion. The 2,000mAh battery is on the right side, and is non-removable.
Truth be told, the device doesn’t feel like a five-inch device due to the lightness it bears. It’s a lot lighter than other contemporaries such as the MyPhone my86 or even the new Cloudfone Thrill Boost. The overall compact size of the device has also made it possible to reach all areas of the screen with just one hand.
Display and Multimedia
The five-inch display on the Flare X Lite is packed with a Full HD resolution, giving it a 441ppi density. As such, it exhibits great sharpness, good contrast and colors (with whites on the warmer temperature side), and decent viewing angles. The display is also capable of registering up to 10 multiple touch inputs based on tests with AnTuTu, which would make it an ideal device for gaming.
A few gripes we encountered is it was acting up on its own a few times — the display and the capacitive buttons are acting on its own, which may be a problem on the software side.
Multimedia may not be your friend on the Flare X Lite as the small stereo speaker at the back is your typical back-firing boombox with no audio highlights. You’re better off listening to the device on earphones instead, and we mean those you like and not the one included in the box.
The Flare X Lite sports a whopping 16-megapixel rear camera with two choices of camera apps by default — the MediaTek camera app and the pre-installed Google Camera. When shooting stills, contrast and exposure are okay, while colors are good on photos taken on broad daylight. Gloomy or indoor scenes would have a different temperature as what they depict in real life, oftentimes tainted by a bluish tint. This is also not a decent cam for night shots, but could manage to take photos with good light nearby. Here are some sample shots:
The rear camera also has the capacity to record Full HD Video at 30 fps and stereo sound. The probable downside is that it still records in 3gp format as opposed to mp4 videos other devices now adapt, and the digital zoom is quite a downer as it pixelates a lot to the point where images are almost reminiscent of Van Gogh’s watercolor paintings. Here’s a sample clip:
OS, UI, and Apps
Android Marshmallow runs the show on the Flare X Lite, and it’s surprising that this device bears very minimal customization as opposed to other CM devices in the market. The stock Android UI is still intact, and only a few tweaks have been implemented.
The apps, too, get the fair share of Cherry Mobile’s OS cleansing with the Flare X Lite. Only three CM apps (Cherry Store, Fun Club, Prepaid, Movie Club) are pre-installed along with a bunch of Google Apps, and that leaves us with 10.5GB of free space out of the 16GB internal storage.
Performance and Benchmarks
With a combination of an octa-core MediaTek chip and 3GB of RAM, the Flare X Lite exhibits fast performance, even on multitasking processes. The phone also offers decent gameplay on graphic-intensive games such as Eternity Warriors 3, NBA2K16, or Hungry Shark Evo. As such, there is a noticeable heat buildup on the upper-back part of the device when it is stressed.
Here are some of the benchmark scored we’ve done with the device:
AnTuTu – 36,981
3DMark – 194 (Slingshot ES 3.1)
Quadrant Standard – 20,225
Vellamo – 2498 (Chrome), 928 (Metal), 1433 (Multicore)
PCMark – 3861 (Work), 1690 (Storage)
Connectivity and Battery Life
We did not have any connectivity issues with the device. WiFi, Bluetooth, and mobile data works well while GPS may take a little more time to lock in which has been the nature of MediaTek chips. Both the microphone and call speaker are decent and audible, and you won’t have a hard time taking in calls in busy environments.
As far as dream phones go, the 2000mAh non-removable battery equipped on the Flare X Lite is a downer. As it sports intensive hardware, battery life gets a lot less than usual, prompting us to charge at least thrice a day on medium to heavy use which involves calls, games, SMS, and alternating WiFi and mobile data.
Battery Life is not this phone’s strength, as evident on the PCMark battery score. It has only clocked in 5 hours and 18 minutes, while our standard video loop took around 6 hours and 50 minutes. This is a clear reminder that you’ll need a spare power bank (A Flare Power, perhaps?) when the need arises.
No one has dared to bring down beastly internals under a price range often resided by 2GB phone powerhouses, but the Cherry Mobile Flare X Lite begs to differ. For an asking price of Php4,999, the Flare X Lite is already a steal if we’re talking about hardware — you get a multi-touch screen, good-performing internals, and a near-stock operating system tucked underneath a five-inch Full HD display and compact body. It may very well be the new Goliath of the sub-Php5K segment, if we’re talking about power and performance.
With that being said, we can’t have everything we wish for in a device priced like this, as we expected Cherry Mobile to cut a lot of corners to make it possible at this point in time. The battery, first and foremost, is a really small one given such specs. There’s also the camera that looks really bad when zoomed, and the non-lit capacitive button which has been standard for devices in this price range.
Is the Flare X Lite a proper ‘smaller sibling’ of the Flare X? If you’re going to ask us, then yes it is. The great processing power cannot be denied, but the underwhelming battery life can bring down what could have been a good budget powerhouse everyone has dreamed of.
Cherry Mobile Flare X Lite specs:
5-inch Full HD IPS display @ 1920 x 1080 resolution
1.3GHz Mediatek 6753 octa-core processor
16GB internal storage
Expandable up to 64GB via microSD
16MP BSI rear camera
8MP front camera
2000mAh battery (non-removable)
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Compact Size
- Good screen-to-body ratio
- Full HD Display
- Good performance
- Almost-stock Android Marshmallow OS
- Poor battery life
- Zoomed camera images and videos are bad
- Nonlit capacitive buttons
- underwhelming stereo speaker