When was the last time you took a selfie?
Selfie. It was Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year last 2013. Selfie, as a word without any relevance to technology, would be considered non-operative because of its semantic relevance to smartphones.
Last December 2014, Cherry Mobile launched their very first selfie phone, which they aptly called, Cherry Mobile Selfie. Our fashionista contributor, Alex Lagman, reviewed it many months ago and considered it “THE perfect smartphone for selfie fanatics”. Of course, everything changed when ASUS launched the ASUS Zenfone Selfie, which we also reviewed last August 2015 and regarded it as a great camera phone with outstanding features.
1 year from the launch of Cherry Mobile Selfie, the company announced the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie. Back then, there was such a big hype on ‘Flare’ as it was also the period when Cherry Mobile announced their new premium Flare line-ups. The company believed that mixing the premium-ness of Flare and the camera-excellence of Selfie would make a good impression to consumers. But did it?
Its minimalist build matches its overall looks; plus the absence of capacitive buttons make it look really sexy and professional at the same time. Its gold side bezels are made of aluminum, and its laser-punctured speaker grills found at the bottom just look amazing. Yes, you read it right – aluminum side bezels. Its volume rockers and sleep/wake buttons that match the color of the bezels are clicky but looks very elegant.
The fingerprint sensor located at the back of the smartphone is functional and yet fashionably trendy at the same time. It’s perfectly placed about an inch above the Flare logo. Its efficiency, moreover, deserves more highlight so you’ll read more about it later.
Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Flare Selfie’s overall design. It’s definitely something that you wouldn’t hesitate flaunting and showing to your friends in any occasion.
Under the hood, Flare Selfie kicks ass. It isn’t exactly as fast as the much-loved Flare X but it’s definitely no slouch if you feel like using the device for playing games and productivity. While we expect that you will probably often use the phone to snap some photos, take videos, edit on the fly and share your content via social media, you will be happy to know that Flare Selfie will not disappoint you.
It’s powered by Mediatek 6753 with processor clocked at 1.3Ghz Octa Core. It is complemented by 3GB RAM and Mali T720 GPU. If you’re in the market looking for a smartphone than can run your favorite mobile games, this could be the one you’re looking for.
The Flare Selfie supports USB OTG storage, but it doesn’t have Move to SD feature. This can probably be addressed via software patch, but that’s something that we need to verify from Cherry Mobile.
Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie’s pre-installed Android 5.1 works amazing. It’s mostly bare but not boring because the company added some software features that complement the phone’s sheer power and capabilities.
The AOSP Stock Launcher that runs in the background is overridden by a much better and minimalist looking Cherry Launcher. The said app is Flare Selfie’s default launcher, but may easily be replaced by the launcher of your choice.
There is quite a number of setting options available on the phone. Turbo Download, for one, is my favorite as it’s very helpful when downloading files larger than 20mb. It basically combines Wi-Fi and 4G/3G networks at the same time to achieve the best data speed to download large files. This feature works, but only if you’re downloading a single chunk of file more than 20mb.
There are also special functions available on Flare Selfie like double click to wake, Smart Gesture, and Fingerprint security (a must-have application to make the phone’s fingerprint sensor useful). Unlocking the device takes .3 seconds. Unfortunately, advanced fingerprint sensor related functionalities like payment verification and action confirmation are non-existent.
The phone is expected to have excellent screen quality. Well, it turned out to be really excellent when I used the device for more than a month. Its 5.0-inch IPS screen is equally outstanding. It displays accurate colors – as expected on IPS displays; plus text and images look bright and sharp.
Even under our macro photos of the screen, you will really notice how fine the pixels are. It, however, is superior to Flare X’s screen quality as the latter has 401 ppi (at Full HD) compared the Flare Selfie’s 294 ppi (at HD only). This means that if you wish to see how good your full HD photos are, it’s best to transfer your photos to a much better screen to check out the actual quality of your shots.
As expected from a phone with dual 16mp camera, Flare Selfie takes amazingly detailed photos and even videos. Its sensor is fast enough to use available light and accurate (with little need for improvement) in rendering colors and saturation.
Its stock camera is packed with tons of features like Live Photo, Motion Track, Panorama Mode, and even Multi Angle View Mode. These are readily available on the phone at boot. Unfortunately, if you’re fond of taking photos using manual mode, you will need to download one (like uCam or Camera FV-5) as such mode is absent on Flare Selfie.
Sound on Flare Selfie is loud, but slightly muffled. Even with Sound Enhancer on, Flare Selfie only slightly impressed my bunny-like ears. It fared pretty good and sounded quite at par with my ASUS Zenfone Max.
The device has every connectivity options you would need on a smartphone. It doesn’t have NFC, but that’s definitely not a deal breaker. Its SIM tray is hybrid so you can choose between 2 setups: (1) 2 micro SIM cards; (2) 1 micro SIM + 1 micro SD card combo.
The device’s cellular and data (3G, HSPA and 4G) connection reliability is above average. Wi-Fi data connection is very solid.
Flare Selfie also has the necessary sensors you would need like GPS, Glonass, Gravity, Proximity, Light, Gyroscope and Fingerprint (which I pointed out earlier). Everything works well except for Gyroscope, which has issues when playing VR-related games.
The phone’s 3000mAh battery is very reliable. It was able to stay up to more than 2 days with 24% available juice left at moderate usage with cellular network signal off. With the latter turned on, it was able to stay up for more than a day at moderate usage. Very impressive.
Should you buy it? Get it while it’s available. There are various compelling reasons why you should consider it as your next phone: great unibody build, amazing cameras, acceptable battery life, 4G capable and its nifty fingerprint sensor.
Flare Selfie is one of Cherry Mobile’s gem. It deserves a warm round of applause, and it’s about time that you got one for yourself.