My Cherry Mobile Flare (S-100) Review
The long wait is over, after a long wait and visiting so many stores, finally i got my CM Flare. There’s a lot of talked on this phone, its specs are awesome, yet it’s price is very affordable that no other company, (as of this writing) to match its selling price of P 3,999.00. with the same specs. (find here)
After buying it, I immediately rush home to get my hands on this device, there’s nothing special on its packaging, there’s the unit, a charger, a headset, USB cable and the manual. There are some kind of screen protector already installed with it.
I love the 4inch display, at a glance, it’s quietly vivid, although upon closer inspection, there are some few dead/stuck pixels appearing, you can check it by pressing *#36# and press LCD test, there you can check if your screen displays some dead/stuck pixels,
"A stuck pixel is a common pixel defect on LCD screens, where any number of the 3 sub-pixels are faulty, producing (most commonly) permanent red, green and blue pixels on the screen. Similar to (and often falsely labeled as) a dead pixel, whose 3 sub-pixels are permanently off, producing a black pixel. While one is not very noticeable on a high-definition screen, stuck pixels tend to occur in groups, and are most easily noticed on dark or black screens."
Although, there’s no way dead/stuck pixels can impede the performance of the device, some finds it very annoying and distracting, especially if it’s really visible, and mind you its a screen defect, no one wants his/her new device to have a defect even if its only minor. Nonetheless, you can exchange it a CM Store, (if it’s still under 7 days replacement period), the problem is, it’s hard to detect/find dead/stuck pixels in the store premises as the surroundings there is to bright, too much reflection on the display screen of the device you are checking.
Dead/stuck pixels is really visible only when you have black BG or wallpaper, set your display to maximum brightness, and be in dark surroundings. Mine I replaced it right away after finding it the very first night, but I have to wait 3 days, because of lack of stocks, finally I have my replacement unit, and I’m happy to find out that there is no more dead/stuck pixel on it. Dead/stuck pixels are also reported by many users in forums. Also I noticed that the color is somehow washout, black is not deep, but overall Flare’s Display is above average within its price range.
The stock UI is a customized ICS by Cherry Mobile yet it is quite snappy, I got some hang up once, all I did is to pull out its battery and insert and restart the unit. There are some bloatware added but you can get rid of it by rooting your device (rooting voids your warranty) and uninstall those bloatware either by Titanium Back-up, just be careful when uninstalling system files. As I’ve mentioned this is a customized ICS as it has don’t have a face unlock feature, maybe CM ripped it off as the front cam is only a VGA one. Flare scores the benchmarks test very well as you can see below I Score 7,006 on Antutu.
Sound output is just average, just ordinary, and there are reported bug on some users that when inserted with other headphones, sound is intermittent, its pausing and skipping, although I did not test it yet. But you can install Third party apps like PowerAmp to enhance your music experience, in this app you can heavily customize its sound output according to your preference.
What I love is the camera, although its only a 5mp camera paired with a single LED flash, it can captures still images very well, whether a macro or free mode, the output is satisfying, you may wonder how this cheap phone can capture such quality images. Example below, I took the shot in complete darkness yet details are still stunning.
Thanks to its Built-in LED Flash, you can capture your subject in dark places, its auto-focus feature is also good, it can focus the subject very well, with only minimal error.
Beware though when using the front cam with Instagram and Skype, the images on your screen is disoriented, sometimes is inverted and Skype is automatically changing its orientation to landscape mode even you’re holding your phone in portrait position, you have to adjust your phone position accordingly to correct the image. These are also some users reported these bugs. Hope there will be a software update to fix this issues.
Capturing video is quiet good, though it can only captures a 480p resolution, but it’s fairly usable.
Well, I must say this is the most complained part on CM Flare, yes! its battery sucks! Flare is ICS device featuring a dual-core, dual-sim,dual cam specs, it requires a lot of power, and the battery comes a long with it, has only a capacity of 1,500Mah and it is simply too little to handle the task, if you’re a heavy user, it will not last a day, even less. An average user, may last a day though. So I advice always bring your charger or USB cable, so you can charge from your laptop or nearest outlet whenever possible.
When you are rooted you can uninstall its bloatware that keeps on running even you didn’t launch them, also you can install Set-CPU and like apps to control the speed of CPU to minimum thus saving battery juice, and you may install also battery-saving apps like Juice Defender to monitor, adjust and optimize the device thus saving precious battery juice.
I have my own Battery Saving tips, I disable all unused radios and sensors such as Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, Data, Vibration, Auto-Screen Rotation, Auto-brightness Sensors and even unused SIM slot, I just enable them when the time comes I will use it, and immediately turn it off after using. I also turn-off my Auto-Sync. Also battery calibration may help.
Many other users bought a Powerbank, but i find it useless and costly, I just always charge my device whenever possible. Hope in the future, CM can come up with an extended and quality battery for the device.
Well, there are some hiccups CM Flare has, eg: touch screen bug, when being charge, sound skipping or pausing when inserted with other headset, inverted images when using the front cam, some units has dead/stuck pixels, low quality and capacity battery, gyro is not calibrated, lack of multi-touch, (has only two-points), and build quality is not that good some creaky sound on the left side of the device when pressed.
These are reported cons CM flare has, and I confirmed some of them. Some can be patch hopefully by a software update, and some maybe are not, CM already announced that there will be a software update for Flare, but it’s not rolled out yet.
There you are folks, these are my actual experience with the device, with the pros and cons has been said, alongside with its hard-to-passed-by price of P3,999.00 It’s hard to deny that this device is awesome with respect to its price quoted. You’ll surely get your money’s worth, But “IF” you have a budget more than the price mentioned and can afford a better one, ex: bigger screen, bigger RAM, better camera, bigger battery capacity and has good build-quality, better find that device. :)
If you have comments and corrections feel free to shoot it below. Thanks!
Find my related post of Cherry Mobile Flare here.
UPDATE: After some disappointments with with Cherry Mobile Omega Specs, I bought another Flare instead, as my first Flare was been sold on hoping to buy Omega, but Omega did not lived to its hype.
This time, I made sure that the Flare I’ll bought don’t have any defect such as Stuck pixel or dead pixel, I did some LCD Test via *#36# or the KCIT Test, Cover the phone with cardboard and check closely for those dreaded Stuck/pixels, and Voila! how lucky I am, that I only test one phone and its perfect! no stuck/dead pixel! then test the camera, the connections, sound and etc.
I love my Flare now, I did some modification with it, my own customized ROM, and it insanely fast, hi-RAM available and longer battery life.
UPDATE! Tomorrow, June 10, 2013, Designated Service Centers around the country will update Flare’s OS of ICS to JellyBean, and its completely FREE! no need to bring your receipt or warranty card, just make sure you have back up of all your data and your device must be full charged.