After the much coveted release and blockbuster sales of Flare 1.0 last year, Cherry Mobile had recently launched its 2nd iteration – Mobile Flare 2.0. The latter received significant specs bump, but it’s left off with improvement gaps to be filled. These so-called “gaps” or “they-should-have-at-least” wishes do matter for pragmatic buyers. For PhP3,999, is Flare 2.0 worth buying for the typical pragmatic buyer? As today’s cheapest quad-core Android phone (at least in the Philippines), does Flare 2.0 belong to the very recluse group called “sulit”?

Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0

For our unboxing and initial impressions, please go to this link.

Build

At first glance, Flare 2.0 almost looks like the original Flare. It’s slightly bigger than the 1st Flare but it’s 16% thinner. If you owned the latter, you’ll definitely notice that Flare 2.0 has much more defined build and oozes a distinct persona. The case is very glossy; an exact opposite of the 1st Flare. Its brushed aluminum side bezel looks outdated, but it adds a bit of elegance to its overall look.

Flare 2.0 Unboxing 12

It isn’t a head turner (at least for me) because of its almost monochromatic look. It looks a bit dull, but it’s probably the best way to put more emphasis on its 4-inch IPS display. Flare 2.0 has a 4-inch IPS capacitive display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution. Based on the quality of the screen and how it displays the UI and media content, there is no doubt that this has an IPS display. It isn’t OGS though, so there’s a bit of drawback when it comes to viewing angle. During my tests, it recognized 3 multi-touches.

Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0

P1030614

Aside from the display, you will also find 3 capacitive buttons, ear piece, light sensor, LED notification light, and VGA camera.

Flare 2.0 Unboxing 11

Flare 2.0 Unboxing 27

Flare 2.0 Unboxing 28

Volume rockers are located on the upper left size bezel, while Sleep/Wake button is neatly placed on the right. All ports – 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro-USB port – are located on top of the phone.

Flare 2.0 Unboxing 18

The 5mp non-BSI camera and dual-LED flash can be found at the phone’s back panel. Unlike Cherry’s other phones – like Cosmos X – its camera’s cover isn’t built in to the back panel. Flare 2.0’s camera is built in to its body.

Apart from the 5mp camera and flash, you will find 2 sim-trays (1 WCDMA and 1 GSM), 1 microSD slot, battery slot and speakers. The plastic material they used on the phone’s chassis doesn’t look cheap.

Under the Hood

Flare 2.0 is packed with the latest Qualcomm processor (MSM8225Q). As Qualcomm claimed, Flare 2.0 has an SoC that’s optimized to consume less energy. With a battery that has 50mAh more juice than the original Flare, Flare 2.0 has the best stand by and battery usage performance I’ve ever used. This is one of the best things I’ve experienced with this phone. It’s so noteworthy I had to mention it prior to processing power.

Flare 2.0 Unboxing 30

Speaking of processing power, Flare 2.0 is able to accommodate and process several running tasks in the background. Running and switching 2-3 running tasks with medium processing requirement felt very fluid during my tests.

Flare 2.0 Benchmark

Unfortunately though, its almost outstanding performance and stride (at least for its price) is marred by its meager 512mb RAM. Sure, the improvements on Jellybean could taper some performance hiccups, but it isn’t enough to handle more than 3 running tasks with medium to heavy memory requirement. For instance, I experienced several lags when playing Dead Trigger 2 while Facebook, Twitter and Auto-Sync are on.

Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0

Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0

We shall upload a demo of Dead Trigger 2 running on the phone later.

Flare 2.0 runs on Jellybean 4.1.2

The new Flare runs on an older Jellybean build, Android 4.1.2. Its user interface isn’t heavily skinned; only the icons are changed, plus Cherry Mobile added several wallpapers.

If you’re worried about bloatware, Cherry Mobile only had the following applications pre-installed:

  • Cherry Fun Club
  • eWarranty (runs on 1st boot)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • System Software (for OTA update)
  • TouchPal Keyboard V5

Communication

Android support for dual-SIM phones is in full effect on Flare 2.0. Just like Cherry Mobile’s other dual-SIM phones, dual sim settings pane allows you name and select your preferred SIM card.

Call quality on this phone is satisfactory. However, some of my call recipients would often tell me that there’s too much noise from my end.

Sending SMS is a breeze on this phone too. I’m not a fan of the pre-installed keyboard though so I had to download the latest Android keyboard (with Emoji) for better typing and swiping experience.

Flare 2.0 is 3G enabled. This allows you to surf the net via data connection. Facebook is free if you’re a Globe subscriber, so you can try it on this phone. 3G is so 2000-late though. They should have at least put 3.5G instead (HSDPA/HSUPA), but that’s something Cherry Mobile can’t do as the SoC only has a 3G chip on board.

Camera

Flare 2.0 has a non-BSI rear facing camera. It isn’t exactly the best camera on a phone but it’s good for its price.

As seen on the pictures below, photos lack saturation and detail. Take a look at the photo below. The original photo looks paler compared to a photo taken using another phone.

Flare 2.0 Sample Photo
Flare 2.0 Sample Photo
O+ 8.91 Sample Photo
O+ 8.91 Sample Photo

Photos on low-light conditions look less appealing. It suffers on too much grain, which is always a given for non-BSI cameras. Still, there is no point of asking for more in this aspect because you will simply get what you paid for.

Verdict

As expected, the Quad Core ng Bayan exudes an acceptable performance and gives a bittersweet experience. It isn’t impressive in several aspects, but it’s perfect enough to satisfy. If you’re on a tight budget but you’re scouting for a quad-core smartphone with features you would need – be it to capture moments, entertain, be entertained or become productive – get Flare 2.0. But if you’re coming from the original, it’s better to save-up, sell your Flare 1.0 and buy Flare 2x or Flare S instead.

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Author

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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Tokyo Game Show Special Coverage

Tokyo Game Show 2018

41711344 10155988194573337 3113579199126831104 o - We are going to Tokyo Game Show 2018

Witness this year’s biggest gaming convention in Asia, the Tokyo Game Show 2018. This September 19, our team will fly to Tokyo, Japan, to be part to TGS 2018. Special thanks to our brand partners Huawei Mobile, PLDT Home, Smart Communications and Cherry Mobile for making this coverage possible.

The Gadget Pilipinas Team was given access to a press briefing with Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director from From Software and a bit of hands-on gameplay. Here’s our take on the hands-on gameplay and the insights from the press interview. We also  figured a listicle is in order to rundown why this game will match the hype surrounding it.

Here’s our Top 5 reasons why “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is to die for.

1) The game is Tenchu-inspired

sk8lqukaqalhq2mrzkqd 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forIf you’ve played any of the Tenchu games in previous game consoles, you know that the use of the grappling hook to set-up a one-slash-stealth kills from above is a hallmark of the series. Zipping to rooftops and treetops will be the go-to move in this game to get rid of sentries. And yes, those ever-so glorious decapitations and dismemberments with the stealth kill are present.

2) Casual or hardcore can play

sn1rmqcvrwomyuttaoyq 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forFrom Software is notorious for challenging games and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is no exception. However, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director of From Software, revealed that he himself is a casual gamer and has made it clear that the game should be accessible to beginners and experienced players alike.

3) Upgradeable prosthetic arm

jjn6e6ivua5u142iukql 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat prosthetic arm that Sekiro has isn’t just for looks. It can launch a grappling hook and is upgradeable too. No details were revealed but its good to know that a skill-tree based system is in place. Think Horizon Zero Dawn or Spiderman on the way skill and gadgets are upgraded. Tech upgrades set in feudal Japan? What’s not to like?

4) Play the style that suits you

jo1pi5md3myj0pxynz9p 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forStealth like Tenchu or head-on like Dark Souls? It’s up to you. What’s clear is that you can’t use stealth for the whole campaign since the game wasn’t designed that way. Stealth can be used to thin enemy numbers and to preserve your health before confronting the big boss. The mix of stealth and hack and slash is always a good mix to change-up the pace and should suit any gameplay style.

5) Single-player only campaign can last 20 to 30 hours 

ocxemodvr6oa72argpyo 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat’s the length of the campaign as per Miyazaki. The game is focused-solely on the single-player experience. No more wayward players who can just jump-in and help or derail your campaign. From Software also focused on the story-telling. Given that no resources were spent in developing the multiplayer aspect, expect the campaign to take it up a notch.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be released on March 22, 2019 on PC, Xbox One and the Playstation 4.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

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Heads-up, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) players. The PES game you’re playing on your phone is going to get a major upgrade.

For starters, the visuals will get a major overhaul and will be using Unreal Engine 4 – the same graphics engine used in triple A games for consoles and PCs. With the use of Unreal Engine 4, PES will be inching closer to how it looks versus its console port. It

Next, over 3,000 new animations, improved player AI with every playstyle accounted for, and realistic ball movements has been optimized for fans to enjoy the ultimate soccer game.

And lastly, 10 new league licenses from Europe, South America and Asia have been added, including Japan’s J. League.

The best part? Despite these updates,  Winning Eleven 2019 is still free-to-play (with in-game purchases).

PES 2019 promises to give a life-like behavior of the beautiful game and should take competitive mobile sports gaming to new heights.

Screen Shot 2018 09 21 at 1.16.38 AM 640x327 - TGS 2018: PES mobile game to be updated to "Winning Eleven 2019" this December!

More about the game and new features, here.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

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