Cherry Mobile Flare 4 Review
There are literally dozens of so-called budget phones on the market now that it’s getting close to impossible to pick out a clear “budget winner.” Fortunately for anyone who wants to get the best Android smartphone available without spending an arm and a leg, the Flare series from Cherry Mobile is still going strong.
The Cherry Mobile Flare series, of course, is the popular line of Android phones from one of the country’s top local electronics companies today, and it’s been known as a good source of phones that deliver a lot of bang for your buck, no matter how low your budget might be. Check out our episode of Collab about the new Cherry Mobile Flare Series.
So right now the Flare is available in about a dozen different variations, and one of them is called the Cherry Mobile Flare 4. Whereas in the past, the Flare series was all about the “power” to handle Android and make sure users don’t encounter as much lag as they might expect they would, the Flare 4 signals the beginning of a march towards more respectable-looking handsets.
We’re not kidding when we say the words “Flare 4” and “respectable-looking” all in the same sentence. Apart from hard plastic and scratch-resistant glass, the Flare 4 also features the use of metal, and rather extensively, we might add. This is a highlight for the Flare 4, as it gives the phone a more reassuring build and better grip in the hand whenever it’s in use.
The Flare 4 uses a 5-inch HD IPS screen and it sits behind 2.5D curved glass that’s all but flush in the middle of a metallic phone frame. As for the back, there’s two variations of the battery cover.
For example, the black cover has a faux leather finish, complete with stitches going around the cover a la Samsung Galaxy Note. But the pink cover, meanwhile, comes with a smooth plastic finish that features metallic Flare and Cherry Mobile branding that’s a pleasure to look at.
The Flare 4 is lightweight, partly because of how thin it is. But the smooth finish on its profile will prevent it from falling off or slipping from your hands.
The only buttons on the Flare 4 are the power button on the right side and the volume up and down buttons on the left side. And as for the menu keys, they are available below the display through capacitive touch buttons.
As mentioned earlier, the display on the Flare 4 offers HD resolution, which is 1280x720 pixels. That’s just about enough to not only enjoy Android’s many standard software features as well as ensure that you can maximize the screen when it comes to viewing HD content.
The display having an IPS panel means you won’t have any problems when it comes to viewing angles. This is to be expected out of any flagship Cherry Mobile handset, even one intended for budget-minded folks. He screen is also very responsive to touches, and didn’t show any problems like dead pixels or dead spots in use.
The camera is similarly problem-free, but we can’t say it delivers the best quality that we’ve seen from a Cherry Mobile phone released this year. To be fair, the Flare series phones aren’t being promoted as serious camera phones or digital camera replacements, so we aren’t too bummed out about their disappointing camera performance. The bottom line is that if you’re expecting a stellar camera experience, the Flare 4 might be a letdown.
Photos taken with the Flare 4’s rear camera come out with just the right amount of saturation, especially when used under direct sunlight. The performance issues become apparent when it’s used indoors or under low light conditions. The single-LED flash just isn’t enough to compensate and help eliminate noise from images, whether in portrait or landscape mode.
As for the front camera, it’s not good enough for any serious selfie enthusiasts. Maybe those who would rather hide what they really look like under high levels of software “beautification” and ungodly image noise would say otherwise. But we’ve definitely seen better selfie photos taken with other phones, although most of them are more expensive models.
But while the camera performance of the Cherry Mobile Flare 4 leaves a lot to be desired, the audio quality is the complete opposite. The Flare 4’s speaker can produce enough sound to fill a small studio apartment with ease, but the real highlight becomes obvious when it is used as a portable media player with headphones.
The Flare 4 apparently can deliver amazing-sounding audio with any decent pair of headphones. The sound signature is decidedly flat and clean overall, so with a proper pair of cans, it ends up reproducing studio-recorded sounds in a manner that can rival some actual, dedicated music players.
And if you ever tire of using wired headphones, you can fall back on the Flare 4’s Bluetooth wireless connectivity. It proved reliable and quick to connect, so we have no complaints here.
Speaking of connectivity, the Flare 4 supports both 4G LTE as well as HSPA+ data. And it can connect to Wi-Fi whenever it’s available. For connection to computers and other gadgets, meanwhile, there’s a USB 2.0 port.
The USB 2.0 port on the Flare 4 works for both charging and data transfer, but unfortunately, it didn’t seem to support USB OTG. That’s not exactly a necessary feature to enjoy the phone to its fullest, but not having it is definitely a bit of a surprise.
The Cherry Mobile Flare 4 comes preloaded with Android 5.1 Lollipop. Not the latest version of Android anymore, granted, but it’s still not a bad version at all.
Cherry Mobile only included a few customizations and changes to the stock Android software, and barely even added any “bloatware” apps for use right out of the box. The result is a phone that isn’t bogged down by unnecessary tasks and processes, which means there’s a lot of free storage space and available RAM.
The Flare 4 has 16GB of internal storage and 2GB RAM. In use, the phone isn’t the fastest phone we’ve Lollipop that we’ve used, but it’s definitely not the slowest either. It works just about as fast as one could expect from a modern budget Android handset, amd support all of the latest Androd apps that can be downloaded and installed on the Play Store.
If you want to look at benchmarks, the Flare 4 won’t win any awards. But for real life use, it’s definitey more than enough for standard smartphone tasks such as messaging, Web browsing, media playback, and the occasional mobile game or two. Some games may cause the GPU on the Flare 4 to struggle, but for the vast majority of Android games, it won’t have any problems.
The battery on the Flare 4 is one of its strengths. You can leave it for about 4 or 5 days on standby, connected to Wi-Fi, and downloading updates and notifications whenever they’re available.
For non-stop use, the Flare 4 was able to last us about one and a half days before greeting us with the low battery prompt. Non-stop gaming causes it to run out of batteries in about 5-6 hours, but your own results may vary.
Cherry Mobile has been reworking and improving the winning-formula behind the popular Flare series phones since 2010, and it has been rewarded with great success. This time around, the Flare 4 is one of the new named phones in the series, and apart from impressive overall performance for a low-budget phone, it also has captivating looks. Is it worth the asking price? It sure is. Even before any possible future price cuts, we can say with confidence that it’s a must-have phone for 2015.