We got our hands on Cherry Mobile’s new entry-level smartphone, the Flare J1 (2017). Let’s dive in on what it has to offer, the good and the bad, and its durable LCD display feature.

Design and Build Quality

The look and feel of the Cherry Mobile J1 (2017) is basically what you’d expect from a budget smartphone. It doesn’t have any frills or anything that makes it stand out from other phones. It simply has a 5-inch TFT LCD display with thick black bezels on the top and bottom. At the top of the screen, you have the 5MP front-facing camera; and at the bottom, you have the navigation buttons.

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On the right-hand side of the phone, you have the volume rocker and power button, while on the left there are no buttons placed.

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At the top is a micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while at the bottom, there’s nothing to see except a pinhole for the microphone.

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At the back of the phone, you have a removable cover that has a faux-leather texture. You also have an 8MP camera with dual LED flash and a loudspeaker right beside it.

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Under the hood are two micro SIM card slots and a micro SD card slot for storage expansion; and most importantly, you have the removable 2,300 mAh battery.

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Durable LED Display

As expected from a budget phone, the 5-inch display has a meager resolution of 854 x 480 pixels that is equal to 196 ppi. Its viewing angles are below-average. As for the durability of the display, we tried placing it inside our pockets with keys and tossing it on hard and rough surfaces from a low height, so far, it’s holding up just fine.

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Audio

In the audio department, you cannot expect a budget phone to have very good audio, but you can have decent volume from its loudspeakers despite its quite hollow and tinny audio quality. If you don’t dig the quality of the speakers, you can instead plug in a pair of earphones for a better experience.

Apps and UI

Similar to most Cherry mobile phones, the Flare J1 (2017) runs on stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow to keep things simple and efficient for its budget processor. Included are the usual set of pre-loaded Cherry Mobile apps including the Cherry Fun Club, Cherry Play, and Cherry Prepaid.

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You’ll have a total of 8GB internal storage minus the 4.5GB space for apps and other files. As for software updates, we can’t expect this model to have access to Android Nougat in the future. However, we do expect that it will have support for security updates.

Camera

This phone has an 8MP rear shooter and a 5MP selfie cam. This is the part where you’d be better off not expecting too much. The images both cameras produce are mediocre at best. Both have issues with blown out highlights and dull colors. The images are still usable though, as long as you have decent lighting and you share them as medium resolution, but other than that, it’s pretty much just for utility’s sake. By the way, it can also record 720p video and not surprisingly, has the same quality as the stills.

Performance Tests

The Flare J1 (2017) is powered by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, a Mali-400 GPU, and 1GB of RAM.

You can accomplish everyday tasks as expected from the performance tests but as for gaming, you can only limit yourself to not-so-demanding games. We tried running Mobile Legends and NBA 2k17 but unfortunately, the frame rates were too low to be playable.

Here are some benchmark scores:

  • AnTuTu Benchmark v6: 20899
  • Geekbench 4: 394 (Single-Core), 1062 (Multi-Core)

Call Quality

Call quality is average at best. Most of the time though, the calls are tinny and aren’t loud enough. This is typical of low-budget phones. We wish they could have improved on it at the very least.

Battery Life

The 2,300 mAh battery definitely could last a day provided that you’ll use it for normal tasks. With the PCMark battery life test, it lasted for 6 hours and 20 minutes. Surprisingly, the battery still had some left after the test, around 16%. So, if you add that, it could have been almost 7 hours of battery life total. Charging from 0% to 100% took around 3 hours to complete.

Conclusion

As a budget smartphone, the Cherry Mobile Flare J1 (2017) does what is expected. It does basic phone calls, texts, social media, etc. Aside from the durable display, there’s nothing special to expect from this simple phone. Its value can only be determined by the person who uses it.

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Cherry Mobile Flare J1 (2017) specs:

5-inch TFT LCD @ 854 x 480 pixels, 196ppi
1.2GHz Spreadtrum SC7731 quad-core CPU
Mali-400 MP2 GPU
1GB RAM
8GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 32GB
8MP rear fixed camera w/ dual LED flash
5MP front-facing camera
Dual SIM (Micro)
3G HSPA+
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
GPS w/ a-GPS
2300mAh removable battery
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Pros: Durable LED screen, faux-leather back cover

Cons: Low resolution display, below average image quality

Criss Galit is a multimedia artist, and an avid gamer. He is also a singer when he goes to karaoke with friends. He loves watching films when he just wants to relax and get immersed in the theater. He has done freelance graphic design work for a few years, and is now looking forward to expand and share his creativity in different mediums and technologies.