If you think Cherry Mobile intends to bring high-end specifications only to its Omega, Titan, and Blaze phablet lines, think again. Cherry Mobile Flare HD, which is slated for release very early in 2014, proves that big specs can come in small packages.
Our friends from Cherry Mobile gave me the yet-to-be-released phone as a gift right after their major celebration for CM's dealers at Le Pavilion in Pasay City earlier this week.
Before I give you a specs rundown, the benchmark scores, and photos of the unit itself, let me share with you a few unboxing shots.
Cherry Mobile Flare HD runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system sans any custom skin with its 1.5 GHz Quad Core ARM Cortex A7 and 357 MHz PowerVR SGX 544MP based MediaTek MT6589T SoC and handles multitasking with 1GB of RAM. The handset likewise sports a 4.3-inch high definition display - a first in Cherry Mobile's ultra-affordable Flare range.
The phone has a 5 MegaPixel front cam which, unlike the main cam, doesn't have a BSI sensor. While it takes decent photos in well-lit settings, it struggles when used indoors and more so when there's little lighting. It's one of the things that remind the user that Cherry Mobile Flare HD is hardly a premium release on the level of Cherry Mobile Omega HD 2.0 or Cherry Mobile Blaze 2.0, which both have relatively good front cams.
The budget quad core smartphone's ultra slim and light form factor is very refreshing in this handset era dominated by ginormous phablets.
If you ask me, what I love about this release is that it gives me the same level of smoothness in screen transitions, touch response, web-browsing, social networking app use, and gaming that I get from high-end phablet releases by local companies. Again, Cherry Mobile Flare HD may be small, but it packs a serious punch and this is something that I'm sure a lot of users - especially those are not a fan of all-too-big phones - will greatly appreciate. And if only for that plus the good back camera, I'm giving the device my two thumbs up.
The handset's stellar performance is well-reflected in its high Antutu and Quadrant Standard Benchmark Test Results.
CM Flare HD's innards - including its MediaTek MT6589T chipset, 1 GB of RAM, and 4 GB of ROM (expandable via microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB) - combine to give it a decent Antutu Benchmark score of 13,454, which is typical of any device running on the same SoC.
Meanwhile, on Quadrant Standard, the device got a score of 4,865, which is higher - if a bit - than that of HTC One X, the Taiwanese company's very expensive NVIDIA Tegra 3 powered flagship release a couple of years ago.
In terms of uptime, I find that the phone's removable 1,800 mAh Li-Ion battery pack delivers around 10 to 12 hours of mixed usage, inclusive of playing games, using social networking apps likes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, browsing the web, taking photos, recording videos, and listening to music tracks and FM radio.
So when will Cherry Mobile Flare HD become available and how much will it cost? According to our insider from the company, Dual SIM, Dual 3G HSPA+, Dual Standby CM Flare HD should hit store shelves across the archipelago by January 2014. As for the price tag, our TechPinas Guesstimate is in the area of Php 5,000 to Php 6,000 (hopefully even less) -- this is based on the typical SRPs of CM's Flare releases from 2012 and 2013 with slight adjustment considering the level of technical specs that the phone features. Anyway, I will update this post - adding the official SRP - once we get closer to Cherry Mobile Flare HD's formal launch date very early next year.