Cherry Mobile Flare XL 2 Review, Unboxing, Sample Camera Shots, Antutu Benchmark Score

Many of you have been sending me questions about the new Cherry Mobile Flare XL 2 since I posted an entry about it last May 18, 2016. Good thing our friends from the country's leading handset manufacturer recently sent me a unit to play with, putting me in a better position to address your inquiries.

For those who are seeing this model for the first time, Cherry Mobile Flare XL 2 - simply put - is a 6-inch metal-clad phablet that runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. It is priced at only Php 5,999, making one of the most affordable 4G-enabled smartphone-tablet hybrids featuring the latest version of Google's mobile OS right out of the box.

This release is the 2016 refresh to the similarly named model that did well last year by combining a large display, fairly powerful set of internal hardware, beautiful design, and an affordable price tag.


Last Saturday, a TP Friend asked me what CM Flare XL 2.0's packaging looks like. "I heard the box has a new design compared to previous Flare models," she said.

Unboxing


As you can see in these photos, this model's box is indeed different from the ones that housed the fairly new Flare S4 and S4 Premium.


However, the black outer sleeve with small die-cut windows in front and at the side seem to be borrowed from the packaging design of Flare X from last year -- albeit Flare X's box had green accents in lieu of yellow on Flare XL 2.

As always, you'll find a list of the handset's key features at the bottom of the outer sleeve.

The white box inside flaunts an image of the phablet on the cover.

Another reader asked, "Mark, what's inside the box?" Here you go: We have the unit itself, standard earphones, SIM card tray ejector, travel charger, microUSB to USB cable, and user manual.

The headset already has a microphone that you can use for making calls.

The travel charger has 1,000 mA output.

Alright. Now, let's take a closer look at the handset.

Screen

On the face, you'll see the 6-inch HD IPS panel protected by scratch-resistant 2.D curved glass touchscreen. The display is massive -- and I think it's amazing that the phablet can still nicely in my hand. It's a tad too big for my jeans' front pocket but as long as I can grasp the device with one hand, I'm good.

Having such a large display makes CM Flare XL 2.0 great for viewing photos and videos, as well as for browsing the web or checking social networking sites. I sometimes wish that the screen resolution is higher and that its PPI is not just 244 -- but considering the very pocket-friendly price of the device, it's really hard to complain.

Camera

At the back, Cherry Mobile Flare XL 2 sports a 16 MegaPixel autofocus camera with Dual Tone LED flash and BSI sensor. This shooter also takes Full HD 30fps videos. Above the phone's display, there's an 8 MegaPixel front cam for selfies, delivering bright and clear shots even with indoor lighting.

Here are some sample shots taken using the main camera (Just click on them to get a larger view):







And here's a raw selfie that I took using the phablet's 8 MegaPixel front cam:


Needless to say (because the photos speak for themselves), Cherry Mobile Flare XL 2.0 has a pair of reliable cameras. Both the front and back shooters take clear and crisp shots -- especially when there's an ample amount of natural light on the subject.

Design and Build

For those who are wondering, the phablet's rim is not merely chrome-plated plastic. This is real metal with chamfered edges.

The power button and volume rocker on the right panel are also made of real metal -- making them practically resistant to wear and tear.

And the same goes for the SIM card tray, which houses two microSIM card slots -- one supporting microSD card memory expansion.


I've held many Cherry Mobile handsets though the years and this model is right up there with the best of them in terms of looks and construction.


The winning design elements here, obviously, is the metal mid-frame and the curved glass face, which don't just make this phablet more durable compared to handsets with predominantly polycarbonate shell but also makes it look and feel far more expensive than it actually is.

Software, Internal Hardware, and Antutu Benchmark Score


One of the main selling points of CM Flare 2.0 is that it runs Android 6.0 Lollipop right out of the box, which is currently one of the most updated version of Google's mobile OS.

As I've shared, the two Android Marshmallow features I love most are the redesigned, sleek Material Design interface with vertical-scrolling app drawer and the Doze mode that puts the device to sleep when you're not using it, greatly extending its uptime.

The phablet provides a near-vanilla Marshmallow experience while incorporating some innovations from Cherry Mobile including Gesture Sensing that lets you instantly launch applications by drawing characters on the sleeping phone display, Turbo Download mode combining WiFi and Mobile Data to greatly speed up your downloads, Cherry Prepaid app, Cherry Fun app, and Cherry Mobile OTA updates.


This device runs its OS with a a 64-Bit MediaTek MT6753 chipset that has eight ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz and a Mali-T720MP3 GPU, features 2 GB of RAM for relatively smooth multitasking, and comes with 16GB of internal storage that can easily be beefed using the dedicated microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB.

Around 11GB of the 16GB of internal storage is available to the user for storing images, videos, apps, and other content. Not bad.

The combination of the above-mentioned internal hardware give CM Flare 2.0 an Antutu Benchmark Score in the range of 31,000 to 33,000; I got 32,480 during my initial testing of the device, which is the same as that of competing models that cost Php 2,000 to Php 4,000 more. But more importantly, the phablet delivers quite well in real world usage; Delivering smooth 3D gaming performance (Marvel Contest of Champions), fluid screen transitions, and snappy overall touch experience.


Battery Life

CM Flare XL 2.0 is powered by a a non-removable 2,500 mAh Li-Ion battery pack. You might think it's a tad small for a 6-inch device -- but considering that the screen's resolution is just HD and both the phablet's chipset and OS have energy-saving features, this model's uptime is actually not horrible at all. I get around 8 to 10 hours of regular use from the phone on WiFi and around 6-7 hours on 4G LTE.

Verdict

There are three things that would have made Cherry Mobile Flare XL 2 an absolute powerhouse model in my eyes: If it had a Full HD display, 3GB of RAM, and an even larger battery pack. But then, I know that if it donned those features, it wouldn't be this affordable. The truth is, at Php 5,999, this phablet still undoubtedly offers 'great value for money'. While it may not be the most powerful handset in CM's 2016 product line-up, CM Flare XL 2.0 would be great for consumers who may be a bit tight on budget but want a gorgeous, well-built smartphone that features a massive screen, amazing camera capabilities, and the latest version of Android OS. All things considered, I give it 9.5 out of 10 TP Stars.

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