Cherry Mobile Flare X2 review: Style and substance for less

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

THE Flare X2, one of the more interesting Cherry Mobile offerings of late, is now available nationwide. Retailing at P7,999, it’s aimed at consumers who don’t want to splurge on a smartphone, but also don’t want to compromise on design or performance.

But is it worth your while to skimp on the cost of upgrading to a more expensive yet still affordable handset? Perhaps. The Cherry Mobile Flare X2‘s luxe design; big, full-resolution display; and speedy hardware make it an obvious choice — that is, if you’re willing to live with a pair of underwhelming cameras.

We know what you’re thinking: The Flare X2 looks like an Xperia handset you’ve come across recently — and nothing like what came before. That’s a fair observation; it really does look like a Sony as opposed to something else. It’s got an angular look that we don’t see often in today’s “inspired by iPhone” market.

Of course, not everyone is a fan of the Xperia line’s boxy styling, but we reckon many will like what they see, especially considering the aggressive price tag.


The metal frame is sandwiched between two slightly tapered sheets of durable glass; its chamfered edges provide some visual flair, as well as plenty of grip when you’re holding the X2 with one hand. And you will want to have as much to hold on to because this phone is a bit heavy compared to others its size. Most of the weight is distributed along the sides.


It’s fitted with tiny plastic antenna bands on the top and bottom. We found cellular reception to be good in our area, but keep in mind that your mileage may vary depending on your carrier and location.


The glass on the back means the X2 attracts fingerprints and smudges easily, though blemishes aren’t that visible on our white unit. What you should be looking out for is the possibility of the phone sliding off of an uneven surface, or any surface that you rest it on.


A small speaker grill can be spotted on the bottom rear side. The sound coming from the speaker could use a boost, as it’s barely audible from across the room.


As is common nowadays — even among budget choices — the Cherry Mobile Flare X2 has a fingerprint scanner; it emits a soft vibration when the sensor detects a finger touch. Speaking of the sensor, it now works great after installing a recent (and small) OTA update.


The bottom of the X2 houses a standard microUSB port. Pay no mind to those tiny markings on the frame; those are not microphone and speaker cut-outs.


The left side hides a hybrid tray that can host either a second SIM or a microSD card.


All hardware buttons are on the right. They provide solid tactile response when pressed. Perhaps more importantly, they are positioned where your right thumb would naturally rest.


A 5.5-inch, 1080p screen takes up most of the front of the device. It’s got really good viewing angles, and colors are accurate enough to please gamers and Netflix bingers. It’s plenty bright, too, so using the X2 outdoors and under direct sunlight should not be an issue. What might be an issue here, though, are those thick black borders that run along the edges of the display. But they do give the impression the panel is seamlessly integrated into the casing.


The Flare X2 uses software navigation buttons. But unlike most phones that have them, the keys are automatically hidden (and stay hidden) when a game or a full-screen video is playing in landscape mode. Swiping up from the bottom of the display brings them back to the interface.


The Cherry Mobile Flare X2, although not as lightning-fast as some of the more expensive models on the market, is one of the slickest and most responsive phones we’ve tested in the sub-P10,000 segment. The centerpiece of the assembly, the brain that powers the device, is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor clocked at 1.4GHz and paired with 4GB of RAM to deliver a pleasantly punchy user experience.

The Cherry Mobile Flare X2 is one of the slickest and most responsive phones we’ve tested in the sub-P10,000 segment.

Launching and switching between apps and scrolling through menus is a fluid affair, even with more than a dozen apps already open. The GPU onboard ensures that demanding games, such as Asphalt Xtreme and NBA 2K, aren’t an issue at reasonable settings, only dropping a few frames when the action gets frenetic.

Elsewhere, the specifications are as you’d expect from a 2016 Android device: 32GB of RAM; 16- and 8-megapixel cameras on the rear and front; and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with a mostly stock overlay. Compared to other Cherry Mobiles we’ve used recently, the X2 stretches thin with regard to customization and personalization options.

Battery life on this smartphone has been above-average. The 3,000mAh cell would get us through a full day and a half of web browsing, updating our social media feeds, taking calls, sending emails, and extended hours of playing games. We’d usually start the day with a full charge and hit the sack with around 30 percent of juice left in the reserve.


The camera around the back does an admirable job focusing on objects, but the results are occasionally washed out. Our compositions would typically fall apart when there was any strong light in the frame. Selfies shot with the front-facing camera don’t suffer from the same issue, thankfully, and colors appear realistic for the most part.

But all in all, when it comes to snapping photos, the Flare X2 simply isn’t as good as the rest of the package. And in case you’re wondering, the cameras aren’t as good as the ones on equally affordable ASUS and Vivo phones.

During daytime, this looks okay...

During daytime, this looks okay…

...but when there's strong light in the frame, the composition usually falls apart.

…but when there’s strong light in the frame, the composition usually falls apart.

A selfie taken with the Cherry Mobile Flare X2

Thankfully, selfies shot with the front-facing camera don’t suffer from the same issue.

Cherry Mobile has come out with one of the best bargain options of 2016 in the Flare X2. For P7,999, significantly less than what you’d fork out on a new 5.5-inch ASUS ZenFone 3 Max (P10,995) or Vivo V5 (P12,990), you’re getting a fast, capable handset running Android, with a clean software experience and a visually compelling design, made with high-quality materials to boot.

It all sounds good, but it bears noting that, peso for peso, it isn’t the most value-laden handset out there today. That label probably applies to the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime, which is being sold for under P9,000 by parallel importers.

Of course, getting it from an unofficial source means you’d be missing out on the official warranty and any special offers. For that reason alone, we couldn’t recommend the Redmi to anyone unless they are completely aware and willing to deal with the possible long-term consequences of an import.

Everyone else keen on keeping their spending in check would be wise to consider the Cherry Mobile Flare X2.

  • 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 505
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD up to 64GB
  • 5.5-inch full-HD IPS screen
  • Dragontrail glass (front and back)
  • 16-megapixel rear camera with BSI
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • LTE
  • Dual micro-SIM
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow

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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 16 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between.