The phone is a P3,999 (around $80) budget blower brandishing two back-facing cameras — one is 13 megapixels; the other, a lowly 2-megapixel affair — and a curvy plastic shell that’s better-than-average-looking. Smaller than average, too.
Despite its low price, the P1 can do what more expensive phones of its type do — which is to blur the background while keeping the foreground sharp and in focus — but to a lesser capacity. (Of course! Otherwise, it wouldn’t sell for as cheap as it sells in stores.)
That’s not all that sets it apart; the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 runs the latest version of Android from first boot. Save the questions about software updates for next year, thank you very much.
This phone is indeed unique, an assemblage of relevant talking points that no other company has put together: two cameras round the back for adding depth of field to shots; Android 7.0 Nougat at launch; most importantly, it comes at a price that won’t blow your smartphone budget. But does uniqueness guarantee a spot on your shortlist? You know the drill: Read on to find out.
The Cherry Mobile Flare P1 is an assemblage of relevant talking points: two rear cameras for adding depth of field to shots; Android 7.0 Nougat at launch; most importantly, it comes at a price that won’t blow your budget.
As with many low-ballers today, the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 is fashioned out of shiny plastic that is made to resemble the look and feel of metal. The rear panel picks up prints rather easily, and they are visible even on our black unit, though shallow scuffs and scratches won’t be as easy to spot.
The panel can be removed to access the SIM and microSD expansion slots. The battery is fixed onto the back, and the two SIM card slots can only fit regular-sized ones. Another important thing to note: The P1 can only connect to 2G and 3G networks, so if enjoying fast internet service via an LTE connection is among your priorities, then you should consider another handset — or upgrade to the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus (click for full specs) instead.
The gunmetal-gray frame holds the power button and the volume rocker on the right side and the standard headphone jack and the microUSB charging port along the top edge. You’ll also notice two speaker holes down below, out of which only one houses a speaker. The audio is loud enough to keep casual users happy. At high volume levels, however, it simply isn’t as detailed as one might like.
The front gets a 5-inch LCD display, with bezels that aren’t too thick on either side, but neither are they particularly thin. It also gets a rounded glass atop the panel, making touch navigation a pleasant experience. Not too many phones in the bargain basement offer that luxury.
There are three capacitive buttons on the bottom bezel; the one on the left-hand side opens up the multitask screen to make it much easier to jump in and out of apps you have opened previously.
The button is especially useful in split-screen mode (which is new to Android Nougat), because double-tapping it will bring up the two apps you have in split-screen view. Otherwise, double-tapping will allow you to switch between two recently opened apps with utmost ease. None of the keys light up, though per usual, they fire off a slight vibration when pressed while the screen is on.
We found the size of the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 to be just right — even for smallish hands. And by taking the middle road, Cherry Mobile won’t alienate a significant portion of its customer base. We had no trouble reaching the top- and bottom-most portions of the screen one-handed. It’s likely you wouldn’t, either.
As for display quality, the IPS panel of the P1 is decent for the price. It’s bright, and colors appear natural, while contrast is generally good. But color temperature shifts to colder tones when viewed at slight angles.
A fill light sits north of the display to assist the 5-megapixel selfie camera when shooting up close in low light. The selfie camera delivers serviceable results but lacks the clarity and good color reproduction of more expensive cameras in the low-cost segment. Look closer still, and you’ll find that options are thin with the default camera app, which is all the more surprising considering what this phone can do with its back-facing cameras.
And it can do pleasant things — provided there is sunshine or artificial lighting. The 13-megapixel back camera is nothing special, but combined with a secondary 2-megapixel sensor, it can produce satisfying results with plenty of adjustable depth of field, or bokeh as it is commonly called, via software. And that is at the heart of Cherry Mobile’s proposition.
By no means are the results comparable to photos taken with the Apple iPhone 7 Plus‘ dual cameras, of course, but the effect is visible and may appeal to those who use their phone as their primary camera. As a bonus, the amount of blurring can be adjusted by sliding one’s finger up or down, or left or right, in the camera interface. The Cherry Mobile Flare P1 does what it promises; we’re just not sure if the quality of work is enough to make people want to buy it.[sciba leftsrc=”https://www.revu.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Cherry-Mobile-Flare-P1-sample-no-bokeh-photo.jpg” leftlabel=”Without bokeh” rightsrc=”https://www.revu.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Cherry-Mobile-Flare-P1-sample-bokeh-photo.jpg” rightlabel=”With bokeh” mode=”horizontal” width=””]
Resized sample photos taken with the Cherry Mobile Flare P1’s dual rear cameras
Speaking of work, most of it is done by a quad-core chipset from MediaTek — a budget-phone favorite, in case you haven’t noticed. The chip also comes with Mali-T720 graphics, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage, and the resulting performance from the hardware is average at best.
It won’t be topping any benchmarks, but the P1 should stream Netflix and play non-intensive games, including Mobile Legends, just fine. And whether or not it is responsive enough will depend almost exclusively on your experience with your previous daily driver.
It won’t be topping any benchmarks, but the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 should stream Netflix and play non-intensive games, including Mobile Legends, just fine.
We’ll say this, though: It can handle two apps running side by side, and most apps will not grind the handset to a halt. We also appreciate that we were able to squeeze a day’s worth of battery life from the 2,350mAh cell. Expecting anything more is foolish given the battery’s capacity. Still, it couldn’t have hurt for Cherry Mobile to put in a larger battery to keep the phone powered longer.
The Flare P1 is a trailblazer, yes. No other dual-camera phone on the market is priced so low that it’s almost too good to be true. But as you may have noticed, Cherry Mobile had to cut corners in other important areas to fit two rear cameras in the phone.
No other dual-camera smartphone on the market is priced so low. But as you may have noticed, Cherry Mobile had to cut corners in other important areas to fit two rear cameras in the handset.
Ultimately, the question you should be asking yourself is: How much weight do the latest Android version and a camera system that can shoot creative photos carry for my next purchase? If the answer is “a lot” — and price is a crucial consideration — then definitely include the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 on your shortlist. Or for P2,000 more, you can get the Flare P1 Plus, which offers more value for your peso.
Video you may want to watch: Cherry Mobile Flare 5 preview
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