Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Unboxing, First Thoughts [Video]

Here’s the dream – a selfie phone (16MP front cam with flash) that won’t stutter (3GB RAM) with a fingerprint scanner (no more PIN inputs and swipe patterns to unlock your phone) and a battery that’ll get you through an entire shift (3000 mAh), and all this for only P7999. Now, stop dreaming and meet the Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie.

We’re here to unbox the Flare Selfie, give you an idea of its size and handling, and list our first impressions. A 5-minute video of the unboxing and first thoughts is available below.

Front Camera Power, Fingerprint Security, Good Price

Announced December 2015 and available by January 2016, the Flare Selfie is the first budget phone in the Philippines with a fingerprint sensor. The nearest available comparison is the P18,000 Huawei G8, which also has a fingerprint sensor.

The Flare Selfie may also be the second phone to vie for “the Selfie camera” position, owing to its attractive price and slim profile – it fits your hand and your budget. The nearest comparison is the Selfie Camera of 2015, the P11995 ASUS ZenFone Selfie whose massive front camera eats up the phone’s forehead space, making the phone needlessly huge when compared to the Flare Selfie.



Unboxing and First Thoughts Video



The Flare Selfie is incredibly promising. We look forward to testing it over the week.

Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie First Impressions

The P7999 Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie has more front camera megapixels (16MP) than the P11995 ASUS ZenFone Selfie (13MP) – and it’s also so slim! The ZenFone Selfie suddenly looks dated. But we’ll see how well the Flare Selfie’s front and rear camera can hold up to expectations. (If you can’t hold your breath, we have two sample photos below, taken with the CM Selfie with no firmware or Google Play Store updates installed.)

The body of the Flare Selfie is thin, comfy to hold, the sides are curved (good ergonimics), and the 5-inch display means your thumb can conveniently reach most parts of the display. So one-hand operation is possible. That’s good, because we’re not all fans of large displays. The Flare Selfie doesn’t feel cheap, and the price point is not a painpoint.

This is the first Cherry Mobile phone, and the first budget phone, to have a fingerprint sensor on the back. If its set up and recognition speed is close to Huawei’s own, then Cherry Mobile may well be setting the trend in phone unlocking security for budget phones in the country. We’ll pay close attention to this feature in our full review.

Somewhat large forehead and chin. We say “somewhat” because they’re not glaring. Although the bottom part of the phone, the chin, feels like unused space – it’s where you’d expect capacitive keys to be. But there’s nothing there. Not even a logo. The back, home, and recent apps keys are, instead, on the bottom of the display, not the chin.

Cherry Mobile packs in three camera apps in the Flare Selfie – its stock camera (which, when compared to the other two lags in features and user experience intuitiveness), a selfie-focused (front camera-only) Beauty Camera, and our instant favorite, UCamera. So Cherry Mobile is leaving it to the users to try out and see which cam apps they’ll be using more often. We’ll also be trying each to see which ones end up using more.

Above: Right is the Xiaomi Mi 4i – P9799, 2GB RAM, 5MP front camera with no flash, and no storage expansion. The P7999 Flare Selfie on the left has a 16MP front camera with flash, 3GB RAM, and a microSD slot.

Rear and front camera capture speed, using UCamera, is fast enough. But there’s a noticeable difference in the clarity of the image on the phone (before you key in the shutter) and the image output. It’s not bad news, actually, as images that look artefacted and paint-brushed on the display turn out good. We’re scratching our heads over this. But that’s our experience with ONLY the UCamera. The stock camera and the other one may not behave that way.

Sample shots here were taken without checking for firmware updates and done via the comes-with UCamera (not the stock camera app). Rear close up shot above showcase the detail the Flare Selfie can capture under medium to low yellowish lighting. Selfie shot below was taken with the same light settings, with beauty mode used.

The addition of themes is a God-send, as one of the first things people do with their phones after unboxing it is to see if they can stomach the stock launcher experience.

And that’s it for our unboxing and quick review. We’ll have a full one out soon.



Cherry Mobile Flare Selfie Full Specs

5-inch HD IPS display, 1280×720, 312 PPI
Dragontrail Glass scratch-resistant protection
3GB RAM, 16GB internal storage
1.3GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6753, Mali T720 GPU
Dual micro SIM, second SIM tray doubles as micro SD slot
802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.0
HSPA+ and 4G LTE data
micro USB 2.0 port
3.5mm headphone jack
3,000mAh non-removable battery
Android 5.1 Lollipop OS
P7999 available January 2016

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Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for