Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 Review, your budget quad-core phone
The Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 is the first quad-core phone to be released in the market by a local company. It is made for Filipinos looking for with its dual-SIM support and relatively affordable price of just Php6,999. The big question is, just how competitive can their first quad-core phone get? And is it worth its price? Let’s find out.
The Flame 2.0 looks like your typical Cherry Mobile phone. Plain black but with less rounded corners as compared to the first Flame. There’s an all-glass front protecting the 4.5-inch display and you have to appreciate the relatively thin bezel on the sides.
On top of the display is the VGA front camera and at the bottom of it are the old 4-button configuration for Android. Would’ve been nice if they included a button to bring out the task manager.
There’s a silver strip on the side to give accent to this plain-looking phone. On the left-hand side you’ll get the volume control. On top is the 3.5mm audio jack and the power button while the microUSB port can be seen at the bottom.
The back houses the slightly protruding 5mp camera lens and its flash. The panel has a shiny mirror-like surface (not quite seen from the photo) which you might fancy. It’s like there’s a plastic panel covering it to somewhat subdue the glossy sheen of its surface. Quite nice actually.
Removing the back plate is as simply as prying it open and here you’ll see the 1600mAh battery, the microSD slot and the two regular SIM slots. Only one is capable of 3G so place your SIM cards accordingly.
Overall, the CM Flame 2.0 offers pretty good handling. It has that just-right thickness and heft so that you won’t feel like you’re holding a dummy phone. This phone is a rebranded Karbonn S1 Titanium in case you’re curious.
Display and UI
The CM Flame 2.0 has a 4.5-inch qHD IPS display. That’s a 540 x 960 resolution with a decent 245 ppi pixel density. Colors appear sharp and viewing angle is quite good although it could use a bit more brightness and deeper contrast.
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean runs on this phone with a custom Cherry Mobile UI overlay. The lockscreen has three shortcuts for Camera, Phone, and Messages. UI inside is very much the same as a lot of Cherry Mobile phones with Opera mobile pre-installed replacing the default browser. It has a different set of icons enclosed in rounded squares which will remind you of iOS. Frankly, we like it as it gives uniformity to all icons including downloaded apps.
Powering this phone is a 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8225Q Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor. Despite it being a quad-core phone, the chip used is of the budget type utilizing the old ARM Cortex A5 architecture and an old Adreno 205 GPU. It does have a 1GB RAM so that would help with the performance.
Here’s the Quadrant (4686) and Antutu (10902) scores if you’re interested in synthetic benchmarks.
The big question here is, how’s the performance in actual usage? Well it was good actually. There’s the smoothness in navigating the UI and launching apps is fairly quick. Didn’t notice any of those insignificant lags while using this phone.
Web browsing using Chrome is fast even the loading of pages but touch response and rendering is not as snappy as those high-end quad-core phones in the market.
Perhaps the biggest improvement here over older Cherry Mobile phones is the 1GB RAM. This allows you to play 3D games without having to free up most of your resources. This also lets you play games for a long duration without it having to close because it runs out of memory.
I tried a handful of demanding games (Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, Beach Buggy) and this phone handled them with ease except for some broken starts (no picture or broken images). I was able to frag my way into a 15-8 record in a casual game of SG: DeadZone without any hiccups from this phone.
Watching 720p videos (using MX Player) was handled by the Flame 2.0 quite well too. There was no lag when moving the scrubber into various points of the video.
Like most CM phones, the Flame 2.0 has 4GB internal storage but it seems that over half of it is allotted to the system. In my unit, only 1.41GB is given to the user. Fortunately, it supports microSD and it was able to recognize my 64GB microSD card.
The phone is capable of handling two regular-sized SIM cards at the same time. There are always a dedicated button for each SIM when you want to send a message or call someone so switching SIMs is not a problem.
There’s the typical 5 megpixel camera at the back that can record up to 720p HD videos. There’s a bit of lag when focusing and it’s not that good under low-light situations.
Here are a few sample photos taken with the Flame 2.0.
Photos are decent for its class although the software does a lot of smoothing on them. It does allow for picture in picture or video in video mode using both the front and rear camera if you have a use for that.
Now many people are concerned about the 1600mAh battery on this phone being quad-core and all. However, battery life wasn’t as bad as say the iPhone 5.
Playing games continuously or watching videos will give you around 5 – 6 hours before the battery conks out. On moderate daily usage with games here and there, WiFi always on, and usually text and calls, the Flame 2.0 was able to last me the whole day although I need to plug it as soon as I got home.
What I’m not keen of is the slow charging time of this phone whether you’re charging from a laptop’s USB or straight from the power outlet. It takes too long that I didn’t bother timing it. I just leave it plugged overnight.
Being the first quad-core phone with 1GB RAM at this price point, I would say Cherry Mobile did a fine job releasing their Flame 2.0. From the design of the phone to its performance, it’s probably the best you can get for Php6,999 if a 4.5-inch Android phone is what you’re looking for with the only weakest point would be its camera which is not bad at all for its class.
|Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 Specs:|
|4.5-inch qHD (540×960) IPS capacitive display, 245ppi, OGS technology|
|1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm MSM8225Q Snapdragon S4 processor|
|Adreno 203 GPU|
|Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean|
|1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage, microSD up to 32GB|
|5MP autofocus camera with LED flash|
|720p HD video recording @ 30 fps|
|VGA front camera|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Dual SIM, Dual Standby|
|FM Radio, Bluetooth with A2DP|
|Li-Ion 1,600mAh Battery|
|134.6 x 66 x 9.3mm|
|SRP: Php 6,999|