Another affordable but solid offering from Cherry Mobile is the Flare S8 Pro. Considered the midranger in the Flare S8 series, the Cherry Mobile Flare S8 offers octa-core AI processor, dual rear cameras, and a huge battery. But this is not everything this P5,999 phone has to offer.
We took the Flare S8 Pro for a spin to see what this device is capable of offering the consumers, and know whether it is worth buying for yourself or your loved ones.
Design & Construction
One thing to love about the Cherry mobile Flare S8 Pro is that it doesn’t look like its price. Seeing it for the first time, you’d think it’s priced a few thousands more than it actually is. This device looks and feels premium all through out. The huge glass front adds class to the overall design; the huge screen looks great with the thin side and top bezels as well as the minimal teardrop notch. Inside the notch is the front camera and right above it is the call speaker. The chin is thicker than the rest of the bezels, however, it certainly is thinner than the one on the smaller Cherry Mobile S8 and is barely noticeable once you get used to it.
The solid metal frame of the Flare S8 Pro houses the ports and the buttons. At the bottom are two grilled opening, but only the one on the right side houses the loudspeaker. The other probably has the microphone. Sitting in between the two opening is the USB Type-C port. There is no 3.5mm audio jack on the Flare S8 Pro, so the Type-C port also serves as the audio connection on top of charging and data transferring functions. Don’t worry, Cherry Mobile already included an audio jack-to-USB-C cable in the box.
On the right side, you can find the volume rocker with the power button right below it. Both are clicky and responsive, although hard to reach when you have small hands. The SIM/microSD card slot is on the left side, which reveals the dual SIM tray (the second tray can be used for microSD expansion instead of a secondary SIM).
Flip the phone and the glossy rear greets you in style. The dual rear shooters are housed vertically on an oval protrusion at the upper left side; the LED flash sits just below the cameras. The only other elements at the back are the rounded square fingerprint sensor and the simple cherry mobile branding. Our review unit comes in black, which looks really professional and classic. The rear cover is made of polycarbonate plastic but it doesn’t appear cheap at all.
The Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Pro has quite the heft, which only adds to the great feel of the device. The phone is a little slippery to hold, but the curved back helps with the easy handling. It’s also a fingerprint magnet, but that’s something that can be solved by the bundled clear jelly case.
Display & Multimedia
The 6.5-inch 19:9 Trueview IPS display of the Flare S8 Pro gives the user a huge space to enjoy watching videos, playing games, and reading text. The HD+ resolution is workable most of the time; it’s really a hit or miss, depending on the image or video you are viewing. Text are crisp, however, the icons, especially on the home screen, appear pixelated and/or blurry. The screen also has a warm, yellowish tint to it. We thought it can be adjust on the Display setting, but there’s no option to turn it off or change to a cooler blueish hue or a neutral white one.
In general, images needs a little more boost in terms of details and color, the latter appears muted for the most part. Huge points go to the screen brightness, even at only 50% to 75%, the screen remained readable no matter the lighting conditions in your area.
The sound from the loudspeaker is serviceable. It can get loud enough to fill a room at maximum volume. However, the quality of the audio isn’t the great. There is a slight distortion when playing at higher audio levels, but its barely noticeable.
Now onto the cameras of the Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Pro. The camera app bears familiar Cherry Mobile features. There’s the Video, Photo, Beauty (for beautified selfies), FaceCute (AR stickers to spruce up your photos), and Bokeh/Portrait modes, accessible right away on the home interface of the app. On top, you’ll find the settings button and the four square icon, which reveals the other shooting modes–Panorama, GIF, Time-lapse, Beauty Video, PRO, and more.
The dual 20MP + 5MP rear cameras produce well saturated images and okay details–this is when taken on a well-lit environment. Images taken under low light come out noisy and dark. Turning on the LED flash helps capturing clear photos under low lighting, but expect that photos may appear wash out at times. Like in the Flare S8, focusing on the Flare S8 Pro’s camera takes a few seconds before it locks in on the subject. It takes a couple of second before the app can process the image your taking picture off, so make sure to stay still until you’re sure that the image is clear on the preview.
The rear shooter can capture videos up to 1080p. But better invest on a tripod, monopod, or gimbal as it doesn’t come with a stabilization function. Focus is still an issue on videos. Shoot moving subjects or an area that has a lot of activity, and you’ll find the resulting footage flicking constantly (that’s the auto focus trying to lock in on a subject).
Meanwhile, the 20MP front camera’s output are so-so. The selfies lack detail and muted for the most part. When the Portrait mode is on, you’ll find the blurring of the background a little unnatural. There’s also a delay between pressing the shutter button and the camera taking the photo. Don’t move out of the frame (or at all) too quickly once you’ve hit the capture button, otherwise all you will get is a distorted, blurry image of you. But this something that Cherry Mobile can easily address by providing a software update to fix the photo processing.
Powering the Flare S8 Pro is a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 processor, paired with a PowerVR GE8320 GPU and huge 4GB RAM. This handset also comes with an equally sizeable internal storage of 64GB, which can be further expanded with microSD up to 256GB.
We ran some benchmark apps to see how this Cherry Mobile smartphone measures. Here are the results:
3DMark Sling Shot: 417
PCMark Work 2.0: 4930
Geekbench – Single-Core: 155
Geekbench – Multi-Core: 766
Basic smartphone tasks like browsing, messaging, calling, and running utility apps are executed smoothly and hitch-free. This phone can handle multiple apps open at the same time, and allows easy switching between them. Playing Mobile Legends, with graphics set to high, is a breeze on this phone; we experienced no problem at all playing the game. It is only when running intensive apps like Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG, and Asphalt 9 at maximum graphics settings that the Flare S8 Pro showed some noticeable lags. For the record, these game runs well at normal settings with minimal and slight frame drops from time to time. It is only when the titles are configured to the highest settings that the lags appears more frequently. Turning on the Game Boost feature helps decrease the occurrence of those moments.
It’s great that this Cherry Mobile device has a 4000mAh battery, which allows you to work and play for longer hours. In one full charge, the battery can last you more than a day of mixed use–basic smartphone tasks plus a little video watching and playing games (Wi-Fi and data turned on constantly). Once it hits the 20% battery level (which also when the battery warning comes on), his phone can still give you a good one to two hours of use before it powers off. Once it drains or reach critical battery levels, the phone can be charged only a little less than two hours to get back to 100%.
The Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Pro runs Android 9 Pie out of the box with a Cherry OS V.2 skinning on top. The software comes with pre-installed apps, including the standard Google suite, Power Manager, Property System, Hi Weather, Themes, and Game Box–the last one optimizes the device’s performance when playing games. Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram are also available upon turning the phone on. These apps, along with few more, are available on the home screen by default. If you want to access the app drawer, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
In addition to the fingerprint scanner, there’s also option to secure your phone with Face Unlock. Both security functions are a hit-or-miss. They work accurately, but not as snappy as you would expect. In terms of connectivity, the Flare S8 Pro supports LTE connection, along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Its GPS function also works well when navigation apps are in use.
While the Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Pro has still a few things that need to be improved on, this device remains to be a good buy in terms of the overall package. For P5,999, you already get a well-designed phone, huge display and battery, large expandable battery capacity, decent computing performance, and an serviceable rear camera. You also get the bonus of added features like fingerprint scanner and face unlock. In terms of gaming, you certainly get a performance worth of the Flare S8 Pro’s price–perhaps even more–just don’t expect flagship-level gaming on this one.But if you want a budget smartphone that’s reliable in more ways than one, the Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Pro is a great candidate for the job.