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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Cherry Mobile Flare HD Unboxing and Review

This weekend I was supposed to publish my review of MomentCam, however, because of recent events I'm going to post an Unboxing instead. My Samsung Galaxy S2 is now an expensive paperweight! My backup phone is also acting up on me. (Maybe I'll post about that in the future.) So I needed a new one, but because it's on such short notice I had to get something affordable and within my budget.

On buying new gadgets

Before I go ahead with the unboxing. I'm going to ask you this: do you find yourself buying a gadget and then feeling buyer's remose when a new model comes out months (or even worse - weeks) after your purchase That's technology for you! Years ago you can future proof your gadget for at least 2 years. Now that's not the case because upgrades seem to get released every quarter! What you need is to learn contentment. One way to be content is to buy the gadget you need and not just the 'latest' one. Here's a tip: do your research, figure out which features are important to you, then go draft a 'minimum' requirements list.

I was looking for mid-range phone that at least had a dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, dual SIM capabilities, and a front camera, all on JB. Seems like a tall order? Not really. Especially if you're not afraid of buying from local phone manufacturers. Want to know what made it easier for me? GB SB Techblog. The blog has price-list even for local phone manufacturers! They recently released a 2014 Pricelist that you should check out.

Cherry Mobile Flare HD

After all the research I've done and cross-checking with my wallet (lol) I set off to get a Cherry Mobile Flare HD yesterday. There are a few phones that meet my MIN REQ but I chose the Flare HD because of the IPS display, both SIM slots are 3G capable, and the front camera is 5MP, which is definitely better than my Samsung Galaxy S2's but also better than most of the other phones within its price range.

Here's a video review by Technoclast that I found helpful:


Let's get on with the unboxing shall we? I bought the unit at a Cherry Mobile stall on the 3rd floor of Victory Park and Shop in Antipolo for P5,500. 

Box, jelly case, unit and battery
Cherry Mobile Flare HD
Pictures above were taken with a potato my Cherry Mobile NOVA. Apologies for the pic quality. Now, these next pictures are taken using the Cherry Mobile Flare HD's stock camera app. This right here is the box:
The Cherry Mobile Flare HD comes with:

In-ear headphones
Charger and USB cable
I got a violet jelly case! So far all the reviews I've read and watched online got pink colored jelly cases with their Cherry Mobile Flare HD.

Front (Taken using Camera Zoom FX app)
Back (Taken using Camera Zoom FX app)
If you watched the video review I linked above, the reviewer mentioned the jelly case fitting snugly that when you take out the phone it would sometimes leave the back cover behind. That's exactly what I experienced too:


However, unlike the reviewer's unit mine isn't creaky at all. The back cover that came with the box fits my unit well. I would have taken more pictures if I had a better camera, but then again, you're probably better off checking out pics from tech review sites (they're the professionals!).

I wasn't able to take a picture of the manual, but here's a picture of everything you're getting for P5,499 (SRP) except the unit:

What I liked:

- Jelly case

I'm tickled pink that my jelly case is violet! (teehee~ Sorry had to do it!)

- Front Camera

I don't know much about the about picture quality but I can tell that the front camera is better than my previous phone, the Samsung Galaxy S2.

- Display
The IPS display is gorgeous. 

TIP: While at the store, download Blacklight Bleed Test this app helps check for dead pixels. Doing it in the store should guarantee you can get a replacement unit on the spot. Saves you the trouble of going back to have it replaced. I brought my SmartBRO sim so I could logon to Play Store to DL the app.

- Sim slots

This is my first dual-sim phone and I'm glad that both sim slots are 3G capable. I work from home so I have a SmartBRO postpaid sim, a Globe Tatoo prepaid sim and a Sun Bro Wireless prepaid sim. The SmartBRO I usually have plugged in on a Power Plug-It while I now have the Globe and the Sun plugged in the Flare HD. Toggling between the two sims is fairly easy and you can do it via the notification bar.

What I didn't like:

- No Screen Protector included in the box

I asked the salespeople and they said the bigger stores sell them, but that the box doesn't come packaged with one. I had to go another cellphone shop to buy a temporary one until I can get my hands on an official Flare HD screen protector. The one I got was a clear screen protector that's not anti-fingerproof made for the Flare 2X. It's a little short and does not cover the soft touch buttons but it does have holes up top that fits the front camera and speaker grill. I bought that for P100 and gave the salesperson a tip because she installed it for me for no charge! The other stalls charged P150 for a matte screen protector that they also needed to cut. If you know where to get a Flare HD Anti-Fingerproof Screen Protector purrlease comment below!

Soft Touch Button placement

Both my Samsung Galaxy S2 and my Cherry Mobile NOVA had the back button on the right while the Flare HD has it's back button located on the left. It's nothing anyone couldn't get used to though. A few more uses and I'll probably get the hang of it soon enough.

- Proximity Sensor placement

Again both my previous phones had their proximity sensors on the right of the speaker grill. The Flare HD has it's on the - you guessed it - leftI don't like this because usually I hold my phone using my right hand, and I use my right thumb pull down the notification bar. Having the proximity sensor on the right of the speaker grill means it's easy to activate it, which means it turns the screen off instead of showing the notifications. My way around this is to pull down on the top left side of the notification bar and not on the right side where I'm used to. I don't see this as a design issue but more about me and how I use my phone. It would definitely take more time to get used to than the soft touch button placement though.

- Bloatware

I don't care much for Start lockscreen app. It's a good enough launcher with built-in Cherry Mobile themes, but since I almost always have lockscreen security on, it's a hassle to have to unlock the phone twice instead of just once. Unfortunately, you cannot uninstall Start and all the other CM bundled apps (except KakaoTalk that you can Disable from Settings > Apps > All Apps > Kakao Talk > Disable). The only way you'll be able to do that is if you Root your Android. WARNING: Rooting your device voids your warranty!

Overall, I feel that Cherry Mobile Flare HD is definitely worth my money. For now it'll be my primary phone until I gather funds for a replacement phone for my dearly departed Samsung Galaxy S2.

That's it for now! I'll update this post or make a new entry if there's anything I find bloggable about the Flare HD. Before I go, Here's the specs sheet:

Cherry Mobile Flare HD Specifications:
  • 1.2Ghz Quad-Core MT6589 Processor
  • 4.3” 1280×720 IPS Display
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 12MP Camera + Flash, 5MP Front
  • 1GB RAM, 4GB ROM, MicroSD
  • 1,800mAh Battery
  • Dual Regular SIM With 3G
  • Comes with free Jelly Case
[Source: LINK]

Do you own a Flare HD? How are you liking it so far? Comment below!

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