Without surprise, Cherry Mobile dominates the budget smartphone market particularly in the sub 5000 pesos category. They even managed to offer 8 out of the 14 octa core smartphones with Mali 450 GPU in that department. We got one of them in our hands and it's one of most strikingly different among them as it boast the largest screen size at 5.5 inches.

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Meet the Cherry Mobile Flare XL
Unboxing / Accessories

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
The box
It comes with a standard looking carton box that shows some features and specs of the phone.The accessories included are the usual 1 A USB charger adapter, earbuds with mic, micro USB cables and a built in screen protector which I actually loved. For a big smartphone with these type of specs, the package Cherry Mobile was able to put here was quite impressive.

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Accessories
Build Quality / Design

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Front of the phone
The Cherry Mobile Flare XL resembles its Flare S3 and S3 octa siblings. They have almost identical looking design and thickness except that the XL as the name would suggest is bigger and slightly heavier than them. It maintained that all plastic build quality with that chrome paint to add more style and substance to this unit.

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Back of the phone
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
The jack and usb port
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Look how thin it looks! :)
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
The volume rocker and power button
While the Flare XL feels quite a well made product and feels good to hold thanks to that chrome painted sides and the non-existence of sharp edges, I do not have that much confidence in its back cover as it feels brittle and might not survive accidental drops. The good thing there is its just the back cover and the rest of the phone appears to be a well made product. I just pointed it out so that Cherry Mobile will be able to improve on that portion in the future. As usual, I would recommend the use of a phone case for added protection.

Display

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
The Display
With the use of a big HD screen with a bit lower pixel density at just 267 ppi, I did not expect much from the Flare XL and I'm glad I did. While the display can go really bright where-in there are times that it can act as a source of light when taking selfies in the dark, the details aren't just too sharp. Fortunately, it was able to give me decent viewing angles even if it's slightly washed out. The use of 5 point multi touch is also laudable as it was able to give me better typing experience. There are occasional ghost touches, but overall the touch experience was good. The display is generally acceptable, but the unreasonable nitpicky individuals might be dissatisfied. To me let's be just thankful that there's a big screened handset with this much power at a very low price point.

Battery Life

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Battery life
Even with the use of a 5.5 inches screen with just 2,300 mAh battery, Im glad to say that the battery performance of the Flare XL is pretty acceptable. On a daily use, I was able to use it for almost 7 hours with regular texting, occasional music, wifi and 3G in max brightness setting. In heavy usage, I was able to squeeze 4 hours of battery life that's quite nice in general.

Audio

Speakers - The speaker quality is good for the price. It was louder than both the SKK Lynx and the Rio 2 with good enough details. The Flare XL is good for watching movies listening to music in a small quiet room.

Audio output via headphones / earphones - Listenable, balanced but needs improvements on the details and separation. The soundstage is quite congested too. Fortunately the mids is clear enough for most.

Mic and call quality - Surprisingly good, the recordings were quite clear and I was able to get good call quality with loud enough voice.

Earbuds w/ mic - Quite decent sounding, however it maybe too bass bloated. I still strongly suggest that you get a replacement one to get satisfactory sound.

Camera

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Daylight shot
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Regular dark place shot
The rear camera performed decently in our test. I was able to take good enough viewable photos with nice colors and details. It's far from the best in the price range, but again for most this is good enough. The flash is decently strong too.

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Megamall lighting
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Regular dim light shot
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
HDR dim light shot
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Selfie shot, dim lighting
Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
Selfie shot good lighting
The front camera needs improvement. It's decent in good lighting, but fails on dim and low lighting. Even if you don't zoom the shot the grains are very visible. The focus is also extremely slow at 3 seconds and wasn't able to satisfy me.

Great expected performance!

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
The UI
The phone performed in my expected level. Everything was smooth, fast and good. You can technically run almost any known app to Android, but just make sure that you won't open a lot simultaneously for you not to experience lags and jitters as this has just 1 GB of RAM.

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
OTA and clear motion
The custom Android UI of Cherry Mobile is also very good. I liked what they did to the lock screen as you can have a quick access on some apps. I also like that it has motion gestures, voice sensors and that double tap to wake. It may not be the complete double tap to wake used by LG and ASUS, but that feature is good enough for you not to overuse your power button.

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
The gestures
Even if I do not mainly use the phone in gaming, I'm glad to report that it was a smooth experience based on the few games I tried. This would be a good enough gaming phone for those who do not need to use ultra high settings. The use a lower resolution screen may have added some smoothness to its performance even if there's an occasional heating issue.

Games tried: Dead Trigger 2, PBA Slam and Into the Dead

Benchmarks

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Review, A Big Screened Budget Beast
The benchmark scores!
Pro's - Price, decent battery life, speaker output, good looking design, big screen, smooth overall performance

Con's - Front camera slow focus and lacked in details, occasional ghost touch and heating issues, flimsy back cover

Cherry Mobile Flare XL Specs

  • Display: 5.5 IPS OGS HD IPS (267 ppi)
  • Processor: 1.4 GHz MT6592M Octa Core
  • GPU: Mali 450
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • ROM: 8 GB expandable via microSD card up to 64 GB
  • Rear Camera: 13 MP BSI w/ LED flash
  • Front Camera: 5 MP
  • Battery: 2,300 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4.4 Kitkat
  • Connectivity: WiFi / Bluetooth / 3G / HSPA+ / GPS / Miracast
  • Others: OTG compatible / FM Radio, Available colors: Black, White, Yellow, Red, Light Blue, Navy/Dark Blue
  • Price: PHP 4,999

Verdict

It is a refreshing move by Cherry Mobile to bring a big screened octa core powered handset to the masses. The Flare XL is a highly recommended smartphone if you're fond of getting good performing big screened phone in this price point. It's great for watching movies on the go or anything that needed a bigger screen. While it has some understandable flaws, the Flare XL is a solid phone for the price!
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