Budget phones of the past few years are markedly different from what we’re seeing these days. One of those leading the charge in that respect is homegrown Cherry Mobile. And one of the brand’s newest devices, the Flare S6 Selfie, is showing just how much the segment and the company has grown.

The best possible options. With a 5.2-inch display, the phone is pretty compact and my regular lady hands appreciates the size. One hand use isn’t going to be an issue. Its aluminum unibody offers a great feel and even grip to the phone. One downside is the camera protrudes a bit too far for my liking. You need to put a case over this or just be extra careful to not scratch the lens of the camera.

On top of this, Cherry Mobile has opted to put in specs we’d consider normal for midrange devices but not for budget offerings. You get a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, 3GB of RAM, and the aforementioned display comes in Full HD. The display, though, isn’t as bright as I’d like it to be. I struggle a bit with it under direct sunlight.

More or less what you expect. In terms of performance, I got more or less what I expected to get from an entry-level device. It’s not blazing fast but it can handle switching between the different social media apps and email apps with ease. It was my main phone when we went on a trip with Cherry Mobile to try out this phone in the wild and I wasn’t really let down by it when I needed to post on social media or answer work emails and the like. The screen might be a bit small for those who want to binge Netflix shows on it, though.

Noticed it heated up a bit though while using it, especially when I was on data, so you have to give it a rest every now and then. Its fingerprint scanner, while not the fastest one out there, recognizes fingerprints quite well from different angles. Don’t expect this to be a phone for gaming, though. Let me tell you that now.

Shoot away. If we are to talk about big selling points of this device though, the focus would be on its cameras. You get the same 16-megapixel f/2.0 Samsung ISOCELL camera on both the front and the back cameras. I’m impressed by the color reproduction of this device when it gets it right. The shots come out natural and detailed. It struggles with highlights under bright lights as it tends to wash these out and shots taken in low light are serviceable at best. But when it gets it right, you get amazing shots. Focusing is pretty quick in brightly lit areas, while in other environments, you’ll need a steadier hand. Selfies look natural enough that it doesn’t look like you’ve erased all of your pores in the shot.

The major downside. One major cause of concern is how easily you can drain the battery on the Flare S6 Selfie. With just 2,600mAh battery and things like a Full HD display and a slightly more generous RAM, I would burn through the phone in six hours or so. I needed to charge halfway through the day when we had it during the tour. The upside is you get USB Type-C to bump up charging time a bit. You can get fully charged from zero percent in around two hours.

VERDICT

The Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie makes an excellent case for phones that won’t hurt your finances that heavily while still offering you some pretty compelling features.

DISPLAY 5.2” Full HD IPS (1,920 x 1,080 resolution)
SIM Dual
OPERATING SYSTEM Android 7.0 Nougat w/ Cherry OS
PROCESSOR MediaTek MT6750T 1.5GHz octa-core
GPU Mali T860 MP2
MEMORY 3GB RAM
STORAGE 16GB internal, expandable up to 128GB via microSD (SIM 2 slot)
CAMERAS 16MP rear & front w/ Samsung ISOCELL S5K3P3 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, LED flash
CONNECTIVITY & I/O PORTS 4G LTE; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS; USB Type-C
SECURITY Fingerprint scanner
BATTERY 2,600mAh
PRICE P7,999
Test: Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie
FORM FACTOR8.5
BUILD QUALITY9
EASE OF USE9
PERFORMANCE 8.8
VALUE FOR MONEY9.5
9Overall Score