The Cherry Mobile Flare X3 is yet another bang-for-the-buck device from the local smartphone brand. This sub-P10,000 phone boasts the latest mobile technologies along with premium specs and design. And to test it capabilities, we took the FLare X3 to a round of testing. Here’s what we learned and discovered about this phone. Scroll down.
Design & Construction
In terms of design, the Cherry Mobile Flare X3 flaunts its solid construction and beautiful finish. The Twilight Purple colorway gives off a classy gradient finish because of its glass body. We wish that the phone is available in other, preferably solid color, as an option. The gorgeous rear is only interrupted by the triple rear AI cameras and LED flash at the upper left corner. There’s also a minimalist cherry mobile branding at the center. Surprisingly, the rear isn’t a fingerprint magnet or slippery to hold. But if you want an added protection to your device, there’s a clear jelly case included in the box.
Because of its glass body, the Cherry Flare X3 feels solid to hold. We didn’t worry one bit about its durability, thanks mainly to the solid metal frame. The buttons and ports are placed strategically on all sides of the phone. At the top is the 3.5mm audio jack, which thankfully Cherry Mobile did not remove on the Flare X3. At the bottom are two grilled opening–one houses the loudspeaker and the other for the microphone–along with the USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer.
Onto the left of the handset is the SIM/microSD card slot. Inside it are two trays–one for a nano SIM and the other can be used for a nano SIM or a microSD card. Moving to the right side of the device, you’ll see volume rocker at the upper part and the power button right below it. Both keys are clicky and tactile. The fingerprint sensor, which is in a rounded rectangular shape, is also located at the right side of the phone, below the power key. This configuration makes it difficult for you to use your index finger for unlocking (which is what you’ll normally use when the fingerprint is at the back). It’s more accessible and sensible to use your thumb for the fingerprint unlock as the thumb automatically rests on the fingerprint sensor when you pick up and hold your phone.
In front, the glass-covered screen features a bar notch, which houses the dual selfie shooters as well as the call speaker. The huge notch is surprising to see on this phone as more and more devices are moving to smaller or no notch design nowadays. The bezels around the display are slim, except for the one on the chin, which is probably twice the thickness of the ones on the sides.
Over all, the Cherry Mobile Flare X3 gives you a premium build and construction, combined with a stylish aesthetic. It’s a stylish addition to your tech arsenal.
Display & Multimedia
After reviewing several Cherry Mobile Flare S8 devices with HD+ screen before, the 6.2-inch Full HD+ Trueview IPS display of the Flare X3 is a welcome sight. Powering up the phone, you’ll immediately see the difference. The colors are more vivid and popping, the icons and other details are clear, and the text are crisp.
YouTube videos can now be played at 1080p, and just overall, the videos and images have better contrast and saturation. On the other hand, since we’re used to the small notches of the Cherry Mobile Flare S8 series, the bar notch of the Flare X3 now appears to be more space consuming and a little bit distracting. We usually opt to watch videos on its original size, and not set it to “Zoomed to fill’ configuration. However, on some games like Call of Duty Mobile, there’s no option to adjust the screen. It made the playing experience slightly difficult as the notch blocks some options on the screen.
Brightness is also great on the Flare X3 screen. Setting the brightness to only 50% to 70% should be enough. At 70%, you can walk in on a room with extreme lighting or outside under harsh sunlight and the content on the screen will still be clear and readable.
The audio on this phone is okay. It can get loud enough to fill a room at maximum volume. Even at the higher volume levels, the sound did not get tinny nor distorted.
Launch the camera app and you’ll see right away the different shooting modes available on the phone–Photo, Video, FaceBeauty, and Portrait. Both the Face Beauty and the Portrait allows further configuration on the levels of beautification and bokeh, respectively. Aside from the shooting modes, you can see from the screen icons for the Flash mode and other settings. Unlike on the Flare S8 series, the camera app here doesn’t have options for filters as well as other shooting modes like Panorama or PRO.
The 20MP + 2MP dual front camera of the Cherry Mobile Flare X3 can produce decent selfies with the proper and enough lighting conditions. Under natural and good indoor light, the front shooter provides good images. On the default settings, beautificaton of the FaceBeauty mode isn’t too extreme and still appears natural. However, the videos and images tend to be muddy photos in low light settings. In Portrait mode, the bokeh effect on selfies sometimes look unnatural as you can still see the edges of the blurring effect. However, for the most times, the bokeh looks good.
The triple rear camera–composed of a 12MP, 5MP, and 2MP lenses–produces vibrant and detailed photos under good lighting conditions. Like on the front camera, low-lit images tend to be noisy and blurry. The Portrait Mode on the rear camera is a hit-or-miss affair; there are times that it can clearly distinguish the foreground and background, thus creating a natural bokeh, other times there seems to be no blurring happening for the background.
For both the front and rear shooters, focusing is an issue, which takes a couple of seconds especially if there’s not enough light to work with. You’d also have to wait to see the preview before moving the camera or subject as it takes a couple of seconds for the camera to render the image. Moving too quickly can result to blurred photos.
This phone can shoot up to 1080p videos. However, expect some pulsating on your footage as the camera does not smoothly focus when shooting while moving or there are movements within the frame. Pack a monopod, tripod, or gimbal, too, to help with the stabilization.
Under the hood, this device has a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60 processor and 6GB RAM. These specs are promising in terms of gaming. But first, we ran some benchmarks apps and here are the scores we got:
3DMark Sling Shot: 1136
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Open GL Es 3.1: 1136
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan: 1102
PCMark Work 2.0: 7579
Geekbench – Single-Core: 259
Geekbench – Multi-Core: 1189
Menial smartphone tasks (messaging, browsing, camera, playing music, and videos) are easily executed with no problems at all. Open several apps at the same time and switch between them–no problem at all! The general experience is smooth and hitch-free on the Flare X3.
In terms of gaming, this device can handle popular titles like Mobile Legends without experiencing any lags. You can also seamlessly play PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile, and Asphalt 9 without experiencing any frame drops or delays–granted these are set to low to medium graphic settings. Should you wish to enjoy high graphics configuration, better expect some hitches on your playing–don’t worry these are very minimal and does not greatly affect the whole gameplay.
Another thing to watch for is that the rear part, particularly at the corner where the cameras are, heats up when playing games. We’ve experienced this on every title we’ve played extensively. But with jelly case on, this is barely noticeable.
The 4000mAh battery of the Flare X3 is more than enough for your non-stop gaming needs. Continuous gaming with Wi-Fi or mobile data will drain your phone from 100% in around 5 to 6 hours. If you’re going to use it for usual and basic smartphone tasks with internet connection, the battery can last you around to 9 to 10 hours.
For storage needs, the Flare X3 packs 64GB built-in storage. This is still expandable via microSD of up to 256GB. That’s more than enough space for all your photos, videos, files, and apps.
The Cherry Mobile Flare X3 runs Android 9 Pie out of the box. The user interface is clean and the icons are on the minimalist side, which we particularly like. By default, all the apps greet you right from the home screen, but you can simply rearrange them (group similar apps or remove rarely used apps) if it gets too cluttered. Swipe up to reveal the app drawer and see all the apps arranged alphabetically.
Typical pre-installed programs such as the standard Google apps, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger are already available out of the box. It’s a good thing that Cherry Mobile didn’t add too much bloatware to the phone, allowing more storage for the user to customize it to their liking.
For security, both the fingerprint scanner and face unlock works accurately and relatively fast. For the face unlock, however, I had some minor issues when unlocking the phone in very low light areas. Connectivity features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE support all works well. Even the GPS pins location accurately when using navigation apps. Cherry Mobile added a gyroscope to the Flare X3, meaning you can use AR game and apps that requires such sensor.
The Cherry Mobile Flare X3 brings a lot to the table–triple rear cameras, dual front shooters, 6GB RAM, 64GB expandable storage, and huge battery life. All this for only P9,999. Plus, it’s a stylish gadget to own, too, with its glass body, metal frame, beautiful display, and an attractive gradient finish.
If you’re looking for a great phone camera, you may want to look the other way. But this is a good phone to consider if you’re a gamer as this one can handle most popular titles for mobile without any lags; it’s also a good choice for chic individual searching for a good-looking and reliable device.