Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa Review: Great Design and Display, Good Performance, Poor Battery and Accessories

By Daniel Gubalane on Mar 06, 2015

I was a bit disappointed with the first version of the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 that was released back in August of 2014 due to its lack of USB OTG support.

Hence, the announcement of the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa made me very excited because it doesn’t only have USB OTG support, it also comes with a more powerful octa core processor!

Design is one of the areas that I liked even in the first Flare S3 – the thin and lightweight body, faux leather back cover ala Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the chrome band around the edges.

The Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa looks classy and you’ll never be ashamed of showing it off in public. You can even secure a personalized back cover to make it suit your tastes more.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa side view
I love this view of the Flare S3 Octa!

My only gripe with the design is the lack of a notification LED. You’ll also have a hard time inserting the first SIM card since the slot is under the SIM 2 and microSD card slots.

The screen is also another area where the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa excels. It has a 5-inch HD IPS panel that looks like it also has OGS technology since there is no apparent space between the graphics and the screen’s topmost layer.

I’m also satisfied with the sharpness of the screen, brightness (legibility under direct sunlight is still good) as well as viewing angles. It does have a problem with saturation as well as contrast in blues and reds.

The touch screen panel supports up to five touch points at the same time and produces a quick enough response to your inputs.

Firing up Antutu on the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa immediately reveals the improvement brought by the octa core processor from MediaTek.

The quad core processor of the first Flare S3 only has a maximum Antutu score of around 19,000 points whereas the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa scores up to 28,000 points!

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa Nenamark2 FPS Score
Nenamark2 score for gamers out there…

In terms of actual performance, there are still occasional lags though. This happens when I watch 1080p videos and play hard core games. I think this has to do with the 1GB RAM.

I had great expectations for the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa’s cameras. After all, it’s advertised as 13MP with BSI sensor and 5MP for the rear and front respectively.

Pictures taken using the main camera are generally good although colors are a bit washed out. The front camera also takes very nice selfies when the lighting conditions are good.

Here are some sample pictures all shot using the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa:

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa sample picture 13MP macro
Macro shot using the 13MP rear camera. | Original file.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa sample picture 13MP
Normal shot 🙂 | Original file.

 

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa sample picture 13MP indoor
Indoor sample picture. This is inside a mall. | Original file.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa sample picture 13MP HDR
HDR | Original file.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa sample picture front camera
Nag-selfie ang manok! Shot using the Flare S3 Octa’s front camera. | Original file.

However, the main camera performs poorly in low light. The front camera can still produce Facebook or Instagram worthy selfies though.

There are no problems in texting and calling using the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa except for the slightly low quality earpiece. The loudspeaker produces clear sound though as long as you don’t max the volume out.

Wi-Fi, mobile internet using 3G, Bluetooth and GPS all work well. I’ve even used it to check the route that we should take from Davao back to Ormoc City using Google Maps.

The battery is one of the major disadvantages of the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa. It has a 5-inch HD screen and octa core processor, yet it only runs on a 1,800mAh battery!

Playing a 720p video again and again until the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa turns off made it last for 4 hours and 32 minutes only. On the other hand, it lasts for up to 8-9 hours when I use it as my main smartphone for the day.

Of course, using the phone sparingly extends its battery life up to 18 hours! The above screenshot was taken when I used the Flare S3 Octa as my secondary phone – mainly for taking pictures when we were night swimming in Samal Island.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa SIM slot

The included mobile charger in the package can re-charge the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa from 0 to 100% in two hours and 36 minutes. The free powerbank can also restore 73% of the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa’s juice.

You should get the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa if you’re looking for an affordable octa core smartphone with a very nice screen and design. You’ll just have to wait for the next sale.

It only went on sale for one day and it immediately got sold out. That is a testament to how good this smartphone is. However, bear in mind its poor battery life and those low quality accessories.

The Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa is a good buy but you might also consider the Cherry Mobile Me Vibe or the SKK Lynx.