Smartphone cameras are a top selling point these days, but camera sensor is just half the story. Ideally, it should be paired with an intuitive and easy to use camera app for consumers to really tap into the potential of their smartphones. For the longest time, Cherry Mobile has relied on the stock camera app that accompanied the phone’s SoC, which meant you would either end up with MediaTek or Qualcomm’s basic solution. Now though, the local brand has decided to step it up with some of their latest Flare S6 series smartphones. So not only are we getting refreshed specs for 2018, we’re also getting a new and hopefully a more capable camera app.
The Cherry Mobile Camera app features a clean and simple UI that allows you to navigate between shooting modes by swiping left or right. Additional options such as flash and HDR can be toggled up top, with a quick access to even more options in the upper right. The toggles that appear depend on the shooting mode, reducing the amount of time needed to pick just the right settings. While the UI keeps things clean, it does manage to auto-rotate some of the on-screen elements when switching between portrait and landscape orientations.
Photo and Video Modes
Of course, you get your typical photo and video shooting modes. You can quickly toggle flash and HDR setttings directly from photo mode, or choose from a set of live filters. Video mode lets you choose between 480p, 720p, and 1080p recording.
The camera app gives you get the ability to adjust your skin tone with the “whiten” option, as well as “smooth” out your complexion. There’s also a built in algorithm to make your face appear slimmer or make your eyes appear larger. You can either adjust all these settings all at once or individually, depending on your preference.
These options are nothing new of course, but where it gets interesting is the app’s ability to guess your age. I tested this with a group of friends and it would often guess our ages within a couple of years, which was uncanny.
FaceCute mode barely looks any different from Beauty mode, offering the same options to tweak different aspects of your appearance. However, it also adds the ability to use Snapchat-like filters. Many of them are animated although they don’t offer the same 3D effect that Snapchat’s filters offer. There’s also not a lot of filters to choose from, but that might change over time.
This mode only works with the rear camera and allows you to draw focus to a subject by applying a radial blur. In a sense, it’s not a real bokeh effect that captures depth of field information. Still, it’s a fairly useful effect that also helps add drama to a shot.
Other Shooting Modes
Initially, I thought Cherry Mobile neglected to include a Panorama mode among their new camera app’s different shooting options. I eventually found it hidden in a menu that’s accessed from the upper-right of the UI.
There’s also the option to add a watermark, and there’s several styles you can choose from. All of them can be resized using the pinch-zoom gesture.
Time-lapse is a nice feature that not a lot of smartphones have, and you can choose between 1s, 3s, 5s, and 10s intervals.
Finally, there’s Beauty Video mode that applies all the same beauty filters to a live video recording. It’s a fairly new feature on smartphones and it’s nice to see it on some of the new Flare S6 series smartphones as well.
It’s not just about the specs anymore as a lot of camera and selfie-centric smartphones are relying on enhancements to their respective camera apps to maximize their capabilities. The new Cherry Mobile Camera app is a reasonably good attempt by the local brand to up its game against the growing competition and it’s a step in the right direction. However, it’s a new app and it will need a few more tweaks before it can be considered a great software solution.