This is the Cherry Mobile Aqua SV, one of two 5G smartphones the local brand just launched. Now, at 11,999 pesos this is the pricier of the two, but you’re getting so much more for the money that I think it’s worth it, even when comparing it against the similarly priced phones from other brands.
Now, I’m coming out with a review very shortly, but here are 5 things I love about the Aqua SV and two things I don’t.
First is the most obvious, which is the screen. It’s a 6.6 inch Full HD+ AMOLED display that wraps around the edges. Ever since I started seeing screens like this on Samsung’s flagships, I just thought it was the sexiest thing on a phone ever. Now that I’m seeing it on what’s essentially an entry-level phone, I’m mind blown that budget handsets have come this far.
AMOLED displays are capable of rendering true black, which gives things a realer than real appearance. The screen is so good, you might think you’re taking better photos than you think. Which is a downside I guess? You’ll just have to accept that your photos are only going to look as good as they are on your phone and nowhere else other than another AMOLED screen.
The second thing I love is still related to the screen. It’s the in-display fingerprint scanner. The technology isn’t exactly new but I don’t feel like it’s that prevalent yet, so I had misgivings about how it might work in reality. Now that I’ve had it for a few days, I can say that it’s pretty accurate with the only times it misses due to me not having my fingerprint centered on the indicator. I’ve also had the wife try to unlock it and fail, which you know, might be important to some people.
Third is that leather-textured back. Now, Cherry Mobile’s press release says it’s leather though it might actually just be a textured plastic, also affectionately called pleather in the industry. Whatever it is, it’s nice. It probably helps that it’s what Cherry Mobile likes to call Luxe Green, a sort of dark bluish green finish. If it had been in black, I don’t think the Aqua SV would have pulled off the leather look as good as it does.
Fourth, is the front camera’s performance in low light. Now, I haven’t necessarily tested it at night yet, but rather at close to sunset. I’ve tested budget smartphone cameras a lot and they typically don’t do that great in low light, especially when we’re talking about the selfie cameras. However, for both stills and video, I found that I was able to get great low light results with minimal noise. Now, a lot of this is artificial because the results do look a bit too smooth in photos, but that’s harder to do for video and as you can see in this clip, it’s still quite usable even when in reality the sun had practically set at this point.
Finally, the fifth thing I like about the Aqua SV is also camera-related and it’s that you get a dual selfie camera setup. The second camera is just a depth sensor, not a separate camera you can use on its own. Still, you get the effect of a shallow depth of field and subject separation against the background and not a lot of budget cameras come with this kind of setup. Yes, a single camera setup is still capable of subject separation thanks to real time processing, but it’s not going to be as clean. I’ll try to do a comparison between the Aqua SV and Aqua S10 Pro 5G on this.
Now, let’s talk about the things I don’t like about the Aqua SV. First is something about the screen. The dual front cameras actually push the elements that would have been in the upper left corner closer to the middle, but not quite. It’s a little weird seeing the digital clock in the notification shade a little of center.
And finally, the last thing I hate, really, is the fact that it doesn’t come with a 3.5mm headset port. Sure, it comes bundled with Type-C earpod style headset, but the downside of using the Type-C port for audio output is now you can’t charge the phone at the same time. This can be a downside on long drives where you’re connecting to your car’s entertainment system using an AUX port. Sure, a lot of head units on newer cars come with Bluetooth, but there’s still a lot of cars on the road with bare bones entertainment units.
Also, if you already have a nice pair of headphones or a headset you like, you’re going to need a 3.5mm port to Type-C adapter, and the Aqua SV doesn’t come with it bundled. Yes, more people are moving to wireless headsets, but audiophiles who want to enjoy their own headphones, or even gamers who prefer the low latency of a wired headset will want to buy an adapter separately if they’re thinking of getting the Aqua SV.
Now, these are just my first impressions after having the phone for a few days. If you’re interested in my full review, make sure to subscribe my YouTube channel. If you want me to cover something in my review, be sure to let me know in the comments below and I’ll try my best to go over it.