Dual camera technology has finally filtered down to entry level smartphones with the likes of the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus entering the market. However, simply adding a second camera can mean different outcomes depending on what exactly that extra camera does to improve your photos. How good is the dual camera setup on the Flare P1 Plus and how does it fare as a smartphone too? Keep on reading my full review to find out!
Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus Specs
- 5.5″ Full HD IPS display (1080 x 1920 resolution, 401ppi) with 2.5D curved glass
- MediaTek MT6737T SoC
- 4 x 1.44GHz ARM Cortex-A53 processor
- Mali 720 GPU
- Android 7.0 Nougat
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- Dual primary cameras (13mp + 8mp) with dual LED flash
- 8mp front camera with LED flash
- Up to 4G/LTE, 700MHz ready
- GPS with A-GPS
- 3,000mAh battery
For its price, the Flare P1 Plus comes pretty packed. Aside from the dual cameras, it’s also remarkable that it has a Full HD resolution display. Of course, how well all of this is implemented is what really matters, so please read on.
What’s in the Box?
- Headset with in-line mic
- Micro USB to USB transfer and charging cable
- Wall charger
- User guides
Build Quality and Design
The Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus features a unibody design that bears a passing resemblance to the iPhone 7 Plus thanks to its dual cameras. It’s relatively easy to hold in a one-handed grip because of its rounded edges and 2.5D curved screen. There’s quite a bit of heft to it though due to its metal body and its finish is a fingerprint magnet, both of which can be a bit annoying.
On the face of the device, you’ll find the front camera and accompanying LED flash, not to mention the less obvious notification light, and sensors. There’s also the capacitive navigation buttons below the screen, which unfortunately aren’t back-lit.
On the left is the slim volume rocker, while on the right, you’ll find the SIM slot and power/lock button.
On top is the 3.5mm headset jack while at the bottom is the micro USB port. You’ll also find the dual loudspeakers here.
Flip it over on its back and you’ll find the dual cameras, dual LED flash, fingerprint scanner, and silver antenna bands.
The Flare P1 Plus packs a 5.5 inch Full HD display with 2.5D curved edges to give it a more premium feel. It’s far from perfect though. To me, it’s a little too bright and contrast could be better. But still, seeing a Full HD screen AND dual cameras in this price point is something I certainly wasn’t expecting at this price.
Software and UI
Like most of Cherry Mobile’s new smartphones, the Flare P1 Plus runs Nougat 7.0 out of the box with minimal obvious customizations. It’s as close to a pure stock Nougat experience you’re going to get if it wasn’t for the ads.
Yes, Cherry Mobile’s own apps force ads to appear on your screen and while they’re easily disabled, most users won’t know how to do this. It’s more than a mild annoyance as folks won’t be expecting them from a phone they had purchased in full.
Benchmarks and Performance
Under the hood beats a MediaTek MT6737T with its 1.44GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor and Mali 720 GPU. The extra “T” at the end of its model number means it’s a faster variant of the conventional MT6737, which in this case means the GPU has been slightly overclocked.
The MT6737T equipped Flare P1 Plus performs well across Antutu and Vellamo. In Antutu, it scored 36,492, which is what I would normally get with phones running the old but beloved MT6735 octa-core SoC.
Similarly, the chipset performs slightly better than the MT6735 in Vellamo’s Metal and Multi-core benchmarks, scoring 929 and 1,500 in those tests, respectively.
The Flare P1 Plus covers all of the connectivity basics and more thanks mostly to its chipset. You’re getting up to 4G/LTE connectivity, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. There’s no NFC, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker as not a lot of people use it these days. Throughout my time with it, the Flare P1 Plus has held onto WiFi and mobile data exceptionally well.
If the dual cameras aren’t the highlight of the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus, I don’t know what is. But is it as good as high end applications of the technology that we’ve seen with the likes of Huawei, Oppo or Vivo? Let’s take a look.
The dual camera setup consists of a 13mp primary camera and a secondary 8mp camera which one would presume was for depth-sensing.
Launching the camera app takes you Normal shooting mode by default, so you’ll need to manually select Wide Aperture mode to take advantage of the dual cameras. Once you’re in Wide Aperture mode, you simply tap to focus as usual, but now you’ll see aperture controls that let you dictate how blurred the background becomes. It’s an extra step, but certainly worth it to achieve that shallow depth-of-field effect.
Except that it doesn’t intelligently sense the background behind your subject to blur it out. Instead, what results is basically just a radial blur, which you could easily apply using most photo editing apps out there. Sure, it takes the extra step out of having to edit the photo to apply the blur effect, but to me this is less than I was expecting.
Thankfully, the Flare P1 Plus takes normal photos just fine. The shutter is a little slow, making action shots out of the question, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker at this price.
It also functions fairly well for video capture, even in challenging low-light situations such as this one.
The Flare P1 Plus functions well as a multimedia player thanks to its large Full HD screen and its ample 16GB of storage, another strong point considering its pricing. The MT6737T SoC with its Mali 720 GPU are capable of decoding Full HD video files without stuttering for smooth playback, but it take a nose dive once you try playing 2K content.
The loudspeaker is a mixed bag. There are 2 loudspeaker grills at the bottom, but the one on the left is the only one with an actual speaker underneath. It’s sufficiently loud enough to fill a small room with my Spotify music. Since the Flare P1 Plus uses a MediaTek SoC, there’s a built-in sound enhancement for the speaker you can turn on that bumps up the loudness, but at max volume it starts sounding like it’s coming from out of a can. Thankfully, you can always just plug in a wired headset.
After getting similar benchmark results to MT6735-equipped phones, I was half-expecting the Flare P1 Plus to perform similarly when playing games. Alas, that has not been the case. While it does just fine with casual games, I experienced a lot of frame drops in my favorite games like Injustice. Unfortunately, 1080 x 1920 is just too many pixels for the CPU/GPU to push. This was made especially evident after running it through the GFX Bench T-rex test.
The Flare P1 Plus only achieved 11 frames per second on this graphics benchmark test. So while it’s a reasonably acceptable multimedia player, it doesn’t make for a great gaming phone.
So Should You Buy the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus?
If you’re buying the Cherry Mobile Flare P1 Plus, you’re doing so because of the promise of better photos. While it delivers to a certain degree, there’s only so much you can get out of the convenience of applying a radial blur to most of your photos. Of course, you can only expect so much from this price point. Honestly, I prefer it for the added bonus that it comes with a large 5.5 inch Full HD screen though, not to mention a refined aesthetic that’s a little better than you usually see at Php6k or less. No, the dual camera implementation isn’t perfect, but you’re still getting more than you pay for with the Flare P1 Plus.