After a bit of teasing for what I anticipated to be the Flare S9 series, Cherry Mobile has finally taken the wraps off their new bang-for-buck smartphone. No, it isn’t a Flare S9! Instead, we have the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max and while I’m a little disappointed this isn’t the annual refresh of the Flare S series, what we ended up with could be one of the best deals on a gaming smartphone at under Php10K! So what does the Aqua S9 Max have to offer?

Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max Specs

  • 6.53″ Full HD+ display
    • teardrop notch
    • 1080 x 2340 resolution
    • 13:6 aspect ratio
    • 394.67ppi
  • Helio G90T SoC
    • 2.05GHz octa-core processor
  • Android 10
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage
    • expandable via micro SD up to 256GB
  • Quadruple rear cameras
    • 48MP main camera
    • 2MP depth-sensing camera
    • 8MP wide-angle camera
    • 2MP macro camera
  • 32MP front camera
  • Up to 4G/LTE
  • 5,130mAh battery
    • 18W quick charging
    • Type C port
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Liquid cooling
  • Smart PA HiFi audio chip
  • Dimensions: 162.86 x 77.05 x 10.15 mm
  • Weight: 216g
  • Color: Jade green

The main highlight from the Aqua S9 Max is that it will be rocking a Helio G90T, currently one of the best midrange processors you’ll find under Php10K. Most phones under Php10K currently come with SoCs like MediaTek’s Helio G80 or G85, or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 662, which hover around the 170K to 200K mark in Antutu’s popular smartphone benchmark. The Helio G90T on the other hand is capable of reaching the 290K mark!

Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max Pre Launch Promo

It also comes with a quad camera setup on the back, with a 48MP main camera, aided by a 2MP depth sensor, which should come in handy for portrait mode and other scenarios where you would want subject separation from the background. The other two camera sensors are an 8MP wide-angle camera, which is great for landscape and indoor shots, not to mention a 2MP macro camera that should be great for toy or product photography where you would really want to get in close to capture every detail. The front camera isn’t too shabby either, capable of capturing 32MP shots

Other highlights of the Aqua S9 Max include the 128GB of onboard storage, a 5,130mAh battery with 18W quick charging, a high quality Smart PA audio chip, and finally liquid cooling that should keep the phone cool through your gaming sessions without having to buy an external cooler that seems to be getting popular these days.

Of course, it isn’t perfect and there are a few shortcomings I’d like to point out. First is that it only comes with 4GB RAM. That isn’t actually too bad, but we’re seeing other phones under Php10K managing to come with 6GB RAM. The battery also seems like a weird corner to cut, rated at 5,130mAh. Again, this isn’t too bad as the minimum acceptable capacity these days tends to be at least 4,000mAh. However, we have seen new phones come out with 6,000mAh at most. Finally, there’s the color option, which is stuck at Jade green. It might be off-putting for some who might prefer a more neutral color scheme, though admittedly it does look nice from the render.

Still, as a budget-conscious buyer, I’m willing to overlook a lot of those thanks to the Helio G90T SoC, which currently seems to be the most powerful you can get at this price point. And for a limited time, the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max will be priced at launch for just Php6,999 at the Cherry Shop from November 26 to 27 only and will come with a Transformers Bumblebee wireless speaker, a game controller for a better grip during long term gaming sessions, as well as a tempered glass screen protector, all valued at Php2K but will be free for the duration of the launch promo. After November 27 though, the price will go up to its SRP of Php9,999, which is still great considering the competition, but will definitely be less competitive in the long term.

So what are you waiting for? Think the Cherry Mobile Aqua S9 Max is a good buy? Would you still buy it once it goes up to SRP? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author

JM Balicano

Back when I started MobileTechPinoy in 2012, phablets weren't a thing yet. I enjoyed the stares I got from iPhone owners whenever I whipped out my Samsung Galaxy Note at the time. I'm much more budget-conscious these days though and am perfectly fine with using phones from any of our locally brands.

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