Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Review: 2014's Best Value-for-Money smartphone

All the while we all know that the vibrant Cherry Mobile Flare 3 is the best bang-in-the-buck offering from the local leader. However, CM wrapped this quality product and made it a tad better. And when I say “tad”, I mean improved rear and front camera; and refined design in the same Php 3,999 price tag. As such, the Flare S3 is yet to become the most practical device of the year. Check out, right after the fold, our review of the Cherry Mobile Flare S3.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Review: 2014's Best Value-for-Money smartphone


The device flaunts Samsung Galaxy Note 3-ish faux leather back that’s available in black, white, blue, silver and red. You will see, Cherry’s “FLARE” branding conspicuously at the center of the back panel. The 13-megapixel rear camera is positioned at center top of the phone accompanied by the LED flash. Likewise, the Cherry Mobile moniker is placed at the bottom of the panel together with the speaker grills.

Flipping the device, you’ll see the qHD display with the similar Android capacitive keys. The front panel could’ve been perfectly presented if not for the tiny hole in the lower-right portion of the glass which gives way to the microphone. The handset has been put well together; I could hardly open the plastic back the first time.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Review: 2014's Best Value-for-Money smartphone

The left side of the phone houses the volume rocker while the right side is the home of the power button. The frame gives a metallic finish that highlights the sturdiness of the phone.

Looking at the device from a distance makes it look like a member of the later generation of the Galaxy Note series. However, without knowing that the design is a rip-off of the Note 3, the Flare S3 is a beautiful device from top to bottom.

In terms of design, this device leaps beyond any other Cherry Mobile handsets this year. For you to get a good grip of Cherry Mobile Flare S3 check out our unboxing video below.


The Cherry Mobile Flare 3 display poses for a quarter high definition rating. This means that it packs a 960 x 540 pixel resolution along the lot of the panel. The difference between the screen qualities is unnoticeable comparing it to other Cherry phones with 720p HD display, like Cherry Mobile Ultra.

Yes, it is a legit screen I might say. The color reproduction is not oversaturated unlike other 1080p offering of other local brands. However, it could be washed out when placed beside qHD contenders with smaller displays. The viewing angle is quite okay. Of course, it is not a great display. It’s just more than adequate coming with an affordable price tag.


Flare S3 is an upgrade to the popular Flare 3. It is definitely the best value-for-money phone of 2014. The main worker in this handset is the MediaTek MT6582 which is comprised of a 1.3-gigahertz quad-core CPU and ARM Mali-400 MP2. With my two weeks of making this handset as my primary phone, I could say that the Flare S3 could take in most of the tasks thrown at it. It is almost sufficient to be your daily driver for the basic tasks. However, demanding games could hammer the chipset making the device choke for a split second. Multitasking is also not a pretty thought.

Likewise, screen could be unresponsive at times. Though, I may not consider it as a defect but it could hamper the way you input texts. It’s far different from what I’ve experienced with the messaging prowess of the Cherry Mobile Ultra.

The Cherry Mobile Flare S3 is also a worker as shown in both Antutu and Quadrant benchmarks.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Review: 2014's Best Value-for-Money smartphone


The display panel might be sluggish in registering random taps but it’s a different story when it comes to the 13-megapixel camera. It may not be as impressive as Samsung’s 13MP offering but the Flare S3 has a capable mobile camera sensor. Compared to other phones, the handset comes with a small difference (roughly 1 second) between the time you press the “shoot” button to the time it captures the actual photo. Even though it is packed with plenty of pixels, it still stumbles in getting lowlight shots.

Cherry Mobile is also kind enough to offer a 5-megapixel sensor in the front panel. Selfie shots are actually in good quality with great color reproduction.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Review: 2014's Best Value-for-Money smartphone

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Review: 2014's Best Value-for-Money smartphone

Messaging, Call Reception and Multimedia

Inputting of texts may be an issue for purist but the overall experience using the keypad is just normal to any other locally-branded phones that I’ve used. The TouchPal keyboard comes pre-installed along with other Google propriety apps.

Call reception is quite noisy; I tend to use the loudspeaker function just to hear the caller on the other side of the line. Speaking of loudspeaker, the Flare S3 has a legit speaker. Sounds are recognizable in an earshot level. Video and music playback are also seamless.


The handset could also handle graphic intensive games which is quite exemplary Likewise, Flare S3 is capable of good graphic performance as well as intensive audio and video combination.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Review: 2014's Best Value-for-Money smartphone


One of the good things about the Flare S3 is that it has a removable battery. Our battery test shows that the 1800 mAh battery could take in several battery demanding tasks and drop the meter to 35 percent of juice in the first two hours of usage.

To dig deeper, after first 30 minutes of graphic-intensive games like Turbo Racing 3D and Eternity Warriors 3, battery dropped to 77 percent.

The next 30 minutes which were spent with Internet browsing via WiFi nailed the battery to 59 percent. Afterwhich, 30 minutes of Spotify music and another 30 minutes of video streaming using YouTube left the battery at 33 percent.

If you are a normal user, expect the battery to have a lengthier life. The powerful cores and the RAM consume a lot of power; plus, knowing the fact that the device heats fast could also contribute to the short battery life.


The Flare S3 is no doubt the best phone priced in Php 3,999 or even a couple of grand higher than that. The handset may be trying hard to imitate the Galaxy Note 3's design but the high-rated cameras and the fast performance make the previous less offensive. The sub-4K price also makes this phone a runaway winner among its peers.

In fact it’s not just about the price, it is a capable phone in its own right. A phone that has a lot of power in its own right; and it feels like it should’ve been priced higher.

Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Specifications

  • 5-inch qHD (540x960p, 220ppi) IPS OGS display, scratch resistant glass
  • MediaTek MT6582 SoC
  • 1.3GHz quad-core processor
  • ARM Mali-400MP GPU
  • 1GB RAM + 8GB ROM
  • microSD support, up to 64GB
  • 13MP rear camera with Autofocus, BSI, LED flash
  • 5MP front camera
  • Dual SIM (Regular and Micro)
  • 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE, GPRS Networks
  • WiFi and WiFi Hotspot
  • Bluetooth v3.0
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Miracast
  • FM Radio
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
  • Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • 1800mAh battery
  • Php 3,999 Official Price
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