Philippine-based tech brand Cherry Mobile earlier this week announced a bunch of new Flare smartphones, with most of them wearing some pretty big specs and small price tags. They’re what you would expect Cherry Mobile devices to be: capable but delightfully affordable.
One of the firm’s latest releases is the Flare S5 Power, an unapologetically brute of a handset by today’s standards. And a brute made of shiny plastic and metal, with a tablet-grade 6,050mAh battery on its back. The phone will retail for P7,999 (around $165) when it arrives on shelves later this month.
And to answer your other question: Yep, this phone lasts for days with heavy use. Actually, because we wanted to bring you this review as early as possible, our biggest challenge has been that it lasts too long — though, to be clear, this is exactly what you want when you’re shopping for your next Android smartphone.
With a great power pack comes great responsibility
We’ve seen a great deal of phones offering better-than-average battery life, and we’ve seen them carrying different specs in different body dimensions. Some small and thick, others big and comparatively lean. The S5 Power is neither of those; it’s huge by almost every measure, though its weight is manageable, as is its size.
This phone lasts too long — though this is exactly what you want when you’re shopping for your next Android smartphone.
An average person’s thumb can probably reach across the screen without busting out some serious finger gymnastics. On a somewhat related note, the phone can easily slide into a guy’s jeans’ pockets or a tiny purse; fitting it into anything smaller would be like fitting a round peg in a square hole.
The point here is that the S5 Power can be inherently cumbersome, even moderately bothersome. However, the payoff is huge for those who value battery life over everything else and would like nothing more than to spend their leisure time binging on TV shows on streaming services. Believe the hype: This is the longest-lasting phone we’ve ever used, period — and we’ve (collectively) tried countless devices throughout the years.
Built to last — and last and last
Which brings us to our next point: Just how long does it last? A safe estimate is that the S5 Power can survive two days of punishing usage on a single charge. Three days if you remember to lower the brightness when convenient and switch off wireless connections when they are not in use.
To give you an idea what kind of usage you can expect, our unit managed 10-plus hours of screen-on time in our last test, which comprised several hours of watching shows on Netflix and streaming music through Spotify and an hour each of playing NBA 2K17 and Pokemon Go. Every now and then, we would browse our social media feeds and respond to chat messages. We’re impressed — and overwhelmed, because we haven’t come across a mobile device that has this kind of staying power.
Bringing the battery back to full capacity, unfortunately, takes longer than any phone we’ve plugged in so far. It usually takes us four hours to charge to full from zero over a microUSB port. That said, it would be totally be understandable to ignore your better instincts and leave the S5 Power charging overnight. If you’re on the road and the screen goes black — you’re screwed.
Beyond having enough battery power to cover your needs, the S5 Power is generally responsive, as it should be with its octa-core processor with 3GB of RAM and support for local LTE bands for faster data speeds. It runs most games just fine, but graphics-intensive games are not its forte. NBA 2K17, for example, doesn’t play smoothly unless you reduce all settings to their lowest values (Off or Ultra Low).
Our unit managed 10-plus hours of screen-on time in our last test.
You’re also paying for a decent, 1080p display at 5.5 inches; a serviceable fingerprint scanner; and IR remote functionality, which allows the phone to be used as a universal remote for your television, Blu-ray player, and the like.
Unfortunately, you won’t be getting consistently good photos and video using any of the cameras on this Cherry Mobile. Even outdoors and in good light, the images we took look washed out; colors are dull and muted. A pity, because the S5 Power has a dedicated shortcut key on the right-hand side to launch the camera app from anywhere on the Android Marshmallow-based interface.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Maybe. Ultimately, your decision comes down to one question: How badly do you need a long-lasting phone? If the answer that springs to mind is something like, “I absolutely need one,” then you have your answer.