Friday, October 4, 2013

Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD versus the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X

One reader posted a question in the October 2013 Entry Level Smartphone buyers guide. The question was, why isn't the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD on this list? You could also ask the same question about the Cherry Mobile Burst 2.0 and Arc Mobile Memo. In this post, I wi specifically cover the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD, but the discussion applies to all three.

The cheapest phone recommended on the list was the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X. It replaces the Cherry Mobile Flare on this list. The Flare 2X has substantial hardware upgrades over the Flare, but also cost Php500 more, at Php4,499. This brings its price pretty close to the Nitro 450QD, which can be found selling for as low as Php4,999.

Key areas where the Nitro 450QD wins:

Display: Most people would probably prefer the 4.5-inch qHD (540 x 960) display of the Nitro 450QD over the 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display of the Flare 2X. Some would prefer the Flare 2X for being a more compact device. I would give this category to the Nitro 450QD. 

Operating system. The Nitro 450QD also comes with a newer operating system, Android 4.2.1 versus the older Android 4.1.2 installed on the Flare 2X.

Graphics Performance. The Nitro 450QD also wins in terms of raw power. The specifications say that it comes with a MediaTek MTK6589 chipset. However, the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD only captures 720p video. So I suspect what is inside is actually the MediaTek MTK6589M chipset. The "M" version comes with the MTK6589 a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processor clocked at a lower speed than the regular and "T" versions.

Still, even with the slower clocked PowerVR SGX544 this should still be faster than the Adreno 203 unit on the Flare 2X. It should be noted though that the Adreno 203 on the Flare 2X  is an upgraded version of the one on the original Flare. This allows the Flare 2X to also capture 720p video. 

Data speeds. The MediaTek MTK6589 chipset comes with a faster HSPA+ radio, which is three times faster than the HSPA radio on the Flare 2X. This is only true though in areas where HSPA+ towers are present. Local networks now contain a mix of 3G, HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE towers.

Where the Flare 2X wins:

Price. The Flare 2X. I have found the Nitro 450QD selling for as low as Php4,999, so I pegged it at just Php500 over the Flare 2X, The suggested retail price of the Nitro 450QD is Php5,499 so depending on where you buy it, it might cost as much as Php1,000 more than the Flare 2X.

RAM. The Flare 2X comes with 1 GB of RAM, which is double the amount of RAM you have on the Nitro 450QD.

I am not comparing cameras, since I do not have a sample of either one.

It comes down to more RAM versus a faster chipset.

Android is designed to use a fair amount of RAM. When a program is closed, it really is not "turned off". It is stored suspended in the RAM. If you launch an app, close it, launch a second app and go back the first one. You will notice launching the first app again is much faster the second time around. This also saves a bit of your battery juice since launching a program uses power. A program stored on the memory does not.

This also applies to the home screen, widgets and app drawer. They are also stored in your RAM. If you have been using an older Android device with 512MB or less of RAM you would undoubtably have noticed that sometimes when you go back to your home screen, some widgets have to refresh or the app drawer is a bit slow in launching after long sessions on other apps. Worse, sometimes the entire home screen has to redraw.

When RAM runs low, Android flushes out apps and eventually even components of your home screen. Some launchers, like Nova will allow you to lock your home screen to the RAM so it is never flushed out. This does limit the RAM you have available for other apps.

The difference in RAM is 2:1. In terms of available RAM, it really is more like 3:1. The amount of RAM used by Android depends on the ROM and setup, but a little over 300 MB is typical for a lighter near stock ROM. So in comparing how much available RAM each phone has, you should deduct 300 MB from the equation. This means it is more like 200 MB free for the Nitro versus 600 MB for the Flare 2X.

As a counterpoint, unless an app requires more RAM than you have free, the performance of a single app is not affected by RAM. If you play a game, it should run much faster on the Nitro 450QD. The MediaTek's faster quad core processor helps a bit, but really it is the PowerVR SGX544 graphics processor which is the star of the show. Notably, Apple uses PowerVR5 and 6 series graphics processors on its iPhone's and iPad's. The PowerVR graphic processors consistently outperform Adreno, Mali and Tegra graphics processors of the same generation.

Both the Flare 2X and Nitro 450QD are both good phones for the money. But if I had to recommend a phone to the average user, I would pick the one with better multitasking performance. It should give a much smoother performance over time. Android is a multitasking OS. It multitasks in the background without you realizing it. The Flare 2X is designed to allow Android to run the way it was designed.  This is really nothing new to this Blog. If you look at my previous buyer's guides, as soon as smartphones with 1GB of RAM are available at a lower price point, I stop recommending those with 512 MB or 769MB of RAM.

That being said, the Nitro 450QD should be a better choice for the gamer on a budget. There is also a rumor that Android 4.4 KitKat will be designed to work better on devices with less RAM. We should find out within the month.


  1. Naks, ako yata yung tinutukoy mo ah, papa Robin!

    Siyanga pala, ito pa mga pros at cons nilang dalawa.

    Flare 2X:
    -Higanteng bezels, amp!
    -Dehins na stock Android UI. Parang ewan ang mga icons niya.
    -3 point multi touch lang
    +8 MP camera with autofocus

    Nitro 450QD:
    -Hindi maintindihan ang button placements
    -Walang autofocus ang camera
    -500 mA wall charger
    -microSIM yung pangalawang slot (siguro con ito sa iba)
    +Stock Android UI (halos)
    +5 point multi touch

    1. I thought it was a good comment, deserving a good reply.

    2. para saken pare comportable ako sa flare 2x..

  2. Mas ok gamitin ang Nitro QD. Yes medyo shortcoming ang RAM nya but I advice to install ROEHSOFT Ram Expander and you will never have force closes when playing games anymore. Sometimes though inuubo din sya at naghahang for a few seconds at minsan longer than that at u have to remove the battery pa so u can reset. In terms of modability yes pwede mo mainstall TWRP recovery (touch screen pa) and backup your roms. in other words pwede makashare ng roms mo as a backup lng. Install mo pa Xposed Framework at ang GravityBox module then you are good to go pwede na machange at costumize halos lahat from Notification screen color to clock, etc. Its the better bargain believe me. :) Contented user ako for three months na and gamer din. By the way, fit pala ang S4 na casing although medyo mas mahaba pero pwede mong idikit ang likod using doublesided tape:) at bawasan mo ung nasa volume at power sa gilid para makahinga yung button :)

    1. diba may bayad un? nung dinownload ko naman apk nya hindi ko din magamit kasi kailangan ng license -.- pls help, add me on facebook tapos po teach nyo nalang ako kung paano gamitin ung ROEHSOFT RAM Expander tnxx :))

  3. Wow! Nice info’s sir! I’m planning to buy one this coming december... Thanks po sa mga dapat na add ons na apps para maboost pa ang performance ng unit... Kc i’m having doubts nung una with this post nabuo po ung kumpiyansa ko nitro450qd -busterpitt

  4. gusto ko sana yung nitro450 kaya lang hindi pwede i move yung mga apps sa sd card. feeling ko mali ang pagkakabili ko ng arc450 na to. is any other way to move some apps to sd card and still function as it used to?

  5. kailangan sigurong i-root para ma-move yung apps sa sd?


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