Alcatel Flash 2 Smartphone Review - Stock Android and a very good camera make this phone a decent buy






Alcatel Flash 2 Smartphone Review - An above average phone but the one that faces extremely stiff competition at its price point
























Alcatel is the latest entrant to the expansive Indian smartphone market and they launched their latest model, the Alcatel Flash 2 around a month back. The phone focuses on mobile photography and the company has coined a new term Mobigraphy to encourage people to use mobile phone cameras to record their lives and share their special moments. Today we are going to review Alcatel Flash 2 smartphone checking on various aspects of the phone. The device has been launched at a price of Rs. 9299 exclusively on Flipkart. You can catch the news of the launch of the smartphone at the following link:

Before doing the complete review of the smartphone, let us take a look at the specifications.

Specifications of Alcatel Flash 2:

SIM Card Support: Dual SIM, microSIM, Dual standby
Display: 5 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16 M colors, 720 x 1280 pixels, ~294 pixel density
RAM: 2 GB
ROM: 16 GB
Expandable Memory: 128 GB
Processor: MediaTek MT6753 Octa-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU: Mali-T720MP3
Front Camera: 5 MP, LED Flash
Rear Camera: 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, Phase detection autofocus, Dual LED (Dual tone) Flash
Video: 1080 @ 30fps
Battery: Non-removable Li-ion 3000 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Connectivity Options: LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hot spot, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0,  A2DP, USB 2.0
FM Radio: Yes
Colors available: Volcanic Grey, Mica White

Design and Build Quality

The first thing we like about Alcatel Flash 2 is that its a uniquely designed phone. There may be some inspirations drawn from or similarities to OnePlus Two but the design still stands out on its own. The top and bottom edges of the phone looking from the front are slightly curved and are supported by metallic looking frames. This is the hallmark of the design which gives the phone a touch of premium quality.

The front of the device sports a 5 inch IPS LCD display with extremely thin bezel on the left and right sides and half an inch bezel on the top and bottom sides. The top houses the speaker grille, the front LED flash, front camera lens and an LED indicator light. Below the display are 3 touch capacitive buttons for Back, Home and Recents. The Home button is always marked as a circular green color while the other two buttons become visible in white when either of them is touched. We believe this to be a design flaw as the user needs to remember which side is the Back button and which side is the Recents button, something which he can only know by hit and trial a number of times initially.

Taking a look at the edges, the top edge has the 3.5 mm audio connector port and a noise canceling microphone, the left edge has nothing, the bottom has a microphone and microUSB connector port and the right edge has the Power/Sleep button, Volume rocker and Camera shortcut shutter button. We do not like having the Power button and Volume rocker on the same edge as again that gives something to remember for a user and something he needs to get accustomed to. Since these buttons are deeply recessed into the chassis, they provide little travel although the feedback is decent.

Coming to the back of the device, the phone has a sandstone finished removable back plate. Though it does feel grippy, we feel it is a bit too rough to be held for longer periods, you will start feeling a need to touch something more polished after a little use. The back houses the 13 MP camera, dual LED Flash, a rather large 'Flash' label, Alcatel One Touch label and the rear speaker. Once you remove the back plate through a groove at the bottom edge, you get access to the SIM and microSD card slots. We are pleased to see that all the slots are clearly marked with numbers and tiny pictures of the ways to insert the cards, this is something which a number of phones miss out on. Another thing to note is that the removable back plate is made of plastic, is extremely thin and fragile, it feels like paper and if broken, would be rather difficult to mend or find a replacement for.

The build quality is sturdy. The phone does not seem too fragile as a whole package and the only concern we have is about the sandstone finish at the back which personally we are not too fond of. But some plus points are due for Alcatel as they have not designed a run of the mill common looking phone and have put in quite a decent effort and time in designing something new.

Display

The display on Alcatel Flash 2 is pretty sharp and devoid of pixellation even if you look closely at the screen. However, we find the colors to be slightly washed out in the OS. But when we looked at a few Youtube videos, the colors come out to be really true and enriching. So we feel that the designers of the operating system have chosen subtle colors and its not a problem with the display panel itself. The color gamut used for the OS screens seems to be on the lower side while the hardware can manage a larger range. The blacks are reasonably dark too. Screen reflection under normal lighting conditions has been controlled well but visibility of the screen under direct sunlight is low to moderate and you'll sometimes need to turn the display around its axis to make out what's displayed on the screen. We would call this an above average display just for the enriching color reproduction while playing videos.

Operating System and Software

Alcatel has used stock Android L 5.1 OS on its smartphone thus making the operating system a lightweight version as well as without heavy skinning, which not only makes phones slow but also adds lots of bloatware and layered design. You won't find any bloatware on this smartphone. The only few apps which we found as extra are Auto-start management, Backup and restore, Click Clear and TouchPal Keyboard. Most Google apps are bundled in too but we don't call them bloatware as almost all are frequently usable. The operating system retains all the goodness of stock Android with uniform fonts, icons and buttons across the screens and a minimalistic look throughout without being too flashy about anything. The settings as well as the control panel are minimalistic too. We give brownie points to Alcatel for not layering the OS and keeping it as simple as they can.

Camera

The camera app offers a number of options and settings like Super Fine, HDR, PIP, Panorama, Multi-Angle etc. Let us now look at these 3 pictures taken from the rear camera at default settings to see how the camera performs in real world usage.

Alcatel Flash 2 Smartphone Review - An above average phone but the one that faces extremely stiff competition at its price point
















Alcatel Flash 2 Smartphone Review - An above average phone but the one that faces extremely stiff competition at its price point

Alcatel Flash 2 Smartphone Review - An above average phone but the one that faces extremely stiff competition at its price point


































































The 13 MP rear camera takes some crisp pictures as is evident from the images above. In landscape pictures taken under direct sunlight, the color reproduction is almost as real as seen with naked eyes.  Even the detailing on the plants and walls has been maintained really well. However, as soon as we move to a lower ambient light scenario like the 3rd picture, the camera starts overexposing the shots slightly. In the 3rd image above, the colors of the lamp have been reproduced naturally however the walls have been overexposed, they are much thicker yellow in real life. But we are still pleased to see that even in low light conditions, grain or noise has not appeared. We do like the picture quality of the rear camera for the natural tones it reproduces and does not over process the pictures after clicking, specially not applying any tinge which many other smartphone cameras do while post processing. The front camera also clicks neat images with accurate color reproduction. We would call both the snappers very good for smartphone photography.

Performance

Alcatel Flash 2 is a fast smartphone and does not show any lag at all in day to day tasks. It handles multitasking nicely too. From minute tasks like unlocking the screen to complex tasks like playing games like Temple Run 2 are handled well by the phone. The device becomes slightly warm while playing graphic intensive games like Asphalt 8: Airborne however thats quite manageable. The speakers are loud and clear. You will thoroughly enjoy watching Youtube videos on this phone due to the color quality and loud speaker volume. The call quality is crisp too.

Battery

Alcatel Flash 2 has a 3000 mAh battery which is the normal battery capacity found in phones of this price range these days. To check how long the battery lasts, we charged the battery to 100% and then started using the phone in normal medium use scenarios which people would generally use on a day to day basis. We used it for downloading and installing a few apps and games, a bit of calling, Whatsapp messaging, playing a few games, watching videos on Youtube, surfing the web and throwing in little amount of standby time too. The phone lasted for 9.5 hours with everything thrown in which is above average battery life. Most of the users would need to charge the phone once daily and that would suffice. However, particularly heavy users might need to charge the device twice a day too specially if they play graphic intensive games continuously. 

Rating

4 stars out of 5

Bottomline and Verdict

Alcatel Flash 2 is an above average smartphone specially due to the stock Android experience. There is nothing too negative or deal breaking that we could find on the device. However, we should be well aware that at this price point, Lenovo K3 Note and Coolpad Note 3 have sold a lot many units and these would be Alcatel Flash 2 smartphone's main competitors. We would very clearly and frankly put it in broad terms now that if you are in the market looking for a smartphone at this price range with a stock Android experience, then Alcatel Flash 2 is the way to go, however if your needs demand stuff like a fingerprint sensor, more RAM or better battery life, then you can have a peek at the competition too. In all, this phone shines out due to its stock Android experience and this is our verdict.

That's it for our review of Alcatel Flash 2 smartphone. Do hit the 'like' button if you liked the review and share the word across. You can also like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/technodivide to keep yourself updated of latest technology news, reviews and tweaks. If you have any suggestions regarding the review or the device, feel free to leave us a comment below. Stay tuned since we have many more such reviews coming up in the near future.


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