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:
Video: 1080 @ 30fps
FM Radio: Yes
Colors available: Volcanic Grey, Mica White
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.
Operating System and Software
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.
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.
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.