Over and over again we’ve been seeing more and more mid-range devices flowing in and out of the market as if it’s just a leaf dropped onto a river. There are some big pieces of leaf what will never flow out of the river that easily – and that might just be the Alcatel Flash 2. It’s a mid-range device with the lowest price and with decent camera – how well does it fare in a saturated market?
Let’s find out what this RM549 smartphone can do!
The first note that I received from Alcatel is the size of the box. I’m impressed, because this box itself is quite beautiful yet simple. Personally, I love the packaging – and wait till you see what’s inside the box too, that’s why we have this unboxing video.
Yeah, everything that is shown in the video itself is what you’ll get when you buy the Alcatel Flash 2. EVERYTHING – including the film screen protector, earphones, and even the faux leather flip case.
Let’s start with the front – it’s a perfectly-sized 5-inch design which complements to one of the main aspects considered while designing this phone itself. That said, the Flash 2 has a pretty bright display too, making it perfectly usable while sunbathing even.
Though the panel used in this phone only has 1280×720 resolution, I suppose it’s either this or extend to 1920×1080 which will require a whole lot more powerful hardware.
Alcatel did a pretty good design with the Flash 2, with its reoccurring theme as the green power shows up subtly as its color accent all around the phone.
Right below that bright display is where the usual set of capacitive keys are found – a back button, beautifully designed home button, and a multitasking button. Here, the power of green showed itself with through the green circular home button, and I find it a real nice touch than the usual flushed black colour.
Physical buttons are located with much consideration of the accessories taken into account, as all of the buttons are moved to the right side of the Alcatel Flash 2. Unfortunately, the volume rocker and the power button are all designed with the same look and feel.
That makes it a tad bit more difficult to use the phone through feel while using it for the first time. What I mean is that it took me quite a while to get used to it as the power button is placed a wee bit too high.
Oh – that’s a additional shutter button too! Unfortunately again, the Flash 2 doesn’t have a half-press option for the shutter button, so there is no option to focus using the shutter button.
At the top is where the usual 3.5mm is located, and at the bottom is the micro USB port.
The Alcatel Flash 2 has something really worth mentioning over again – the phone has a complete set of accessories included in the box itself – by that I have to mention again that it’s a film screen protector, and a faux leather flip cover.
There is honestly nothing to be said about the film screen protector. For one, I find it a little disappointing that they didn’t include a tempered glass screen protector instead, but then again at least they did include something.
Using the the flip cover was great, as it really was the best feeling I’ve ever gotten on a phone before. There are mild embossing of the Alcatel branding on the leather itself, but at least it’s subtle and stylish enough that I really don’t mind them being there.
That big window there is I think one of the big letdowns on this phone itself. I though that the Alcatel Flash 2 reacts to the flip case whenever it’s opened or closed, so that it either unlocks/locks the phone or show a special menu when turned on with the flip cover closed. But no – Alcatel made the flip case to do absolutely nothing.
I did ask them if this is a glitch in the matrix or it’s designed this way – and the answer will shock you! Actually no, they confirmed with me that it does nothing at all. Although it’s cleverly designed to show the time on the stock Android 5.1 Lollipop’s lock screen…
I have to point out one thing though – if you don’t like the flip cover that is included, then fret not. The back of this phone is very nice to hold, and personally I think it’s the same material as OnePlus’s signature sandstone black that we all love.
To begin with, I’ll talk about the camera interface. It’s not really intuitive, the camera lacks some the use of description pictographs, and generally takes a lot of guessing with trial and errors to explore.
Then again, kudos to Alcatel for including that many camera modes for the Flash 2!
I’ll do a little lazy job here and show you one of the best feature that I like from the ASUS ZenFone 2 series of smartphones that got copied over to the Alcatel Flash 2 – Super Fine picture mode.
The picture above is a sample of what I’ve taken with the Alcatel Flash 2 on Super Fine mode under bright light condition. Sure, the details are crisp but the file size is nearly doubled, as the Super Fine image takes a few shots and then stitches them together to make a 23.7MP photo instead.
Other than that, the Alcatel Flash 2 does take some pretty photos outdoors, especially in terms of colour reproduction, but lost its crisps while viewing in full crop.
In low light conditions, the camera’s viewfinder becomes really slow but the shots lost its features again, as shown in the pictures above.
The phase-detection autofocus system is a little advanced method to focus without the need of additional hardware such as a laser generator. It does work and focuses a little faster than the old autofocus systems, and it’s a job well done by Alcatel.
Come to speak of it, the Alcatel Flash 2 has a dedicated shutter button which will launch the camera app when double pressed even from the lock screen itself.
First of all – this is not a performance powerhouse. Then again, the phone actually does quite a good job – given the price.
The usual test on Epic Citadel shows that the Alcatel Flash 2 does have quite a bit of power in it – scoring a steady 48.2 FPS on a set of three different tests ran consecutively after one another.
Is that good enough? I’m going to say yes – even though it’s a 720p screen, it the Mediatek 64-bit octa-core processor running at 1.3GHz and the Mali-T720 that it has got the whole performance department covered. Also, it has 2GB of RAM for a little bit more multitasking capability.
Speaking of RAM, Vellamo tests showed that the phone can run relatively okay in everyday usage. In most of the tests, it scored more or less about the same as the Nexus 5. Now, this is not a complaint, as the Alcatel Flash 2 can withstand much longer battery life.
One of the main highlight of this phone is that it runs really damn near to stock Android – and that for me is a really good thing. There are only a few differences from stock Android that I can find, which are mostly tiny utilities instead of bloatware.
If you’ve used stock Android before, then this phone is no stranger to what you’ve encountered before. I have to point out that by using stock Android, updates can be pushed much faster, and very little additional problems are present since not much changes had been done. Also, Alcatel can save cost from developing useless software that no one will use anyway, and do the customers a really huge favour!
Here’s one of the main concern of many users. We want a decent amount of power, but don’t want to pay the price with battery life. I think Alcatel Flash 2 made a really good compromise between the screen resolution, the processor and graphics, and the magnificently huge 3,000 mAh battery, which seems to be a norm these days.
On a normal day, this phone can last for at least a full day with extra 30% juice left on a medium to heavy usage, while drained only about 5% of battery while playing Angry Birds 2 for 45 minutes straight.
The Alcatel Flash 2 however does not support any sort of quick charging technology, and the bundled charger is the slowest of all charger – an output of 5V, 1A. It will charge the Flash 2, no worries on that, but it’ll surely take a long time. Just plug the phone to the charger and call it a night instead.
The Alcatel Flash 2 comes in a very affordable price of RM549. Seriously, no other smartphones of this price has comparable performance in the market. Alcatel pointed out that this is directly influenced largely by the no-nonsense advertising and direct sales of the Flash 2 through e-commerce platforms, and the Alcatel Flash 2 will be available exclusively on Lazada starting 26th October.
To buy or not to buy – that is the question. To that I say, if you’re looking for a mid-range smartphone that does all the basic smartphony things, then the Alcatel Flash 2 is perfect for you!