The Flash 2 is a new phone from Alcatel OneTouch. With the price tag of RM549, the market segment is geared towards people with lower budget. It’s undeniable that the smartphone market has been flooded with a lot of affordable phones. So naturally this review is going to answer a big question: Is there any space for the Flash 2 in the market?
- Unboxing, Design & Display
- Software, Performance & Battery Life
- Camera & Essential
To keep the price low, most manufacturers will cut corners on the packaging. However, Alcatel One Touch has a different opinion. The quality of the packaging for the Flash 2 is surprisingly good. The shiny, green Flash 2 logo is printed nicely in the middle of the white package. Pulling out the smaller green box will show you the “THE POWER OF GREEN” wording, which is the theme colour for the Flash 2. The packaging is thick and I think the customers will be really surprised by it.
But what matters the most is what’s inside the box right? Well, there is a surprise here too. Everything inside the box is wrapped in plastic. We have the phone, the charger, the USB cable, a pair of earphones and some documents which you probably don’t care. What we do not expected is that a faux leather flip cover and a screen protector are provided. This means that you actually do not need to buy any accessories for the Flash 2 anymore since all the necessary things are given. RM549 is all you need to pay.
So you know you are going to get some freebies here. Let’s get back to our main character here. The Flash 2 comes with a protective sheet on its display and peeling it off is one of the most enjoyable things in the unboxing. So how does the phone look like?
The Flash 2 has a 5” display (more on the display later) and after using phablets for some time, I really appreciate the size. You can certainly handle it with one hand easily. On the front, you can see two shiny bars on the top and the bottom. The silver bar extends to the both sides of the phone. While they look metallic, they were made of plastic. I am not really a big fan of it as I prefer simpler, less-flashier design. However, your taste might be different from mine.
Below the display rests a green circle, which is actually the capacitive home button. The home button is flanked by the triangle Back button and the square Overview button (or multitasking button if you want call it that way). The two will only light up in white once you touch either of them, giving the phone a cleaner face. I think they will look better if they are slightly smaller.
The display glass is not Gorilla Glass so you might need to have extra care while handling it. Well, at least a screen protector is given. The display glass attracts lots of fingerprints. Unlike most phones where the fingerprints will be cleaned automatically when you place your phone in your pocket, the Flash 2 requires your manual effort to clean the display.
Beside the front facing camera we have a white LED notification light. Even though it has only one colour, it is better than none. My only complaint is that it is a little too bright and it will be slightly uncomfortable to use the phone in the dark while the LED light is blinking.
Flipping over to the back you will see the Volcanic Grey back, which feels a little like sandpaper. The finish is really similar to the Sandstone Black of the OnePlus One and OnePlus Two. It is rough but it makes the phone less slippery and provide better grip. If you prefer something more elegant, you can opt for the white model with a matte finish, which is less special on the other hand. The back is removable for you to access the micro SD card slot and the 2 SIM slots. Anyway, battery is not user-replaceable.
From the top to bottom we have the camera, the 2 tone LED flash, the shiny Flash wording, Alcatel OneTouch’s logo and the speaker. The camera protrudes slightly but I think it will be quite durable since that part is actually made of metal. The green ring surrounding the camera is reminding you that green is the theme colour here.
Don’t forget we have a faux leather flip cover that comes along. To use it, you have to remove the original back and snap on the flip cover. While it is not as grippy, the flip cover is softer and it feels more comfortable on your hand. It is a little thicker but the good thing about it is that the camera is less protruding with the usage of this flip cover. The flip cover has a “window” in front, allowing you to peek at the time without flipping it open. However, we have a problem here. You would expect opening and closing the cover will turn the screen on and off. But the cover does none of those. In fact, it does nothing other than protecting the front of your phone. Well, since it is free, I guess I couldn’t complain that much.
The other buttons and ports are in typical places. Volume rocker and power buttons on the right, 3.5mm audio jack on top and the micro USB port at the bottom. One interesting thing here is that there is actually a dedicated hardware camera button. You can double click it to launch the camera even from lock screen and, of course, click it to snap a photo. While it is not the two-stage camera button where you can half-press to focus, the inclusion of a camera button is greatly welcomed since most phones don’t have that.
While the look of the phone is not impressive, at least to my eyes, I think Alcatel OneTouch has at least taken bold steps in the design of the phone. The flashy logos, shiny bars and the green rings are something different and it is up to you to decide if it meets your expectation. The sandpaper-like back are something uncommon. Putting the looks aside, the built quality is acceptable and it feels sturdy in hand. The inclusion of two backs will also let you have options to choose how your phone feels and looks like.
The Flash 2 has an IPS LCD display with resolution of 1280 x 720. The HD resolution and the 5” size will give you around 294 pixels per inch, which is not shabby at all. With that price I guess no one is expecting any higher resolution. Even though you still can see rough edges around texts, the pixel density is high enough for most people opting for phones within this price range. Moreover, it will be less taxing for the processor and the battery life.
Being an IPS display, you would expect it to be very bright and fortunately, it lives up to the expectation. It is really bright and I have no trouble reading the screen outdoors and viewing angle is reasonable. However, it can be too bright for you if you have the habit to use your phone in the dark. Auto-brightness is available, thanks to the ambient light sensor.
The colours reproduced by the display on the Flash 2 is quite accurate, albeit less saturated as compared to most phones, but you probably won’t notice that unless you place the Flash 2 beside other phones. That being said, I am quite satisfied with the display and I feel that it is one of the best displays among phones below RM600.