3.0 Camera & Essentials

Camera

The inclusion of the dedicated camera button and the Flash 2’s promotional material suggest that Alcatel OneTouch is placing a lot of emphasis on the camera. The hardware found on the Flash 2 does sound convincing, at least on paper. It uses Samsung’s 13 megapixel ISOCELL sensor with phase detection autofocus, 5-piece, f/2.0 lens and it comes with dual-tone flash. All of these sound like a recipe for a good camera, but how well does it fare in real life situation?

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Well, I would say the camera is not bad, but not significantly better than the other phones with similar prices. The autofocus is quite fast but the focus point chosen can be a little off sometimes. You will need to tap on the screen to change the focus point. If you are a fan of macro shots, you might be a little disappointed as the camera couldn’t focus if the object is less than 10cm. To enhance your photography experience, Alcatel OneTouch included some fun picture modes.

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With sufficient light, the photos are quite decent. The high megapixel count can provide respectable amount of details in the picture, albeit with more noise at 100% crop as compared to better cameras. The colour of the photos is a little more saturated than usual and it will be quite appealing for most people. If you are a fan of more accurate colour, you have the option to decrease the saturation of the photo, so no big deal here.

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For people who love going out late, the low light photos turned out to be better than what I imagine. The Flash 2 will opt for a longer exposure time when the surrounding is darker. So if you have very stable hands, the photos are definitely passable. There are observable noise if you zoom in, but considering the price of the phone, the result already exceeds my expectation.

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The main issue I have with the camera is the limited dynamic range. The exposure swings pretty wildly, depending on where you tap on the frame. As the dynamic range is narrow, you either end up having some highlights being blown out (too bright) or having some part underexposed(too dark). If you are patient enough, you can try tapping at different places to get the exposure level you want. However, if there is too much contrast in the frame, chances are you might be disappointed, like the photo below. The HDR mode does not help a lot.

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For selfie lovers, you have a 5 megapixel camera in front plus a flash. Yes, the Flash 2 has 2 flashes (pun intended). While the selfies taken with the flash turned on is a little washed out, at least your face can show up in the selfie you taken in the dark. It will be useful for those night owls. Another useful feature is that you can make a “V” gesture with your finger to take a photo. By doing so you can avoid blurred selfies since you do not have to push any button.

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For me, I feel that the camera is decent if you take the price of the phone into account. There are a lot of phones with much lousier cameras, some even with higher price tags. IT may not have the best camera, but at least you can be sure that the camera will be sufficient to meet most people’s need. Taking some good photos for Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat is still possible. You can click on the sample pictures to view it at a larger size.

Essentials

Let’s get back to the basic stuff. The Flash 2 has 2 SIM slots so you can have 2 numbers on it. TDD and FDD LTE are supported too for you to enjoy the high speed cellular Internet, provided if your area has LTE coverage. Throughout my review period, I have no trouble with signal reception. Data connection speed is as usual and I didn’t experience any dropped calls. Other standard connectivity options such as Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11b/g/n are present but NFC did not make the cut as expected.

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A lot of low end phones have problems with storage. The Flash 2 has 16GB of storage on board, with more than half available out of the box. Since up to 128GB microSD card storage expansion is supported, I guess most people will not face much issue with storage, which might not be the case for every cheap device.

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The speaker is placed at the back and both the location and the quality are not great. It is hard to hear from the speaker unless you put your hand behind the phone to reflect the sound. Since the top and bottom bezels are already so big, I would prefer the speaker to be positioned in front. The audio quality is also so-so. However, if you are using the earphones, you can turn on the BesSurround and BesAudEnh in the settings to improve the experience. The former will create a surround effect, which is quite good, while the latter is actually the preset equalizer, which emphasizes a lot on the bass.

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