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Alcatel Flash 2 Review: A Better Flash?

Alcatel Flash 2 22

We review the Flash 2!

To call Alcatel’s Flash Plus a success is an understatement. Months after its release, it’s still difficult to get a hold of in Lazada, and is easily one of the fastest selling phones that the online shopping destination has ever offered in the PH. What’s more telling is the phones’ performance here in the PH compared to other countries – Alcatel says that the Flash Plus sold better here than the other ASEAN countries it was offered in, which is why the company decided to launch their newest bang-for-the-buck phone, the Flash 2, in the Philippines ahead of bigger countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Alcatel OneTouch Flash 2 specs

  • 1.3GHz Mediatek MT6753 octa-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5.0-inches IPS HD display, Dragon Trail glass protection, 1280 × 720 resolution
  • 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13.0-megapixels Samsung ISOCELL camera with Auto Focus, Dual LED and Dual Tone Flash
  • 5.0-megapixels secondary camera with LED Flash
  • 3G, HSPA+, LTE
  • Dual-SIM, dual LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, aGPS
  • 3,000mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • Php 6,190

With the Flash 2, Alcatel has gone and addressed many of the issues that the Flash Plus had, which shows how committed the company is to their fan base. While the Flash 2 compromises a little bit on hardware to get the changes that were required, it’s still an awesome smartphone through and through, and we dare say it is a better package compared to the Flash Plus.

Alcatel Flash 2 23

Swanky design and premium build

One of our biggest complaints with the Flash Plus was its generic looking body. While the phone was well built, it never really had that visual oomph to make it stand out from the thousands of Android phones out in the market today. That’s been rectified with the Flash 2 – the overall design of the Flash 2 is pleasing to the eye, and overall build quality and aesthetics of the phone belie its budget price tag.

Alcatel Flash 2 24

While the phone still uses a primarily plastic body, Alcatel has put in a few visual touches to make the device look and feel more premium than it actually is. A plastic, subdued silver trim runs on the bottom, top and sides of the phone. There’s a single visible green button at the bottom of the phone’s 5-inch display that acts as the Android home key – touching it lights up the other navigation keys flanking it. The top of the phone holds the 5-megapixel front camera, LED flash (that can be used as a flashlight for illuminated selfies in clubs and other dark environs, and a notification light.

Alcatel Flash 2 26

On the right side of the device is the power key, volume rocker and a dedicated camera button. Once you turn the phone over, you’ll see the 13-megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash, along with the textured back of the phone that’s similar to the one used in the OnePlus One. The speaker grille is located on the back as well. The green color motif extends to the lens of the camera. You access both SIMs (phone uses a micro SIM) and microSD slots by removing the back cover though the 3,000mAh battery is non-removable.

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What’s nice about the Flash 2 is that Alcatel is also throwing in a very nice looking leather flip case that’s infinitely nicer than the default cover that attaches directly onto the back of the phone. The leather flip case is soft to the touch, and while we’re under no illusions that Alcatel used faux leather to make this, it feels like a real, leather case. The only downside is that the display doesn’t adapt to the flip case, as it still displayed information on the whole display when the flip case was closed instead of the small window for quick notification peeks.

Alcatel Flash 2 01

The size of the Flash 2’s display is a downgrade from the Flash Plus, coming in at just 5-inches compared to the latter’s 5.5-inch. The resolution is still HD though Alcatel has said that the display is protected by Asahi’s Dragon Trail glass. The smaller size of the phone endeared it to us in the past week – there’s really something to be said about being able to use your phone one handed without it feeling awkward or forced. As far as display quality goes, the Flash 2 is better in our eyes compared to the Flash Plus – bright with punchy colors. We did notice a lot of backlight bleeding on the corners and ends of the Flash 2’s display when the phone tries to show a black screen.

Alcatel Flash 2 03

Stock Android love

Another big issue we had with the Flash Plus was that it came with LeWA OS, Alcatel’s take on Android. It’s not unusual for Chinese companies to stuff the phones that they sell with their own UI on top of Android to differentiate themselves from the competition. Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi regularly put their own spin on Android all the time. What is unusual, however, is the fact that Alcatel listened to its users and completely stripped the UI from the Flash 2. You’re left with unadulterated Android, and whatever apps you do find installed on the Flash 2 when you get it can be completely uninstalled. We have to applaud Alcatel for the move, as not many companies are willing to admit that their re-interpretation of Android isn’t working for a particular audience.

Alcatel Flash 2 04

A little bit of a downgrade on hardware, but it’s still plenty powerful

Just like what Meizu did with the M2 Note, Alcatel has slightly downgraded the Flash 2 in terms of hardware. You’re looking at a MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor as opposed to the MT6752M on the Flash Plus (1.3GHz vs. 1.5GHz) and an ARM Mali-T720 GPU vs. ARM Mali-T760 GPU. While the reduced clock doesn’t bother us as much, the slower GPU does – it means that the Flash 2 is going to be less capable in gaming compared to the Flash Plus, on paper.

That’s exactly what happened – just like the similarly specc’d M2 Note, the Flash 2 had a little trouble in playing games, and we ran into a few lag spots when playing Marvel’s Future Fight when there’s a lot going on screen. On casual games like Clash of Clans, the Flash 2 had no trouble at all.

As for actual, non-gaming use, the Flash 2 held up quite well, with the phone zipping through regular apps without any issues. We did notice that the Flash 2 took longer to lock onto GPS sattelites than Qualcomm-equipped phones, and took a longer time to acquire an LTE signal compared to the competition. Until MediaTek improves on their antennas and modems, that’s going to be the case for MediaTek-powered phones moving forward.

Alcatel Flash 2 06

Better camera than the Flash Plus, but still has room for improvements

We have good news and bad news for the camera on the Flash 2. The good news is that it’s definitely an improvement compared to the camera of the Flash Plus. Instead of Sony, Alcatel has gone with Samsung’s ISOCELL sensor on the 13-megapixel rear camera of the phone.

Taken in a dimly lit bar, indoors
Taken in a dimly lit bar, indoors
Alcatel Flash 2 21
Same bar, shot directly under a light
Camera capable of picking up small details even in challenging light
Camera capable of picking up small details even in challenging light
Shot outdoors
Shot outdoors
Loss of detail is very noticeable here
Loss of detail is very noticeable here

IMG_20150929_110618

Photos are punchier and overall look better compared to the Flash Plus, and there’s a variety of shooting modes included in the phone. Low-light performance has also been improved, and while there’s still some detail lost in environments where lighting isn’t the best (just like the bar we shot the majority of the low-light shots in) the phone’s camera is still capable of delivering photos that are perfectly acceptable for social media.

Alcatel Flash 2 19
Notice the difference in white balance in the two selfie photos
Alcatel Flash 2 18
Notice the difference in white balance in the two selfie photos
Very obvious blue tinge to the photo
Very obvious blue tinge to the photo

The bad news for the Flash 2’s camera is that it struggles when it comes to white balance, especially the selfie cam. We shot a series of selfies inside the Promenade theater in Greenhills and we found that there was a distinct blue hue to the photo. While you can fix this via the white balance setting in the phone, it was a little bit of a hassle, to be honest, as most people shoot primarily in automatic and can’t be bothered to change the settings every time they start up the camera.

Alcatel Flash 2 05

Excellent battery life

Just like the M2 Note, the Flash 2 managed to record long run times on a single charge even though it has a smaller battery than the Flash Plus. The Flash 2 managed to rake in a score of 7 hours and 26 minutes in PCMark’s battery test. In actual use, the Flash 2 was capable of going around a day and a half on a full charge with moderate use. It’s safe to say that the Flash 2 is capable of tackling your busy workday with enough juice left in the tank before you go to bed at night.

Alcatel Flash 2 07

Verdict: Easily one of the best value for money smartphones in the market right now

Alcatel’s Flash 2 really is an improvement over the Flash Plus that was offered a few months ago. They managed to address many of the concerns that we had with their price-busting smartphone, and as a result, the Flash 2 is easily one of the best value for money smartphones you can buy today. The premium build and fast performance alone is well worth the price of admission already. While the camera isn’t the best, the snapper on the Flash 2 has been greatly improved from the Flash Plus and is rather good for the price.

Speaking of price, the Flash 2 will retail for Php 6,190 when it goes on sale in Lazada on Sept. 30. If you didn’t get a Flash Plus before or are upgrading to a better phone, you really can’t do any better than the Flash 2 at that price range.

 

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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73 Comments

        1. camera’s great. with manual settings too for capturing light trails and long exposures, if you’re into that thing. do note though na kung gusto mu siya i-dual sim,hindi mu na malalagyan ng sd card ung phone as the sim 2 and sd card slot ay iisa.
          bit of concern din sa aftersales since novo7 ang nagbebenta.
          meizu m2 user here btw.

    1. I luv how the AF2 get’s the colors right. I’m amazed how it captures clouds and blue skies on bright sunny days. With a digitalcam, I have to use a polarized filter to achieve it but not with AF2. However, sharpening is very aggressive if you close in on the pixels. AF2 also doesn’t seem to remember if you the change the default sharpness setting to Low, instead always defaulting to Medium when you open the camera after closing it. Still, I love the photos when viewed fullscreen on my PC.

  1. I like reading unbox reviews. Ang refreshing lang, and not whiny unlike other review sites. Even if I don’t end up buying the reviewed items, I still find the reviews fun. Kudos to you guys!

  2. O sa mga nagrereklamo sa presyo ng sony, lg at oppo eto na ang perfect phone para sa inyo. Baka may complain pa kayo niyan ha? Wala na talaga kayong kasiyahan pag mahal pa rin ang 6k sa inyo.

    1. I’ve done a bit of research, pasok naman po ung LTE band ng smart at globe po sa band channel ng FLASH 2. As for the calls, audio quality and messaging, I’m sure okay naman po siguro performace. Halos lahat po ng reviews na nabasa ko, okay naman overall quality, software man o hardware. Trully a best buy. But, I’ll let you know personally, as soon as matanggap ko po ung phone. 🙂

  3. Papanget tlaga ng phone ng android. Puro specs, sabaw nman. Olats update, octacore, 2-4gb pero lag, mtk soc na sub par, out of the box latest OS pero kay tagal ng updates, mostly wala pa, plastic/metal build pero cheapipay, camera na kay tataas ng mp pero lintek sa panget ang image, tapos kung anu anong bloatware, then you call it a good buy for a budget phone with all these crap? Sa inyo na yan, sinasayang nyo lang pera nyo sa mga walang kakwenta kwentang gadgets.

    1. eh di sayo na yang $800 iPwe 6Shit mo, kahit ipagmayabang mu pa sa iba yan alam naman naming nangutang ka lang sa pag-ibig,SSS,at limang bangko para bilhin yan..
      tapos ang gagawin lang eh maglalaro ng candy crush at kukuha ng nakakasukang duckface pics gamit ang malabong frontcam.

      1. “nangutang ka lang sa pag-ibig,SSS,at limang bangko para bilhin yan..”

        Kung pwede ko lang i-upvote tong comment na to, naluwa ko yung kape ko sa keyboard haha!

    1. yep this is a 100% TCL phone. yes TCL the tv maker. the HUGE tv maker that makes pretty good quality stuff. i think they’re like #2 or #3 in worldwide TV sales.

      so this isn’t the chinese backyard sweatshops that cherry mobile gets their phones from 🙂

  4. totoo ba yang magkakaroon ng FLASH PLUS 2? i also want 5.5 in na screen, hopefully meron pang Flash Plus Sale sa holiday season

    I would like to know as well kung may Clear motion technology din to which i really loved on the Flash Plus Sale, since mahilig ako mag watch Videos sa Phone.

  5. !%!@^!@& sold out na! Missed the 12nn window and when I got back from a bank errand around 12:40pm, wala na stock. !@$#!& Oh well, now that CM MAIA Smart Tab is released, that’s where my money is going. I’ll save around 2K pa.

  6. Paanong easy to get a hold of yung plapla 1 eh artificially induced yung unavailability nya? Ilang units total nabenta nila? Less than 10 k? I don’t know what their game play is. Maybe they’re trying to hype up their name to promote their other products and hope people will get those instead but I don’t see them releasing that much variety. In any case one thing is for sure, they can’t mass produce millions of these things for the long term because that would mean pathetically small margins.

      1. Good for you, then. Personally kahit available to sa stores I’m not gonna touch it with a ten – foot pole. Mas pipiliin ko Flare x or Lenovo A7000 plus. Just several hundred pesos more full HD na.

  7. Guys, ask ko lang po kung may demo kayo ng phone na ito yong sa video call like skype or viber, nakikita po ba video nito both parties? salamat po 🙂

  8. Sir, question lng po… cosidering na 3000mAH 2ng flash 2 and mas maliit yung screen kesa flash plus, napansin ko lng mabilis malobat yung flash 2, wifi pa lng gamit ko from full charge naglaro ako ng coc, with fb browsing, less than an hour of use 70% na lang agad yung batt ko… ganyan din ba dun sa review unit mo? or meron problem tong unit ko?! thanks and be waiting for your reply…..

  9. Dear john, thanks for an excellant review.
    i’ll be buying this on 20th.
    i need to know 2 things:
    should i go for the meizu m2 or alcatel flash 2 if i am a loud volume fan. i listen to music and i find even these mp3 players unsatisfactory in terms of volume in earphones. i want a better music phone. so, m2 or flash 2?

    also, meizu m2 is like 6000/- but flash 2 would be like 8000/-
    please do reply asap! thanks c:

  10. Got my Alcatel Flash 2 yesterday October 06, 2015, all features/functions are good, but there are 2 thing I noticed

    1st- The double tap to wake sometimes doesn’t response
    2nd- The speaker sometimes creates a crackling sound, I tried turning of the BesLoud Volume Booster but still there’s a crackling sound. When you play the Facebook pop sound it doesn’t sound the same on the other phones.

    Anyone experiencing the same issue?

  11. Sa Lazada lang ba available yung Alcatel Flash 2 na may bundled free leather case? I’m thinking of buying sa Lazada pero bilis talaga maubos pag Flash sale. Bka naman may leather case din kahit sa ibang stores bilhin? Anybody here who knows? Thanks!

  12. nice review. Like you, I bought the AF2. I really like it, especially the cam – for the first time ever, I think I’m going to leave my P&S, DSLR at home. However last night, I noticed that there’s a very noticeable change of color when I’m viewing images and videos on different angles. Just want to know if you notice this too? Otherwise, there could be something wrong with my screen and reason enough for me to return it and ask for a replacement. Your reply on this matter will be very appreciated. Thanks and more power to your blog.

  13. I got my alcatel flash 2 a week ago, but i never use an SD card to my phone, what is the compatible SD card will be use. My colleague got the same but when he put SD card, the card did not recognized by the device and the device prompt him to format his SD card. pls help what seems to be the problem.TIA

  14. Hi, na mention po ba kung how many hours dapat ang first charge after magamit ng stock charge nung phone? Thanks in advance

  15. Hi. Can you make a comparison of Alcatel Flash 2 and Cherry Mobile One G1? Or kung meron na po, can I ask a link? Torn between the two. Just looking for the best phone under 7k. Thank you.

  16. did you know about the problem with black screen that won’t get fixed even with rebooting it? Sometimes getting a call would turn it on, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s quite frustrating. I just had mine for a month and I’m n ot really happy with the display and camera and then this..

  17. based on my experience may factory defect ung flash 2 na pinadeliver ko from lazada last december 12,2015 walang sound ung video nya tapos di ako marinig ng recepient ko sa call
    … panget talaga kumuha phone on line…

  18. It keeps on hanging pag nagta-transfer via bluetooth/sharre It or OTG. nagba-blank sceen ang file manager, you’ll need to restart. then konti lang games ko pero hang din.

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