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Alcatel Flash Plus Review: Killer Bang for the Buck Phone

Alcatel Flash Plus 05
We review the Alcatel Flash Plus!

This year has been a great one for techies on a budget. Several international companies have stepped up to the plate to challenge the devices of local brands under 10K – a price point that have been traditionally held by homegrown phone brands. The arrival of Meizu’s M1 Note, Huawe’s Honor 4X, Lenovo’s A7000 and the subject of today’s review, the Alcatel Flash Plus have completely disrupted the local marketplace. Today We’ll be taking an in-depth look at Alcatel’s Flash Plus, and see if it really does deserve all of the hype that it is currently enjoying.

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Alcatel Flash Plus specs

  • 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6752M octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch HD IPS OGS display, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, Sony IMX214 sensor
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • Dual-SIM, dual LTE
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFI, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB OTG
  • 3,500mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Php 6,490

A design that won’t rock your socks off

The Flash Plus is a modestly designed phone made mainly out of plastic, sporting curved sides and a flat back. It’s a simple and uncomplicated design that may not be for everyone. While the Alcatel Flash Plus isn’t ugly, it definitely won’t impress you either.

All the physical controls are located on the right side, along with the SIM 2 slot. The SIM 1 and microSD slot are located on the left side of the phone. Up top, you’ll see the 3.5mm jack, while the bottom of the phone holds the USB port for charging. We like the fact that you don’t need to use a separate SIM ejector to get the SIMs out, as you can simply open the covers (they are hinged) to access the SIM and microSD slots.

Alcatel Flash Plus 07

Flip the phone over, you’ll see the slate grey back, as well as the 13-megapixel rear camera with its rather small LED flash. While the Alcatel Flash Plus has a microSD slot for more storage, it has a sealed body which means that you won’t be able to change out the battery.

Because of the relatively light weight of the Flash Plus, it feels flimsy in our hands, even though it’s actually pretty solid. As long as you avoid sitting on it or applying undue force on the body, it should check out.

Alcatel Flash Plus 08

The 5.5-inch display uses an IPS panel, and sports HD resolution. While the display is quite decent, it’s not as nice as other more expensive bang for the buck phones. Right below the display is the physical capacitive keys that unfortunately do not light up, making the Flash Plus a bit more difficult to use in low light.

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Much like other handset manufacturers, the Alcatel Flash Plus utilizes a custom UI laid on top of vanilla Android. While Alcatel did not confirm it, it looks to be the Lewa OS. We’re not entirely sold on Lewa, simply because it looks rougher around the edges compared to Flyme, EMUI or the Vibe UI but truth be told, it functions much in the same way that those other overlays do – it strips the app drawer and takes all your apps out in the open, gives you access to several themes to replace the stock one with and adds additional functionality to the phone – namely double tap to wake and custom screen gestures.

Alcatel Flash Plus 02

Fast, responsive and more importantly, affordable

The biggest draw for the Flash Plus is its 1.5GHz MediaTek octa-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM. It’s the same processor that’s running in the hearts of its other rival, namely the Lenovo A7000. Not only does it manage to score high on our benchmark tests, it’s also paired with 2GB of RAM and has LTE capability out of the box. It’s also worth noting that our review unit is slightly clocked higher than the retail devices sold, so you should knock two thousand points off of the AnTuTu score to get a good read on the final benchmark results.

As a result of the speedy processor and the generous heaping of RAM, the Flash Plus is capable of speeding through the otherwise unremarkable Lewa OS. It’s also capable of running most games and apps without any issues – it absolutely flew through WWE Immortals, a very demanding 3D game that taxes most phones to the limit.

If there’s one thing that we’ll hit MediaTek with is the performance of the LTE modems attached to their SoCs. While the Flash Plus is capable of fast LTE speeds when there’s enough of a signal, we noticed that it takes a longer time for the phone to attain that magical 4G icon compared to other devices. It’s not surprising really, because other manufacturers like Qualcomm and Huawei are now in their fifth or sixth generation of LTE modems, while MediaTek is only on their third.

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Camera is nothing special

Phones like the Flash Plus are a delicate balancing act in terms of performance, features and cost, but sooner or later, the manufacturer has to sacrifice something so that the price of the phone won’t bloat. In the Flash Plus, that something is the camera. The f/2.2 aperture lens on the camera isn’t the best to be honest, and while it’s perfectly fine for brightly lit environs, it struggles in low light.

Looooooooong battery life

We weren’t expecting much from the Flash Plus in terms of battery life – MediaTek’s SoCs are known for a lot of things, but power efficiency isn’t one of them. So we fired up our standard HD loop test (streaming via WiFi, 50% brightness, 50% volume) to see just how long the Flash Plus could last. Lo and behold, we managed to record around 12 hours and 40 minutes of streaming, which is very, very impressive to say the least. That translates to more than 2 days of useful battery life. Even better, our battery drain test was conducted with the faster, hungrier 1.7Ghz processor on a pre-production device – retail devices will probably manage to get even more out of the more efficient 1.5Ghz version.

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Verdict: A must buy if you need a powerful phone for cheap

At the end of the day the Alcatel Flash Plus is one of the best phones you can buy at its price range. At a mere Php 6,490, you would be a fool to pass the phone up especially at the price they are asking for. While Alcatel had to sacrifice camera performance and the design of the phone, the rest of the package is simply too good to pass up, especially if you’re looking for a device that’s powerful and more importantly, affordable.

The Alcatel Flash Plus is exclusively sold in Lazada, and will go on sale (again) on June 5.

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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49 Comments

  1. The phone is actually nice, it’s lightweight. Medyo konti lang ang settings sa camera and the UI is not that superb, medyo nakakapanibago kasi walang app menu. When you are in camera mode, the screen looks grainy pero hindi naman sa picture. Waiting nalang ng new updates. So far so good naman po ang Alcatel. I actually recommended this than zenfone5 sa brother ko.

    1. I regret buying this phone and giving up my Zen 5. Zen 5 has not given me any issues EVER since Sept 2014 when I have it. This one, out of the box, first few minutes the ever annoying pop up “Unfortunately, launcher has stopped working” pops up whenever it feels like it even after the latest Lewa update. Zen 5 has never given me a single lag and functionality issues. – Thank God!!!

  2. Very affordable and serves it’s purpose. Walang arte na telepono. Why spend more when everything you need can be had for only Php 6.5k.

    1. This phone is better than the A7000 specs wise. With this phone you have better front camera, bigger battery, bigger internal storage, and of course, cheaper price at only Php6,490.

      The only edge the A7000 has would be the Dolby Atmos of which the only way you could fully utilize is to have decent headphones. If it matters, you can also add that the A7000 runs on lollipop and the Flash plus is only at Kitkat. If those features matter, then just add 1k Php as the A7000 carries a price tag of Pho7,490 (with freebies).

  3. Someone asked me about this, so let’s compare this and the Lenovo A7000, the other killer bang-for-the-buck phone.

    Point(s) Lenovo:

    – Out-of-the-box Android Lollipop. The Flash Plus has no word of one. And Lenovo has had time to optimise the Lollipop build of the A7000, so chances are there are less bugs and performance issues that come with Lollipop builds delivered through OTA – former flagships are mired with performance issues coming from Kitkat to Lollipop through OTA – app crashes, RAM leaks, battery drain coming from both.

    – Actually removable battery. Power banks are nice and all, but it’s inefficient, and using your phone WHILE tethered to a power bank – which most everyone with one I’ve seen does – will induce heat in the phone and battery, and over time will degrade the battery performance (i.e.: hold lesser charge)

    – Some may consider this a point Lenovo or not, but the texture of the A7000 makes it easier to grip, and has a reassuring heft and solidity (At least that’s what other reviewers say.) Also, the boxy design may appeal to some more.

    Point(s) Alcatel:

    – LONG battery life. Around 12 hours (realistically, I’d peg 10, with 3G standby) is no joke. Also, notably bigger by .6A.
    – Fairly better multimedia chops. Higher res camera and the A7000 speaker was underwhelming. Also, 16GB storage OOTB, vs 8 for Lenovo.
    – Some may consider this point Alcatel, but the lightness of the phone may appeal to some.

    Draw:

    – Performance. The same 720P resolution, same Mediatek processor and GPU performance, so either way you’re not losing out for performance.
    – 4G LTE. Presume that they both work for Smart and Globe, so it’s a boon for both sides of the river.

    I’d root for the Lenovo phone because it actually runs Lollipop, but the Alcatel has notably epic battery life, which I also want. But either way, both phones are practically perfect for the money.

  4. So this phone achieved a benchmark of more than 50% of the Galaxy S6’s at about 16% of the price? but this and the Firefly Mobile Intense LTE 64 Bit are off my list for having shitty cameras.

    1. actually the camera is not bad considering that the phone is only P 6,500.
      this is actually a good phone. I’m ok with the camera, tutal naman i’m not into photography tsaka di ako mahilig mag selfie, more on games and browsing ako.

      Kung yung camera ng flash plus same lang sa s4 or sa cam ng zf2, siguro this phone would be priced at 9k-10k.

    2. If the camera troubles you, there is always an S6 edge flagship phone for you. You really cannot expect heaven on earth with a phone at this price range. But at least, Alcatel made a pbone for the masa market who have no qualms with the camera of a mid range smartphone. If you want to get the best smartphone with the best camera etc better be ready to shell out lots of mollah for it; assuming you have enougj to spare.

  5. Other options would be the Meizu M1 Note. Great for gaming and the screen is awesome! Just needs some adjusting to the flyme OS.

      1. Sir please review lenovo k3 note and compare it to the other brands na bang for the buck thankyouu

  6. Sir John, can you confirm if the flash plus has dragontrail screen protection? The official alcatel website (philippines) and lazada doesn’t seem to mention it. I don’t know why they would not mention something as important as that. Thanks!

  7. I bought this as a secondary phone. For call n txt and occasional FB, twitter but ended up using as my primary phone. Amazing performance and excellent battery life for a cheap price. For me camera is just right. Bang for the buck talaga compare to that myphone na doble ang presyo ng alcatel. Kaya naman pala sold out ito in 5 minutes kada sale.

  8. Usually, Dual-SIM phones only have 1 slot for 3G/LTE and the other one is only for GPRS.

    If the 2nd SIM slot could have atleast 3G, this phone is a steal especially for those who want to go to Japan and South Korea where there are no 2G/GSM services.

  9. I own this phone and while I absolutely love it, here are some of the cons I’ve noticed:

    – The “one touch” metallic letters at the back fall off easily. Since there’s no back case available yet, I use a sleeve to protect the phone. When I got home from work the other day, I was surprised to find the metallic letter “T” missing. What a bummer.

    – The 3G (HSPA+) signal fluctuates. There’s no LTE signal where I live so I set the phone to 3G signal only (not on auto 4G/3G/2G). When data is on, the phone couldn’t keep the connection going and it would fluctuate from H to H+ which isn’t the case with my other Mediatek (albeit quad core) phone.

  10. Camera low light struggle, I can live with that. No light capacitive keys that’s a no no for me, cause i don’t want my eyes to light up instead. What is it with these bang for the buck guys, trying to save on a lousy 10 cents led light.

    1. wow ganyan na ba kahirap memoryahin kung saan ang placement ng keys? lol~
      you could always opt for onscreen keys like what I did 🙂

    2. I think the Capacitive Keys are properly placed in each designated areas.

      To say that this concern is a disadvantage is like saying you dont know where your right arm and left arm are when you close your eyes.

      an advantage of no lighs for the capacitive keys is lesser battery consumption, lighter weight, cheaper price

  11. ano klaseng review to? puro subjective bullshit. pucha pre production review unit pa gamit, kasi kahit sino tanong mo na alcatel flash plus user hindi abot 44k antutu score. bobo. wag na mag blog ng tech. review review k pa dyan mali mali naman.

  12. Was about to buy this thru Lazada. Oh well, at least now I have idea that the cam ain’t really good. But I think it’s just fair for its SRP. Anyway, will stick to Samsung E7. Thanks for this review!

  13. Im a happy afp user. I never had a difficulty on pressing the unlit buttons. This phone’s power will surely optimized when they released lollipop. June 30 at 12 noon is the next lazada sale.

  14. What is the screen made of? Dragon Trail? It didn’t state at the above what kind of Screen Glass they use.

  15. Can you move apps to SD? I just bought the AFP. Just downloaded some apps but there is no option to move apps to SD…all I see on the app setting is clear data, I already set the SD card as default storage but I don’t see any move to SD option.

  16. Good morning mr. john nieves, pano po napaabot ng 44k antutu score yung flash plus na ginamit sa review? yung sakin kasi maximum score na nkuna ko is 40.3k and halos wala ng nakainstall at lahat ng safe i-disable na disable ko na. pano ginawa nyo para ma reach yung ganyang score? or yung gamit nyo is yung 1.7ghz na processor katulad nung ginamit sa yugatech which is 43k naman yung antutu score nya. pa email naman ako sir ng tips kung pano ma optimize yung flash plus to get highest antutu score possible.

    thanks.

    1. Yeah my flash plus can also only reach 40k at max. most of the time 39+. So i’m also curious about the unbox unit that can reach 44k antutu. And also did anyone updated their AFP to version 15.07.14? Because after the update madalas mag lag and mag freeze phone ko…kahit di naman ganoon kadami bukas na apps…ok naman dati di naman ganito performance before ng update. Nagupdate din ba AFP nyo? Do you also experience this kind of issues?

  17. Hi Guys,

    Anyone know to disable the default screen sleep of 15 seconds? My phone always revert to this setting even if I would set it to 1 minute.

  18. sa mga naninirang puri. hahaha flash plus bili kayo para malaman nyo kung pangit ba o mganda hindi sa pinagtatanggol ko ang alcatel. ayaw ko na magpaliwanag pa. Lupet na lang masabi ko swak sa budget

    1. i love my alcatel flash plus. great phone for its price. ang problema ko is yung latest firmware update nila na 15.07.14. after ng update sobra ang lag ng phone when multitasking, i always have to close some apps bago mag games or mag browse. hindi naman dati ganun performance nun lang after ng update. i hope alcatel fix this…sana hindi na lang sila nag update.

  19. Ganda ng phone. Camero okay din. Kaso nga lang when I was on my slept around 10pm 46% yong battery niya, pagkagising ko ng 3am around bigla nalng naging 20% di ko maintindihan anunf nangyari, naka off naman niyong wifi, data, music. Bigla na lang sha naging 20%.. napakatagal magcharge -_- sinong pwedeng tumulong sakin o magsuggest anong gagawin ko? just email me please. – digszin@yahoo.com

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