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Monday, November 28, 2016

Flash Plus 2 Review



Last year I reviewed the Alcatel Flash 2 and said that it was probably the best Android phone you could get at that price range. This year, Flash decided to break away from Alcatel and go on its own although it’s still part of the TCL group which also makes Alcatel’s phones. Their new phone called Flash Plus 2 continues the brand model’s name offering real value for money products. Initially available through online retailer Lazada, there was no way to see the actual phone in person so I took a gamble and decided to get one. Let’s see once again if I made the right decision.

Specs

5.5” FHD IPS 1920×1080 pixels Resolution at 401 ppi
ROM: 16GB/32GB high speed EMMC
RAM: 2GB/3GB LPDDR3
End user memory: 10.4GB/25.4GB
MicroSD (up to 128GB)
Android  Marshmallow 6.0
CPU:MTK Helio P10 MT6755M
13MP Autofocus f/2.0 aperture CMOS. Rear Camera
5M F2.4 Front Fixed focus camera with LED Flash. Front Camera
Dual SIM LTE/WiFi/GSM Connectivity
AKM4375 Chipser+NXP9890 Audio Amplifier
Fingerprint Sensor
Battery: 3000mAh
Talk time: 16hrs(2G) / 15hrs(3G)
Standby time: 528hrs(2G) / 405hrs(4G)

Price Php 6,190 16GB/2GB and Php 8,490 32GB/3GB

Design and Features

Before I continue my review, I have to mention that there are two models of this phone. One with 16GB ROM and 2GB RAM and the other with 32GB and 3GB RAM. The model I’m reviewing is the 32/3GB model. I decided to get the higher model as I took advantage of a sale on Lazada. Design-wise it looks great, a big departure from the previous models. Instead of plastic, they now use metal components except for the upper and lower edges that house the antennas. A big improvement nonetheless and it does gives it a more premium look and feel. The back is still removable to give access to the SD and SIM slots and one thing that I need to mention is that you get two SIM slots plus micro SD and none of the hybrid/SIM configuration that everyone seems to be adopting. One thing that is puzzling is that you can’t replace the battery on a phone that has a removable back.




The screen is a 5.5 inch display with a full 1080p resolution. However it’s not as bright as I would like. It’s ok for indoor use but a bit hard to read outdoors. I had to disable the auto brightness and crank it up all the way to suit my needs. Also, the side bezels are a bit thick but still not a deal breaker. Performance from the P10 processor is actually good as long as you stick with the model with 3GB of RAM. Other reviews mention some lag issues with the 2GB model. I’m hoping most of them can be fixed a firmware update. I was able to play some games like Sniper 3D, Galaga Wars, Gunship Strike with no issues. Youtube, Spotify and other apps worked without a hitch. Multitasking is also pretty good. The 13 MP camera was a mixed bag. In good light, you can get really good photos but in low light, you can feel it struggle and most of my shots came out grainy which is to be expected at this price range. Video is limited to 1080p so no 4k just yet. I’ll post some photos so you can see for yourself. Battery life is adequate for a full day usage. Having 4G on standby usage caused a 25% drop. The fast charger is big help when you just need a quick top up. Audio quality is quite impressive using a headset and the speaker. Lastly, I have to mention one nice surprise, the fingerprint scanner works very well. In fact, the scanner works better than my Samsung Galaxy S7.





Front camera

Low light shot









Verdict

All in all, I’m quite impressed by this phone. The Flash Plus 2 is one of the first phones to have Mediatek’s Helio P10 chip inside and I have to say that performance is quite impressive as long as you get the 3GB RAM model. Despite some issues with the screen brightness and camera performance, this is still one of the best phones you can get in the sub Php 8k category. One tip is to wait for a Lazada sale and combine it with a promo code to get more than 1k off the list price.

The good

Price
Performance
Fast fingerprint scanner
Almost stock version of Android

The bad

Screen brightness

Camera’s low light performance

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