Posted by B. Johnson
Earlier a couple of weeks ago, I’ve already showed you the list of games that work perfectly on my phablet, Alcatel One Touch Flash Plus.
In that article, not only Android games, I’ve also showed you the other games from different platforms, like PlayStation Portable and SNES, that have been tested by myself and they work impressively without any single problem.
However, as I promised to you in that previous article, today I want to give you my full review of Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus. But this time, unlike my other previous reviews, right now I’m going to do some in-depth review of this phablet based on my real experience of using this device for around 7 months.
Of course, I will mainly focus my review on the gaming performance of this device. However, I will also try to put the same level of treatment on other sectors of this phablet, like its display, sound quality, battery life, design, connectivity, User Experience (software/UI) and all will be based on my real experience of using this phablet.
So if right now, you’re still confused to decide whether to pick up this phablet or go with other smartphone, I strongly recommend you to sit down, relax and read the rest of my review of this phablet.
I’m pretty much sure that my review here is going to strengthen your decision to BUY this device.
Okay then, without further ado, here check this one out guys, my complete in-depth review of Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus. Enjoy!
In the world of cell phones, Alcatel is actually not a new kid on the block. As a matter of fact, this French-based company has been around in this business for really really long time, even before Nokia and Sony Ericsson became the leaders in cell phone market.
Alongside Motorola and Ericsson, Alcatel used to have some old-gen wireless phones available around the market.
In the recent years, Alcatel has been starting again its journey in telecommunication business by releasing a bunch of Android smartphones under its subsidiary, Alcatel OneTouch, alongside TCL Communication Ltd, a manufacturer based in China.
One of the Android smartphones released by these 2 companies is Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus.
This smartphone is the first-gen model in this Flash Plus series, while the sequel of this device, Flash Plus 2, just launched recently but it doesn’t carry the ‘Alcatel’ name anymore because this company wants to make the name simpler so people can easily remember the name of this phone.
Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus is actually more of a phablet rather than a normal smartphone because it stands in phablet territory, given its huge 5.5-inch display.
So this Alcatel phablet obviously will go head-to-head against other huge-screened rivals like Samsung GALAXY Note series or even iPhone Plus. But of course, let’s not get carried away here.
Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus is definitely in the different league mainly because it only costs around $180.
However, despite being an affordable smartphone, there are actually many things to be liked from Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus. In fact, I think this phablet has almost everything that power users demand from a great well-rounded smartphone.
It has a great 720p HD display, its design is quite elegant and light in weight, it has sharp-taking cameras, its sound quality is great, it has long-lasting battery life and the most importantly, Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus is awesome for playing games.
But the questions remain. With all of those great goodies offered by this smartphone, or phablet if you would, does Alcatel Flash Plus have what it takes to be a great gaming device? Does this phablet deserve to be the best smartphone in mid-end market? Is it worth it to buy this phablet, especially for gaming?
Well, you’re about to find out more about the answers of those questions right at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around guys!
Okay, first, let me begin my review by talking about the design of this phablet. This part is actually one of the things I want to discuss the most in this review because to tell you the truth, I love the design of Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus.
So despite being an affordable smartphone, Alcatel Flash Plus amazingly has appealing design and good build quality. In fact, in my opinion, I think this phablet totally has that premium feel all over its body.
This is actually weird because this device is not even made out of metal aluminum materials just like, say iPhone 6s Plus or HTC One M9.
One thing that I never forget from the design of this phablet is, its freakin’ thin and light-in-weight body. So yes, Alcatel Flash Plus feels really sleek in the hand and it also doesn’t weigh that much when you hold it single-handedly.
And this is unbelievable because this device is packing a pretty huge 5.5-inch display, which normally would make this device heavy in weight. But apparently, that’s not the case here. Despite being a 5.5-inch huge phablet, Alcatel Flash Plus still feels incredibly comfortable to hold, even in long hours.
However, thanks to its huge screen, of course this phablet will not be that ideal to use for users with tiny hands, including me. Reaching over the edge of the screen is definitely not an easy task to do with you thumb when you use it with your left hand.
And sometimes, this phone could slip away from your hand if you’re not very careful. In fact, I’ve seen some pictures of this phablet with cracked screens on some dedicated forums, thanks to the careless users of this device.
Of course, if you have a giant hand, you can totally use it single-handedly without any problem. But if your hand is a tiny one, it’s well recommended for you to use rubber case to prevent it from dropping to the solid floor.
But apart from that, Alcatel Flash Plus is still really amazing when it comes to design. It may not have the premium aluminum materials just like iPhone 6S Plus, but this phablet impressively still feels really premium with its design.
Not to mention, the chamfered edges all over the rear cover totally gives it the premium feel of a flagship device.
Alcatel Flash Plus is sold in 2 variants: Slate (Blue) and Gold. I recommend you to pick up the gold model because not only does it look really solid and premium, but it’s also going to help a lot to keep its price steady when you decide to sell it in the future.
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Released 2015, May
Dual SIM (4G and 3G)
5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels resolution with~267 ppi pixel density, 16M colors
Android OS 4.4.4 KitKat (LEWA OS)
2 GB RAM
Mediatek MT6752M Chipset
Octa-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU
16 GB internal storage
microSD card slot for up to 32 GB
13 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
8 MP front-facing camera
Accelerometer, proximity, compass Sensors
Removable Li-Ion 3500 mAh battery
One of the things that manages to amaze me from this phablet is definitely its specs.
Okay, Alcatel Flash Plus may only cost around $160 on the market, which is considerably cheap. But amazingly, this phablet is really top notch when it comes to hardware specs and overall quality. In fact, I think the price of this device is too cheap for a great quality phablet like this one.
Of course, you cannot compare its specs with other flagship high-end devices like Samsung GALAXY Note or HTC One M9 that cost above $400. However, as a budget smartphone, I think the price of Alcatel Flash Plus is a steal compared to what you’re gonna get from this device.
I mean, it has an elegant gold glossy finish, it’s really slim and light in weight, it’s powerful for playing heavy 3D games, it has good quality cameras, its earphone is really top notch, it has great sharp HD screen, its battery life is long lasting, its performance is fast and smooth and pretty much everything about this phone, I LOVE IT!
As far as the specs goes, Alcatel Flash Plus features a 5.5-inch display with 720p HD resolution, Mediatek MT6752 octa-core processor, Mali-T760 MP2 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 13MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, 8MP front shooter, a huge 3500mAh battery and it comes pre-installed with Android 4.4 Kitkat layered with Alcatel LEWA OS, which is really light in weight (but we’ll get more on that later).
So as a $160 smartphone or phablet, I think Alcatel Flash Plus is too good to be true. I know that more and more smartphone manufacturers today are releasing great quality devices with great specs around low-end price range like Xiaomi for example. However, sometimes most of these phones are usually not great in the whole aspect.
They either are heavy in weight, their performances are sluggish, they only have 1GB of RAM, their GPUs are not really powerful for gaming, they are plagued with overheating problems and many more.
But you don’t get any of these problems on Alcatel Flash Plus. It’s really slim and light in weight, its performance is really fast and smooth, it has great RAM management, its Mali-T760 MP2 GPU is definitely a beast for gaming, it doesn’t overheat easily and pretty much everything about Alcatel Flash Plus is just great.
Screen is definitely one of the best things found on Alcatel Flash Plus. In fact, the first time I turned on this device, I was totally blown away by its HD screen. Okay, it may only come with 720p resolution (1280x720 pixels), but when I looked at the display of this device the very first time, it just blew my mind.
The app icons look really sharp and popping out, the standard wallpaper makes its UI look really gorgeous and everything on the screen is just nice to look at. And the viewing angles also look great on this device.
So if you’re trying to show videos in front of many people like friends or family around you, they can still view the screen clearly even from skewed angle.
Anyway, I also love how Alcatel also provides the screen protector that is made specifically for this device. I’m actually having problem to find the specific screen protector that fits perfectly with its screen around the local phone shops near my town.
It’s probably because this phone is sold exclusively on online retailers. So not many smartphone accessories shops have it.
As far as sharpness goes, I think Alcatel Flash Plus totally has the edge here. You can read tiny words when you’re browsing, but of course, you’ll always need to do the pinch-to-zoom gesture everytime you want to press the links or tap on navigation buttons on websites.
But overall, the 720p HD screen of Alcatel Flash Plus is definitely top notch in its class. So you’re gonna love with what you’re gonna get from this device, especially its screen.
User Interface (Software)
Alcatel Flash Plus comes pre-installed with Alcatel homemade UI called LEWA OS based on Android 4.4. Kitkat. Based on my experience of using this UI, I think LEWA OS of this phablet is still far better than even the stock Android UI found on the younger sibling - Alcatel Flash 2, in terms of performance.
So yeah, LEWA OS interestingly performs much faster and smoother than the stock Android Lollipop OS. Opening app is relatively fast, swapping the screen is not laggy and everything just runs smooth without any meaningful hiccup.
And I also found out that, the RAM management of LEWA OS on Alcatel Flash Plus is actually better than on the stock Android Lollipop OS of Alcatel Flash 2, which is weird because I always hear all the time that stock Android OS is better in memory management and performance.
But apparently, that contradicts with what happens here on Alcatel Flash Plus.
So for example, everytime I reboot the phone, it will give me at least around 1.4GB of RAM in default. And I think that is amazing because that shows how LEWA OS doesn’t consume a lot of RAM in the background. Amazingly, the UI of LEWA OS looks more gorgeous than the stock Android UI.
On the other hand, when I’m using the stock Android UI on Lollipop OS of my Alcatel Flash 2, its memory always stuck around 1GB to 1.1GB in default. And its performance is not that smooth either, where there are some choppiness found here and there on the homescreen.
And I can totally see it especially when I’m playing games. So on Alcatel Flash Plus, I can play any games even some heavy PSP games like Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 without any meaningful lag.
Meanwhile, on Alcatel Flash 2, this game runs slow so I have to do some tweaks in graphics setting of PPSPP (PSP emulator app on Google Play Store) in order to make the game run smoother and faster.
However, there is still something that keeps bugging me off with this device. And that is its software updates.
So for your information, Alcatel Flash Plus is gonna be stuck with Android 4.4 Kitkat probably for the rest of its life. And I don’t think Alcatel has any plan to upgrade its OS in the future.
So if you decide to buy this phablet, then you must be willing to accept the fact that this phone is not going to get its Lollipop updates in the future. But if you ask me, for me personally, I think I don’t mind using the LEWA OS based on Android 4.4 Kitkat on this device even for the rest of my life.
I know that Android 5.0 Lollipop OS has a nice “Recent Apps” screen. But after using it for a while by myself through Alcatel Flash 2, I’m not really impressed by Android Lollipop OS.
I mean, I thought I was gonna be blown away by this OS and its visual interface. But apparently I was totally wrong.
The LEWA OS of Alcatel Flash Plus is actually still far better than the stock Android Lollipop OS of Alcatel Flash 2, in performance, memory management and even visual interface. And amazingly, it still consumes less RAM than the stock Android Lollipop UI of Alcatel Flash 2.
So if you’re still confused whether to pick up this Alcatel Flash Plus or its younger sibling - Alcatel Flash 2, I strongly recommend you to buy Alcatel Flash Plus instead because its UI looks cooler and performs better than the stock Android Lollipop UI of Alcatel Flash 2.
Besides, if you feel the need to upgrade the Android 4.4 Kitkat of your Alcatel Flash Plus to Android 5.0 Lollipop, you can actually do it by rooting this device and install the Lollipop OS through custom ROMs. But that of course requires well-experienced user to do that. So it’s not recommended for non-tech-savvy users.
However, there is something that is totally annoying from the UI of Alcatel Flash Plus.
On stock Android UI, the “Recent Apps” window will show you all the pile of apps that you’re currently using. And they all appear really huge on the screen, so you can easily swipe any app to the left or right if you want to close it.
But on the LEWA OS of Alcatel Flash Plus, the app icons on “Recent Apps” window are shown in really small tiny icons. So it’s kind of hard to close every app one-by-one because the app icons are placed on the right edge (or left edge if you shake the phone).
And this is totally annoying if you’re not in the good mood or your fingers are sweaty. Closing app is just difficult to do.
Still about the “Recent Apps” window on LEWA OS, I also hate the feature that change the position of app icons by shaking the phone.
It usually changes the position by itself even when I’m not shaking this phone. And it makes it even harder to close the apps if the app icons move to the left edge area.
But apart from that annoying feature, I still think LEWA OS is still better than the stock Android OS of Lollipop of Alcatel Flash 2. And that’s because its ram management is much greater here than on Lollipop.
You must also know that on Android 5.0 Lollipop OS, the quick internet data toggle is completely shut down by Google. So you won’t be able to toggle your internet connection with any widgets or apps.
I know that you can still raise this feature from the dead on Lollipop-based devices, but it requires you to firstly root your phone.
And I think not many of you here are able to root your device, right? It will void your warranty and if you don’t do it right, you will end up messing up your device.
However, on Android 4.4 Kitkat of Alcatel Flash Plus, this quick data toggle is still available to use either on the widgets or any apps that use this feature. And this is actually one of many reasons why I love Alcatel Flash Plus than my Alcatel Flash 2.
The other thing that I love from this device is its battery life.
So Alcatel Flash Plus is powered by a huge 3500mah battery inside, which is non removable. With that huge battery capacity, you can expect to use this device all day long and even 2 days if you don’t use it intensively.
But of course, if you use this phablet to do some heavy-intense tasks like playing games in the row or watching videos without stopping, then you’re gonna need to recharge it during the day, probably around 6 to 7pm.
However, based on my experience of using this device for 7 months, I’m actually quite impressed with its battery life.
I once tried to download a huge Windows 7 Black Edition OS (around 2GB if I’m not mistaken) with Torrent client (uTorrent) by using this device. And thanks to its fast 4G connectivity, I only needed less than 20 minutes to download this file, which is amazing.
But more amazingly, after finished downloading the file, its battery life went from 100% to just 96% from downloading that huge 2GB file. Isn’t that amazing, huh?
It also happened when I was playing some heavy games like GTA Vice City or Asphalt 8: Airborne. Even for 1 hour non-stop, the battery life depreciated so slowly from (for example) 87% to just around 81%. And that is so impressive.
However, despite its amazing powerful battery life, I think there is something weird about its battery percentage.
So everytime I hit 20% of the battery life bar, its battery life became weaker and much faster to drain. It usually only took around 5 minutes to go from 20% to 1%. I’ve already tried to do battery calibration even with root access, but the problem still existed.
The good thing is, from 100% to 20%, I think the battery life of this phablet is still solid and long lasting.
So if you’re not a power user and don’t use it mainly for gaming, then you’re gonna enjoy this device for a very long time. In fact, you’re not going to need to recharge it for 1 day if you only use to make phone calls, listen to music or check Twitter and Instagram.
So the rear-facing camera of Alcatel Flash Plus is 13MP along with LED flash, while the front one is handled by a staggering 8MP shooter.
Okay, megapixel count definitely doesn’t have any impact in picture quality. I know that. But based on my experience using its cameras, back and front, I’ve got to say that Alcatel Flash Plus did really impress me a lot in this camera department.
The front-facing selfie camera takes amazing sharp photos. So if you love taking selfies, then you’re gonna love this phone a lot.
Too bad there’s no led flash found on the front-camera of Alcatel Flash Plus, unlike its sibling, Alcatel Flash 2 that has it front and back. But if you take selfie photo in day light with a lot of lights, then the photos will undoubtedly look great and sharp.
The same goes with the rear-facing camera of this device. So Alcatel Flash Plus comes with a staggering 13MP camera on the back. And it’s also got the LED flash. So even at night with low lighting, you are still able to take some awesome looking photos with the camera.
However, I kind of hate its slow auto-focus. Sometimes, the photos look out of focus, while the other times, the photos look sharp. So it’s recommended for you to always wait for a few seconds before tapping the shutter button until the camera can really focus on the object you're trying to capture.
But overall, I love the cameras of Alcatel Flash Plus. I just wish it had the other LED flash on the front-facing camera just like Alcatel Flash 2.
The good news is, Alcatel actually makes it up on the second-gen Alcatel Flash Plus 2 which now has 2 LED flashes front and back. And it only costs around $190. Isn't that awesome, huh?
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If there’s one thing that I’m really excited to discuss the most in this review is definitely the gaming performance of Alcatel Flash Plus. In fact, I’m gonna need a lot of words to explain to you how impressed I am with the gaming performance of this device.
So on Alcatel Flash Plus, I’ve already installed and played many games not only from Android platform, but also other games outside Android like PlayStation Portable and even old-school SNES games.
There are some Android titles like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Dead Space, GTA Vice City, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, Dead Trigger, Unkilled, Modern Combat 5, Pro Evolution Soccer 2012, The Simpsons Tapped Out and Minion Rush that I have tried on this phablet and they all run super smooth without any lag whatsoever. And they also run smoothly in full highest graphics.
I also heard from users of this device that GTA San Andreas can also be played perfectly in full graphics. Basically, all Android games on Google Play Store can all be executed easily by this device without any problem.
And that’s because Alcatel Flash Plus is powered by Mali-T760 MP2 GPU which is a high-class GPU in today’s standards. Coupled with Mediatek octa-core MT6752 processor plus 2GB of RAM, of course Alcatel Flash Plus is a beast for playing games.
For your information, one older-gen Mali-400 GPU is actually already known as powerful GPU with games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 4 running smoothly on Mali-400-powered device like Archos GamePad 2.
But Mali-T760 MP2 GPU is totally in different level here. Way way higher level than Mali-400 GPU. So you can guess how powerful Alcatel Flash Plus really is with this type of GPU.
And this is really mind blowing because Alcatel Flash Plus is a phablet that only costs around $160, which is really cheap for a powerful gaming phablet like this. It’s just something that I think is impossible to happen these days.
Anyway, besides great for playing regular Android games, Alcatel Flash Plus amazingly performs really good for playing PSP games.
I’ve already tried some PlayStation Portable titles by using PPSPP (PSP emulator app from Google Play Store) like Prince of Persia Rival Swords, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015, GTA Liberty City Stories and Assassins Creed Bloodlines.
Most of these games ran perfectly smooth, however, GTA Liberty City Stories and Assassins Creed Bloodlines performed really laggy on this phablet. I believe it has something to do with its Mali-T760 GPU that is not sufficient enough to handle these 2 heavy games.
But the good thing is, all other games like PES 2014, PES 2015, Prince of Persia Rival Swords (Two Thrones in consoles) can be played pretty good on this device, although there are still some lags during the game. But not significantly.
I believe the sequel of this phablet, which is Alcatel Flash Plus 2, is gonna be much better in performance when playing PSP games like GTA Liberty City Stories and Assassins Creed Bloodline because this device will be powered by a more powerful Mali T860 MP2 GPU.
Anyway, I’ve also tested some old-school SNES games like Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3, Super Mario RPG on this phablet using SNES emulator from Google Play Store.
And of course, they all run smoothly without any problem, which is not so surprising given that these games are not really heavy in terms of graphics. So basically you can also play other SNES or GameBoy Advanced titles using this phablet.
So overall, I think Alcatel Flash Plus is really mind-blowing when it comes to gaming performance. I mean, I never thought that an affordable device like this could be insanely powerful for playing heavy games.
Anyway guys, if you want to know more about its gaming performances, including what games that will run on this phablet, you can check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)
My Personal Opinions
So my last word for Alcatel Flash Plus is, I think this device really nailed it as an affordable smartphone. It may only cost around $160 but what this device has to offer to users is really amazing.
It manages to check off all the requirements for a great well-rounded smartphone. This phablet is definitely the best in the price range around $160.
It has a gorgeous looking display, fast performance, great RAM management, sleek premium design (despite the glossy gold plastic finish), it’s light in weight, it’s so powerful for gaming, its battery life is long lasting, its cameras take great pictures, its 4G connectivity is insanely fast, its UI looks elegant and pretty much everything about this device is just top notch.
So if you’re currently looking for a great, really really great smartphone around $160, I totally recommend Alcatel Flash Plus to you.
But make sure to get the Glossy Gold model because it looks more elegant than the Slate Blue, which is really important to keep its price steady if in the future you want to sell this phone again to other people.
But if you love to stick around using the same smartphone for 2 years or more, Alcatel Flash Plus is definitely the right destination for you. However, if you have an extra cash around $180, you can actually pick up the sequel model - Alcatel Flash Plus 2 – which has way better specs than Alcatel Flash Plus.
It has a full HD 1080p display, Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes pre-installed, better cameras, better battery life, more powerful processor and Mali-T860 MP2 GPU, bigger external storage support (for up to 128GB of microSD), all-metal design, finger-print scanner, physical home button, 2 led flashes front and rear cameras and many other more.
So you definitely won’t make any mistake if you decide to buy the second-gen model.
Pros and Cons
- Gorgeous looking display
- Powerful gaming performance
- great RAM management (1.4GB FRE RAM in default)
- great cameras
- great battery life
- premium design and good build quality
- it’s really slim and light in weight
- it comes with a great quality earphone from Alcatel
- insanely fast 4G connectivity
- great for taking selfies
- Assassins Creed Bloodline and GTA Liberty City Stories PSP cannot be played on this device
- it’s pretty hard to kill the apps in ”Recent Apps” because the app icons are small