Flash, a mobile brand under TCL Communications, has a new affordable Android – the Plus 2.
Although a budget phone, the back is partly brushed metal which gives the phone a sleek look.
What’s even cooler is that the back covers are exchangeable. The company expects to offer additional covers this week on Lazada but has yet to reveal the price.
Also located on the back is the speaker grille which is surprisingly loud although the sound quality isn’t that great.
You’ll find the power button on the right but it’s located a little too high – unless you have large hands, you will find it very difficult to reach it with your thumb.
The Plus 2 has a fingerprint sensor on the Home button so you can keep the device secured.
The sensor is impressive as it’s very accurate and unlocks the phone almost instantaneously. You can register up to five fingers and make the phone launch a different app for different fingers.
For instance, you could make your thumb launch Instagram while your index finger could open Facebook.
Despite being a budget device, the Plus 2 doesn’t compromise on performance – we didn’t experience any issues during the review period.
It was also able to handle graphics intensive games like the Asphalt 8: Airborne, Need For Speed: Most Wanted and This War Of Mine. And it didn’t even heat up as much as some other budget models during gameplay.
However, the screen is a let-down as the colours are a little too punchy and many games didn’t look too great on it. But it’s bright even on the default setting so that counts for something.
The Plus 2 has a 13-megapixel rear camera that does an okay job for a budget phone. The images mostly suffered from strong noise reduction but were otherwise decent.
We also found the shutter speed to be a little bit slow while taking shots in auto mode.
It’s even slower when the HDR mode is turned on.
Similar to other phones in the range, the Plus 2 doesn’t come with OIS (optical image stabilisation), so unless you have steady hands, expect blurry shots.
The front-facing 5-megapixel camera has a wide-angle lens which is great for capturing a group of people.
It also has a beauty mode which works for both photos and videos that removes wrinkles and whitens skin tone.
The Plus 2 comes with Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), which is great as most entry-level phones come with an older version of the operating system (OS).
The OS has received very little modification so you are essentially getting the stock version and will be using Google apps for most things.
Even though preloaded apps were kept to a minimum, you only get 9GB of free space as the rest has been used up by the OS.
The smartphone has a 3,000mAh battery that easily lasted a day when used mainly for social media and gaming, and occasionally for Waze.
That’s rather surprising as some phones with bigger batteries don’t make it till the end of the day. This could be because it’s running on pretty much stock Android and is not bogged down by bloatware.
The Plus 2 even comes with fast charging capability – half an hour of charging gives you up to 10 hours of talk time. A full charge takes about 1.5 hours.
Budget smartphones with a metal body and fingerprint sensor are no longer rare in the budget category but it’s still surprising that the Flash has them as it only costs RM599.
It also performs really well and has no problems handling demanding games although it is let down by mediocre cameras, but you can hardly fault it as it costs so little.
Pros: Long battery life; good performance; stock Android’s fast fingerprint sensor; metal body.
Cons: Average camera; little storage; display could be better.
Flash Plus 2 (TCL Communication)
Operating system: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display: 5.5in IPS LCD (1,080 x 1,920 pixels)
Camera: 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: Micro USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11 /b/g/n
Processor: MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 (quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 + quad-core 1.0GHz Cortex-A53)
Memory: 16GB internal memory (expandable up to 128GB via microSD), 2GB RAM
Other features: Dual SIM, fingerprint sensor
Dimensions (W x D x H): 76.4 x 8.2 x 152.6mm
Price: RM599 (inclusive of GST)
Rating: Three and a half stars
Review unit courtesy of TCT Mobile Malaysia Sdn Bhd