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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Strong battery life
LTE speed and coverage
Screen suffers at any angle
Mediocre call quality
Missing some key software
The Alcatel Go Flip isn't a great phone, but the price is low enough to forgive some of its more glaring issues.
Flip phones have mostly gone the way of the dinosaur, but there are some new ones the market, offering lower-cost communication devices for users who don't want a robust smartphone. Alcatel's Go Flip is one of them. It has a speedy 4G LTE cellular connection like today's leading smartphones, but keeps the familiar, compact form factor from years' past.
The Go Flip is available for multiple carriers, including T-Mobile, Sprint, and Boost Mobile, and it can perform an array of basic tasks for consumers who don't need a large touch screen or access to loads of apps and games. However, the Go Flip has a number of weaknesses that hold it back from greatness.
The Alcatel Go Flip is a little flatter and wider than a lot of the flip phones of old, but it doesn't feel any more premium in build quality. One touch will convince you that this is designed as an economical phone, with cheap-feeling plastic and a creakiness to the build. While the Go Flip doesn't feel especially durable, but it is functional and affordable.
The outside face is glossy with a subtle glittery effect on our blue model, while the removable back cover has a matte checkerboard pattern. It's all matte black plastic in between and around the frame of the phone, with a rubbery cover on the inside for the number keys and navigation buttons. Below the screen is a large Alcatel logo.
One touch will convince you that this is designed as an economical phone, with cheap-feeling plastic and a creakiness to the build.
On the right side are the volume rocker and a dedicated Camera Shutter/Access button, while the left side of the phone has the 3.5mm headphone port and micro USB charging port. The keyboard keys are large and responsive, and there's even a handy dedicated messaging button to the left of the directional pad—ideal for heavy texters who need quick access to the app.
Once you've inserted the SIM card for a compatible carrier and popped in the battery pack, getting the phone up and running only takes a couple of minutes. You'll hold down the red End Call button to power on the Go Flip, choose your language from the menu, and then choose whether or not to join a Wi-Fi network. That's it, really.
As a flip phone, the Alcatel Go Flip doesn't have very ambitious aims. It's mostly designed for calls and texting, but it's also capable of snapping photos, receiving emails, playing music, and even tuning in FM radio.
The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor inside, which is a much lower-end version of the kind of chips seen in many Android phones. The Go Flip can handle all of those above tasks, but it isn't the fastest or most responsive flip phone we've used. Getting around the menus can feel a little sluggish, and we experienced hangs in the Settings menu where a screen wouldn’t load fully. That's probably more a software issue than a base hardware one, but it impacted the day-to-day experience regardless of cause.
We used the T-Mobile variant of the Alcatel Go Flip on its 4G LTE network, and found websites to load quickly when using the built-in web browser. You can also connect to Wi-Fi for both data and calling.
The 2.8-inch TFT LCD main screen of the Alcatel Go Flip comes in at a resolution of 320 x 240, which is pretty common in terms of size and clarity for flip phones. It's not as crisp of a screen as you'll find on most smartphones today, with text and graphics showing visible fuzz around the edges, but it's clear enough to accomplish everyday tasks.
Head-on, the screen can look pretty punchy with bold colors and solid clarity, but from any other angle, the view suffers.
Where the Go Flip's screen falters is with viewing angles. Head-on, the screen can look pretty punchy with bold colors and solid clarity, but from any other angle, the view suffers. From below, the screen looks very muted; from above, it's dark and difficult to see colors. This is especially noticeable when taking photos with the fixed-lens camera, or even looking at the saved snaps in your gallery. It's just not a very versatile screen.
The outer clamshell 1.44-inch display has the same issues, but they're not as problematic since you'll mainly use that screen to see the time, preview incoming calls, and see incoming texts.
Call quality on T-Mobile's LTE network was a bit underwhelming. People speaking on the other line were audible, but not as clear as anticipated—and not as clear as when using the LG Exalt LTE on Verizon's LTE network. The speakerphone functionality was solidly loud on our end, although the person on the other end said that it was difficult to hear us.
You can use the small back speaker to play music and audio, if you please, but the Alcatel Go Flip isn't really designed for playback. It's a very confined-sounding and tinny speaker.
The 2-megapixel rear camera on the Alcatel Go Flip isn't a very good one. The resulting images are consistently blurry and washed-out, and the camera struggles at times even in seemingly fine lighting. You can also shoot 720p HD video, but given the camera hardware here, it's no surprise the footage doesn't look great.
It's a fixed-focus camera, which means there's no auto-focus or manual focusing capabilities—you'll just need to adjust your distance to the subject to get the best result. Unfortunately, the phone doesn't let you take selfies while using the outer screen, which is one of the more useful features of the Samsung Convoy 3.
It's certainly functional enough to seem like a bargain at $20-30 for users who need a simple phone for calling and texting.
The removable 1,350mAh battery pack is pretty sizable for a flip phone, and Alcatel estimates up to eight hours of talk time and 280 hours (nearly 12 days) of standby time. In everyday usage, the Go Flip held its charge well enough. With occasional calls, regular texting, and occasional camera use, you should be able to go a few days between charges.
The Alcatel Go Flip runs KaiOS, which is an operating system designed specifically for modern flip and feature phones. It has a different look to the software seen on other flip phones, but ultimately does the same kinds of things and has a familiar navigation structure from the main menu.
From there, you can access all key features of the phone: from making calls to snapping photos and video, sending messages, viewing images, playing music and FM radio, checking emails, and browsing the web. As mentioned, the interface can get a little bogged down when you're moving through the menus, and can be sluggish at times.
By and large, KaiOS is very straightforward and simplistic. It doesn't have an app store of any kind, so you can't download social media apps or games of any sort. There's also no navigation app or even a note-taking app. It's still a current operating system that's being used on new basic/feature phones, yet it doesn't really have any modern amenities to make the Go Flip experience any more compelling than older flip phones. That's disappointing.
Depending on carrier, the Alcatel Go Flip can be found incredibly cheap these days. We've seen it at Boost Mobile for $20, T-Mobile for $75, and Consumer Cellular sells it for $30, while the price ranges between $75-$96 at other carriers. The Go Flip has some omissions and deficiencies, as detailed above, but at $20-30 it’s a good deal for users who need a simple phone for calling and texting.
LG's Exalt LTE on Verizon aims for a sleek and sophisticated allure, which is essentially the polar opposite of what the Alcatel Go Flip provides. The Go Flip looks, feels, and acts like a pretty cheap phone, doing little more than the minimum when it comes to calling and texting.
The LG Exalt LTE is more polished overall, but it's also pricier at $144. That's a fair amount of money to pay for a flip phone unless you’re keen on the form-factor and simplicity. The Alcatel Go Flip isn't special, but the price is right.
Cheap, but lacking polish
The Alcatel Go Flip is clearly meant as a budget-friendly device, and as a result, it doesn't really excel at anything. The camera is bad, the screen only looks solid head-on, and the operating system can be a bit sluggish—but for calls and texts, it'll do the trick.