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Alcatel Go Flip 3 review: Flip phones aren’t necessarily dead

It was fun using a flip phone again. It brought back some memories but it doesn’t make me want to go back to one.

8.6/10 average rating

Flip phones have died out here in the states as of late 2000s — right around the time smartphones were coming into play. Flip phones still have hit a niche market, however, with some people still looking for them. They are hard to find because U.S. carriers don’t offer them as much as they used to. That being said, T-Mobile is offering the Alcatel Go Flip 3 for customers who are looking for a flip phone. Continue to read our full review below.

Specifications

  • Display
    • Internal: 2.8-inch (320×240) TFT-TN LCD
    • External: 1.44-inch (128×128) TFT-TN LCD
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 210
  • CPU: Quad-core 1.1GHz
  • Memory
    • Internal: 4GB *2 available for user
    • External: Up to 32GB Micro SD card
    • RAM: 512MB
  • Camera: Rear 2MP Fixed-Focus
    • Video Capture: 720 @ 30fps
    • Video Playback: 1080 @ 30fps
  • Audio: 1W speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity:
    • VoLTE, Mobile Hotspot, VoWiFi, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, Radio
    • USB Type: Micro-USB
    • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    • UMTS: 2/4/5
    • LTE: 2/4/5/12/25/26/41 (Support HPUE)/66/71
    • CDMA: BC 0/1/10/ 1xRTT Call
  • Battery: 1350mAh
  • OS: KaiOS 2.5
  • Dimensions: 4.13 x
  • Weight: 4.16oz

What’s in the box

  • Go Flip 3
  • USB charger
  • Sim card
  • Manual

Design

Just like all the other flip phones of the past, you’re getting the usual clamshell body style. The outer shell has a small 1.44-inch TFT-TN LCD display, a 2MP — yes 2 — rear-facing camera, and Alcatel’s logo. Flipping the phone over to the back, there’s a speaker grill at the top and Alcatel’s logo at the bottom.

Alcatel Go Flip 3 Open
Alcatel Go Flip 3 showing screen and T9 keypad

As far as the sides of the phone, the left-hand side has the Micro-USB charging port along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. The right-hand side has the volume rocker and nothing more.

And now we come to what it’s like on the inside of the phone. When opening the Flip 3, you’re welcomed to the 2.8-inch TFT display with a big forehead and chin. The earpiece is above the screen and nothing underneath. Below the screen, or on the other half of the phone is the famous T9 keypad that those who have used a flip phone in the past will recognize. There are four big buttons around the middle directional circle pad and “OK” button. The top two buttons are white while the bottom ones are green and red. Next up is the number pad with each key a pretty big size that is hard to miss what number is showing.

Overall, the design of the flip phone is very reminiscant and easy to get used to. One thing to note is that the plastic shell is very prone to getting marks on it. I’ve carried it in my backpack and pocket and it still ended up getting a few scuff marks on it that don’t come off.

Display

Looking back at the 2.8-inch display, the resolution comes in at 320×240 and it’s definitely something that we’re not used to with all the smartphones we’ve seen over the years. Pixels are noticeable but it’s not like we’ll be watching videos on it for a few hours. On top of that, it’s not like many people would plan on using this phone as a daily driver, and those that do likely don’t care too much about higher resolution screens.

Alcatel Go Flip 3 Homescreen
The homescreen showing some applications on the Alcatel Go Flip 3 smartphone.

Colors, on the other hand, are pretty decent. Reds, blues, greens, blacks, and whites all look as close to the actual color as it can get on a TFT display.

Like I said before. People these days probably won’t be looking at the phone long enough to pay attention to how pixelated the display is since they’ll most likely use the phone for calls and or some text messages. Other than that, for what the phone is worth, the display is decent at best.

Software

Most of you, just like me have never heard of KaiOS since we live in the world of Android and iOS. KaiOS is a light operating system that brings smartphone-like features to affordable phones such as the Go Flip 3 and other devices. You’re able to play games, go on social media through applications and go through the KaiStore to download some other applications that you may like on your device.

The KaiStore has some applications you can download such as Facebook, Twitter, or some games to pass the time. There are some pre-installed applications already such as Google Maps and YouTube. Both applications show up as the app version and not the desktop/mobile version which makes it easier to navigate when it comes to searching for a video or location.

Alcatel Go Flip 3 YouTube App
The KaiOS YouTube application.

On top of this easy to use OS, Google Assistant comes pre-installed on the device. To activate it, just hold down the “OK” button and a new screen will pop up allowing you to speak to the assistant. If you’re not into holding down a button, you can also press left on the circle pad once and choose the assistant app and it’ll go through the same process.

The entire OS is clean and easy to navigate, so no one should have any issues trying to figure out how to use the device.

Performance

So here’s the thing when it comes to performance on this phone. And do keep in mind that we are used to smartphones being just as fast as laptops or desktops, so this isn’t a nark at this flip phone.

The Go Flip 3 comes with a Snapdragon 210 mobile platform processor with 512MB of RAM. For what this little guy can do, you really don’t need a mid-range to top of the line processor or a bunch of RAM. At first, it’s a little slow when it comes to starting up but when you start to use the phone there’s little to no lag depending on what you’re doing.

Loading up the internet or anything that uses data does take a second or two to load but after that, it’s smooth enough. There’s no app switcher, so you’re forced to back out of where you’re at completely and then open another one. That can take some time to do depending on what you’re doing but once you get into that next app, everything runs just fine.

Overall, the phone was able to handle what little it can do and for someone who uses a smartphone on a daily basis probably won’t use this device but for someone who is going from one flip phone to another will like the Go Flip 3.

Speaker Quality

When it comes down to speaker quality, I can tell you it gets pretty loud. If you’re using the phone to listen to some music through a microSD card that’s been inserted into the phone or something on YouTube, you can hear everything. I had to keep the volume around 5 or 6 since anything higher than that was way too loud for just myself. What’s great about the volume being loud enough is that it doesn’t sound like it’s coming out of a tin can.

Alcatel Go Flip 3 Back
The back speaker grill on the Alcatel Go Flip 3 smartphone.

The same goes for anyone who will be using the speakerphone function while on the phone. Unfortunately, you cannot close the phone and still be on call and have someone on speakerphone.

Of course, it’s not the best sound quality in a phone out there but it does the job for those who may want to watch some video on YouTube or listen to music without headphones.

Camera

I’m not entirely sure how we lived in the day where we though our photos looked o.k. when using a 2MP lens. Photos with great light exposure turned out decent but when it came to taking photos indoors or with low light, every picture I took looked pixelated.

When trying to take some “selfies” (yes, I tried) those came out worse than just pointing the camera at something and pressing the shutter button. It’s not that the pictures were out of focus, they just looked bad overall.

Alcatel Go Flip 3 Front Screen
The camera and front screen on the Alcatel Go Flip 3 smartphone.

Video capture comes in at 720p@30fps while video playback is rendered at 1080p@30fps. When playing back the video on the device, it doesn’t really make a difference if it’s in 1080p as it’ll still look a bit pixelated.

My thoughts on the camera are not good but at the same time, I don’t expect anyone who is using this phone to take pictures on videos on a consistent basis.

Reception

When making phone calls, I was able to get in contact with everyone. The reception was based on T-Mobile’s network and everywhere I went I always had a signal. I didn’t run into any issues of dropped calls either.

Call Quality

While on the phone with someone, I was able to hear them clearly thanks to the HD voice feature. The same goes for anyone who was able to hear me. I wasn’t told to repeat myself because they couldn’t hear me or that I sounded like a robot or that it kept cutting in and out.

Battery Life

The Alcatel Go Flip 3 was able to keep going over the course of a few days. With the 1350mAh battery, it has a standby time of up to 17.8 days while running off of 4G networks. Even though I didn’t use the phone much other than calls and text messages and some media usage, the phone does have a longer-lasting battery than most people are used to these days.

In terms of charging from 0% back to 100%, it does take about a few hours to fully charge. It doesn’t come with fast or wireless charging, so don’t expect a quick charging block to boost up the charging speed.

Price

If you’re interested in purchasing the Alcatel Flip 3, you’ll be looking to spend US$100 on it. That’s the full retail cost. Now, if you plan on adding a line to your T-Mobile account or starting a new account with them the cost will be a little different. Breaking it down for the course of 24 months, you’re looking at US$4 per month on the bill with a US$4 down payment.

For the price it’s selling for, it’s not too bad but anyone that is looking to just buy a phone outright it’s a bit too high. Yes, it does go on the internet and has the ability to download some applications, but you can also get a super cheap smartphone with more capabilities for the same price.

Wrap

It was fun using a flip phone again since the last time I used one was back in 2005. It brought back some memories but it doesn’t make me want to go back to one. With that being said, I did like the phone and what it could do. Even if you’re not into social media or watching videos, the big buttons and making calls is plenty for you. Again, the price is still a little high for what it can do versus some smartphones today at the same price but again, this phone won’t be for everybody.

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Alcatel Go Flip 3

US$99.99

Design

10.0/10

Display

7.0/10

Software

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Speaker Quality

9.0/10

Camera

5.0/10

Reception

9.0/10

Call Quality

9.0/10

Battery Life

10.0/10

Price

8.5/10

Nailed it

  • Basic clam shell design
  • Easy to use software
  • 4G LTE capable
  • Battery
  • Speaker quality

Needs work

  • A little overpriced for a flip phone
  • Camera
  • Can scratch easily

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