It’s not all that often you’ll come across a smartphone that is water-resistant. Sure, there’s most of Sony’s devices, and even a handful of Samsung devices, however they are all pretty expensive. So what do you do if you want a phone that can handle the elements without being damaged, and without breaking the bank? Simple, you pick up the Alcatel GO Play.
- 5” HD TFT Display – 1280×720
- Snapdragon 410 Processor
- 16GB Storage (microSD)
- 1GB RAM
- Android Lollipop
- 8MP Rear Camera
- 5MP Front Camera
- IP67 Water/Dust Resistance
The GO Play is made entirely of plastic, but that’s not a bad thing. First of all, the price makes up for it. I’ll take a plastic device any day if the more premium materials are thrown away to drive the price down. Secondly, this phone actually feels very good in the hand. The size is nice and the grippy texture on the back feels wonderful. You won’t need a case with this phone, but it wouldn’t hurt either.
The design itself is also very unique and eye-catching. The “dotted” texture on the back looks awesome and even better when you consider all the color combinations available. My personal favorites are the red/black and blue/white, however the black/gray model I tested looks absolutely fantastic.
The Alcatel GO Play is a $199 budget Android smartphone that is designed with one important feature, it’s water resistant. With An IP67 water resistance rating, the device can handle anything from a splash to a quick dunk. You won’t be able to take this underwater for long, but you can take it in the pool (at least the shallow end) and record video and take pictures.
What was a bit disappointing however with the water resistance was the port covers found around the entire phone. Everything from the headphone jack to the microUSB port to the SIM/SD card slots are covered in port covers. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s never something I like to see, even on a device of this price.
On a quick note, Alcatel has a selection of bright, ruggedized cases available for purchase alongside your GO Play smartphone. These cases cost $24.99 and, while adding some bulk to the device, add a ton of protection.
Software & Performance
Out of the box the GO Play runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which, while a bit disappointing for a phone at this point in time, isn’t bad as the device still runs great. We can only hope that a Marshmallow update with hit over the coming weeks, but I wouldn’t bet on that.
The GO Play also comes with a fair bit of pre-installed apps, although you can really only call one or two of them actual bloat. The only issue I really had a problem with was duplicate apps. The GO Play has two browsers, two galleries and two email apps. It could be worse, but I feel like it would have been a smart decision to kill off some of these duplicates as they can confuse and frustrate the consumer since they cannot be removed.
In terms of performance, everything was as expected. With a Snapdragon 410 and 1.5GB of RAM, I didn’t expect much, and that’s pretty much what I got. I never really ran into any big issues, just a slow down or two when I had several applications running at once in the background. Casual games also ran fine, but anything with intensive graphics came to a screeching halt.
The 5” display on the Alcatel GO Play isn’t anything special. It looks decent when you’re using it, but the viewing angles are pretty bad. Simply moving the display to the side a bit results in huge shifts in the color. It’s also fairly dim, but it was still usable outdoors, just not in direct sunlight.
The Alcatel GO Play has a 2,500 mAh battery embedded inside which allows for fairly solid battery life. It’s nothing outstanding, but it gets the job done and easily lasts a full day of low to moderate use. What is disappointing however is that to charge the phone up you’ll need to open up a port cover. Now that might sound fine, but after a few weeks, you’ll be seriously considering just not plugging in the phone on a night where you’re tired. It would have been really nice to see Alcatel raise the price of the GO Play by a few dollars and include either Qi wireless charging or a water-resistant charging port as we see on devices like the Moto G 2015 and the Galaxy S7.
On the rear of the GO Play you’ll find an 8MP camera which is, fine. It’s nothing special, but it gets the job done for basic smartphone photography. Don’t expect results like what you’ll find on a flagship device, it’s a decent camera, that’s all.
At the end of the day, the Alcatel GO Play is a solid smartphone that offers a lot for its price, but it falls short in areas where other smartphones in this price range do not. It does help make up for that however with the addition of IP67 water resistance. Really it comes down to a question, do you care more about speed, performance, and the display, or do you want a phone that can stand a drop or two?