Alcatel is a brand with a growing reputation for delivering affordable smartphones without the huge flaws normally expected with cheap devices. With the Go Play, the aim was to make a cheap device with a durable, water and dust-resistant design, and it costs just $200

Inside the playfully designed retail box you’ll find the usual collection of accessories. There’s an attractive, shiny SIM ejector pin, as well as a simple wall adapter which has a matte black finish and Alcatel’s logo embossed on the side. You also get the carefully packaged shiny pair of earbuds, which come alongside some silicon fins, to help them stay in your ears when exercising. Lastly, there’s a USB cable and set of user guides.

The phone itself is made almost entirely from plastic, albeit with a funky, spotty pattern on the soft-touch, textured back panel. The clicky volume and power buttons on the right edge feel good when pressed, while the flap covering the SIM and MicroSD card slots on the left is fiddly, to say the least.

Actually installing the SIM and memory card is the trickiest process I’ve experienced on a smartphone in a long time. You have to press the pin in to the barely visible hole to eject the trays, then fish the trays out, before fumbling over the cards themselves and putting them back in (hopefully the right way).

This phone has IP67 water, dust and impact resistance, so you’ll notice the headset jack on the top and bottom edges are covered with a couple of rubber flaps.

I quite like the design, at least, the spotty back cover and the texture in hand. It makes the phone stand out. What’s more, if you order one from the US, you’ll get a free extra durable case in a choice of four colors which increases the phone’s impact resistant properties.

There’s an 8MP camera on the back with 1080p video, and a 5MP fixed focus camera on the front. The single loudspeaker is placed on the bottom right corner on the back, while the bottom portion of the front panel plays home to the three capacitive buttons. Two of those are invisible unless pressed.

Other specs include a 5-inch 720p display covered in DragonTrail Glass which, upon first impressions, isn’t mind-blowing. It’s not particularly sharp, bright or vivid.

Inside is a Snapdragon 400-series processor clocked at 1.2GHz paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, that can be expanded up to 32GB extra. It also has a 2,500mAh battery, which should easily be enough to keep the low-end device running for a full day. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, and it’s almost stock, save for a few Alcatel-ified app icons.

Clearly, this phone isn’t built for spec fiends. This is a budget device built with people in mind who want an affordable phone that is durable, or a phone for their kids that isn’t easily destroyed. In that regard at least, it seems to deliver.

Key Specs:

  • 5-inch 720p display covered in DragonTrail Glass
  • Snapdragon 400-series quad-core 1.2GHz processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage (expandable up to 32GB extra)
  • IP67 water, dust and shock-resistant
  • 2,500mAh non-removable battery
  • 8MP camera with 1080p video
  • 5MP fixed-focus front camera
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop

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