Alcatel's 5 new budget phones: 18:9 screens, special camera features, face unlock, Android Go
So, MWC 2018 is here, and Alcatel is ready with its new portfolio. Aside from the flagship Alcatel 5, it includes an entry-level phone and three distinct midrangers. Let's take a closer look at them!
The super-affordable flagship, the Alcatel 5 starts at €229.99 (around $280) and brings shiny looks alongside a slew of features to keep it in the game on this competitive market. The phone has an 18:9, 5.7-inch display with a resolution of 720 x 1440 pixels. It's powered by an octa-core MediaTek 6750 ticking at 1.5 GHz and has either 16 GB of memory with 2 GB of RAM or 32 GB of memory with 3 GB of RAM. Both variants have a microSD card slot for storage expansion.
Unlike the midrangers below, the Alcatel 5 has a single camera module on the back. It has a 12 MP sensor, but software interpolation brings the images up to a 16 MP resolution. On the front, however, we do have two cameras — a 13 MP main snapper and a 5 MP wide-angle camera for those group shots. There's also a LED flash up front to boost the light for those club selfies.
The Alcatel 5 features a fingerprint scanner on the back, which can unlock the phone and can also be programmed to launch specific apps when you touch it with your different fingers. For example — index finger for Messenger, pinkie for Instagram, et cetera. There's also the new Face Key software feature on board, which will unlock the phone by scanning for your face.
In the trunk, there's a 3,000 mAh cell to keep the lights on. The phone comes with Android 7 Nougat out of the box, which is a bit of a shame, given it's the top-tier device of the bunch here. Some of the midrangers below come with Android 8 Oreo, which is a bit confusing.
On the upper side of the midrange line, we have the Alcatel 3V — the only phone here with a Portrait Mode for its camera. Let's dial it back a bit. The 3V features a 6-inch, 18:9 display with a 1080 x 2160 pixel resolution for a sharp image — yes, it has a higher resolution than the Alcatel 5 above, despite the fact that the 3V is the lower-tier device here. It's powered by a quad-core MediaTek 8735A ticking at 1.45 GHz with 2 GB of RAM. It comes with either 16 GB or 32 GB of expandable storage.
On the camera end, we have a 12 MP main sensor (software interpolation to 16 MP available) with a 2 MP assistant camera. The secondary snapper is there to gather depth information. The Alcatel 3V will allow you to take shots with artificial bokeh and you will be able to change your points of focus after the picture has been taken. On the front, we still have a 5 MP camera that's software-boosted to take 8 MP images and a LED flash for selfies everywhere.
Out of the box, the Alcatel 3V comes with Android 8 Oreo. The phone holds a 3,000 mAh juicer to keep it going throughout the day. All of this at the starting price of €189.99 (around $230).
The Alcatel 3X is slightly cheaper and does something a bit different with its cameras. Its 18:9 display has a 5.7-inch diagonal with a resolution of 720 x 1440 pixels. It's also powered by the quad-core, 1.28 GHz MediaTek 6739 SoC and comes in packages of either 16 GB of memory with 2 GB of RAM, or 32 GB of memory and 3 GB of RAM. Both editions have a microSD card slot for storage expansion.
On the camera end of things, we have a dual module on the back — a 13 MP main sensor for your everyday photo needs, and a 5 MP secondary camera that has a 120-degree, wide-angle lens for some bigger shots. The selfie camera remains the same — a 5 MP sensor that's software-interpolated to 8 MP — but also features a LED flash for selfies in the dark.
The Alcatel 3X comes with Android 7 Nougat out of the box, a fingerprint scanner, the FaceKey facial unlock feature, and a 3,000 mAh battery to keep it all running. Starting price — €179,99 (about $220).
On the Alcatel 3, we have a 5.5-inch, 18:9 screen with a resolution of 720 x 1440 pixels. It's powered by the quad-core, 1.28 GHz MediaTek 6739 SoC and has 16 GB of memory (expandable via microSD) and 2 GB of RAM. A 3,000 mAh battery keeps the lights on and the software on board is Android 8 Oreo.
In the camera department, the Alcatel 3 rocks a 13 MP main camera, which interpolates images up to a 16 MP resolution, and a 5 MP selfie snapper, which software-boosts pictures up to 8 MP. We also get a fingerprint scanner on the back and Alcatel's Face Key facial unlocking feature.
All of this starts at €149.99 (about $185).
This is the cheapest fellow of the bunch, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have anything going for it. The Alcatel 1X is priced just under €100 (around $120) and comes with a super-wide 19:8, 5.3-inch display. Granted, its resolution is 480x960 pixels, so don't expect a super-crisp image.
Naturally, we have modest hardware — a quad-core, 1.28 GHz MediaTek 6739 processor with 16 GB of memory (expandable via microSD) and 1 GB or 2 GB of RAM, depending on device variant. However, the software on board is Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition). Android Go has been developed with the specific mindset of having flashy performance on lower-tier devices. Its integrated apps have been replaced with Go variants — Google Assistant Go, Files Go, Maps Go, YouTube Go, and Gmail Go are all easy on the memory and processor, and performance optimizations have been made to the Chrome browser, Google Play, and Gboard. We are curious to see how this light version of Android performs here.
On the camera side, we have either an 8 MP (interpolated to 13 MP) or 13 MP (interpolated to 16 MP) cameras on the back, depending on device variant. On the front, we have a 5 MP selfie snapper that interpolates images to 8 MP.
Again, depending on device variant, the Alcatel 1X can feature a fingerprint scanner on its back as well as Face Key — TLC Communication's own face unlock feature.