TCL unveils four crazy cheap Alcatel phones and a kid-friendly tablet at CES 2020

TCL unveils four crazy cheap Alcatel phones and a kid-friendly tablet at CES 2020
Keen watchers of major tech exhibitions like the Consumer Electronics Show, Mobile World Congress, and IFA Berlin have come to expect at least one or two interesting announcements from TCL on every occasion of this sort, and unsurprisingly, CES 2020 is no exception.

Unfortunately, there's still no word on an already long overdue BlackBerry KEY3 or any other product carrying the iconic name licensed by China-based TCL, which instead remains primarily focused on selling ultra-affordable Android phones and tablets worldwide under the Alcatel brand. Curiously enough, the five new Alcatel devices unveiled in glamorous Las Vegas today are only confirmed for commercial rollouts across markets like Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa for the time being, with no official information on US availability offered just yet.

The brand's first 48MP triple camera smartphone is incredibly inexpensive

In case you haven't noticed, the mobile industry's dormant megapixel war over the last few years is raging once again, and while TCL obviously can't afford to go directly up against Xiaomi and Samsung's 108MP monster cams for your pocket, the Alcatel 3L brings a very impressive-sounding 48MP primary shooter to the sub-$200 segment.

This is naturally capable of combining four pixels for super-sharp 12MP images with enhanced light sensitivity, pairing with a 5MP secondary camera focused on capturing "as much of the scene as possible" thanks to a 115-degree super wide-angle lens and a Motorola One Macro-rivaling 2MP macro shooter at an unbelievably low $155 (€139) price point.

Of course, the Alcatel 3L cuts a bunch of corners in other key departments, sporting a fairly modest 6.22-inch "vast" display with a resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels, a "mini" (read waterdrop) notch, and a pretty massive chin. 

Under the hood, the handset packs a middling MediaTek MT6762 processor, a decent 4 gigs of memory and 64 gigs of internal storage space, and an almost impressive 4,000mAh battery. The Alcatel 3L also comes in a trio of eye-catching paint jobs purportedly resembling the Aurora Borealis, which is a rather unique and poetic way of saying the phone is jumping on the gradient bandwagon, shifting its colors depending on your viewing angle.

How low can you go?

Perhaps an even more fitting question would be how high can TCL go in terms of raw power, camera versatility, and premium designs at crazy low prices. The answers are supplied by the Alcatel 1B, 1V, and 1S, which will essentially be released worldwide (minus the US) during the year's first quarter for anywhere between $66 and $110.

The cheapest member of this new 1-series trio is unsurprisingly nothing to write home about, nonetheless running Android 10 software (in its Go edition incarnation) on top of humble hardware including a Snapdragon 215 SoC, 2GB RAM, 16 gigs of local digital hoarding room, 3,000mAh battery capacity, and a single 8MP rear-facing camera.

Unlike the Alcatel 1B, the $88 Alcatel 1V and $110 Alcatel 1S come with a full version of Android 10 pre-installed, as well as a modern design language combining a discreet notch and relatively thin screen bezels (by sub-$150 standards, at least). Believe it or not, the 1S has a grand total of three cameras mounted on its back, including a macro lens, and the 1V doesn't sound like an imaging pushover either, with a dual rear snapper setup comprised of a 13MP main cam and a 5MP depth sensor.

A kid-friendly slate wraps up Alcatel's CES 2020 roster

The Alcatel TKEE Mini is far from glamorous, but at $88, this colorful 7-incher probably only needs to turn on and do an adequate job of navigating the Play Store and playing the occasional YouTube video to find an audience. Its 2,580mAh battery sounds... horrendous, to be honest, and the same pretty much goes for the 1.5 gigs of memory, Android 9.0 Pie software, and 1024 x 600 pixels resolution of the 7-inch display, but on the bright side, the tablet includes a removable bumper case with soft, rounded corners for protection against drops, which is no small thing at the aforementioned price point.

Naturally, the TKEE Mini also comes with a proprietary children-oriented interface, built-in parental controls, and even enhanced eye comfort technology, but it's most likely a little too early to expect yet another kid-friendly Alcatel tablet release on a major US network in the near future.

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