Interface and functionality

The Alcatel Idol 5 runs Android 7.0 Nougat, supplemented by a few marquee customizations we've seen frequently from Alcatel – like the reversible UI feature, as well as a few gesture controls. In addition to them, the physical "Now" key positioned on the right edge of the phone offers us a customizable floating icon for quick access to certain apps or functions.

Beyond that, the rest of the experience here follows the same principles we've seen in the Android ecosystem. There might be a few "bloatware" preloaded with the phone, like games such as Panda Pop and Pet Rescue Saga, but at least we have the option of removing them entirely. Even though it follows a path well-treaded, Alcatel's customizations add a bit of depth to the standard experience.

Processor and performance

Armed with a 2.35 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P20 processor coupled with 2 GB of RAM, the phone performs equally to its Snapdragon 620-powered sibling in the Idol 5s. Taking a peek at some of its benchmark scores reveals it rivals and sometimes exceeds its sibling, which is comforting to know it's not inferior in any way! Of course, it handles all the trivial stuff with ease, but it can still show some stutter with heavier processes.

Boasting 32 GB of internal storage with room for expansion courtesy of its available microSD card slot, it's a tally that we feel is more than generous.


Mid-rangers aren't particularly respected for their camera performance, so when we look at the 12MP rear camera, it's very difficult to have high expectations. Thankfully, though, the camera interface has been tweaked over previous iterations. It's been broadened to include useful modes like cinemagraph, light tracing, instant collage, and even a manual mode.

When it comes to the performance, however, it doesn't do anything to elevate itself from the pack. In fact, we're a little bit disappointed by the quality, even when lighting is ample, due to its lack of sharpness and detail. Colors are nice and punchy, but that can't deflect the glaring deficiencies in its quality. That's heightened under low-light conditions, as photos become murkier in appearance.

Knowing all of that, we're not surprised at all by how it flounders in the video recording department as well, which tops out at 1080p resolution. It's tolerable for videos recorded in ideal conditions, but it's still lacking the flare and sharpness to capture our attention.

While it's not entirely unusable, since it's probably more than adequate for the occasional social media post, photos taken by it will appear quaint and dull in comparison to others.



1. Nicoglx

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 23, 2017

I can´t believe this phone has a better socre than the Essential.

2. fyah_king unregistered

I have the essential and I give it a 9.

6. jacquechristman

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

That's probably because the Essential costed almost as much as the Galaxy S8 when they reviewed it. The Essential is a better phone than this one, and they know it, but it had too many issues to validate its original price point.

3. dragon76

Posts: 32; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

I have the Essential also and it isn't as bad as PhonieArena made it out to be.... the only real issue with the Essential was the choice of image sensors but it can take some pretty good pictures with the GCam port so all Essential has to do is figure out how to get the stock app to stop compressing the pics and give it manual settings

4. dragon76

Posts: 32; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

also.... I don't really rely on PhoneArena for reviews as much anymore because they tend to be pretty bias towards certain brands.... and the proof of this statement is all over the website
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek Helio P20, Octa-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2850 mAh(18h 3G talk time)

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