Hands-On With Alcatel 1, 3, 5 Android Smartphone Series - MWC 2018

TCL's Alcatel took to the latest iteration of Barcelona, Spain-based Mobile World Congress to announce five new product lineups scheduled to be released this spring on a global level, having unveiled three smartphone series and two tablets, most of which are powered by Android Oreo, whereas all have MediaTek-made chips. While not every new offering is a true entry-level device, they're all targeting price-conscious consumers, seeking to offer a lot of value on a budget. Most importantly, neither the 18:9 smartphones nor the two tablets feel cheap to use, even though all of them put together cost about as much as a single contemporary flagship.

The Alcatel 1X seen above is perhaps the most curious addition to the company's portfolio, launching as part of the Alcatel 1 series that includes a model debuting as the first Android Oreo (Go Edition) smartphone from TCL. Despite a €99.99 price tag attached to the single-SIM variant, the handset supports a surprisingly fast and accurate facial recognition solution, fingerprint scanner, and an elongated 5.3-inch display with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 13-megapixel front module. Coupled with the highly optimized nature of Android Oreo (Go Edition) and its suite of apps, it's hard to believe this is a low-end handset with 1GB of RAM. Google promised its reworked version of Android will enable unprecedentedly smooth experiences on even the most affordable devices and while the Alcatel 1X is only the first such smartphone to be officially announced, it certainly backs those claims.

The Alcatel 3 lineup is positioned to compete on the verge of the entry-level and mid-range segment of the market, with the Alcatel 3 and Alcatel 3V featuring 2GB of RAM and affordable quad-core MediaTek chips, whereas the Alcatel 3X is available in variants with up to 3GB of RAM, albeit it curiously doesn't run Oreo out of the box like the other two but instead comes with Nougat. All three are full-fledged phablets that are easy to use in one hand due to their 18:9 displays. While the Alcatel 3 comes with a single 13-megapixel rear camera, the other two feature somewhat more capable two-module systems; in the case of the Alcatel 3V, that's a 12-megapixel sensor supported by a 2-megapixel one, while the Alcatel 3X has a 13-megapixel camera backed by another 5-megapixel unit. In practice, the secondary cameras will be used for adding some bokeh effects to photos and the one on the Alcatel 3X will also help users get more into their shots with its 120-degree angle of capture.

The Alcatel 5 series will start at under €300 in Europe and is the most premium of the three smartphone lineups Alcatel announced at MWC 2018, which is already evident by looking at its largely bezel-free aesthetic. Beneath the 5.7-inch display of the handset is up to 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, whereas a dual-camera setup with an LED flash resides on its top bezel and is extremely similar to the back imaging system found on the Alcatel 3X. The rear plate of the Alcatel 5 accommodates a 12-megapixel sensor supported by a dual-LED flash, with the differences between the two camera setups clearly suggesting this is an extremely selfie-focused offering. The Alcatel 5 ships with an unspecified version of Android Nougat but should be updated to Oreo later this year, though likely without Project Treble support.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]