Could the Alcatel 3 be the handset the low-cost market has been calling out for?
With each new generation, the gap between premium, mid-range and budget mobile phones is widening meaning that the likes of the iPhone XS and Samsung S10 are often ten times the price of a budget handset. This widening gap has been pushing more price-sensitive consumers to look at the mid-range market for comparisons and they are often shocked to discover that you can get a lot of phone for their money. With this in mind, we’ve tested the all-new Alcatel 3 to see what £150 can get you in the mid-market.
THE ALL-NEW ALCATEL 3
The new Alcatel 3 (2019) is a key device for the firm, as it’s their core mid-range offering competing with the likes of the Huawei Mate 20 Lite, Nokia 7.1 and Honor 10 Lite.
LOOKS & FEEL
Unboxing the Alcatel 3 reveals a well-designed handset with a respectable finish. In the hand, it feels sturdy but light. The camera and bezel look neat and streamlined. There is a surprisingly high quality feel to the handset when looking and using the screen. The two-toned plastic back looks good but doesn’t lack the smoothness of a glass-backed handset.
DISPLAY & SOUND
There are no two ways about it. For £150, you will struggle to find a better screen anywhere near this price point. It is amazingly bright and vivid delivering a great experience when watching videos and browsing websites.
At 720 DPI, 5.94 inches is a lot of screen for and whilst the clarity is not 100% perfect, it does not create a problem for standard use. Images and movies look good but this screen comes to life with non-moving viewing such as browsing websites and using apps.
As we move from the excellent screen on the front to the rear camera, we see the first average aspect of the phone. It is worth remembering that we are talking about a £150 handset so this 13-megapixel camera is not going to win you the ‘Photo Of The Year’ award.
Alongside the 13-megapixel camera is an additional 2-megapixel depth-sensing lens used for all things 3D. Again, a great addition based on the price point.
The overall performance of the camera is average if you are used to the image quality & speed of premium handsets. An example of this can be seen when attempting to take split-second pictures – from opening the camera app to the speed that a picture is taken takes too long so if you are looking to take “action” snaps, you will struggle. Selfies and regular photos look vivid and bright on the screen. If you are willing to experiment with the settings and lighting to our view on the phones overall performance. Light and patience are your best friends when taking pictures.
In terms of power, the Alcatel 3 has a Snapdragon 439 chipset and 3GB of RAM which is more than enough for daily activities such as browsing, sending emails and social media apps. Power-hungry games will push this handset to its limit but it is clear that gaming enthusiasts are not this phone’s market. We would recommend closing down apps that are not being used to reduce the load on the phone.
If you are not pushing this handset to the limit, you can get a full day of power from one charge which is great for the average user. The 3,500mAh battery is more than enough power but the handset’s lack of fast charging is a letdown and the micro-usb charging port does not future-proof the phone. Transferring large image files via the USB will be slow but as most of us use cloud based storage, this will only be a pain for a few.
FINAL VERDICT – 3/5
When not factoring price, the Alcatel 3 is an average handset. The moment you add the cost of the handset to the conversation, the verdict goes from average to excellent. Alcatel have been generous with the amount of tech they have packed into this handset. You have about 60% of the features you will get on a high-end phone for about 20% of the cost.
Yes, there are a small number of issues with the handset’s performance but overall, this is a great mid-range handset. When you consider that for £150 you are getting a new handset with face recognition, a fingerprint sensor, AI, decent camera and enough power to run most applications, the little issues can be ignored and are quickly forgotten.
If the thought of signing up to a three-year contract and paying over £40 a month is not an option for you, a SIM Free Alcatel 3 and cheap SIM-only deal is your answer.