What is the Alcatel 5?
The Alcatel 5 is probably the most able to the French model’s early-2018 smartphone vary, though it isn’t your typical flagship telephone.
At simply £230, it sits firmly on the decrease finish of the market, with just a few fascinating options setting it aside from the £220 Moto G6. With a protracted bezel-less show and a twin selfie digital camera setup, it’s an intriguing possibility for individuals who need somewhat greater than the naked necessities.
Whether that’s sufficient to make up for deficiencies within the primary person expertise is one thing we’ll have to spend somewhat time discussing.
Related: Best Android phones
Alcatel 5 – Design
Alcatel has gone for one thing somewhat totally different with the Alcatel 5 design, which is deserving of some credit score. There’s not one of the traditional Apple and Samsung copy-cattery on show right here, that’s for certain.
Which isn’t to say that the Alcatel 5’s distinctive design is wholly profitable. The model has bravely gone in opposition to the present obsession with steel to supply an all-plastic telephone, though it leans on faux-metal finishes somewhat an excessive amount of.
There’s a brushed impact on the wrap-around rear and sides, though it’s adequately subtle to be inoffensive. This is loosely mirrored by a barely retro horizontal line sample underneath the duvet glass (inaccurately labelled as 2.5D by Alcatel) instantly above and under the show.
It’s somewhat regrettable that Alcatel has opted for a pretend shiny steel impact for the plastic ends. These comprise the three.5mm and USB-C ports, in addition to the telephone’s speaker, however they appear somewhat naff.
The headline characteristic here’s a supposedly “Bezel-less Design” (Alcatel’s precise phrases), but it surely’s actually nothing of the type. With an enormous brow, seen chin, and small however clearly current aspect borders, the entrance of the telephone actually isn’t with out bezel.
Meanwhile, the dimensions disparity between the Alcatel 5’s brow and chin leaves it wanting somewhat lopsided. Franken-forehead apart, the opposite three of these display screen borders are undoubtedly smaller than your common finances telephone.
In reality, that is fairly a pleasing telephone to carry because of a slender 71.1mm physique with a modest eight.45mm thickness. Combined with a just-so weight of 144g and easy rounded edges, it suits within the hand very snugly certainly.
Thanks to that narrowness, these with lengthy fingers might want to contort their forefinger greater than traditional to succeed in the Alcatel 5’s fingerprint sensor. It’s positioned within the Android place of slightly below the digital camera module.
This isn’t the very best instance I’ve encountered, even on the decrease finish of the smartphone market. It works more often than not, however will be sluggish, and there have been simply sufficient mis-reads to cross that hard-to-pinpoint doubt barrier.
Perhaps fortuitously then, Alcatel has included its personal facial unlock system referred to as Face Key. This isn’t the superior 3D facial mapping system of the iPhone X, however then no-one outdoors of Apple is utilizing such a complicated element proper now.
Face Key makes use of the Alcatel 5’s entrance digital camera to supply a easy scan of your face. I discovered that it labored fairly nicely in average to first rate lighting, supplied your face is positioned dead-centre and is totally unobstructed. However, it doesn’t work in low lighting and you must be aware that it’s much less safe than fingerprint authentication.
Alcatel 5 – Screen
The Alcatel 5’s 5.7-inch 18:9 IPS LCD is a stand-out element.
It isn’t utterly exceptional to search out such a stretched-out ‘FullView’ show in a £200 telephone – the Honor 9 Lite pulled off the same trick only in the near past -– but it surely’s nonetheless reasonably uncommon.
However, the place the Honor 9 Lite boasted an acceptable 2160 x 1080 FHD+ decision, the Alcatel 5 display screen is available in at a barely disappointing 1440 x 720. This isn’t a catastrophe by any means, however there’s undoubtedly a sure fuzziness to small textual content and thumbnails when shopping the net.
It appears a wierd determination to supply a widescreen media-friendly 18:9 side ratio, however then to not present the flexibility to look at Full HD content material.
Resolution shortfall apart, the Alcatel 5’s show is sort of properly balanced. It’s an LCD, so colors don’t precisely pop, however they’re moderately correct and natural-looking in comparison with the garish pores and skin tones and luminous reds of cheaper AMOLED panels.
There’s a slight icy blueness to the show by default, however this may be tweaked within the in depth (if poorly laid out) MiraVision tuning choices throughout the settings menu.
The Alcatel 5’s show can get fairly vibrant, not less than for indoor use, in case you swap off the overly aggressive adaptive brightness operate. It’s significantly much less legible when used outdoor in the course of the day, though it is a widespread trait amongst cheaper telephones.
Alcatel 5 – Performance
The Alcatel 5 is powered by a MediaTek MT6750 CPU, which is a barely creaky low-end CPU.
Given that the telephone prices upwards of £200 (if solely simply), it’s a disgrace that it wasn’t fitted out with one thing somewhat extra punchy. I’m considering of the Snapdragon 625 utilized by the Moto G5S Plus, and even the MediaTek Helio P25 discovered within the Doogee Mix 2.
Both of these telephones have the same worth to the Alcatel 5, but they carry out significantly better. A Geekbench four multi-core rating of 2474 compares unfavourably to each the Moto G5S Plus (4460) and the Doogee Mix 2 (4032). The Honor 9 Lite, with its extra pixel-dense tackle the edge-to-edge show and its humdrum Kirin 659 CPU, scored 3644.
The Alcatel 5’s mediocre processor is, not less than, backed by a snug 3GB of RAM, which ensures that the Android OS runs with out too many points.
While normal efficiency isn’t a catastrophe, it’s hardly snappy both. Unlocking the telephone biometrically, whether or not with the fingerprint sensor or Face Key, comes with a prolonged pause. Jumping into and between apps additionally makes the telephone puff somewhat.
When it involves gaming, the Alcatel 5 runs Guns of Boom fairly nicely – though there are just a few stutters whenever you first load right into a stage of a fast-paced on-line FPS. On the reasonably extra demanding PUBG Mobile, the place the graphics have been set to low by default, I discovered the expertise to be playable, if somewhat halting.
32GB of storage is just about anticipated for a telephone at this worth as of late, as is the supply of a microSD slot for as much as 128GB of growth.
Alcatel 5 – Software
The Alcatel 5 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat, which dates all the way in which again to December 2016. It’s removed from the newest model of Google’s cell OS.
Not that you simply’ll instantly recognise the model of Android by taking a look at it. Yes, Alcatel is one other smartphone model that thinks it is aware of higher than the world’s largest software program firm on the subject of UI design.
Thankfully, it isn’t probably the most heavy-handed customized Android UI I’ve ever used. The icons and backgrounds are totally different, as are the settings menus and the drag-up digital command key menu, however the dropdown notification menu is essentially unmodified.
There’s no Google Now choice to the left of the homescreen. Rather, it appears to be buried on the backside of the the Google widget. On the flip aspect, Google’s Assistant is available with a vocal immediate, which works reliably.
Also acquainted is the presence of an app tray button on the backside of the homescreen, which isn’t as widespread because it was once. Alcatel allows you to select the way you need this checklist of put in apps ordered – alphabetically, by frequency of use, or by date.
You additionally get a well-recognized suite of preinstalled apps (a compass, a sound recorder, a pointless Alcatel rewards and tutorial app) and video games, which you’ll both undertake into your each day utilization or – extra probably – substitute with superior third-party options.
Perhaps the obvious and even intrusive software program addition is the Joy Touch overlay. This semi-transparent shortcut button hovers in a conspicuously inconspicuous style above the homescreen and even apps.
In apply, it’s a bit like that one who presents that will help you transfer home, however finally ends up simply being in the way in which. Joy Touch appears useful in that it grants you entry to a variety of features such because the calculator, timer, and flashlight from nearly wherever. But it’s a perpetual visible distraction, and most of my direct interplay with it was a press and maintain to shuffle it out of the way in which.
Fortunately, you’ll be able to deactivate Joy Touch within the settings menu. I think that many Alcatel 5 homeowners will make use of this toggle.
Alcatel 5 – Camera
Alcatel has gone with the development of a dual-camera setup for the Alcatel 5, however not in the way in which you may anticipate.
It’s the entrance digital camera that will get the good thing about two lenses right here, reasonably than the rear. You get a twin 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel ‘SmartSelfie DUO’ system, which robotically switches to a 120-degree wide-angle view when it detects greater than two folks within the body.
I can type of see the justification for this shift in consideration, on condition that the kinds of people that shall be shopping for or utilizing such an reasonably priced smartphone (predominantly younger folks) will typically take much more footage with the entrance digital camera than the rear.
Kudos to Alcatel additionally for assigning the fingerprint sensor to shutter management when in selfie mode.
Besides, the one 12-megapixel predominant digital camera on the Alcatel 5 is definitely fairly first rate as it’s. During my time with the telephone I discovered it to be moderately snappy, with dependable autofocus and an intuitive UI.
What’s extra, the photographs I obtained have been of an inexpensive high quality. Colours have been balanced and natural-looking, avenue photographs didn’t undergo from movement blur, and my topic was typically in focus with out requiring my interference.
As at all times with reasonably priced cameras, this comes with the caveat that you simply want loads of gentle to get first rate outcomes. Beyond a sure level, low-light photographs turned predictably blurry and ugly.
At the opposite finish of the dimensions, the Alcatel 5 dealt with dramatic skies moderately nicely, in contrast to most reasonably priced telephones.
Normally when reviewing an inexpensive telephone, I’ll find yourself taking two similar panorama footage – one with HDR mode turned on, and the opposite with it off – to see the way it handles extremes of sunshine and shade (‘terribly’ being the standard reply). That didn’t appear related with the Alcatel 5, nonetheless, as a result of it comes with an automated HDR mode by default.
This HDR mode isn’t excellent by any means – a good choice of large seaside photographs on a bright-but-cloudy day yielded a barely murky foreground. However, it did show efficient at minimising that bleached-out sky impact, all with out creating the uncanny Instagram filter look of many entry-level HDR modes.
Alcatel 5 – Battery life
The Alcatel 5 doesn’t pull up any bushes on the battery life entrance, however it is going to comfortably see you thru a day of regular utilization.
Its 3000mAh capability isn’t notably exceptional for a contemporary smartphone with a 5.7-inch show, however the telephone’s low-power processor and 720p decision make it look somewhat extra beneficiant.
It can actually stand as much as superior duties with out placing an excessive amount of of a dent in your day. Watching a 50-minute downloaded TV programme with the display screen brightness bumped proper up sapped simply 6% of the Alcatel 5’s battery life, which is considerably higher than the Honor 9 Lite (14%) and its 1080p show.
Curiously, it sapped the identical 6% after enjoying 15 minutes of Guns of Boom at half display screen brightness, which is a similar consequence to the Honor 9 Lite. Whether this is a sign of a less-efficient GPU or another issue I’m undecided. Either approach, it’ isn’t a foul consequence by any means.
It’s good to see the Alcatel 5 utilizing the reversible USB-C normal for charging functions, as this nonetheless isn’t a given at this finish of the market.
Why purchase the Alcatel 5?
The Alcatel 5 asks you to pay somewhat greater than the accepted entry-level smartphone worth for a few novel options, though their true price is questionable.
Its stretched edge-to-edge 18:9 show actually isn’t widespread at this worth, however the Honor 9 Lite did it each earlier and higher. Conversely, first rate digital camera efficiency and an fascinating wide-angle selfie characteristic imply the Alcatel 5 warrants a better look if images is an absolute precedence.
Ultimately, although, a divisive design, mediocre efficiency and underwhelming software program imply that it most likely isn’t price contemplating when the Moto G5S Plus presents a greater core expertise for a similar cash.
The Alcatel 5 presents a dominating 18:9 show and cheap digital camera efficiency for round £230. However, a barely odd design, underwhelming efficiency and mediocre software program make it laborious to advocate in a robust area. The equally priced Moto G5S Plus does the fundamentals rather a lot higher and with significantly extra fashion.