Alcatel have been producing some decent phones in the past couple of years, slowly making inroads into the Australian market. Today at MWC 2017 in Barcelona they have signalled they plan for a greater slice of the smartphone pie and have lifted the lid off four new devices, the A5 LED, the U5, the A3, and the PLUS 12 tablet.
The A5 LED is “the world’s first interactive LED-covered smartphone” and is focused on being a “fun” device for “energetic young consumers”. It has an array of LED lights on the back that can be customised to light up in a custom configuration for different notifications, which can be changed to suit your mood or theme of the day and be set to light up your music with a light show that “moves with your tunes”.
William Dowie, Portfolio Management Director, Alcatel says that the phone aims to deliver an “enhanced multimedia experience” as well as “more ways to take and share selfies”. The phone is obviously aimed at the young consumer market.
The A5 LED has a 5.2in 720P IPS display packed inside dimensions of 146 x 72.1 x 7.7mm which apparently fits comfortably in the hand. There is a 1.5GHz 64bit octa-core Mediatek processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage with is a microSD slot to expand the memory if required. The rear camera is an 8MP auto-focus camera with LED dual-tone flash. The front camera is designed for the perfect selfie and thus, while only being 5MP, includes a front-facing flash and a viewing angle of 84 degrees. The entire package is powered by a 2800mAh battery.
There is all the usual connectivity including LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 and has a micro USB connection. Unfortunately the A5 LED will be launching with Android 6.0 Marshmallow but we will be asking Alcatel for update plans when Ausdroid visit them on their booth to check out the new devcies.
The U5 is marketed as the “Most Affordable 5″ 4G Smartphone” and is designed to be easy to use with some enhanced selfie modes. It is targetted at the first-time smartphone buyer who wants a snappy phone while still having “fun camera experiences”.
The phone has lower end specs, as you would expect from an “affordable” smartphone. Inside the 140.7 x 71.8 x 9.95mm body is a 5in 480P display with only two point multi-touch possible. It is powered by a quad-core Mediatek processor with 8GB of internal storage (with a micro SD slot) and just 1GB of RAM. The battery is 2050mAh and the rear camera is just 5MP and the front 2MP with a flash.
The U5 also comes with a “Simple Mode” allowing the first-time smartphone user to easily navigate and use their phone to its capability. Once again the phone comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Alcatel have the U5 as the “Most Affordable 5″ 4G Smartphone” and are also touting the A3 as the “Most Affordable 5″ HD Smartphone”. The A3 is a budget-friendly, social media smartphone with Alcatels new selfie tools. It does offer a fingerprint reader for security, unlike the A5 LED and the U5. The fingerprint scanner can also be used to capture images and secure the Private Mode where selected data can only be accessed with a successful fingerprint scan.
The A3 includes a 13MP rear facing camera, f/2.0, with LED flash and the front facing selfie camera is 5MP with selfie flash and 84 degree viewing angle. There is also a dedicated selfie folder to store all those selfies and groufies.
The 5in display is 720P IPS display with 5 point multi-touch. It is 142 x 70.5 x 8.6mm and houes a quad-core Mediatek processor with 16GB of on-board storage and just 1.5GB of RAM. The on-board storage can be expanded with a microSD card as required. The microSD slot can also be used for a second SIM if required. The battery itself is 2460mAh.
As well as the above three smartphones Alcatel are also releasing an 11.6in tablet, with a keyboard. The PLUS 12 is deisnged to be a productivity device for those on the go. The key feature of this tablet is that it runs Windows 10 Home.
Vittorio Di Mauro, Senior-Vice President at Alcatel said of the PLUS 12:
As a leading device manufacturer for connected tablets, we are convinced that productive devices will be more and more connected to cellular networks. Alcatel has developed the PLUS range, a series of high-performing connected Windows 10 2-in-1s with 4G LTE inside, so you’ll always be connected and productive wherever you go. PLUS 12 is the latest addition to the PLUS family. With a larger screen, it delivers a great user experience. It’s also super lightweight and looks fantastic….With the PLUS 12, Alcatel has created the perfect office on the go.
The 12-inch display has a decent 1080P resolution and a front-facing 5MP camera with dual speakers and a digital microphone. The 2-in-1 device uses the new Intel Celeron N3350 processor and has 64GB of storage (32GB eMMC and 32GB microSD embedded) and supports microSD expansion of up to 128GB. There is 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 26.8Wh (6900mAh) battery in the tablet portion.
The tablet includes a fingerprint sensor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 functionality as well as USB Type-C cnnectivity and a micro HDMI port. There is no mention of a WACOM pen input although there is one pictured in the press images. We have reached out to Alcatel for more information on this.
The kicker is all the tech included in the keyboard. The LTE keyboard, as it’s name gives away houses the LTE functionality (LTE: B1/3/7/8/20/28A) as well as its own Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality. The keyboard itself has 256GB of NAND flash, 128MB of DDR2 RAM and it’s own 2580mAh battery. The keyboard also has a Qualcomm MDM9207 processor designwed for LTE modems. The keyboard also comes with a USB-A port and a 4G on/off switch.
The tablet is 284 x 175 x 7.9mm while the LTE keyboard adds on another 2.8-6.9mm. Weighing just 900 grams it is definitely a great productivity device for the professional on the go.
All four devices are heading to our shores later this year with the A5 LED and U5 set to enter the market in May, Alcatel has advised that the A5 LED will be priced at $299 while the U5 will be aggressively priced at under $150. The A3 and their Plus 12 Windows 10 tablet are coming the month after in June with the A3 priced at $199, and you’ll be able to pick up the Plus 12 tablet for $649.
Any of the above take your fancy? To me, while not flagships, they look like decent products for the budget-conscious person out there.