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January 9, 2018

Alcatel’s 2018 phone lineup features a budget phone with an 18:9 display

by John_A

It looks like TCL’s Alcatel is gearing up for a pretty big year. The company took an opportunity at CES 2018 to unveil three of its upcoming new phones — the Alcatel 5 Series, Alcatel 3 Series, and Alcatel 1 Series. We’ll have more details about the phones at Mobile World Congress at the end of February, but here’s everything we know about the phones so far.

Alcatel 5 Series

The Alcatel 5 Series seems to be the company’s big “affordable flagship” phone for the year, and the company says it “represents Alcatel’s affordable premium tier of phones.” Alcatel says it will deliver the same features users want from a flagship phone, but at a much lower price. We managed to check out the phone for ourselves at CES 2018, and while the design wasn’t groundbreaking in any way, it did seem like Alcatel was taking a step in the right direction by adopting more modern design trends.

The device features a somewhat blocky design but seems pretty thin, with a large fingerprint sensor and camera sensor on the back. The corners on the device are a little sharper than many other modern phones, and it seems to make the phone look slightly dated. The real standout feature is the lack of bezels on the bottom and sides, which is a very nice touch. The phone was previously leaked online by Evan Blass.

What Alcatel means when it says it’s offering an “affordable flagship phone” remains to be seen. Most of the time, when phone makers unveil an “affordable flagship phone,” there’s some kind of trade-off. The company mentioned in a press release that the 5 Series will offer an 18:9 aspect ratio, and face unlock — though those alone certainly don’t make a flagship phone. Processing power, camera quality, and so on will all be important factors to consider.

Alcatel 3 Series

The 3 Series looks to be the company’s new midrange phone, but Alcatel says it will still offer some premium features, like dual cameras, a beautiful design, and a display with an 18:9 aspect ratio.

When it comes to the design, the device features a display with beautifully rounded corners, which we quite like. It looks pretty similar to the Google Pixel 2 XL. On the back, you’ll find a vertically aligned dual-sensor camera, as well as a fingerprint sensor. It’s interesting that this phone features a dual-lens camera while the Series 5 doesn’t — though as Google proved with the Pixel 2, features like portrait mode don’t necessarily always require two camera lenses.

Alcatel 1 Series

Last but not least is the Alcatel 1 Series, which is the most affordable device of the bunch. Alcatel says it will also offer an 18:9 display and face unlock — so it looks like Alcatel is trying to build a uniform lineup of phones that offer a similar design and overall experience no matter which device you get.

As far as design goes, the 1 Series does away with the rounded corners on the display, a fingerprint sensor on the back, and the dual-lens camera. Depending on the price, however, that may not matter.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the phones, but again, Alcatel says we’ll hear more come MWC. These initial features seem promising, and they could help make Alcatel’s lineup much more modern. Past Alcatel phones, like the Idol 5, have a lot to offer — but in our reviews, we noted that they simply did not compete with better devices in their price range.

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