Alcatel 1X Proves You Can Get a Decent Phone for Under $100

We recently reviewed the Alcatel 3V. It’s a large, impressive Android phone for under $150. If, however, you want to spend even less but still get a decent Android device, check out the Alcatel 1X. The 5.3” display is on the small side, and it runs Android Oreo Go Edition, but it is surprisingly good.

In the box, you will find a quick start guide, a 5V1A charger, a data cable, a SIM tool pin, in-ear headphones and a screen protector.

In late 2018, the Alcatel 1X’s 5.3” display looks and feels small but, just a few years ago, this would have been mainstream, if not large, design. Today, this phone feels a bit on the small side but it is still quite usable and, thanks to the small size, easy to use one-handed. Also, the 18:9 aspect ratio looks great and makes viewing content on the screen a pleasure. As they describe it, the phone has a:

Compact 5.3″ display with 18:9 aspect ratio for cinematic viewing experience

The phone is plastic but has a nice “premium suede finish” that feels comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. The phone feels surprisingly solid.

The phone runs Android Oreo Go Edition. This “lighter” version of Android Oreo is specifically designed for budget phones such as this. And while having a “light” version of Android on your phone might initially be cause for concern, it makes sense.

Android Go comes with “fewer pre-installed and much lighter apps” to give you more storage space on the phone. It is,

A powerful experience for entry-level smartphones. It’s the best of Android, built with new and reimagined apps, so even the most affordable Android smartphones are as sweet as can be.

It takes up less storage space, and, while it still lets you install any Android app, the Play Store does a nice job of flagging lighter versions of apps that will run more efficiently on budget devices. And while it does mean serious smartphone users will likely run into some apps that don’t perform as well on a budget device, for people just starting out with a smartphone, or those looking to have a budget phone that runs smoothly, Android Go is a good choice.

The Alcatel 1X comes unlocked and is listed as compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. (I have AT&T and can vouch for the fact that it works fine on their network.) What might surprise you is the fact that this budget phone still has 4G LTE!

 

The 1X has an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera. Both have a flash. By comparison, the Alcatel 3V has dual 12MP and 2MP rear cameras and a 5MP selfie camera.

Like the 3V, the 1X has Alcatel’s Picture Booth, Instant Collage and Social Square Modes for some serious photography fun.

Also surprising on such an inexpensive phone is the fact that, on the back, the phone has a built-in fingerprint sensor.

The internals of the phone is where you will see that, while fairly substantial, this is a budget phone. It only has 1GB of RAM and comes with just 16GB of internal storage. Sure, it also has a slot for a micro SD card, but even here there is a limit since the phone can only handle cards up to 32GB in size.

 

And while the 3V has a 3000mAh battery, the 1X only has a 2460 mAh battery. Still, with a slower processor and smaller screen, the battery is fine and can deliver up to 14 hours of talk time on 3G.

Features:

  • IMMERSIVE FULL-VIEW DISPLAY: The full view display maximizes on-screen content by minimizing borders, so you can check more social updates, and watch videos like they’re meant to be seen.
  • FORM AND FUNCTION: Premium suede finish and sleek minimalist design
  • READY. SET. GO.: Powered by Android Oreo (Go Edition), the Alcatel 1X is built lean, with smaller app sizes and more storage space.
  • BATTERY LIFE YOU CAN COUNT ON: With a 2460 mAh battery, you get up to 14 hours of talk time* in a single charge, giving you an all-day battery that always has your back.
  • CAPTURE MOMENTS WORTH SHARING: Take better snapshots with the 8MP rear camera, and use the 5MP front camera with flash to take picture-perfect selfies, no matter where you are.
  • INSTANT COLLAGE: Makes your photo sequences a work of art by creating collages as you point and shoot.
  • SOCIAL SQUARE: Review, delete or share pictures as soon as they’re taken, all while the other half of your screen stays fixed on the action.
  • PHOTO BOOTH: Get personal photo booth shots, wherever the mood strikes. Instantly share your best four poses with friends.
  • SECURE ACCESS: Instantly access your device with the built-in fingerprint sensor. You can also assign different fingerprints to quickly launch your favorite apps.

If you take the time to read through this list, you can’t help but be surprised that all this is included in a phone that comes unlocked for under $100.

Specifications:

  • Size: 5.80 x 2.77 x .36 in
  • Weight: 5.32 oz
  • Color: Dark Grey
  • Slim Frame/Suede Finish
  • 1GB RAM/16GB ROM
  • MicroSD Support: Up to 32GB
  • Processor: MT6739 Quad-Core 1.28GHz
  • Sensors: GPS, Accelerometer (G sensor), Proximity, Light
  • OS: Android Oreo (Go Edition)
  • Display: 5.34” FWVGA 18:9 (480x960p)
  • Glass Type: Asahi
  • Rear Camera 8MP with Single LED Flash
  • Front Camera 5MP with a Single LED Flash

The Alcatel 1X isn’t going to impress smartphone experts. It won’t satisfy power-users. And it likely won’t be the right phone for the busy professional. But for the person on a tight budget, looking to get an Android device for their child or needing a spare phone for travel, this is a great option. It is a real phone for a smartphone age and, as premium phones are now north of $1000, the fact that you can get a decent phone for under $100 is a huge deal! Learn more here.  Purchase it on Amazon here.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Decent phone for under $100; Small size is easy to use with one hand; Can run all Android apps but optimized for “lite” versions; 5MP front camera is a surprise on a budget phone

What Needs Improvement: Low-end specs; Android Go can run all Android apps but not run them equally; Cameras are serviceable


About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.