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TECH BREAK: Alcatel launches budget street phone

Friday January 18 2019

 Alcatel 1x.

Alcatel 1x phone. PHOTO| COURTESY 

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Alcatel is kicking off 2019 on a high note, even before January has broken, they have launched their new phone, the Alcatel 1x, a new and good-looking budget device.

The 2019 model ships with a Mediatek MT6739 chipset, with a Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 processor and a PowerVR GE8100 GPU. It has 2GB RAM and 16GB storage that is expandable by microSD card to 128GB.

The 5.5-inch display has 720 x 1440 pixel resolution, which is surprisingly well suited to this specific phone. It feels natural.

At the back, they have a dual array of cameras consisting of a 13MP capture sensor with a 2MP depth sensor, with LED flash and HDR support. At the front is a 5MP sensor with 720p video support and LED flash.

It is an LTE phone, available as either a single or dual-SIM platform, supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, has Bluetooth 4.2 and on some units, a rear mounted fingerprint sensor.

The sad news is that this phone does not, and will never match up to the Idol line, but it doesn’t make it a lemon either. In fact, far from it.


This is a budget street phone by all accounts, and this is where its true strengths emerge. One, Alcatel has gone for functionality over vanity features. Sure, there are better looking phones, but this one will do because it has the right features built in.


The display is clear and crisp and highly responsive, which, on this platform is highly unexpected, given that it slides into the lower tier of budget smartphones.

The front-facing camera on this supports face unlock and does it quite well. There is a fingerprint sensor on some models, but whichever way you lean, there is biometric support on both models.

The 13MP rear camera is a welcome feature, and capture is easy and clear. Add 1080p video and you have in the mix. Two sensible appendages on this phone include limiting Wi-Fi to b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2.

They are more common, cost effective, well supported, and let’s be realistic, you are unlikely to need more from this phone, assuming LTE is not enough. Surprisingly, Alcatel opted to go with Android 8.1 (Oreo) instead of Android Go, and that will eventually become a strain.

While Alcatel may be trying to promote this as an “ordinary” Android phone, this is a blatant mistake as this is built as an Android Go phone from the word go.

However, there is another phone, the Alcatel 1c, that arrives alongside this and is billed as an Android phone, so they may be trying to break the Android Go monotony, which in this case lacks foresight.

The 3,000mAh battery on this phone is the true deal maker. That will break 30 to 40 hours on a single charge with ordinary day-to-day use. That combination makes this phone one of the best early releases of 2019.

Base price is around Sh14,000, and though it hasn’t started shipping, it’s a phone worth looking out for if you looking for one that you can hustle with all day.