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Hands On with Alcatel's New 5, 3, and 1 Series Smartphones

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Jan 9, 2018, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel showed off new hardware at CES this week, though it stopped short of fully announcing any new phones. The 5 Series, 3 Series, and 1 Series devices will encompass its entire smartphone range moving forward. The company had several prototypes on hand for each and we took a look at this not-yet-final phones. Here are our initial impressions.

Alcatel had some hardware on display in Las Vegas this week, near-final prototypes that will encompass its lineup through 2018. The 5 Series will serve as mid-range phones costing under $300; the 3 Series will serve as affordable mid-range phones costing under $200; and the 1 Series will serve as entry-leave devices costing under $100.


All three Series share some important features: 2:1 displays and fingerprint sensors. Yes, even the sub-$100 1 Series will include a fingerprint sensor. These are must-have features, according to Alcatel, and the company said each new phone it announces this year will offer these features.

Each Series will include more than a single handset. In fact, Alcatel said each Series may have as many as three devices in the lineup. The first offerings include the 5, the 3V, and the 1X. (We can expect to see more at Mobile World Congress next month.) The company did not share any details about these handsets, such as specs and such. Most will ship with Android 8 Oreo, but some may launch with Nougat. Everything on site in Las Vegas was running Nougat. The phones will be powered by Qualcomm and/or MediaTek processors.

The 5 is the top of the new line and it comes across as a nice piece of hardware. It's not as high-end as the Idol series, but it is still better than the average $200 or $300 device. The phone has a glass front, plastic frame, and brushed-metal finish on the back. It is large, but not super big. I liked the look and feel of the rear panel. The screen looking good at first glance, but we don't know the resolution, the size, nor even if it is LCD or OLED. (Seriously, Alcatel isn't saying anything about these phones just yet.)


The 3X is massive. It resembles many of the phablet-sized devices we've seen from ZTE over the last two years. In fact, the3X apes the Blade X Max Pro a bit with the glossy blue rear over and twin-camera design. It's a pretty phone, but clearly made of all plastics (save for the screen). I liked the overall look and feel of the phone, though it certainly falls in the sub $200 range. The screen impressed me, even though I can't tell you the resolution.


Alcatel didn't have a function 1X on site, just a dummy unit. The device is compact thanks to a smaller screen and has a pleasing texture to the rear cover. I liked the site and in-hand experience of the dummy unit on hand. The fingerprint reader is easy to find and use no matter how small or large your hand may be. It may make for a solid first phone for kids.


We'll learn a lot more today about these and other Alcatel handsets at Mobile World Congress.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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