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TCL launches more cheap Alcatel phones: Need a burner device?

Need a cheap backup phone? The latest Alcatel devices might be for you.

Published onJanuary 11, 2021

Alcatel 3L official
Supplied by TCL
  • TCL has launched three budget Alcatel-branded phones at CES 2021.
  • The firm also revealed a sub-$80 Android tablet.

Prior to launching its own branded devices in global markets, TCL was known for offering Alcatel-branded devices. Now, the Chinese company is launching three cheap new Alcatel phones.

The most capable of the lot is the Alcatel 3L, but even this device doesn’t really qualify as a mid-range smartphone. Expect an entry-level MediaTek Helio A25 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage.

TCL’s phone is powered by a 4,000mAh battery with 10W charging via microUSB port. Yes, the Alcatel 3L (and the rest of the devices announced today) doesn’t have USB-C connectivity, some five years after the standard was first introduced on smartphones.

More reading: The best budget phones you can currently buy

The rest of the spec sheet is similarly low-end, with a 6.52-inch HD+ LCD screen, a triple camera setup (48MP main and a pair of 2MP sensors), and an 8MP selfie shooter in a waterdrop notch. At least the phone ships with Android 11 out of the box, as well as NFC, a Google Assistant button, a rear fingerprint scanner, and a 3.5mm port.

Expect to pay €149 (~$183) for the Alcatel 3L when it launches in March 2021, with Jewelry Black and Jewelry Blue colorways in tow. This price tag puts it squarely up against phones like the POCO M3, Redmi 9, Samsung Galaxy A21s, and the Moto G Fast.

Burner phone territory

Alcatel 1L official
Supplied by TCL

Looking for something a little cheaper? That’s where the Alcatel 1S comes in, giving you a meat and potatoes smartphone experience. That means a 6.52-inch HD+ LCD screen, Helio A25 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage. The combo of the lightweight processor and 4,000mAh battery means two days of endurance is certainly possible in theory. Otherwise, you’re also getting a triple rear camera (13MP and two 2MP sensors), 5MP selfie snapper, and Android 11.

The Alcatel 1S will be available from February 2021 for €109 (~$134), complete with Elegant Black and Twilight Blue color options.

Oddly enough, TCL is also offering the Alcatel 1L in this price segment (seen above). The phone cuts down on battery size (down to 3,000mAh) and camera count (13MP+2MP macro), while also running Android 11 Go Edition instead.

You’re also getting a Helio A25 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and a 6.1-inch HD+ LCD panel. Other notable specs at this price-point include a 5MP selfie camera and a rear fingerprint scanner.

The Alcatel 1L is available in Power Grey and Twilight Blue and will retail for $135 when it goes on sale in March 2021. Both phones are priced to go up against rivals like the Redmi 9A and Motorola Moto E7.

Finally, TCL also has a cut-price tablet on offer in the Alcatel 1T 7 Wi-Fi slate. The company didn’t reveal much in the way of specs, but it has a starting price of €59 (~$72) for the 16GB variant and €69 (~$85) for the 32GB model. So this could be an interesting alternative to low-end slates from the likes of Amazon and Samsung.

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