Alcatel 5 Review - Dual selfie cameras under PHP 9K

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The Alcatel 5 is one of the new line of smartphones from the France based manufacturer. Is it worth the PHP 8,490 price tag? Let's find out!
Alcatel 5 Review - Dual selfie cameras under PHP 9K
The large camera and fingerprint sensor!

The highlight features are the USB Type-C port, the dual selfie camera made of a 13MP f/2.0 and 5MP f/2.4 120-degree super wide-angle with LED Flash and 1.5GHz 64-bit MT6750 octa-core processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage.

For our review part 1: Alcatel 5 Unboxing and First Impressions

Display Quality

Alcatel 5's 720p display
Alcatel 5's 720p display

The front facing display is a 5.7-inch 2.5D curved IPS screen with HD+ 1440 x 720 at 282 ppi that is surrounded by thin side bezels but thick top and bottom bezels.

The display is vibrant with color with good contrast while the maximum brightness is bright enough to be readable outside but may struggle when directly facing the sun.

There is no automatic brightness detection nor is there a super bright mode that pushes the maximum brightness of the display for a limited time.

It has 5 points of multi-touch in total which makes it good for most productivity and day to day apps but may struggle with games that take advantage of multiple touch inputs simultaneously.

Audio Quality

With the speaker are the USB-C, and the other mic below
With the speaker are the USB-C, and the other mic below

The Alcatel 5 has a single bottom firing speaker that produces decent volume but with low clarity and shallow range. Even at 70 percent volume, the sound is somewhat discernible but the muddiness is prominent and the difference between the lows, highs and mids are somewhat blurred. It isn't terrible, but there are better speakers out there for this price point.

The 3.5mm headphone jack is on top and the sound quality significantly improved when using the stock earphones or our RHA 450i.

The details are defined and clear while the range is noticeably wider and the mids, lows and highs are balanced. We recommend using a headphone or earphone set with the Alcatel 5.

Bluetooth works well for wireless headphones.

Microphone quality for calls are decent wherein the voice is clear and decent in volume. It has good audio recording performance.

Battery

Good battery life
Good battery life

The Alcatel 5 has a massive 3,000mAh battery capacity that resulted in under 9 hours in our usual PC Mark battery benchmark.

In our real world use, it impressed us wherein we would unplug the phone at 8AM and get home at 8PM with 40 percent of battery left with LTE and WiFi turned on all day!

There is a standard battery saving mode that comes with any Android device. It also has an option in the battery settings to intelligently save battery when on standby. Another feature is the battery optimization which optimizes each app installed on your phone to save battery.

Charging time is around 90 minutes. It is one of the faster charging phones in the same price point because of the USB Type-C port.

Camera

Camera UI
Camera UI

The main camera is a 12MP f/2.2 with AF, EIS, and dual-tone LED flash with modes like Auto, Pano, Timelapse, Social, light trace and Slo-mo.
Camera modes
Camera modes

Social is Alcatel's take on Nokia's dual shot where-in it takes one picture with the selfie camera and one picture from the main camera and saves it as one. It can go up to four pictures in one. We almost never used it after the novelty wore off.

The light trace mode is like Huawei's light trail mode where in it stacks multiple shots in a user specified time to create trails of light from moving subjects. 

There is no Pro mode. The Auto mode allows for HDR, filters, flash and auto night detection.

The autofocus is accurate but slow with it being able to acquire targets quickly but snapping into focus takes a while. The gap between is a long wait.

The daylight images from the main camera are a mixed bag. In ideal conditions, the images are sharp enough with wide contrast and decent colors. In conditions where there is super bright areas and high contrast results in a narrow range of light and dark areas with the colors being muted. The auto HDR doesn't help in this high contrast situations

In indoor shots, the colors are vibrant and the contast is wide but the sharpness could be better while in low light the colors remain vibrant but the noise reduction softens the image noticeably.

Rear Camera Samples

Main camera daylight
Main camera daylight
Main camera indoor 1
Main camera indoor 1
Indoor 2
Indoor 2
Indoor 3
Indoor 3
Main camera low light
Main camera low light

The selfie camera is a dual 13MP f/2.0 and 5MP f/2.4 with 120-degree super wide-angle and LED flash.

The selfie camera has three modes: Auto, Social and Wide. Auto and Social are the same as the main camera mode while the wide switches to the wider 5MP camera lens.

Super-wide secondary selfie cam!

The daylight and indoor images from the main selfie camera have good detail and contrast but the skin tones can feel off depending on the lighting.

The wide selfie on the other hand is noticeably softer than its main selfie counterpart with a noticeably greener tint image. The field of view though is one of the widest we've ever seen and could be great with group selfies and environmental selfies.

In low light, the noise reduction softens the image significantly and the colors are somewhat washed out.

In low light the contrast, sharpness and detail soften because of the noise reduction and we also see magenta casting in some areas.

The concerns we have for the selfie camera are in low light and could be improved in software. We hope Alcatel is able to remedy this.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie camera daylight
Selfie camera daylight
Daylight wide
Daylight wide
Selfie indoor
Selfie indoor
Indoor wide
Indoor wide
Selfie low light
Selfie low light

In video, the footage from the main camera and the selfie camera produces super sharp video with vibrant color and good contrast. It is able to control changing exposures well. It only struggles with flaring. The EIS helps with reducing shake but we think this could be improved further with OIS.

Otherwise, the video footage from both cameras are good.

Video Samples


Performance

Underwhelming for the price tag
Underwhelming for the price tag

Inside is the 1.5GHz 64-bit MT6750 octa-core processor with Mali-T860 MP2 GPU and 2GB of RAM that pushes a 720p display.

AnTuTu fails each time we run it on the Alcatel 5 while the GeekBench came out with a 608 in single core-tests and a 2521 in multi-core tests.

The 2GB RAM is somewhat limiting now in 2019 for power users. It may be enough for light to moderate users. In our time with it, the 2GB never got filled enough to cause problems.

For gaming, it is difficult to play the latest and greatest because of the 16GB internal storage without a microSD card. A lot of the popular big title games now demand a minimum of 1GB along with an additional 1GB separate download.

In 2019, the 16GB is sorely lacking when in our time with our Alcatel, we installed only the essential apps for social media, Spotifiy, Netflix, Grab, Booky and several others we use daily and we already have no room for a 1GB game.


The UI

Alcatel's unique version of Android
Alcatel's unique version of Android

The software installed is Android 7.0 Nougat with Alcatel's design touch. It is surprisingly lightweight and snappy. We are mostly happy with this iteration of Android but we had hoped that it came with Android 8.0 Oreo.

There are other concerns like the whole screen take over ads that pop-up every now and then which is annoying and takes up data.


Other features

It doesn't have face unlock but the fingerprint sensor is quick and instantaneous. In the few months that we had the Alcatel, we almost never encountered a misread fingerprint.

Overall, connectivity and telephony experience is good. We never had problems with telco connectivity. WiFi is stable. 4G LTE signal is strong in areas with good telco coverage. GPS is quick and accurate.

It also has USB OTG support and gyroscope for apps that support it.

Pros - USB Type-C, long battery life even with LTE, decent design and build
Cons - So-so performance, 16GB storage is lacking, speaker could be improved, comes with old Android 7.0

Alcatel 5 Specs

Display: 5.7-inch 2.5D curved IPS screen w/ HD+ 1440 x 720 at 282 ppi 
CPU: 1.5GHz 64-bit MT6750 octa-core processor 
GPU: Mali-T860 MP2 
RAM: 2GB 
ROM: 16GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 32GB 
Back Camera: 12MP f/2.2 w/ AF, EIS, and dual-tone LED flash 
Selfie Camera: 13MP f/2.0 + 5MP f/2. 4 120-degree super wide-angle w/ LED flash 
Battery: 3,000mAh 
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat 
Connectivity: WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, FM Radio, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM (hybrid) 
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic 
Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, USB Type-C, Colors: metallic black, metallic gold 
Dimensions: 152.35 x 71.1 x 84.5 mm
Weight: 144 g 
Price: PHP 8,490

Verdict

The Alcatel 5 changes up the sub PHP 9K price range with its long battery life, USB Type-C and good design but may need to improve on its 16GB storage capacity, speaker performance and so-so performance. 

If you can live with the downsides and want USB Type-C and good battery life for the PHP 8,490, then this may be the phone for you.

Build/Design - 4.25
Display - 4
Audio - 3.75
Battery - 4
Camera - 3.75
Performance - 3.75
Average - 3.92/5
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