I was very skeptical when I found out that the Alcatel A5 LED costs £99. How good could a smartphone be at that price? Check out a quick 1minute video review below, and read the whole article for my full, brutally honest thoughts.
Build and design
Firstly, this doesn’t feel like a high-end premium smartphone, nor should it. Alcatel opted to use plastic for the entire smartphone; however, it feels very solid. At 134 grams, you will notice it is in your pocket.
I have a chronic condition of ‘butter fingers’ and dropped the phone many times. However, the hard plastic was very resilient.
It is a simple looking smartphone from the front, but turn it around and you get an Led display. This can be set to light up during phone calls, texts etc. It also responds to music so can create an equaliser effect.
With most budget smartphones being rather boring, the LED case is a big bonus, and I can see it being very attractive to young people. Personally, I used it when running at night in order to be more visible.
The Alcatel A5 LED has a built-in octa core processor. However, it doesn’t have the individual core strength of high end smartphones. Saying that, I didn’t experience any stuttering when switching from one app to the other.
It stuttered a few times when loading heavy web pages; however, this can be solved by using a browser such as Opera Mini.
Unlike some smartphones, it doesn’t come preloaded with apps which display annoying notifications. It is responsive when I need it and quiet when I don’t.
Here are technical specs of the Alcatel A5 LED:
Internal memory: 16GB, MicroSD expandable up to 128GB
Size: 146mm x 72.1mm x 7.2mm (with PC cover)
Display: 5.2" HD IPS
Talk time: 21hrs (2G)
CPU: Octa-core (8 x 1.5GHz)
Operating System: Android Marshmallow 6.0
Sensors: E-compass, Gyro G sensor, Proximity sensor, light sensor
Camera: 8MP camera & 5MP selfie camera
In day-to-day use, I managed to get 2 days of battery life. Notably, I stream Youtube while on my lunch break, browse while commuting, and catch up on current events during the evenings.
During one lazy Saturday, it lasted the entire day. A lazy Saturday includes a lot of Youtube streaming in HD, Spotify, Reddit, and Whatsapp group arguments.
I was fairly surprised at the battery life. My other smartphone doesn’t get anywhere near the same battery performance.
Camera and audio
Front camera indoors
Back cameraThe Alcatel LED comes with an 8MP rear camera and 5MP selfie camera. This is pretty standard for the budget to mid range smartphone market.
Taking some pictures for the first time, I was a bit disappointed. However, after transferring them to my computer they looked a bit better. It seems that the 720 x 1280 display can’t keep up with the camera. Therefore, images can look pixelated and ‘washed out’ on the screen.
Saying that, performance in low-light could have been better. You will definitely need the flash at night.
Images uploaded to social media didn’t have a noticeable difference in quality to that of my friends with much more expensive smartphones.
Music played through the loudspeaker sounds superb but isn’t particularly loud. This is a good or bad thing depending on your tastes. It sacrifices loudness for quality.
There is better microphone performance on the market, but I had no issues with it. Calls and Whatsapp voice notes sound decent.
In this age of smartphones looking similar, it is refreshing to see something different. In my opinion, Alcatel took a big risk by including the back cover. It is one of those features you didn’t know you wanted until you use it.
The Alcatel A5 LED runs Android Marshmallow and has good performance. It will run the same apps as smartphones five times the price. You won’t miss out on anything.
We have reached a point whereby premium smartphones don’t necessarily perform the best. I used Alcatel’s budget smartphone as my daily driver for one week. My other smartphone cost £600, but I didn’t miss out on anything.