Alcatel 1B & 1X Hands On - Entry Level That Works

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There are a lot of high-end phones on the market these days and there are a bunch of companies that claim to offer "flagship killers". Those "killers" used to be quite affordable, but they've crept up in price to the point where they are expensive enough, that they really need to offer something special. Often they don't. They are merely "killers" based on the slightly discounted price and cheaper materials.

The often overlooked smartphone segment is the entry-level arena. While it may not be that exciting, these phones sell way more units and probably make the manufacturer more money than they do from the relatively small number of flagship devices they sell.

Today we are taking a quick look at the low-end of the entry-level market with these Alcatel devices. The 1B comes in at a mere $99 CAD price point at the time of publication and the more expensive 1X is a whopping $168 CAD. Converted to USD for many of you readers, that's $75 and $126 respectively.

Can they hold up, stack up and offer enough performance and features to even seriously consider? We'll show you what you're getting and share our thoughts so keep reading!

Alcatel 1B & 1X

 

Product #1: Alcatel 1B
Product #2: Alcatel 1X
Provided by: Alcatel
Price(s): ~$99.99 & ~$179.99 MSRP at time of publication

 

Introduction:

A lot of energy and effort is put into reviewing top-tier phones from top-tier manufacturers, and rightfully so. High-end hardware is exciting and fun. When Alcatel approached me with the press release regarding these two products, I thought it might be interesting to see what you actually get for your dollar. You obviously are getting quite a bit less, but you're also spending a lot less - a LOT less. A loaded S20 Ultra can currently set you back a hair over $2,000. So you can actually pick up 20 of the 1B or 12 of the 1X for the same price. 

Alcatel 1B & 1X

 

To see what all is in the box, you'll have to watch the video here. For a quick look at these devices, check out the images below.

 

Alcatel 1B (2020):

1B Left Side - Google Assistant Button
Left Side - Google Assistant Button

Right Side - Volume and Power
Right Side - Volume and Power

Top with Headphone Jack
Top - Headphone Jack

Bottom with Mic & MicroUSB Charge Port
Bottom - Mic & MicroUSB Charge Port

I'm not really sure why the 2020 model of the 1B still packs a MicroUSB port. Maybe the cost of the USB-C connector is more expensive, or the charging circuitry to handle the extra current all adds up to a few more cents and they wanted to keep the overall cost as low as possible. That's the only thing I can think of, and is quite possibly my biggest pet peeve about the 1B.

 

Alcatel 1X (2020):

Left Side - Google Assistant Button
Left Side - Google Assistant Button

Right Side - Volume and Power
Right Side - Volume and Power

Top - Headphone and Mic
Top - Headphone and Mic

Bottom - Mic, Speaker and USB-C Port
Bottom - Mic, Speaker and USB-C Port

The overall feel of both of these devices is heavy on the plastic, but the 1X feels a bit weaker as it is thinner - and plastic. Either way, they don't feel horrible, they just don't feel like premium devices. They feel like they should cost about $100 and $170 respectively - and they DO!

On the next page, we'll take a quick look at the features and specifications of both devices before we carry on through our evaluation.


Alcatel 1B Features:

The following information has been pulled from the Alcatel website and posted here for your ease of access.

 
READY. SET. GO.
Optimized and built leaner, the Alcatel 1B runs Android 10 (Go edition) giving you 2x more storage to capture more pictures, listen to more music, and download more apps, delivering the best essential smartphone experience.
 
ALL-DAY PERFORMANCE
Stay connected with the power-efficient 3000 mAh battery. A built-in Smart Manager can scan your phone for battery, memory, and app optimizations, while the battery saver mode can manage your power usage throughout the day.
 
VIBRANT FULL VIEW DISPLAY
Enjoy texting, browsing and watching videos on a spacious 5.5” 18:9 HD+ Display that maximizes on-screen content. A new Dark theme is easy on your eyes, and Eye comfort mode filters blue light for a comfortable viewing experience.
 
CAPTURE MOMENTS WORTH SHARING
It’s easy to capture the best of any moment on the Alcatel 1B with the 5MP rear camera, HD video, and selfie camera with face beauty effect.
 
FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
Balance your digital life with a Digital Wellbeing Dashboard that helps you understand your daily digital interactions. Set timers on your apps, silence notifications, and set up parental controls easily.
 

Alcatel 1B Specifications:

Specs

Specs

 


Alcatel 1X Features:

The following information has been pulled from the Alcatel website and posted here for your ease of access.

IMMERSIVE VIEWING EXPERIENCE
Stream movies, play games, listen to music, and stay on top of your social updates on the 6.22” HD+ U-Notch Display with 87.5%1 screen-to-body ratio.
 
ALL-DAY PERFORMANCE
The 3500mAh battery on the Alcatel 1X can handle up to 15 hours of 4G talk time in a single charge. The built-in Smart Manager automatically learns from your usage habits to optimize battery life and app performance.
 
AI-POWERED DUAL REAR CAMERAS
Let the smart 13MP + 5MP dual rear cameras do all the work thanks to AI Scene detection technology that automatically detects and enhances up to 22 different types of scenes such as group pictures, food or sunsets.
 
THE PERFECT PORTRAIT
The depth sensing rear cameras allow you to focus on your subject in real-time with a bokeh effect, for pro-like photos that stand out.
 
CAPTURE THE DAY
The depth sensing rear cameras allow you to focus on your subject in real-time with a bokeh effect, for pro-like photos that stand out.
 
DAZZLING DESIGN
The Alcatel 1X has one sparkling personality with its blue gradient curved back, U-Notch Display with 2.5D glass, and dedicated Google Assistant side key.
 
FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
The Alcatel 1X helps you balance your digital engagement with a Digital Wellbeing Dashboard that lets you set timers on your apps, silence notifications, and set up parental controls easily.
 

Alcatel 1X Specifications:

Specs

Specs


Unboxing and Hands On:

 

Final Thoughts:

Both the Alcatel 1B and 1X are pretty interesting devices. While they certainly aren't flagship products, they also aren't priced anywhere close. For $75 and $125 USD respectively, they are super affordable and quite feature packed for the price. The camera on the 1B is pretty weak and the screen lacks vibrance. By itself it doesn't seem too bad, but when placed next to it's big brother, you can quickly and clearly see why it's under $100. Also, this was my first run at Android Go and it takes a bit to get used to. It is stripped of some features that I take for granted, but one can get used to it and realize that you can't have everything for so little. Running Android Go makes the phone quite snappy and it opened applications faster than the "faster" 1X.

The 1X is the pretty boy of the duo. It has a nicer screen, more realestate, full-version Android and a bettery camera. It feels like you're not limited to what you can do on this device. The downside is that it is noticeably slower than the 1B and still marginally slower than 3-year old flagship. My thinking is, if you could find a proper refurbished Galaxy S7 for the same money, you'd have a tough decision on your hands. 

They are two different mini-beasts though, so we'll cover them individually in a quick breakdown.

Alcatel 1B Pros:

  • Super affordable.
  • Android Go.
  • Good performance.
  • Expandable storage.
  • Easy replaceable battery thanks to the removeable back.
  • Dedicated Google Assistant button.
  • Headphone Jack.
  • Feels really "cheap".

Alcatel 1B Cons:

  • Android Go is feature limited.
  • Washed out screen.
  • Poor camera quality.
  • No liquid or dust rating.
  • MicroUSB charging.

 

 

Alcatel 1X Pros:

  • Very affordable.
  • Full Version Android.
  • Expandable storage.
  • Dedicatedd Google Assistant button.
  • Headphone Jack.
  • Beautiful finish on rear.
  • USB-C charging.

Alcatel 1X Cons:

  • Apps slow to launch.
  • Glossy plastic is prone to fingerprint and scratches.
  • Mediocre camera quality.
  • No liquid or dust rating.
  • Performs worse than it's $99 little brother.

 

 

If I was on a budget - a super limited budget, I'd pick the 1B - even though you're using Android Go, the performance of the 1B running this lean and mean OS makes it snappy. Of course, you're giving up on screen and image quality, but for under $100 it's a burner phone that still does everything that you need it to do. Messaging, calling, watching videos and more - all are very doable on the 1B. The 1X takes all that up a notch - execpt the performance. It's not a horrible slow device either, but it feels like it should be faster. It looks great - it should perform great.

On the next page we'll post some camera samples of both devices so you can see what to expect from these devices.


Camera Samples:

View the Camera Sample Gallery here.

Alcatel 1B Samples:

1B Sample 1
1B Sample 1

1B Sample 2
1B Sample 2

As you can see, the whites are blown out and the blacks are clipped. Not good performance. You get what you pay for.

 

Alcatel 1X Samples:

1X Sample 1
1X Sample 1

1X Sample 2
1X Sample 2

 

1X Sample 3
1X Sample 3

1X Sample 4
1X Sample 4

 

1X Sample 5
1X Sample 5