Alcatel 1S (2020) review: how good is a $100 smartphone?

Launched in 2020 with a particularly inexpensive value level of lower than €100 in Europe, our overview of the Alcatel 1S (2020) has one mission: to got down to show on whether or not it is doable to fork out little or no cash as a way to get pleasure from options present in a fashionable smartphone. On paper, the Alcatel smartphone comes with an clever triple digital camera, a massive 4,000 mAh battery, and a borderless 6.22-inch show with a discreet notch, which is a complete lot of guarantees. However, Alcatel additionally presents the Alcatel 3L, which comes with extra RAM and a 48-megapixel digital camera, for simply €30 extra. Is shopping for the Alcatel 1S (2020) in any respect?


  • Beautiful design and strong workmanship
  • Convincing show with good colour replica
  • Latest Android 10 with helpful apps
  • 4,000 mAh battery


  • Poor {hardware}
  • Poor efficiency
  • Only 32GB of storage
  • Poor triple digital camera efficiency
  • Mono-speaker that delivers muted audio efficiency

Alcatel 1S (2020) launch date and value

In July 2020, the Alcatel 1S dipped under the €100 ($110) mark on on-line shops. Hailing from the French smartphone producer (which in flip, the corporate belongs to the Chinese conglomerate TCL), it seems to be something however low cost having seen its product pictures and outline. The teardrop notch within the 6.22-inch show is discreet, the 4,000 mAh battery guarantees a long-running time, and Alcatel has positioned three cameras on the again.

There aren’t any various {hardware} configurations to select from. However, Alcatel allows you to determine on the colour of the smartphone whenever you determine to choose one up. For our overview, we used the Alcatel 1S (2020) in “Power Gray”. Alternatively, the cellphone is additionally out there in a bluish-green dubbed “Agate Green”. This smartphone comes with an included plastic case that covers simply the again and a charger, all properly packed in a blue and white cardboard field. The 10-watt charger is completely suited to a smartphone with out a quick-charging operate.

AndroidPIT Alcatel 1S camera front
Teardrop notch: Due to the raised loudspeaker, the notch seems to be good and discreet. / © NextPit

Alcatel additionally provides a micro-USB cable and a headset with a 3.5-millimeter jack connection. The latter is solely appropriate for phone calls at finest as a result of a full lack of bass energy – particularly when you’ve got a phone appointment with Kermit the Frog. But if Alcatel scrimped on the headset, this may have a optimistic impact on the elements positioned beneath the hood.

Current Android, previous processor

The Alcatel 1S (2020) is powered by the Mediatek MT67262D Helios P22 chipset. Thus Alcatel sadly not solely threw in a fairly archaic smartphone processor from 2018 on this low cost system, the “D” suffix additionally signifies a decrease clock charge that plods alongside at a sluggish 1.Eight GHz.

Alcatel has mated the processor to three GB RAM, the place each of those find yourself delivering a fairly weak efficiency ultimately.

The put in Android 10 working system launches its apps sluggishly, which is one thing that you’ll discover straight away even in your on a regular basis navigation, exhibiting that the {hardware} used on this low cost smartphone has lengthy reached its limits. Using the Alcatel 1S (2020) in on a regular basis life would sadly additionally translate to residing with jerkiness and lengthy loading instances. Graphically elaborate cell video games like PUBG Mobile boot up after what looks like an eternity, after which you’ll have to ‘endure’ via extraordinarily low body charges which makes it not value enjoying within the first place. Needless to say, this is the explanation why I misplaced my check match after a jiffy.

It is a pity that Alcatel merely depends on weak {hardware} to run Android 10. This is to not detract from what the producer has finished with the working system, because the tailored model of Android 10 seems to be tidy. Apart from a smart baby mode, there are solely a few pre-installed apps that may be simply uninstalled, which is good information for individuals who are not looking for any bloatware. Alcatel is solely a month behind the safety updates from Google in comparison with the Google Pixel 3XL. Additions like a system-wide search within the App Drawer are additionally very helpful, however once more the weak efficiency rears its ugly head right here. This plodding and ponderous efficiency runs via the whole 1S (2020).

Features: triple digital camera, fingerprint sensor and twin SIM

Trying out the triple digital camera together with ultra-wide-angle and macro lens, alongside sensible integration of Google Lens therefore turns into a sport of persistence. You’ll have to attend simply roughly two seconds earlier than the cellphone switches from customary view to ultra-wide-angle. The macro lens, which Alcatel additionally makes use of to acquire depth data for its portrait mode, is additionally solely accessible through the superior digital camera menu, which makes the triple digital camera look extra like a two-lens system.

AndroidPIT Alcatel 1S camera
Triple digital camera doesn’t imply triple the efficiency. The Alcatel 1S (2020) clearly demonstrates this. / © NextPit

The specs sheet comprises the next details about the triple digital camera:

  • Resolution: 13 MP + 2 MP + 5 MP
  • Autofocus Single-tone flash
  • Lenses: 5P + 4P + 3P
  • Aperture: f/1.8 + f/2.2 + f/2.4
  • Sensor measurement: 1/3.06 inch + 1/5 inch + 1/5 inch
  • Pixel measurement: 1.12 μm + 1.12 μm + 1.65 μm
  • Video recording and playback: 1080p at 30 bps
  • Functions: AI scene detection, bokeh, face enhancement, HDR, macro, night time mode, panorama, real-time photograph filter
Alcatel 1S 2020
Without HDR, the pictures lack colour brilliance. / © NextPit

As you may see within the check photos, the digital camera high quality is not very satisfying.
All in all, the triple digital camera finally ends up as ‘false promoting’ that overpromises, as a result of with a 2-megapixel sensor and a 5-megapixel sensor, Alcatel ought to have saved itself two extra lenses by omitting them. After all, even the 13-megapixel major digital camera will hardly be thought-about as respectable in 2020.

alcatel 1s 2020 kamera test
Left: Even although the macro operate is a lot of enjoyable, the outcomes are likely to resemble webcam high quality and make it not likely usable. Right: The portrait mode has many picture errors. In this portrait, for instance, just one aspect was blurred. / © NextPit

But other than the smartphone images, the remainder of the {hardware} might be deemed respectable at this value level. Besides the fashionable WLAN 801.11n customary, Bluetooth connectivity is additionally a part of the deal. A 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is additionally a welcome addition in smartphones which are launched this yr. In addition, the fingerprint sensor on the again rapidly acknowledges saved patterns, and the battery is ample sufficient for complete day use at 4,000 mAh capability. However, the interior reminiscence which maxes out at 32 GB is just too small for at present’s use, however that may’t be helped due to the value level. With a microSD card, you may up the cupboard space by one other 32 GB.

However, due to the mixed SIM card slot, the twin SIM card functionality is misplaced since you’ll have to make the tough alternative of both having extra reminiscence or throwing in a second SIM card. When it involves audio playback, Alcatel depends on a mono loudspeaker on the backside to get the job finished. Unfortunately, it does a fairly poor job out of it by way of sound replica that is muffled at finest whereas missing readability. Even pumping it as much as the utmost quantity stage does nothing a lot.

Conclusion: most definitely your subsequent dangerous purchase

For a very long time, I considered who I might advise shopping for the Alcatel 1S. This is as a result of the design really appeals to me, and the attractive show of this low cost smartphone is value trying into. However, each are additionally out there within the Alcatel 3L, which is solely €30 dearer, and with that added quantity, the producer not solely throws in additional RAM, but additionally a sooner processor variant. So, if you happen to just like the design or have nostalgic reminiscences of the Alcatel One Touch, it’s best to undoubtedly fork out the extra dough. How the Alcatel 3L performs as compared might be proven in a overview within the coming days.

If you do not care about design and producer, there are even higher options by stumping up a little bit extra money. The surcharge might be justified as a long-term funding, since you won’t be happy with the Alcatel 1S for a very long time. Above all, we suggest the Motorola G8 for €199 ($227) within the underneath €200 ($227) value level. This mannequin from Motorola additionally comes with a 4,000 mAh battery and even an extra digital camera. Motorola additionally depends on a far superior Snapdragon 655 chipset. For those that discover the G8 too costly, the Nokia 4.2 is an alternate for less than €89 ($101). More particulars about each units might be discovered on the linked web page, the place we current detailed data in our Best Smartphones for underneath $200 shopping for information.

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