The Alcatel A3 Plus is one of the more affordable mobiles that you can pick up from Carphone Warehouse here in the UK. Just £10 per month bags you a fully fledged Android smartphone, and we’ve gone hands-on to see if that really is such a great deal.
These days you won’t struggle to find a cheap smartphone, if your budget is seriously tight. The likes of Vodafone’s own Smart series goes from strength to strength, with the new Smart N8 representing great value for money, while Motorola’s own Moto E4 really impressed us while barely making a dent in the bank balance.
Check out our round-up of the best budget phones to see a selection of our favourites.
French company Alcatel is also a strong presence in the budget smartphone sector, launching its new A3 Plus handset at Carphone Warehouse on some seriously affordable tariffs. Of course, for just £10 per month you can’t expect the moon on a stick. Yet while the Alcatel A3 Plus is certainly quite basic in some areas, you also get a decent set of features for your cash.
For one, the design is tidy enough. You can prise off the plastic back to access the removable battery (quite a rarity these days) and SIM card slot, while a microSD memory card slot allows expansion of the 16GB of storage space. Sadly you can only boost this by a further 32GB, although that’s enough space for a handful of HD movies, loads of music and hundreds of full-resolution photos.
Although the A3 Plus isn’t exactly a looker, you do get a fingerprint sensor mounted on the rear end. This is reasonably responsive for a budget scanner, unlocking your phone is just a second, while rarely failing to recognise your digit.
That spacious 5.5-inch IPS screen delivers 720p HD visuals, so photos and video aren’t lacking in detail. At this price point you certainly won’t find much sharper. That said, colours are rather muted next to the vibrant visuals of the Vodafone Smart N8 and Moto E4, although brightness levels are strong enough to counter sun glare.
If you want a phone for simple tasks such as browsing the web and messaging friends, the Alcatel A3 Plus can deliver. You get a very basic Mediatek chipset backed by a measly 1GB of RAM, so you’ll see plenty of little stutters and pauses as you load up apps and skim through your desktops.
However, Alcatel has at least added a Space Cleaner app to Android Nougat which can help to temporarily boost your phone’s performance, as well as clear out junk files. Phone Guard provides a similar function, culling unnecessary features to improve speed and extend your remaining battery life.
The 2550mAh cell seems to drain slowly, helped along by that power-efficient chipset. You should easily get a full day of regular use from a complete charge, although there’s no kind of quick charge support to get you back up to full in no time at all.
Above the fingerprint sensor you’ll find an 8-megapixel rear camera, which can capture basic everyday snaps. The focus might take a little while to lock onto your subject if they’re close to the lens, but photos come out with a decent amount of detail considering the asking price. You also get a Panorama mode, while the Alcatel A3 Plus can record up to Full HD video.
Around the front you’ll find a second 5-megapixel camera for the obligatory selfie shots. Unlike most other smartphones however, the A3 Plus boasts an LED flash for night selfies. Snazzy.
You can grab the A3 Plus from Carphone Warehouse right now. Check out our full unboxing and hands-on video below.