Wireless Service

Alcatel Review: A French Mobile Phone Company

Sara Nuss
February 10, 2023

Alcatel is not the most popular phone brand, but they bring a lot to the table. They have a wide variety of budget phones and have been in the manufacturing business since 1996. For many years, they’ve been known as an affordable brand that produces many smartphones in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are a cheaper alternative to higher-end brands that give consumers the same connectivity to the web. There are so many phones already, and it is all too easy to get lost in looking at iPhones, Samsung devices, and Pixels without seeing all the other brands out there. 

Let’s take a deep dive into the Alcatel phone manufacturing company and learn what they bring to the table! 

Alcatel At a Glance

Alcatel is a part of TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited and they design, develop, and market a lot of mobile devices worldwide. They are focused on creating feature-rich mobile technology and keeping it at affordable and reasonable prices. The Alcatel phone line is a part of the TCL Corporation. They have over a dozen phones ranging from smartphones to flip phones. 

What Sets Alcatel Apart? 

There are so many wireless providers these days, but on the phone manufacturing side, the market is dominated by only a few companies. Big phone companies like Samsung, Apple, and Google are creating really powerful devices, but with that power comes significant costs. The premium series of new phone models are over $1,000, and a lot of that price goes into the processor and the camera. 

Alcatel sets itself apart by creating phones that do not have those same priorities. A lot of their phones are between $40 and $200, and while they don’t have the same intense processing power and crazy cameras as a lot of other phones, they do connect the user to the internet on the go and give access to the App store. 

Price of Alcatel Phones

Alcatel has a variety of phones at  affordable price points. All of their phones are less than $200 and a lot of them have the smart features that we look for in phones, if not the latest bells and whistles. We will get into the details of each phone later, but know that these phones are not going to be crazy amazing deals, rather they are affordable because they don’t have the same tech as more expensive models. These phones are for people who aren’t looking for too much in their smartphones. 

What Kinds of Phones does Alcatel offer?

Alcatel offers a mix of smartphones and flip phones, giving users the option to choose between newer and older models, as well as models with a variety of different capabilities. Their phones, because they occupy the lower end of the phone price spectrum, offer a lot for the money. They do not have surprising and exciting features, but they will keep you connected to the mobile world and give you access to your favorite social media, the web, and any other apps you might want from the Google Play app store. You may not be able to run the fancy new mobile games that have come out recently, but if you’re not planning to — you can come away with a nice phone at a fantastic price. 

What Network does Alcatel Use?

Alcatel phones often work on any network, but make sure to double-check that the specific phone isn’t locked to an MVNO or major wireless network. Some of the Alcatel phones are only available in specific MVNO stores, and those phones are locked to that carrier. If you find yourself at the Cricket Wireless store or the Metro store, know that those phones use only the SIM card of that carrier, and you would have to be their customer and unlock it before transferring it to another carrier. 

Can You Bring Your Own Cell Phone?

A lot of the Alcatel phones are unlocked and compatible with most if not all of the networks out there. Before you purchase an Alcatel phone, we caution you that you should do a little bit of research and make sure that your potential new phone is compatible with the carrier you currently use. It should be as simple as searching [Carrier] device compatibility on Google and going to their website. 

Alcatel: Pros & Cons

There are a lot of phones available at Alcatel, but this is not your one-stop shop for your new phone. There are a lot of different models, but none of their devices are able to match the technological power that the major phone companies provide. These phones cater to a specific set of consumers, and this section will cover what we like and what we don’t like about Alcatel phones. 

👍 What We Liked

  • Affordability. Alcatel phones enter the table at fantastic prices, providing consumers access to smartphones without having to pay an arm and a leg for the newest models. 
  • Contemporary devices. While the phones are not as technologically advanced as some of the other phones on the market, they are compatible with the newest UI packages in a way that, say, the iPhone 5 is not. 
  • Easy-to-use user interface. Since these devices use the same user interface as the newest Android devices, the design is very easy to navigate and has a lot of the quality of life improvements that older phones did not. 
  • Wide range of devices. They have smartphones, flip phones, and tablets available for purchase, so if you have your sights set on an Alcatel device, you have a nice variety of options from which to choose. 
  • Excellent customer service. The company behind Alcatel devices is widely known as a company that has a great customer service line if you ever have problems with your device. 

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • All are on a similar tier. If you are looking for a powerful new phone, Alcatel is not the company for you. Their most expensive phone comes in at around $500, and there is no option for those who want a phone as powerful as one of the last few iPhone or Samsung generations. 
  • Carrier restrictions. A lot of these devices are locked to a specific carrier and are not sold or unlocked anywhere else. This means that the only way you could get one of those phones is if you are on that carrier.
  • Low storage space. One of the major benefits of expensive and newer phones is a lot of storage. Sixteen GBs go fast if you find yourself storing photos, videos, or downloading a lot of apps onto your device.  

Alcatel Services & Features

Alcatel phones have a lot of smart features, but the main one is access to the Google Play app store. Some devices are not connected to an app store which is a major limitation in their capabilities. Even if they are very powerful, the lack of an app store generally makes them much less streamlined to talk, text, and surf the web. 

Their smart devices have a lot of features that you would expect in a smartphone these days. The major differences between a $300 phone from Alcatel and a $1000 phone from Apple or Samsung are the quality of the camera, the strength of the processor, and the resolution of the display. 

Alongside the Alcatel smartphones, they have flip phones that can connect to the internet and tablets. Tablets are similarly well priced, but there are a lot of other fantastic tablets on the market where the ones from Alcatel may not provide as much value as their smartphones. 

Alcatel Phone Selection 

Alcatel has a nice selection of phones that you can choose from and figuring out which phone is right for you is essential before you make a purchase. There are a ton of phones on the market, and the fact that you are looking into the Alcatel phone selection means that you are interested in a more affordable option! Here are their phones, and more insight into what we think about each one! 

Alcatel One Touch Idol 4

Price: $100

The One Touch Idol 4 is an affordable smartphone at the low end of their price list. It has 16 GB of storage and a fair processor which makes it able to run regular tasks with ease! The low storage is what we like the least about this device, but the low price point more than makes up for it. 

Alcatel Idol 5s

Price: $155

The Alcatel Idol 5s boasts 32 GB of storage as well as a slightly more impressive processor. This is another good fit that grants consumers a bit more storage for their favorite mobile games and pictures before they run low. There are not too many options to increase storage on a phone, but there are a lot more cloud services these days and if you want to get a cheap phone like this but need a lot of storage, we recommend going with some kind of cloud software!

Alcatel TCL A3X

Price: $80

This phone also comes with 32 GB of memory, and the Alcatel TCL A3X is another good addition to Alcatel’s phone banks. 


Price: $60

This phone comes with 16 GB of RAM but the Alcatel CAMEOX 4G LTE, at least in this location, is locked to AT&T. Beware as you shop around for Alcatel phones. If you find yourself on the website of a cell carrier they are certainly locked to that provider but look for the term “unlocked” on the website to ensure that these phones are not locked to a particular cell service. 

Alcatel TCL 30 Z

Price: $60 

There are a variety of Alcatel smartphones at this price point, which is a nice way to ensure that you can find the right one for you that can be used with your current provider. The CAMEOX 4G LTE and this phone are pretty similar, but one or the other may work with your current cell phone provider, which means that it is almost a certainty that there are Alcatel phones that work with any cell service provider!

How Well Do Alcatel phones Actually Work?

Call & Text Performance

There are no complaints across the board about Alcatel phones! Reviews talk about troubles with receiving calls and texts on the devices, but it appears to be happening without rhyme nor reason. The phones should not run into any trouble sending and receiving texts and calls. 

Data Speeds

A lot of the phones are capable of running 4G LTE, but there are not currently any 5G-compatible Alcatel phones. With the low memory and less intense processor, it is understandable that they are only capable of running 4G LTE. That being said, 4G LTE is still very fast and will accomplish just about everything that you need from browsing the web, streaming audio and video, and scrolling through social media! 

Alcatel vs. Competitors

Alcatel vs. Apple

Alcatel is a much more budget-friendly series of phones that, while they have fewer capabilities, the price point is much, much lower. Apple offers a wide collection of phones, and some of their older models have an impressive suite of features while coming in at a much lower price point. If you are interested in an affordable Apple deal, check out their certified pre-owned (or something similar), which is all of their phones that are lightly used. People return phones for a lot of reasons, sometimes without even using them! When that’s the case, the phone company has to mark them as used, but they are just about as good as new! 

Alcatel vs. Samsung

Samsung, like Apple, has a lot of expensive and powerful phones in its arsenal. They also have a lot of other styles of phone, like flip phones. The flip phones are, of course, very expensive as well and deliver the same features that their other smartphones have. A lot of Samsung devices have a tremendous amount of processing power, excellent cameras, and a ton of storage. 

Samsung devices do, however, have the same kind of used market that lets you enjoy a great device at a much lower cost. Even some of their newest models have used versions that let you shave off a hundred dollars or more. 

Alcatel vs. Nokia

Nokia is much closer to Alcatel in the kinds of phones they offer. We recommend looking through the multitude of phones on their website in order to figure out if there’s one that works best for you. One item that Nokia has over Alcatel is a higher ceiling on the power of their devices. Additionally, even the newest Alcatel smartphones are under $200, whereas Nokia has some models in the price range of around $300, depending on what kind of deal you receive. 

Alcatel FAQ

How can I back up data on my phone? 

Backing up data is a crucial feature of Alcatel devices because of the low storage capacity that exists within the device. We recommend using a service like Google Drive to back up files on the cloud. With 16 or 32 GB of storage on your device, some of it will be taken up by the operating system and the like. Try to prioritize storage for anything you want offline on your device, and upload the other items on your drive. If you have a device at home with more storage, like a laptop or tablet, you can filter the files and pictures on your cloud if you start running out of space in your cloud storage. 

How can I factory reset my device? 

If you want to reset your phone, follow these steps: 

  • Go to settings 
  • System
  • Reset
  • Erase all data
  • Reset phone
  • Erase everything

This will erase all your downloaded apps and personal information and will shut down your phone. 

Which Alcatel phone is right for me?

There are a lot of great choices for Alcatel phones! Step one is to figure out which kinds of phones are available on your current cell phone provider. From there, look into the features of each phone and pick from there the one that works best for you! 

TLDR; Alcatel is an Affordable Cell Phone Provider

There are a wide variety of Alcatel Devices that give the user smart features without having to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on your new phone. If you are in the market for a smartphone and are willing to forgo the features of the most expensive phones on the market, you open the door to saving a lot of money on your new device. Keep in mind, however, all of the features you are giving up to purchase a $100 smartphone. We love this option for affordable devices, but it is imperative that you understand what you are leaving on the table.

Sara Nuss
Sara Nuss is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in wireless, dewi, phone plan advice & blockchain.