Hands on: Alcatel 1X (2018) review

Introducing the first phone with Android Go

What is a hands on review?

Early Verdict

The Alcatel 1X offers those on a super low budget a relatively big screen smartphone experience without too much compromise.


  • +

    Large, clear screen

  • +

    Reasonable cameras


  • -

    More expensive than rivals

  • -

    Basic design

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The Alcatel 1X holds the title of the world's first Android Go smartphone, and while it's only because it launched a matter of hours before the Nokia 1 at MWC 2018 in Barcelona, it's a potentially significant arrival in the market.

Android Go is Google's lightweight mobile software design specifically to run of low cost devices which don't have the same power capabilities of traditional smartphones.

Aimed more a developing markets, the Alcatel 1X is providing an almost complete Android experience on a budget.

Alcatel 1X price and release date

Watch our hands-on video above!

The Alcatel 1X release date is set for April, but a firm date will be confirmed nearer the time. We currently don't know which countries the 1X will be available in, but we'll update this article when we know more.

In terms of the Alcatel 1X price, it'll cost just €99 (around £90, $120, AU$150) for the single SIM variant and the dual SIM 1X will set you back €109 (around £110, $130, AU$160). Although that's not quite as cheap as the Nokia 1, it does offer a bigger screen, larger battery and more storage.

Design and display

It's no surprise that the Alcatel 1X design appears to be from several years ago. The aim of this phone is to keep costs down, which means you get a relatively bezel-heavy, plastic build device which isn't going to turn heads.

What it is though is practical. It's easy to hold in one hand and its body feels solid. You'll find an easy-to-reach textured power key and volume rocker on the right side of the phone, with the SIM tray on the opposite edge.

There's a headphone jack on the top of the 1X, and a microUSB port on the base allowing you to charge the phone – although you won't find a fast charging option here. It'll also be available in three colors; black, blue and gold.

Something that sets the Alcatel 1X apart from the current crop of Android Go devices is its display. At 5.3 inches, with an 18:9 aspect ratio, it gives you a surprising amount of real estate considering the price.

The FWVGA+ (960 x 480) resolution isn't razor sharp, but the screen is bright and clear, and it's still easy to read text and view pictures.

Performance and interface

The Alcatel 1X comes with a MediaTek MT6739 quad-core chipset and 1GB of RAM, which isn't a whole lot of power, but that's the point.

As it's running a tailored version of Android, the performance isn't as dire as you may expect. You also wouldn't know by looking at the screen that this is the lightweight Android Go version of the software.

It still very much has the look and feel of traditional Android, but look a little closer at some of the apps and you'll see a few hints.

That's because the Alcatel 1X comes with Go editions of Googles core apps such as Maps, Assistant and YouTube. These apps use less memory, data and processing power than their full-fat equivalents, allowing them to running more smoothly on a phone with less power.

The interface isn't as snappy here, with apps taking a little longer to open, but it's still perfectly usable. There's also 16GB of storage inside, giving you a decent amount of space for apps, photos and more.

Camera and battery

The Alcatel 1X has an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front facing snapper, both of which work reasonably well considering the phone's price point.

There's a decent size battery inside the 1X too, offering up 2,460mAh of power which should easily see the phone through a full day of use on a single charge, although we'll be sure to put that to the test in our in-depth review.

Early verdict

The Alcatel 1X offers those on a super low budget a relatively big screen smartphone experience without too much compromise.

You don't get features such as a HD display or fingerprint scanner, but the lightweight version of Android and Google's apps gives hopes to those with a small budget wanting a smartphone.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site. 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.