Hands on: Alcatel 3V

A big screen, high-res phone with a not so big price tag

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Our Early Verdict

The Alcatel 3V packs a surprising number of features you'd expect from a phone at least twice its price, making it an attractive big-screen, low cost smartphone.

For

  • Great 6-inch QHD display
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Dual rear cameras

Against

  • Plastic back is a fingerprint magnet
  • Interface looks childish

The Alcatel 3V has a lot going for it. For a start there's the huge 6-inch QHD display, 4G connectivity, rear fingerprint sensor, rear dual cameras and a sizable mAh battery.

Launched at MWC 2018, the 3V is one of a number of new smartphones from the budget handset maker and this is one of the strongest in the line up.

Take all that an attach it to a price that doesn't break the bank, and the Alcatel 3V could be a good low-cost choice for those looking for a basic smartphone.

Alcatel 3V price and availability

The Alcatel 3V is already available, and there are three colors to pick from: blue, black and gold.

As we've hinted at already, it's not going to set you back much with, with the Alcatel 3V price set at €189.99 (around £170, $230, AU$290).

Design and display

The Alcatel 3V is a large, plastic device with a shiny gloss finish on the rear which is somewhat of a fingerprint magnet.

It feels solid in the hand, although due to its size it's not really usable fully with just one hand. For most tasks you'll probably want to employ both hands to ensure a firm grip.

There's an easy to reach power key on the right, while the volume rocker is on the left. A headphone jack sits on the top edge of the 3V, and a microUSB port on the base.

There are a couple of added bonuses on the back, with a dual camera sitting above a centrally location fingerprint scanner - both surprising inclusions on a phone at the Alcatel 3V's price point.

Another surprising addition is the QHD (2160 x 1080) resolution of the large, 6-inch 18:9 display.

It's bright and clear, and much better quality than we'd expect from a phone at the budget end of the market.

Camera and battery

The Alcatel 3V has two cameras on its rear. You get a main 16MP snapper, and that's accompanied by a depth sensing 2MP snapper, allowing you to take Bokeh effect shots where the background around your subject is blurred.

It's nice to see the dual camera technology we've witnessed on flagships for a couple of years now filter down to the budget end of the smartphone market - but don't expect top-tier performance here.

The main camera is serviceable, but it's not going to dazzle you with sharp, bright, colorful shots. The Bokeh mode is easy to use, and you can change the level of blur on screen, but it doesn't do the best job at applying it.

There's also an 8MP front selfie snapper which is good for video calls, Snapchat and the odd pouty picture.

You also get a 3,000mAh battery inside the Alcatel 3V, although we wonder how well this will perform. We'll be putting it to the test in our full, in-depth review soon.

Performance and interface

The Alcatel 3V packs in a MediaTek MT8735A chipset and 2GB of RAM, which is responsible for running Android 8 Oreo - the latest version of Google's mobile operating system.

While it's great to see the very latest software on the 3V, something we're less happy about is Alcatel's overly fussy user interface.

Instead of sticking with stock Android, Alcatel has applied its own skin which makes the phone look a little childish on screen, reducing the handsets appeal as phone you can take seriously.

Performance was generally smooth during our brief hands on time with the handset, but things could change when you start filling up the 16GB of internal storage.

Early verdict

The garish interface aside, the Alcatel 3V offers up a number of features that you'd expect to find on a handset twice its price.

The cameras aren't the best we've used and the design is more functional than stylish, but there's a lot to like here.

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.

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.