Alcatel 3V review

Headline features at a bargain-basement price

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Battery life

  • 3,000mAh battery just about lasts a day
  • No fast charging
  • Old-style USB port

While you do get some features on the Alcatel 3V to rival the big names, the battery has missed out on the innovations that make more expensive phones last longer.

There's no fast charging - which is a little disappointing as it's available on some fairly inexpensive phones now - and of course no wireless charging, which isn't surprising at all.

Battery stamina on the 3V is fairly average for a budget phone. With adaptive brightness on and moderate use (social media, a few calls, email), it will usually last you until bedtime, but no longer.

With more intensive activity, the battery drains noticeably faster than on more expensive phones, and it'll take you longer to charge it back up. While new mid-rangers like the Honor 10 can charge to 50% in half an hour, the budget category is still slow-charging, and it feels very slow on the Alcatel 3V.

You're also charging via the old-style micro USB port, rather than the reversible USB type C. That's not a huge deal, but having to turn the cable over until you find the correct orientation (because it's never right the first time) is one of the ways you're reminded this is a lower-end phone.

We ran our usual battery test on the Alcatel 3V, which involves streaming an HD video over Wi-Fi with brightness on max and accounts syncing in the background. From a full charge, the 3V had 65% left after 90 minutes.

That's not great, and the 35% lost doesn't compare well with the 3V's competitors: in the same test, the Nokia 2 lost 15%, the Moto G5 22%, and the Sony Xperia XA 29%, making the Alcatel 3V the worst of the bunch.

However, it does also have a bigger, higher-res screen than most of its rivals, which will account for a good chunk of that power loss. And you'll still be able to watch a whole feature film on a single charge without worry, which isn't the worst thing at this price point.


  • Dual 12MP + 2MP rear cameras
  • 5MP selfie camera
  • 1080p (full HD) recording with EIS on main camera, 720p on front-facing

Dual-camera phones are the flavor of the month, and Alcatel has managed to find space in the 3V's budget to squeeze one in. However, while the sensors are 12MP and 2MP respectively, the main camera is described as 'up to 16MP', and if you look in the camera settings, you'll find the resolution has been set at 16MP by default.

We checked with Alcatel and they confirmed that the sensor is 12MP, but the phone uses some software trickery to artificially inflate the number of pixels in the image if you set it to 16MP. Similarly, the front-facing camera is 5MP but is set at 8MP by default.

The main camera can shoot video at up to 1080p, while the selfie cam can do up to 720p. However, whichever resolution you choose, videos taken on the front-facing camera look like someone got a bit over-keen with the 'Sharpen' filter.

Videos come out very grainy, especially on hair and other textures, and you can see the effect even before you hit record. Videos taken on the main camera, however, are fine.

The Alcatel camera app (which isn't the most intuitive - Settings is hidden within a menu that looks a bit like the Windows logo) includes some filters, plus various modes including panorama, time-lapse, night, light trace and portrait.

Portrait mode uses the 'live bokeh' feature that also appears in the Aperture (re-focus) mode. This attempts to soften the background of the image to give an SLR-like effect, but we found it very hit and miss, as you can see in the photo samples.

Refocusing the image is a nice gimmick but in practice, it doesn't work especially well - you have to shoot the image in Aperture mode, then open it in the camera app, which takes a while to load it up. Tapping to refocus mostly just makes the rest of the image ridiculously blurry.

For shooting normal photos in Auto, though, the Alcatel 3V is perfectly competent. Images come out a bit darker than expected, particularly given that we shot a lot of them in bright sunshine, but a touch of editing fixes that easily.

Selfie mode includes the usual soft-focus beauty option, which works fine (although don't overdo it if you want to still have a nose), and generally photos taken on both sides of this phone are plenty good enough to share. It could be a lot worse, considering the price.

Camera samples