Alcatel A5 LED review

LED gimmick is not enough for this below-par budget phone

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The Alcatel A5 LED is a straightforward Android phone with a reasonable set of specs at a fairly low price.

But the only differentiating feature is the LED back cover. Take that away and you have a below average budget Android phone.

Who’s this for?

If you’re on a tight budget and you want something a little bit different, then the eye-catching LEDs might just reel you in. Alcatel seems to be courting the youth with a focus on flashy aesthetics, but the style fails to mask a serious lack of substance – the lights are on, but nobody is home.

Should you buy it?

No, we can’t recommend that you buy the Alcatel A5 LED, because there are superior alternatives. Even if Alcatel sorts out the dodgy performance with a software update, this phone is mediocre all the way through. You would have to be deeply in love with the LED back to make this phone worth considering.

The following three options can all be had for a similar price, but for a top budget phone you needn’t look beyond the Moto G5.

Moto G5

At £170/AU$299 (around $220), exactly the same starting price as the Alcatel A5 LED, the Moto G5 beats it on every front. It has a sharper screen, a metal body, a slick fingerprint sensor, better battery life, a far superior camera, and the list goes on.

The Moto G5 sports a newer version of Android that’s cleaner and nearer Google’s vision of the platform. Despite the Alcatel A5 LED scoring better in benchmarks, the Moto G5 is much smoother in everyday use. LED back aside, this is a walkover for the Moto G5.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus

The Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus was slightly more expensive on release, but it can now be had for £170 (around $220/AU$280) at Amazon. It’s quite similar to the Alcatel A5 LED in some respects. There’s also a 5-inch 720p display and a 2,700mAh battery.

But there are things that elevate the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus. It boasts 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and most importantly has a much better main camera than the Alcatel A5 LED. You’ll find a 16MP main shooter backed up by an 8MP selfie cam on the Wileyfox. It has a decent fingerprint scanner, too.

Moto G4 Play

At around $150/£130/AU$250, the Moto G4 Play is something to look at if your budget is seriously constrained. It’s the closest of our competitors to the Alcatel A5 LED, if you’re just looking at the spec sheets. It has a 5.0-inch 720p screen, runs Android 6.0, and has 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage.

The cameras are 8MP and 5MP, just like the A5 LED, and the battery is also rated at 2,800mAh. The one big difference is the low-end Snapdragon 410 quad-core chipset in the Moto G4 Play which scored so woefully in our benchmark test.

First reviewed: August 2017