The biggest trend among smartphones in 2017 was extra-wide 18:9 aspect ratio displays. Samsung and LG got things started back in the spring, and even Apple hopped on the trend earlier this fall with the iPhone X. But if you’re looking for budget handsets with one of those super-tall screens, the best you can do right now is the Honor 7X at £250. At least until Alcatel got in the mix.
By leveraging the capabilities of its parent company TCL, which happens to be the third largest TV maker in the world, Alcatel is planning on bringing the price of phones with extra-wide displays down to just $100 — that's about £74 at the current exchange rate.
From the left to right, the 5-series sports a more premium two-toned style, while the 3 features a glass back with the 1 rounds out the trio in plastic.
This development is just one part of Alcatel’s roadmap to reorganise its phone portfolio, which begins by implementing a new BMW-style naming system that starts with the $100 1-series before moving up to the glass-backed 3- series I saw at CES 2018, and then topping out with the upscale 5-series. Alcatel made no mention of a possible 7-series, as you might expect from the company’s borrowed naming conventions, but I wouldn’t put that designation out of the equation just yet.
In addition to extra-widescreen displays, which will be featured on Alcatel’s entire range of phones, customers can also expect every handset to come standard with a fingerprint reader and USB-C ports for charging.
With metal caps on top and bottom, the 5-series is also borrowing some design cues from TCL’s other phone brand: BlackBerry.
Alcatel’s goal is to help simplify its offerings, while still ensuring that even its least expensive phones come equipped with important basics. Unfortunately, other specs such as CPU, RAM, and storage have yet to be decided, with Alcatel promising to reveal full details for its revamped lineup at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in late February.
Even the resolution and number of cameras on a particular phone line is still in flux. In Las Vegas, Alcatel was showed off a 5-series that had dual front selfie cams, but just a single shooter in back, alongside a more affordable 3-series equipped was a dual rear cam setup.
It’s a little frustrating to see Alcatel tease these phones so far out without actually committing to anything concrete, but then again, it’s hard to really complain about seeing previously high-end tech make its way down to less expensive devices either.