Alcatel’s latest phone brings some form of modularity to budget devices, and if the company introduces more
Alcatel’s retiring its Pop and Pixi lineup of smartphones for a new moniker — the A and U series. The company announced three new smartphones and a 2-in-1 Windows device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and they’re all unsurprisingly aimed at the budget market.
Of the three smartphones, the A5 is the most unique because it comes with a myriad of accessories that enhance the user experience. The A3 and the U5 don’t really bring anything new to the table, and the Plus 12 Windows 2-in-1 is a larger variant of last year’s Plus 10.
Alcatel’s 5.2-inch A5 essentially brings Motorola’s Moto Mods to budget devices, though perhaps in not the simplest fashion. The A5 offers sub-$50 replaceable backs, some of which are purely cosmetic, but others offer more uses. For example, there’s a speaker with a kickstand you can attach to the back of the A5, as well as a battery pack that doubles the phone’s battery life.
It’s almost exactly similar to Motorola’s Moto Mod launch, which offered a JBL speaker mod as well as a battery pack mod, and more. But Motorola’s mods were separate accessories that magnetically snapped to the phone.
The plastic backs for the A5 are literally the back of the smartphone — you can’t just take one off as you’ll have to replace it with something. Taking them off is like taking off the back of a phone with a removeable battery.
The highlight Alcatel is touting is the LED, an accessory that covers the back of the A5 with colorful LEDs. Using various apps, you can light up the back of the A5 with different patterns and colors to match your mood. Or you can even use the camera to automatically pick three colors of your outfit or whatever you point at to change the phone’s wallpaper and app icon colors to match.
The LED back also lights up with the icon and matching color of select apps when you get a notification from them, like Facebook or Twitter. If you’re playing music, you can have the lights dance to your tunes.
The phone itself only has a 720-pixel resilution, and it’s powered by MediaTek’s 6753 with 2GB of RAM. It has a 2,800mAh battery that charges via the MicroUSB port, and you’ll only find 16GB of internal storage, though there’s support for a MicroSD card. The rear camera only has 8 megapixels with electronic image stabilization, and the front is packed with 5, though it uses a wide-angle lens.
Unfortunately, the A5 only runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It’s the only smartphone in this list that’s likely coming to the U.S. We don’t have any pricing or availability details yet.