Alcatel 7 Review – Budget Phone with one Disadvantage

alcatel 7
Written by Hassan Abbas

As phones continue to get better and better, we are seeing some compelling options at the cheaper end of the market. Companies such as Motorola have made a statement by producing very nice devices that can be had for the price of a nice steak dinner with the family. In this article, we are going to talk about Alcatel 7 Review – Budget Phone with one Disadvantage. Let’s begin!

Alcatel, much more like Motorola, has a lot of experience making “cheap” but good devices. We are now getting our first look at its newest “flagship” device the Alcatel 7. This is not a flagship in the normal sense, but it is the best and also the most expensive phone Alcatel released in 2018.

Alcatel sent over its Alcatel 7 for us to have a look at; we have used the device as a daily driver for the last some weeks. During this time, we have been using it on the MetroPCS network from the 7 is a Metro-exclusive device. You can also walk into a store right now and pick one up for under $200.

Alcatel, that a sub-brand of TCL, is somewhat also well known in the United States. Thanks to the hordes of inexpensive phones that it sells through prepaid carriers (like MetroPCS and Cricket). This company’s phones mostly are not anything special. However, the recently-announced Alcatel 7 piqued my interest.

alcatel 7

The Alcatel 7 has a 6-inch 2160×1080 2.5D display, a 4,000mAh battery, and also USB Type-C. At a retail price of $179.99, it sounds like good value on paper, even though it is a MetroPCS exclusive. In reality, it is a normal budget phone with one major disadvantage.


Display 6.0″ 18:9 2180×1080 LCD
Processor MediaTek MT6736TA @ 2.5GHz
Storage 32GB with microSD support
Battery 4,000mAh
Software Android Oreo 8.1.0
Rear Cameras 12MP + 2 MP, records video at 1080p 30FPS
Front Camera 8MP, records video at 1080p 30FPS
Connectivity GSM: 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS: B2/4/5, 4G LTE: B2/4/5/12/66/71, Extended Range LTE: 600 MHz, VoLTE/VoWiFi, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
Headphone jack Yes
Charging USB Type-C
Size 6.38″ x 2.95″ x 0.34″ (25mm x 75mm x 8.6mm)
Other features FM Radio, IR Blaster


Screen The large 18:9 display is bright and also vivid.
Performance Applications open fairly quickly, and the 2GB RAM is adequate. Animations are not very smooth, but that’s true of most budget phones.
Software You will get a mostly stock build of Android 8.1 Oreo.
USB Type-C MicroUSB is still the norm for sub-$200 phones in the United States, so a Type-C port is definitely a highlight feature.


Design The glossy back casing attracts fingerprints and also smudges, and it scratches fairly easily.
Camera Photos taken on the Alcatel 7 are not very good, and the camera app is laggy.
Exclusivity You can only buy this on MetroPCS.


In order to start with, Alcatel 7 is built reasonably well. The back, sides, and buttons are all plastic, however, the front is Ashai-made glass. That being said, it is not a cheap-feeling phone – there is also no flex or creaking. The plastic build makes the phone kind of light, at just 6.17 oz (0.4 pounds).

On the front side, there is the Alcatel 7’s main attraction – a 6″ 2180×1080 LCD, with an aspect ratio of 18:9. I do not have any complaints with the screen; the resolution is perfect, colors are actually good, and it can also get fairly bright. Watching media on the Alcatel 7 actually won’t leave you disappointed.

The left side of the phone has a microSD or SIM card tray, and the right has buttons for power and also volume. On the bottom is a USB Type-C connector, that is still a rarity on sub-$200 phones. On top of it, there is a headphone jack, along with something you do not see on many phones in the United States – an IR blaster.

The “one major disadvantage” that I referred to in the title is the Alcatel’s 7 back casing. It is plastic, which is good on its own, but this is super glossy plastic. It is actually a magnet for fingerprints and is also prone to scratches. After just a few weeks of using this phone, I was already seeing discolorations on the corners. What’s the point of a shiny back if it is going to be caked in fingerprints, marks, and also scratches with normal use?

However, in the box, you get the phone, a charging brick, a USB Type-C cable, and an instant start guide. Alcatel’s website says the retail version comes along with in-ear headphones.

alcatel 7


Let us move onto the hardware inside, the Alcatel 7 has typical specifications for a sub-$200 device. The MediaTek MT6736TA (that is a mouthful) processor is really fast, and also its 2GB RAM is enough for typical multi-tasking. There is 32GB of internal storage, also with support for microSD cards up to 128GB.

Apart from the display, my favorite feature of the Alcatel 7 is its large 4,000mAh battery. I mostly ended the day with a 50-70% battery remaining. In one instance, the phone had 60% left just after 3.5 hours of screen-on time. The Alcatel 7 will easily last most people two days on just a single charge.

And for software, this phone is running a mostly-stock build of Android 8.1 Oreo. The only huge tweaks are to the system applications – the calculator application has currency conversions, there are a custom gallery and also file manager apps, and so on.

The MetroPCS pre-installed apps are actually the worst part of the software experience for me. There is one called ‘metro zone,’ which features news, local weather, and also entertainment. I had no interest in using it, but a popup keeps telling me to try it appeared when I was listening to a podcast. Nothing is better than carrier-made spamware!


Most of the people are also not going to expect a camera experience that rivals a Samsung flagship on a $180 device. The 12 MP + 2 MP main camera is actually nothing to write home about. Dynamic range is also weak, auto-focus can be hit or miss and we see plenty of colors that are misrepresented. Not only that pictures along with bright light sources routinely look blown out, which is actually destroying many lovely outside shots.

alcatel 7

Is it possible to take a good picture with your Alcatel 7? Yes. But, you are going to have to adjust with the included Pro mode, and even then, we’d suggest you to just sticking them on social media. If you are looking to pick this device up for your kid as their first device, then you probably are not going to hear much complaining. But, if you are used to higher-end devices, then you will probably be frustrated here.

Buy it or not?

Probably not, The 6-inch 2180×1080 LCD is the only standout feature of the Alcatel 7, and also really have the only reason anyone should buy it. The battery life is good, but the same thing is true of many other budget phones. The camera and software are not anything to write home about.

The glossy plastic back is actually the worst part of this phone. It will always cover in fingerprints and also marks, no matter how many times you wash your hands, and I’m already seeing scratches after some weeks of use. You can of course get a case, but it should not be an issue for you, to begin with.

The Alcatel 7 currently costs $179.99 from MetroPCS. The Moto G6 is $40 more, and when it does not have a great design either, it does come unlocked and works on all United States carriers (full review here). The $160 Nokia 3.1 is actually cheaper and is built better, but it does not have a fingerprint sensor and also only works on GSM carriers.

Buy it:

If you really want a big screen, you are on MetroPCS, and then you do not care about the glossy back.

Don’t buy it:

If you are not on MetroPCS and you just like your phones to not be covered in fingerprints.


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you like this article and find it helpful to you. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys have further queries related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: The LG Stylo 5 Reviews – Android Phone

About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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