Alcatel 1B (2020)

What is it?

The Alcatel 1B (2020) is the epitome of a ‘simple smartphone’. Starting with its display, it’s 5.5 inches at HD+ resolution (1,440 x 720p).

It uses the Snapdragon QM215 processor that’s commonly used in entry-level devices. Its compact size commands a compact battery of 3,000mAh – far smaller than other budget smartphones we’ve tested that usually have at least a 4,000mAh capacity.

Carrying on with its minimalistic specs, 2GB of Ram and 16GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128GB with a micro-SD card) is all you’ll have.

What’s it like to use?

It could be easier to use.

We had no problems during the setup process. You can access a full manual through the Settings menu and there’s also a setup assistant that helps to guide you through getting the phone up and running.

What makes the phone taxing to use is its lack of speed. Just getting through menus, you’ll notice a delay, never mind using intensive apps such as games. There’s no question that processor speed is the biggest compromise on this phone and you’ll spend more time than you would like waiting for it to catch up with your instructions.

Its display isn’t too bad. During the day, it has enough brightness to be able to read what’s on the screen, and at night the 1B (2020)’s low-resolution screen has good contrast.

Don’t even bother trying to listen to music aloud on this phone. Audio sounds so thin and tinny that you’re better off reaching for your headphones.

There’s no fingerprint sensor to lock the phone, but there is a face scanner and it worked fine in our tests.

How long does the battery last?

As long as you remember to charge the phone overnight, it's not bad. It will need three and a half hours to fill up its tank and once it gets there, you’ll have 21 hours to use the phone at full brightness or 24 at reduced brightness, which isn't too bad.

It all goes downhill with its 15-minute charge performance. It crawls up to 6% battery life which is almost completely pointless, because in our tests it lasted for just one hour of use before it needed recharging.

How good are the cameras?

This Alcatel smartphone has a single 8Mp wide-angle rear camera and a 5Mp wide-angle front camera – and neither of them could produce even one good shot at our lab.

Come day or night, the 1B (2020) can’t get a good photo on its rear camera. All our test shots came out blurry with very little detail. The front camera is similarly terrible, capturing photos that are riddled with graininess and overwhelmingly blurred.

If you try to record a video on the phone, you’ll be met with bad contrast on both lenses and no image stabilisation whatsoever, meaning that any shaking will be visible when you’re watching the video back.

Is there anything I should watch out for?

Don’t delay in getting a micro-SD card if you dare to buy this phone. With 16GB of storage to start with, you’re already at a disadvantage, and of that only 10GB is actually usable storage.

Is there anything else I should know?

The phone comes with a dedicated Google Assistant button, although that’s unlikely to be any consolation for its dreadful performance elsewhere in our tests. For those who shout out ‘Hey Google’ for their every need throughout the day, using Google’s virtual assistant will be even easier – simply press the button on the left-hand side of the phone.

Should I buy it?

The Alcatel 1B (2020) is much less of an upgrade and more of a downgrade if you’ve purchased almost any smartphone in the last few years. There are very few things that it does well and considering that we have a laundry list of things it doesn’t, there’s no question that you should avoid buying this phone. We suspect that this smartphone is no longer receiving security updates from the manufacturer, or that it will stop receiving them soon. As such we can’t recommend that you buy it. Security updates, or patches, help to protect your phone from the latest threats, which could potentially harm your device and compromise your personal information. For more information, read our guide to using a mobile phone that’s no longer being updated.