Alcatel 3L (2020)

What is it?

Like the Alcatel 1S (2020), the 3L (2020) has a 6.22-inch HD+ ‘Vast’ display (1,520 x 720p). It runs on the Mediatek MT6762 chipset also found in the Sony Xperia L4.

The 3L (2020)’s three rear cameras are a main attraction on this phone. Its main lens is a high-res 48Mp wide-angle camera, followed by a 5Mp ultra-wide-angle lens and 2Mp macro lens. It also has an 8Mp wide-angle front lens.

It comes straight out of the box using Android 10, and has a 4,000mAh battery, 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of Ram.

What’s it like to use?

Despite the LCD display's low resolution, it copes well with different light conditions. The low resolution is more obvious in low light, but there’s a dark mode available that should make the display easier to read. We found the screen responsive in our tests, which is great.

Setting up the phone is a fairly easy process, with the exception of the full instruction manual being a little tricky to locate – you can downloaded it via the phone’s Settings menu. The phone’s setup assistant is helpful and its menus are well structured, making it easy to use.

The average daily apps run without any problems on this phone, but its score in our benchmarking test shows that it’s a long way behind other smartphones costing less than £200.

The 3L (2020) has a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, as well as face scanner if that’s your preference, which is good at this price. Both of these features are accurate and responsive.

The phone comes with a dedicated Google Assistant button. For those that 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.

How long does the battery last?

This phone will easily last through the day.

After taking its sweet time to charge up, requiring 2 hours 45 minutes to get to full capacity, it gave us 36 hours of use while the screen was operating at its highest brightness level. We tried turning the brightness down and got 42 full hours to use the phone. Very impressive.

If you have only 15 minutes to charge the phone, it’s not quite as generous. You’ll get about a percent point of charge per minute. With 14% charge it will last for five hours of use at maximum brightness, or six hours with reduced brightness.

How good are the cameras?

Not bad on the whole.

The rear cameras are able to capture some detail during the day, with colours looking natural. In low light, pictures still have some detail but you can also see more graininess. There isn’t a night mode on the phone, so you’ll have to rely on flash to enhance picture quality.

Its front camera isn’t as good. Photos taken during the day have slightly harsh contrast, and there's some blurring in photos taken at night.

Even with the phone’s electronic image stabilisation, you can still see some shakiness in videos. Generally, videos look overexposed and somewhat pale.

Is there anything I should watch out for?

One thing you’ll definitely have to sacrifice with the 3L (2020) is sound quality. Music from its external speaker doesn’t sound good at all; it’s thin and too sharp.

This model comes without NFC connectivity. Considering how important contactless payments have become this year, this might be a dealbreaker for some.

Is there anything else I should know?

Unlike the Alcatel 1S (2020), which is similarly priced, this model doesn’t have dual Sim that allows you to have two separate Sim profiles on the phone at once. A feature it does have is internal memory expansion (with a micro-SD card of up to 128GB).

Should I buy it?

Probably not. With its poor-quality front lens and the general niggles such as the lack of NFC, the Alcatel 3L (2020) simply isn’t good enough to buy, despite how cheap it is. Have a look at our guide on the best cheap mobile phones to find a phone that ticks more boxes than this one. Unfortunately, due to the age of this phone and the brand’s update policies, we suspect it will stop receiving important security updates in less than a year, so we can’t recommend that you buy. Find out more in our guide to mobile phone security.