This phone is one-sixth the cost of an iPhone 11 Pro, and it has a 48MP camera

Meet the Alcatel 3L, and two more ultra-affordable Android smartphones for emerging markets that start at $66.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read

The Alcatel 3L may surprise you.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

There's something intrinsically fascinating about seeing a smartphone that costs a sixth of the price of a $1,000 phone like the iPhone 11 Pro . Especially a device that has three cameras -- one with a 48-megapixel sensor -- and can take advantage of most everything Android has to offer. The latest phone to boast these achievements while keeping costs firmly in the budget zone is the Alcatel 3L, announced at CES 2020 this week. The $155 handset brings cost-conscious buyers the triple rear cameras that are so on-trend, while also looking much more flashy and elegant than you'd expect for a phone of its price.

Its three rear camera setup includes that 48-megapixel camera, whose photos resolve into a 12-megapixel image by combining the sensor's details into a single image that won't hog your phone's storage. There's also a 5-megapixel sensor for ultrawide-angle shots (115 degrees) and a 2-megapixel rear camera with a macro lens.


You wouldn't expect to get three cameras in a sub-$200 phone.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

AI software is on-hand for identifying up to 22 scenes and optimizing them to bring the best color and detail from the shot. This is another popular trend that most premium phones and many midrange phones also use to auto-adjust white balance and other settings so your landscape scene, cat and friends look their best without you requiring you to play around with manual controls.

The Alcatel 3L will sell in "select markets" across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, starting in Q1 for $155, converted from 139 euros (roughly £120 or AU$225). 

Believe it or not, the 3L is the most expensive new phone that Alcatel announced. It'll also sell the Alcatel 1S, which has three cameras and a $110 price, the 6.2-inch Alcatel 1V for $88, and the Alcatel 1B Android 10 (Go edition) phone for $66.

TCL also showed off a working foldable phone prototype, a sub-$500 curve-screen phone that looks like the Galaxy S10 and a sub-$500 5G phone.


The Alcatel 3L has a 6.22-inch screen and a U-notch for the 8-megapixel selfie camera.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Alcatel 3L specs and features

  • 6.22-inch HD Plus Vast display with 19:9 aspect ratio
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera with a flash
  • Octa-core processor
  • 64GB built-in storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • Colors: Chameleon blue, dark chrome, agate green

Read more: The best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone in 2020  

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