Right now, TCL produces smartphones under two major brands. For the Alcatel brand the company produces entry-level and mainstream handsets, whereas under the BlackBerry brand it makes specialized smartphones for those who need an advanced security and/or a QWERTY keyboard. This product segmentation means that at present, TCL is not addressing the market for ‘classic’ higher-end smartphones. However this is going to change later this year, when TCL launches the Alcatel 7 series and their first 5G handset.

TCL demonstrated a mock-up of the Alcatel 7 5G smartphone at Mobile World Congress last week. The handset will use TCL’s 6.39-inch (or 6.5-inch) LCD display with a 2340x1080 resolution, 600 nits brightness, a 1500:1 contrast ratio, and hole-punch selfie camera that the company showcased earlier at the trade show. Unfortunately TCL is not disclosing the SoC + modem platform it intends to use for the smartphone (though, the list of 5G modems available on the open market is currently limited), but says it will be paired with 6 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of NAND storage.

The imaging capabilities of the Alcatel 7 5G handset will include a triple-module (48 MP + 16 MP + 5MP) rear camera array with a dual-tone LED flash, and a 24 MP front camera. Both cameras are expected to support the TCL's 4-in-1 big pixel technology, and of course, some AI-based features.

When it comes to overall design of the Alcatel 7 smartphone, it will feature a metal frame, 2.5D glass on the front, and 3D glass gradient cover on the back. Since the phone relies on an LCD display, it's not possible to use it with an in-screen fingerprint scanner, which is why the scanner is more traditionally located on the back-side of the handset.

Since it's equipped with a sizable 6.39-inch (or even a 6.5-inch) screen, the Alcatel 7 is rather big overall. But if nothing else, TCL is putting that space to good use, and they'll be equipping the phone with an above-average capacity 4000-mAh battery – though it will be interesting to see what the 5G modem does to overall battery life. Meanwhile, as far as the feel of the phablet-sized phone goes, since the backside of the phone is rounded, it does not feel thick despite the size, and is rather comfortable to hold.

TCL intends to start shipments of its Alcatel 7 5G handset sometime later this year. Since TCL's biggest market for Alcatel phones is Europe, it makes a lot of sense for the company to wait till 5G networks are deployed in the region and then launch the product commercially. Meanwhile the company is tight-lipped about pricing of the Alcatel 7, but since the phone is aimed at a segment currently untapped by the brand, it will naturally cost more than existing smartphones Alcatel phones.

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Source: TCL

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  • austinsguitar - Thursday, March 7, 2019 - link

    it is good to see hole punch getting love. i really do like the s10 so far. you barely even notice the hole when you are using it. something about it i like a lot.

    also tcl has been around a while. good to see them try and get in the phone business.
    Reply
  • niva - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    The hole punch is just as bad as the notch. It's a very stupid trend to reduce the impacts of a problem that didn't exist, but creating a whole new much more massive problem.

    Glad you can barely see it, I for one staying away from gimmicks like this.
    Reply
  • Quantumz0d - Thursday, March 7, 2019 - link

    These all Chinese OEMs are like copying one another. There is simply no identity among these, from Huawei, Honor, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, OnePlus all damn have same design formula. The camera setup for example the vertical positioning with the extra third one standing outside like this.

    I don't get it how people are so fine with buying a rehashed trash like these. And that display mutilation with these stupid trends like Notches and Holes wth. So far not even one OEM was able to remove the idiotic chin apart from Sony, their new phones don't have chins but a top bezel without any of these stupid trends, even that ugly roudned corner drama.

    I don't know when we will see the light.
    Reply
  • patel21 - Friday, March 8, 2019 - link

    Not everybody buys their phone to flaunt. They are just a necessity for most. And thus it doesn't matter if Xiaomi copies Apple when you get relatively good specs at USD 250. Reply
  • BedfordTim - Friday, March 8, 2019 - link

    He has a point about the lack of variety. It would be nice to have a choice beyond which major feature is missing. The only variations are on Kickstarter/Indiegogo which are far from reliable as a marketplace. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, March 8, 2019 - link

    Yup, it's a utility device that covers communications, navigation, entertainment, and dabbles in productivity while on the go. The increase in time between upgrades is partly due to slowing hardware advances, but also I think its fair to say that the novelty of the smartphone has faded and fewer people still view them as a fashion statement or something to buy at the high end to lord over lesser people with because, in the end, hardly anyone cares. Phones are following computers where it was once so that we bragged to each other about our Pentium MMX processors or upgrading to 64MB of EDO RAM but now no longer do it because the people subjected to our bragging find us dullards for doing so. Smartphones briefly enjoyed a similar interest, but such people are now being met with apathetic shrugs and so, are even those that would engage in such posturing and preening are being conditioned to expect that others are less receptive. Between that and the handset costs at the high end increasing, I'm not really sure this market segment is going to land the numbers TCL may anticipate from it. I also agree that few, if any people, aside from a smallish group of tech enthusiasts are really very concerned with whether or not features are being rehashed from one manufacturer to the next. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, March 8, 2019 - link

    Yeah. Reply
  • Valantar - Friday, March 8, 2019 - link

    Smartphones are commodity products at this point, and for the vast majority of people "good enough" is just that - good enough. Not everyone wants or needs to spend >$1k on a phone to be on the bleeding edge. Besides, if "rehashed trash" is your thing, what are your thoughts on Apple's and Samsung's designs? It's not like those are mind-blowingly original, after all.

    As for notches and holes, if maximizing screen-to-body ratio is a goal (which it should be, as the screen is arguably the most important part of a smartphone), these are smart solutions, particularly hole-punch cameras, allowing for the camera (a small, round-ish thing) to fit alongside the notification icons (also small, round-ish things), while growing the screen 5-ish mm in one direction, effectively increasing usable screen space. No reason to hate on that. Giant notches are another thing, but with some tech (iris/face scanners) it's a necessity, and can still expand usable screen area.
    Reply
  • ceisserer - Friday, March 8, 2019 - link

    Homefully, their high-end phones will receive better support in terms of feature- and security updates than their low-end ones. My Alcatel Pop 2 4.5 didn't receive a singel update - not even security related ones. Reply
  • Alina57 - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - link

    The increase in time between upgrades is partly due to slowing hardware advances, but also I think its fair to say that the novelty of the smartphone has faded and fewer people still view them as a fashion statement or something to buy at the high end to lord over lesser people with because, in the end, hardly anyone cares. Phones are following computers where it was once so that we bragged to each other about our Pentium MMX processors or upgrading to 64MB of EDO RAM but now no longer do it because the people subjected to our bragging find us dullards for doing so. Smartphones briefly enjoyed a similar interest, but such people are now being met with apathetic shrugs and so, are even those that would engage in such posturing and preening are being conditioned to expect that others are less receptive. https://www.diebestetest.de/ Reply

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