Hands On With the Alcatel Shine Lite


BERLIN—The dream of the high-quality, $199 unlocked US phone continues. Here at IFA this week, we've seen midrange phones from ZTE, Huawei, and Sony at a wide range of price points. But Alcatel's Shine Lite comes in at $199-249 with a high-end metal-and-glass build, making it a real potential player. We spent a few minutes with it at the show.

Modest Specs, Expensive Feel
The Shine Lite is not a spec powerhouse. It has a 5-inch 720p screen, 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage plus a microSD card slot. The processor is a quad-core Mediatek chip running at 1.3GHz, and the phone runs Android 6.0.

The exciting thing here is that the Shine Lite feels nice in the hand. Really nice. It borrows a bunch of design cues from competitors like the Huawei Honor 8 all the way back to the iPhone 5. For starters, you feel no plastic. The front and back are both glass that curves slightly outward, blending smoothly into a polished metal bezel. There's a round fingerprint sensor on the back, in an intuitive position.

Alcatel didn't give the weight, but the Shine Lite feels heavy. I imagine it'll break easily, with all that glass, but it sure is pretty—and it sure doesn't look $199.

Maybe in the US
Nicolas Zibell, Alcatel's president of international business, said the Shine Lite, "may come to a US carrier customer...we definitely have some demand in the US market for this one."

If ZTE is to be believed, Alcatel has been bumped from fourth to fifth place in the US, and a boost for a phone like the Shine Lite at Cricket or MetroPCS would certainly help its fortunes.

The Shine Lite will appear sometime after September.

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