* Premium build
* Good display with Dragontrail glass
* Decent performance
* Pricey compared to competitor offerings
* Lots of pre-loaded apps
Early this month, Alcatel launched a new smartphone with a premium build for under Php10K. With plenty of smartphones battling each other under this price range, can the Shine Lite stand out? Find out in our review.
Design and Construction
The Alcatel Shine Lite sports a 5-inch display which dominates the front of the device. It’s mounted with Dragontrail glass which curves on the edges, hence, the 2.5D. Above it is the earpiece with a chrome grille, notifications light, 5MP camera, and LED flash. Down below are three lit capacitive navigation for Back, Home, and Recent apps.
On the left is the hybrid SIM card tray, while on the right are the power/lock button and volume rocker.
Up top are the headset jack, microphone and a couple of antenna bands, while down at the bottom is the microUSB port flanked by two grilles for the loudspeaker, the main microphone, and another set of antenna bands.
Flip it on its back and you will see the 13MP camera, dual-tone flash, and fingerprint scanner.
When it comes to design and construction, the Shine Lite is far from “lite”. It has a full metal frame with the backside covered with glass. The edges are chamfered which gives off an edgy feel on the fingers. Given the choice of materials, it’s also hefty which sometimes feel uncomfortable.
Display and Multimedia
The Shine Lite sports the standard 5-inch display with HD resolution or equal to 294ppi. Quality is good even at this resolution, has wide viewing angles, and well-saturated colors.
The down-firing loudspeakers, on the other hand, will suffice for hands-free voice calls but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to music and video playback. It’s tinny and sibilant with very weak bass. Better stick to your headphones or external speaker if you want a better audio experience.
OS, UI, and Apps
The Shine Lite’s operating system is run by Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The UI is mostly left stock but has Alcatel’s icon design and wallpapers to give it a more colorful look.
Pre-installed apps are plenty which includes AVG antivirus, Cars Racing, Deezer, Kingdoms & Lords, Puzzle Pets, Real Football 2015, Spider-Man: Ultimate Power, Shazam, TouchPal 2015, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Xender, WPS Office, Google’s own apps, and Alcatel’s own app store called the OneTouch apps.
The good news, though, is that most of it can be uninstalled. However, it won’t do much as it only has 16GB of storage with only 10.6GB as usable. You can use a microSD card but at the sacrifice of its dual-SIM capabilities.
The 13MP main shooter of the Shine Lite seems to be pretty good in bright conditions with nicely preserved details and natural colors. We didn’t see any blown colors which what we normally experience in other smartphones with the same caliber.
In dim conditions, the camera’s AF performance suffers as it’s sluggish and prone to out-of-focus shots. The front camera has the same performance but details are softer. For shooting selfies in low-light, there’s a front-facing flash which is a nifty feature. Check out the samples below:
For video recording, the main camera maxes out at 720p resolution at 30fps saved in 3GP format. Details are okay but struggle in dynamic range and autofocus. Watch sample below:
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Shine Lite is a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737 quad-core CPU, Mali-T720 GPU, and 2GB RAM. Performance is pretty much fluid when it comes to basic tasks. The fingerprint scanner is responsive and snappy and we didn’t experience any crashes or random reboots, so we can say the OS is pretty much stable. Alcatel also pushes OTA updates and so far it’s doing well.
Gaming is also possible on this device, however, don’t expect top performance when handling graphic intensive applications, but if you’re mostly into casual games then you’ll be fine. Check out the benchmark scores below.
* AnTuTu – 27,959
* Quadrant Standard – 9,217
* Vellamo – 1,220 (Multicore), 765 (Metal), 1,614 (Chrome)
* 3D Mark – 99 (Sling Shot Extreme)
* PC Mark – 2,219 (Work 2.0)
Connectivity and Call Quality
The Shine Lite is equipped with your basic connectivity features which include 4G LTE, dual-SIM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Do note though that you will not be able to use a microSD card if you’re using the dual-SIM feature due to the hybrid setup.
So far it had no issues locking into the network for mobile data. Calls are clear as well as long as you’re in an area with healthy signal.
For those expecting a big battery, the Shine Lite’s 2,460mAh might come out as disappointing on paper. So far we’re getting around 7 hours when using it for light calls and SMS, and heavy social media use over WiFi. Using PC Mark’s battery benchmark, it was rated at 8 hours and 23 minutes which is average. Still, we recommend bringing a power bank with you especially if you plan to game on it or mostly on mobile data.
It’s clear that Alcatel has managed to squeeze itself inside the crowded sub-Php10K segment with the Shine Lite. It is equipped with nice features like LTE, Dragontrail Glass, fingerprint scanner, and Android Marshmallow. However, most of its efforts are placed on the premium build which might shun users who prioritize performance over aesthetics after considering the price.
At Php9,999, there are plenty of smartphones that sport better specs at a much lesser cost – the ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 5.2-inch (Php8,995), Flash Plus 2 3GB RAM + 32GB storage (Php8,490), Infinix Note 3 Pro (Php8,390), and Cherry Mobile Flare X2 (Php7,999). Considering these competitors, the Alcatel Shine Lite will definitely have a hard time shining.
Alcatel Shine Lite specs:
- 5-inch HD IPS display, 294ppi
- 2.5D Asahi Dragontrail Glass
- 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor
- Mali-T720 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- Expandable via microSD card
- 13MP AF rear camera w/ dual-tone LED flash
- 5MP front-facing camera w/ LED flash
- 4G LTE
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.1
- GPS w/ A-GPS
- Fingerprint scanner
- 2,460mAh non-removable battery
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow