AT&T’s new $40 phone is for you if your requirements are as low as its price

If your smartphone requirements are as low as the price you ultimately want to pay for one, then AT&T may have the phone for you. It’s the Alcatel Tetra, and it’s simple, basic, and cheap. There’s no notch, monster processor, or triple-lens camera here, just a good old-fashioned mobile phone that will cost you just $40.

What does that buy you? The Tetra is not as woeful as one may expect, provided your expectations are kept in check. The screen measures 5 inches and has an 854 x 480 pixel resolution, and although it doesn’t have a Gorilla Glass covering, it does have an equivalent pane of 2D Dragontail glass, which promises to provide everyday protection against scratches and damage.

A quad-core MediaTek chip with 2GB of RAM is inside, so don’t expect the Tetra to whiz along; but it does have Android 8.1 Oreo onboard, which is far newer than many cheap, entry-level phones often have. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack on the phone, something that’s becoming a rarity these days, and a 2,050mAh battery to keep it all alive. A MicroSD card can be added to increase the 16GB of internal storage space.

You suffer most when it comes to the camera. There’s no dual-lens setup here, just a single 5-megapixel camera with a selection of features such as a night mode, HDR, and time-lapse video. It certainly won’t be challenging more expensive phones — which is almost everything else available — but you get what you pay for with cameras on phones. The design would have been cutting-edge a decade ago, though it now looks like it should have stayed there. It comes only in black plastic with a textured rear cover, weighs 150 grams, and measures a little over 9mm thick. Oh, and there are bezels. Big ones.

However, you’re paying only $40, and this is on one of AT&T’s prepaid plans, which start at $35. The Alcatel Tetra is available in AT&T stores today, or with online delivery expected after a few days. If you can stretch your budget, there are many phones that offer a lot more than the Tetra for a little more money.

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