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

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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.

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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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