You know what people like? Lights. Brightly colored, flashing lights. Lights for notifications and lights for fun. Lights for all occasion. So, so many shiny lights. Lights like the lights on the back of Alcatel’s A5 LED, a fun feature on what is an otherwise middling handset.
In a mobile show that saw the debut of BlackBerry’s KeyOne, the A5 has the fairly indistinct distinction of being the second most interesting phone launched by TCL. But then, it’s not a very serious phone. It’s more of the mobile equivalent to those sneakers with light up soles that all of the cool kids with rich parents had in the early-90s (I’m not bitter).
The LED array can be associated with various notifications, including emails and social media like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, flashing the color associated with the service, along with the scrolling first letter of its name.
The phone ships with bare bones software that lets you associate the lights with different functions, so you can light up in time with music, like a set of Radio Shack speakers. There’s also an on-board Color Capture app that will match the back to the pictures you take on the phone’s camera.
Interestingly, the system is actually modular – not entirely unlike the Moto Z. The LED is actually one of multiple backings that plug directly into the phone’s power supply, including an extended life battery.
The handset is pretty clearly targeted at first time phone users – or “young and energetic entertainment seekers,” as the related press materially overzealously boasts. This version will run a €199 here in Europe, a reasonable price for a fun phone, albeit one that’s clearly not made of premium material.
An Alcatel rep tells me that it will “likely” arrive in the States as well, albeit in some sort of variant.