Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Alcatel A5 LED Review



rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star


  • Decent gaming performance
  • Bright and colourful LED back


  • Poor general performance
  • Better cameras available at the price
  • Mediocre battery life

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £169.99
  • 5-inch 720p IPS LCD screen
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage with microSD
  • 25-LED casing
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera with flash
  • Octa-core Mediatek MT6753 CPU

What is the Alcatel A5 LED?

The Alcatel A5 LED is a budget phone. A quick glance at its specs would suggest that it would be the ideal alternative to the Lenovo Moto G5. But it’s a bit more flashy than that – literally. The Alcatel A5 LED has a disco on its back, making it the sort of phone you can picture in Calvin Harris’ pocket if he were a Nissan Micra driver rather than someone behind the wheel of a McLaren.

However, slow performance in parts and a camera that’s significantly worse than the competition make it a good buy only if you’re in love with the idea of being able to bring out a tiny light show at parties.

Related: Best budget phones

Alcatel A5 LED smartphone with illuminated back cover.

Alcatel A5 LED — Design and LED Lights

There’s one reason to buy the Alcatel A5 LED: the LED shell on its rear. It’s actually removable, but to call it a ‘case’ is a real disservice.

Twenty-five multi-colour LEDs produce a light show that turns the Alcatel A5 LED into a programmable mobile disco. When you use the phone as normal, those LEDs are dormant, making the rear look like it has a slim and stylish case attached, thanks in the main to the camera sitting below this shell. A honeycomb-like pattern of light-grey dots form a translucent plastic through which the LEDs shine.

Alcatel A5 LED illuminated back cover with logo.

I tend to like my phones fairly plain. The Honor 9 borders on brash, and every now and then I take out the first-gen Moto G to remind myself that a phone lacking any stand-out design features can actually look quite nice. Miserably monotone as my taste may be, I think Alcatel has done well with this device’s rear. The diffusion of the light, those large-but-soft LEDs are signs of a job well done, particularly in a budget phone.

You can customise what the lights do too, using an app called Light Show. The two best uses for the LED cover are for music and notifications.

Alcatel A5 LED smartphone displaying light show feature menu.

There’s a handful of presets for music light performances – including ones that ‘emulate’ rain, fireworks and shooting stars – that react to the music played. The Rhythm preset, for example, makes the lights act like an EQ waveform, changing colour constantly too. On receiving a notification, the first letter of the app in question scrolls across the screen on a coloured background.

What’s the point, I hear you ask? If you’re coming to the Alcatel A5 LED looking for utility, you’re missing the point. The LEDs are there for fun.

The Light Show app does have a crack at adding more obvious uses, in the form of a virtual electronic musician-style sample pad that plays  instrument clips and corresponding LEDs on the back as you tap. However, it’s pretty poor, and has clearly been made for a means to entertain young kids.


Alcatel A5 LED smartphone with notifications on screen.

But enough about the light feature. Elsewhere, the Alcatel A5 LED is a solid-but-plain phone. It’s made of plastic, uses light-up soft keys (aside from the drawn-on central one) and, thanks to the case, is heavier than most devices at 170g. By comparison, the Moto G5 weighs 145g.

There’s also no sign here of any of the extra hardware features we’ve seen starting to drip down to cheaper phones. There’s no fingerprint scanner, and the Alcatel A5 LED has a micro-USB socket rather than new newer USB-C. 16GB storage and a microSD slot keep it up with the rest in other respects, though.

Alcatel A5 LED — Screen

The Alcatel A5 LED has a 5-inch 720p IPS LCD screen. It isn’t as sharp as the Moto G5’s display, but this isn’t something that presented as an issue as I continued using the handset.

Colour is rather good for a budget phone and, unlike some models, the image appears right on the surface of the display. Low-rent LCDs can look recessed, which happens when the layers of a screen aren’t sandwiched together tightly enough.

Close-up of Alcatel A5 LED screen displaying apps.

Those who like to play with the look of their phone’s screen will appreciated the MiraVision tool in the Alcatel A5 LED. This lets you alter the colour saturation, contrast and a few other elements. Both the ‘normal’ and ‘vivid’ modes look good as-is, but I did end up tweaking the colour temperature since the phone leans towards the blueish side as standard.

Like any good budget phone, the Alcatel A5 LED has an auto-brightness setting. Top brightness is fair rather than searing, and at certain angles there’s some colour/contrast shift, which signifies that this isn’t a top-drawer panel. Overall, however, the screen is fine.



We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main phone for the review period

Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world testing

Always has a SIM card installed

Tested with phone calls, games and popular apps

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words