Is Telstra’s New $99 Smartphone Worth The Money?

Is Telstra’s New $99 Smartphone Worth The Money?
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Telstra’s upcoming range of budget smartphones won’t break the bank but will the day-to-day cost of using an underpowered phone be too much?

Telstra have announced a new range of budget smartphones that include the $99 Telstra Essential Plus. Gizmodo reports that these new phones are rebranded Alcatels.

The Telstra Essential Plus is a rebranded Alcatel 1, a budget phone with stats almost comparable to the five year old Samsung Galaxy S4 albeit with 4G capability.

You can still get a lot of use out of an underpowered phone. Until recently, I was using a Samsung Galaxy S4 and only replaced it when the battery was unable to hold a charge.

You won’t be able to run the latest and greatest apps. Some games, like the new Fortnite for Android, beta are completely out of the question.

Day-to-day use is sluggish but manageable. The use of the Android Go should smooth over some of the hardware limitations to give a better experience. Normal phone functions including internet browsing, accessing social media and sending/receiving messages aren’t going anywhere just because you’re paying less.

It’s fine. Not great, not terrible. Just fine. For $99, fine is fair. Just don’t expect to take any great pictures.

The Alcatel 1X ($129) and Telstra Superior ($199) offer slightly larger screens and improved specs over the Telstra Essential Plus with the Superior including a fingerprint scanner and dual rear cameras. A happy bump over the bare minimum although you’ll have a similar experience with all three phones.

The new suite of phones launch alongside Telstra’s Pre-Paid Extra that gives customers a 5GB Data Bank bonus on their first three $30 or above recharges when they recharge before 3 September 2018.


  • I’m still rocking a Galaxy S4 Mini, it’s almost 4 years old! Samsung still sell the replacement batteries for it so every year I just buy a new battery and it runs like new. It has an I.R. blaster too which is a lot of fun for messing with TV’s in restaurants etc… Still runs pretty well for what I need it for, I’m gonna miss it when it inevitably won’t work anymore

    Looking at the specs for the Telstra Essential plus, it’s pretty impressive for the price. I suspect the biggest let down will be the camera (despite the high megapixels on paper). My partner recently bought an LG K4 for travel overseas (unlocked for around $150) and although it had an 8mp rear camera the lowlight performance and shutter speed were pretty terrible. Still for $99 who can complain?

  • After my increasingly sluggish Note 4 was stolen on the Madrid metro, I researched and bought a Redmi Note 5A for about aus$150. It goes like a bat out of hell, and I’m seriously impressed.

    I don’t notice the low res (720p) at all, can read ebooks just fine, and the battery lasts for ages. MIUI is a bit different, but no big deal, and I can still use all the usual Google apps.

    I doubt I’ll ever sign up for another flagship phone again!

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