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Alcatel is releasing its budget Idol 5 Android phone in the US

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With slight spec boosts

Alcatel

Alcatel showed off a phone called the Idol 5 earlier this month at IFA. Now it's bringing that device to the US with slight spec boosts. It’s only available through Cricket Wireless. It comes out on October 27th alongside a new VR headset call the Uni360.

The Idol 5 isn't all that exciting, other than the fact that it only costs $199. That price gets you: Android Nougat (with no public plans on an Oreo update), a 5.2-inch Full HD display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, 8-megapixel front-facing camera, USB-C, and a MediaTek Helio P20 processor. The battery is also compatible with Fast Charging. Alcatel says it can reach full charge in 100 minutes.

The front of the US device varies from the EU / global version of the phone: the US release includes dual speakers that you'll immediately notice. The phone also has Alcatel's signature launch button built in, which you can configure to launch your camera, VR app, or whatever else.

The VR app is useful because Alcatel and Cricket are trying to sell users on its new Uni360 headset. It costs $49.99 and works with any smartphone between five and six inches. Alcatel has launched VR headsets in the past, but they only worked with the company's own devices. The Uni360 includes a new passthrough feature that activates a phone's camera, so users can see through to the real world around them. The company also added a focus wheel. These are all minor but important improvements that'll at least make an Alcatel VR experience slightly better for budget-conscious buyers.