Style - 7.1
Performance - 6.4
Software - 8.5
Battery Life - 9.1
Display - 8.2
Camera - 7.7
Durability - 6.8
Summary : Overall the best budget smartphone money can buy.
Alcatel has come a long way from the days of Tracphone and providing low budget phones on other prepaid services. Sure some of their older phones looked cool, but lacked when it came to functionality, performance and specs.
However, those days are now a distance memory along the company’s road to success and success comes in the form of the Alcatel One Touch Idol 3. Alcatel’s new Flagship device, finally showing that it is to be taken seriously in the highly competitive world of smartphones with the release the OneTouch Idol 3.
Although the phone is predominantly plastic it achieves an elegant look and feel, by combining silver plastic edging, two-toned trimming and matted grey finish on the back. The Idol 3 although measuring 6 x 3 inches and only 0.3 inches thick and weighs 0.31 pounds (142g) yet it does not feel large when being held and I am able to use the device comfortably with one hand.
When it comes to the placement of the power and volume buttons Alcatel decided to separate their placement, placing the volume control on the upper right corner of the device while placing power button on the upper left. One thing i need to mention of about this configuration is that it does allow for easy screen capturing with one hand using the power and volume down button. The micro-Sim and microSD tray is located on the left edge. The dual speakers are located at both ends of the device sit above and below the 5.5-inch LCD screen.
You’ll find the 13-megapixel camera on the upper left corner, with an LED flash positioned just below. On the front, the 8-megapixel lens sits just to the right of center. You’ll charge up through a Micro-USB port on the phone’s bottom right edge, and plug your headset into the jack up top.
Note: When YRB initially received the Idol 3 the first time, I placed the phone in my back pocket and the screen had cracked and almost no input was recognized. Maybe the all plastic body have not give the screen enough structural support when the phone bends while in someones back pocket.
The Idol 3 offers a perfect balance of specs to cost, coming in at $250, customers will not be disappointed with the purchase and having the freedom to choose any GSM provider (factory unlocked) makes it that much more worth while.
The device comes packed with a1.5GHz Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB Ram, 16GB onboard storage and can be expanded up to 128GB via microSD.
As a multimedia device the Idol 3 is quiet capable, the dual JBL speakers provide rich and clear audio experience while listening to all your online video or audio content.
When it comes to viewing your content on the Idol 3 the 5.5in IPS LCD 1080p HD screen, packs in a 400 ppi pixel density and a maximum brightness of more than 600 nits. In simple terms this translates to a sharp, exceptionally bright screen with strong viewing angles.
As previously mentioned the Idol 3 is factory unlocked and was tested on the AT&T 4G/LTE network. The phone quickly recognized the network of the sim installed, no addition steps are required. Call quality of the device on AT&T is clear and does not differ from my own AT&T device, I experienced no dropped calls.
No matter how powerful, sleek or attractive a phone may look, if the camera is for lack of a better word “crappy” it doesn’t seem to matter. A good camera on a smartphone in this social media driven generation is as important as the “Sidekick” was to texting rage of years past.
The Idol 3 does not disappoint and boast a 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 main camera with 1080p video capture and digital stabilization; optional manual controls with an LED flash positioned just below; 8-megapixel front-facing unit with 1080p video recording. With the ability to use the camera in manual mode users are able to control all aspects of the camera ranging ISO (max 2400) to White Balance control, giving the feel of a much more expensive DSLR camera. Other features such as panorama and HDR are also available. The camera performs extremely well when taking images in well lit situations, producing vibrant and clear images. However, when taking photos in low light (even with the flash) image quality is degraded significantly.
Battery life seems to be at the forefront as well when it comes to smartphone and well all mobile devices as well. The Idol 3 comes loaded with a 2910 mAh cell (not removable), giving the phone and impressive 13 hour battery life (from a full charge) when running a video loop test in airplane mode. So look forward to not having to be attached to your charger or having use a portable battery for some extra juice.
The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 comes preloaded with Android 5.02 (Lollipop) with Alcatel’s own custom UI in place. The home screen is clean and the icon have that flat stock android look and feel. The notification center has the stock android look it.
Idol 3 can handle anything you can throw at whether you are streaming content or mobile gaming. However, some lag is experienced when downloading apps from the Google Play and when content being saved to microSD card. Having over 10 apps running in the background does hamper performance as well.
One of the most interesting aspects of this device is it will orient right side up even when the phone is turned upside down. This is the first device I have seen to use this feature and its called “Reversible” it can be turned on and off from the settings option by swiping down on the screen. This option frees you from thinking about how you set your phone down or how you pick it up. The only issue is remembering that your volume and power buttons are now located to the bottom of the device.
Another useful feature with the Idol 3 is the ability to unlock and lock phone via double tapping the screen, and this feature can be turned on and off in device settings.
Despite being a budget phone Alcatel did not cut corners on the phones ability to connect and interact with other devices. The Idol 3 includes GPS, Bluetooth 4.1 with Low Energy and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, included also are Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Display features.
This by far is Alcatel’s best phone to date, and a perfect choice as their flagship device. The only flaws that I could find with this device where its poor performance while shooting in low light and the lag that is experience when being used under a heavy load.
However, for the price that the device is being afford at, these flaws become irrelevant.
If you are looking for a well priced phone that wont hurt your pocket that you can use on any GSM carrier, yet has all the functionality of a higher priced device then this is the choice.