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Alcatel's mobile phones don't always impress me hugely and recent models have been a bit of a let-down. For example, the Mandarina Duck, produced primarily as a tie-in with the bag brand of the same name, didn't do it for me, and nor did the OT-E201 mainly because of its poor user interface. These handsets were a surprise as Alcatel tends to think carefully about design and offers phones that meet its budget users' requirements nicely.
So I am glad to report that we are back on form with the OT-S210 which comes out of this review well, overall, but as ever for a budget phone, it lost out on scores for features.
The OT-S210 is one of three launches in Alcatel's new ‘Essence' range. The three new handsets are all quite similar in design. The final pricing has yet to be revealed, but the least expensive of the trio will be the OT-S120. It has a black and white display. The other two in the range have colour displays and the OT-S211 will have an FM radio, which the others lack.
All three handsets in the range are candybar mobiles and they share the same dimensions and weight. They are a slim and tidy 98mm tall, 44mm wide, and 12.3mm thick, and tip the scales at 69g. I had no trouble at all pocketing the OT-S210 at any time during testing.
Now, clearly, as a budget priced phone some things have to suffer in the specifications department. There is no camera, for example, so budding photographers need to look somewhere else for their new mobile phone. Without a camera there is no outgoing MMS support and none incoming either. Nor will you find things like mobile email or Web browsing here. And you can't use the OT-S210 as a music player.
What is on offer is a pretty ordinary and basic mobile phone, designed for making voice calls, texting and not a lot else. The handset is dual band, and it has memory for 250 contacts but nothing much more to speak of. There is no memory slot for adding your own storage.
Perhaps even more interestingly, there is no headset slot so you can't use a handsfree headset, though you can go hands-free via the phone's own loudspeaker.
In fact, the overall design of this mobile phone leaves it with no side buttons or slots at all except for the single mini USB port on the left edge that you use to charge the battery.
All this is fine as long as everything that is provided on the phone works. And the good news is that it does work quite well.