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It has been a while since I last looked at a handset from Alcatel. Its forte is at the entry to mid-range end of the market where it produces some good value, functional and neatly designed mobiles.
The OT-S319 falls into the entry category coming in at under £15 on Pay As You Go from the Carphone Warehouse. It is nicely designed, but I am not sure Alcatel has made all the right decisions with regard to features.
A low cost handset like this is easy to shoot down in terms of what it does not do. I avoid that when reviewing low cost handsets preferring instead to concentrate on value for money at whatever price point they target. However, it is very difficult not to berate Alcatel for not including Bluetooth in the OT-S319. Bluetooth seems to me as essential as a screen or a keyboard. Every mobile phone should have it, and I can't really forgive Alcatel for ignoring it.
Having got that major absence out of the way, let's turn to design. This is a flip phone and it is teeny in the hand and pocket. The curved corners give it a contemporary look. It weighs 90g and measures a mere 90.5mm x 44.5mm x 18mm when closed. With the flip up, it becomes a shade over 120mm tall. The flip action is comfortable and the phone small enough that both opening and closing can be handled easily one-handed even by my small mitts.
Much of the outer shell has a black rubberised finish, but there is a band of shiny crimson that flows from front to back. On the front, this band houses three shortcut buttons. They look as though you should be able to use them when the OT-S319 is closed but in fact, they only work when the phone is opened up, although the middle button flashes to alert you to incoming calls and text messages.
When the phone is opened, this middle button opens an 'events' screen, which lists things like incoming text messages and missed calls. The leftmost button gives you a quick profile switch into 'noises off, vibration on' mode, and back out again. The third button takes you to the 'directory' - effectively the address book. You can organise contacts into groups - personal and professional - and have a favourites list. The phone has room for 800 directory entries, and you can of course use your SIM for storage too.
Flip open the OT-S319 and you'll find that the crimson continues as a frame to the numberpad area while the screen surround is black. The CSTN screen is tiny at just 1.8in across, offering a meagre 128 x 160 pixels. You can see the individual pixels easily.
The numberpad is fairly well made. A seriously high lip beneath the 0 row makes it a little tricky to use this row's keys at speed, but the keys are relatively large and well formed. The navigation pad is also a reasonable size and there are shortcuts on its left, right, up and down points, including to message creation and settings.