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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 review

Michael Sawh



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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
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Our Score:



  • Attractive plastic design
  • Some unique Android tweaks
  • Impressive sounding speakers
  • Sharp Full HD screen


  • Laggy when multitasking
  • 13-megapixel shooting not as reliable as 10-megapixel shooting

Key Features

  • 5.5-inch Full HD 1080 IPS LCD screen
  • Snapdragon 615 quad-core CPU with Adreno 405 GPU
  • 13-megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • JBL-powered front-facing speakers
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 32GB storage with 2GB RAM
  • Manufacturer: Alcatel
  • Review Price: £260.00

What is the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3?

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is the company's flagship Android phone. It's unlikely to be spoken of in the same sentence as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the HTC One M9 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Alcatel doesn't have the marketing pull to compete with the Apples and Samsungs of this world. Secondly, it's significantly cheaper than those top-end phones.

Alcatel has taken the unusual step to offer the Idol 3 in two sizes. We've lived with both the 4.7in (£150) and the 5.5in model (£260), but it's the bigger of the two that we'll focus on in this review. While both models share the same design philosophy, spending a little more will buy you better specs.

So can the Idol 3 compete with the very best? Well it certainly makes a great attempt, and here follow the reasons you should consider this reasonably priced Android handset.

SEE ALSO: 12 Best Android Phones in 2015

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 – Design

While there's no sign of the high-grade glass or aluminium finishes you get with top-end smartphones, Alcatel has certainly done a great job at this price point of making a predominantly plastic phone look elegant.

The combination of the silver plastic edging, two-toned trim and the matte-grey back with a slightly brushed finish all contribute to making the Idol 3 eye-catching. The curved corners add a touch of sleekness to an already slim frame and the plastic feels nice to the touch. Samsung take note: this is how you make a good-looking plastic phone.

Up-front, the screen bezel is slim down the sides, while above and below the screen sit the front-facing JBL speakers. Ports and connections are well spread around the trim, with the micro 3G/4G SIM placed just below the standby button. Puling out the SIM card tray also reveals support for a micro SD card, enabling you to expand storage beyond the 16GB or 32GB depending on the model you go for. Sadly, the rear of the phone – which houses the camera and LED flash – isn't removable, so there's no getting to the 2,910mAh battery.

The Idol 3 benefits from dual microphones, as is standard on most phones nowadays, but Alcatel has gone one better here. By combining a switching screen orientation feature, you can now make or take calls no matter which way up you're holding the phone – and get the same call quality. We'll get to that in more detail later.

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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 – Screen

There's a trend for some phone manufacturers to offer higher-resolution 2K screens, but most will be satisfied with what Full HD 1080p has to offer at this size. For starters, it will have less impact on the battery life.

One of the biggest advantages of opting for the 5.5in Idol 3 over the 4.7in handset is that you get a Full HD screen – and it's a great one too.

It's a fully laminated IPS LCD screen, packing in a 400ppi pixel density and a maximum brightness of more than 600 nits. That translates to a sharp, exceptionally bright screen with strong viewing angles. Alacatel has partnered with Technicolor to introduce what it's calling "Color Enhance technology". This essentially takes advantage of the Idol 3's adaptive screen to improve contrast and colour rendering for more vivid colours.

While we wouldn't say it's as punchy or as impressionable as Samsung's AMOLED screens, this is still a fantastic display for the price.

Dave Burton

August 24, 2015, 5:16 am

Non-replaceable battery = non-starter. I don't want to replace my phone in two years just because the battery is getting weak.

Too bad, because it sounds very nice, other than that fatal flaw.


August 29, 2015, 1:38 pm

Now I know it's not ideal but you know you can still change the battery right? It's just harder. 30 minutes after 2 years isnt that big of a deal in my opinion

reem yas

October 15, 2015, 5:28 pm

i have a wierd problem !! the screen is changed that way !!! what is going on :’-(
i used it for a week !!! its new

Jose Viana

November 9, 2015, 11:58 am

Alcatel idol3 does not permit to switch Wi-Fi ON in airplane mode, therefore you will not be able to access to any entertainment in flights which offer it like movies, magazines,etc. This functionality is also useful when you want to use wi-fi without being disturbed with incomming calls.


December 9, 2015, 3:57 pm

wow!! lol, you do not need wifi for entertainment, and wifi is dangerous in flight!!


December 9, 2015, 3:59 pm

was it always like that? coul dbe the orientation sensor is loose or fitted wrong, or more lilke a virus?

Mamoon Bakeer

February 11, 2016, 10:29 am

Any details like being dropped, dipped in water, humidity, inappropriate charger used or left in direct sunlight / exposed to heat for prolonged period of time ?!

Dennis Eshelman

March 14, 2016, 11:47 pm

Very disappointed with this phone. Although the screen is pretty and the sound (other than as a telephone) is good, ever since the latest Android update it will not save a local copy of any text message sent by voice, either via "ok google" or any other method. Also, it does not work well with a Bluetooth ear set, cutting out a lot. I guess it goes in the trash and I will go back to my other phone. This one was a waste of money.


April 7, 2016, 4:04 pm

You can send it to Alcatel to get the battery replaced. It's the same deal with Idol 4 as well. Isn't this the same deal with Samsung Galaxy latest edition and iPhone?

Steve B

May 7, 2016, 12:42 pm

If 16:9 is only 10MP then it is probably just a crop of the 4:3 image and shouldn't make any difference to the image quality, unless the edges of the lens are weak areas and cropping these out improves the 'impression' of the image.

Leein A Cowles

December 11, 2016, 9:52 pm

I hate this phone. I hate everything about it, but not going to down vote it, just for
features I don't care for, only for functionality.

First, as a phone: The touch screen makes you feel as graceful as the fattest man in the world on ice skates. Sometimes you'll end up clicking on stuff you didn't hit, sometimes requiring as many as seven sweeps to unlock (sometimes it works the first time), sometimes it'll take four or five times hitting the "take call" button before it actually takes it. I end up missing the majority of calls.

The vibrate feature is a joke. I've had this thing for more than a month, getting at least several texts per day (and at least a couple calls) and have only felt the vibrate feature twice. Once I sent a text, set the phone down, right in from of me and waited for a reply. After too long I checked it, only to find I had gotten the reply five minutes ago, while it was sitting right in front of me.

How good can a phone be that fails at fulfilling be basic functions of a phone; to make and receive calls?

As a gaming device: The controls of my old gameboy worked much better than this thing. Get ready to make three to four attempts per command that it actually takes. Fail level after level of Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, as you take way to much time doing anything and then are forced into actions you didn't take.

After doing some research, I found out that like many with jobs such as jeweler,
carpenter, musician, mechanic, I can't work these things, despite being frequently
criticized for being clumsy, a tech tard, or just needing more time to get used to it. If
you have baby soft hands this might be a good phone, I don't know, but if you work hard with your hands, like me, this phone will not work for you. To make things more annoying, this is a problem that's been know for many years, phone makers just don't really care. And I'm stuck with it for at least six months. They had suggested that I use special gloves or get a different job, but should I really need to do that to answer the phone?

Conclusion: this hunk of crap fails to function as a phone, 1.5/10

Jose Viana

December 15, 2016, 1:28 pm

ah yeah?
So why German Lufthansa has it?


January 23, 2017, 3:52 am

well we were told it was dangerous but I agree there is no real logic to that.


March 21, 2017, 11:56 pm

Junk! Battery discharges 1% every 1-2 minutes with display on. Also Cricket wireless does not allow online returns. The helpline is worse than useless. They tell you they're switching you to the party you need then switch back to main menu. I can almost hear "Carlos" laughing at me. Junk phone. Joke support.

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