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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 review

Michael Sawh

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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
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Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

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.

Ragnarokdel

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.

notfookingtaken

December 9, 2015, 3:57 pm

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

notfookingtaken

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.

KP

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.

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