Above the numbers sit two rows of three buttons. There is a pair of softmenu keys and Call and End keys, the latter doubling as the phone’s on/off button. The middle two buttons have several functions. They are shortcuts to Messages and Contacts, but also act as scroll keys and can be used to alter the volume during calls. This all works well enough.
The screen is tiny. Measured at a mere 1.3 inches corner to corner. It delivers just 96 x 76 pixels and is a CSTN type that manages 65,000 colours. Obviously these specifications have kept production costs down, but if you’ve seen almost any other mobile phone screen lately you are going to feel a bit let down by this one. At least you can personalise the display with built-in wallpapers and a choice of colour schemes.
Alcatel has used a huge font for the display, so that there is only room for four lines of text. Often you only get two lines of text that represent information you are entering, as the bottom line is reserved for softkey options, the top line for telling you the area of the phone you are in at the current time.
This means those who often have difficulty reading text on a mobile stand more chance of making sense of what the OT-E201 is trying to show them, but they won’t get to see a lot of information at once. Probably a good thing.
However, it means that composing an SMS when you can only see a couple of words at a time, for example, can be pesky. I do like the rolling display along the top line that tells you how many characters you have left for a text, though.
There is a long list of what isn’t in this phone. There is no email support, no web or WAP browser, no music payback, no document reader. You’ll probably be able to guess from that absences list that there is no camera either. And there is no support for memory expansion beyond what’s built in. There is a calculator though, four separately functioning alarms and a vibrating alert.