Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 – Battery Life
Packed into the Idol 3 is a 2,910mAh non-removable battery. If you compare that to the units inside similarly sized phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G4, that’s roughly the same battery capacity as its more expensive competitors.
This battery will see you through a day and a half; maybe more if it’s sitting idle for long periods. In intensive use, however, it’s more likely to be a day. There’s a pretty basic power-saving mode on board, which can buy you some more time to make calls, but it’s nowhere near as effective as Samsung or Sony’s power-saving solutions.
Running an episode of House of Cards from Netflix for an hour saw the battery drop from 100% to just under 90% – nothing out of the ordinary. When we tested it with 30 minutes of gaming, it was a similar story. The battery drop-off is by no means severe, but bear in mind that factors such as screen brightness and running multiple apps will affect stamina.
Powering the Idol 3 back up to 100% can take a good couple of hours from a mains charger; there’s no quick-charging tech on board. A quick 30-minute charge will take you up to around the 25% mark.
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 – Call Quality & Speaker Performance
When it comes to judging sound, there’s both good and bad news. The good news is that 1.2W-powered front-facing speakers sound fantastic and comfortably outperform those on the Apple, Samsung and LG flagship phones. They’re powerful and loud, with the kind of warmth we’d associate with HTC’s phones.
The speakers display great stability and clarity at higher volumes too. Alcatel has worked with JBL to use its Clari-Fi technology to recover quality from compressed audio files. If we’re honest, it isn’t something that you’re likely to notice, but it’s certainly nice to have anything that can help music sound a little better from your headphones.
Call quality is disappointing, however. Despite the dual-microphone array phone calls generally lacked volume, making it quite difficult to conduct take or make calls in loud environments. There’s a distinct lack of clarity and muffling too.
Should I buy the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3?
If it wasn’t for the issues we experienced when the phone is put under much greater strain, the 5.5in Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 would have scored higher. For the price, it manages to nail everything you’d want from an Android phone at this price.
The Idol 3 is proof that plastic phones can look attractive. Coupled with a good-quality Full HD screen and a decent – albeit far from perfect – camera, it looks good value for £260. There aren’t many captivating SIM-free options out there for that price. You could spend less for the One Plus One, although with the release of the One Plus Two imminent, you might want to hold out. The latest LG flagship, the LG G3, has a solid plastic design, a fantastic camera and a sharp 2K screen, but with the compromise of not-so-fantastic battery life.
Alcatel is on the right track with the Idol 3, especially with the larger 5.5in model. If it could cram in a beefier processor without budging too much on the price, we’d definitely be more interested in parting with our cash.
SEE ALSO: 13 Best Smartphones & Mobile Phones 2015
The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is the company’s best flagship effort so far. However, it’s let down by some performance issues that would otherwise make this a solid £300 contender.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Score in detail
Battery Life 8
Calls & Sound 7
Screen Quality 8