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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 Review - Camera Review

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 – Camera

The ability to take better pictures has been a prime concern for Alcatel with its new flagship, so it’s made improvements to the hardware and the software to ensure it’s an all-round performer. The rear camera benefits from a 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 sensor with an LED flash and a 2.0 aperture lens to aid low-light shooting. Up-front is a sizeable 8-megapixel camera, which is pretty impressive – on paper, at least.

The first issue is that neither cameras are set up to shoot at maximum resolution; you’ll need to venture into the settings to address that. This means shooting in a 4:3 ratio, which is more fiddly than shooting in 16:9 at 10 megapixels. We’d also argue that the lower resolution is actually more reliable and consistent in terms of image quality.

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The camera app is clearly inspired by Android’s stock app, with an emphasis on simplicity. A settings dropdown menu features time-lapse, panorama and HDR modes. There’s also a manual mode that lets you tweak settings such as exposure and shutter control. A new fast Face Focus mode aims to snap to focus on faces in only 0.26 seconds.

Image quality in automatic shooting mode is solid, without being groundbreaking. In good light, the autofocus performs well and there’s good detail and colour accuracy. Up close, however, it’s a little more difficult to maintain the same detail and poise as you can from a distance. Overall, images lacked punchiness, but we were generally pleased with the results.

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13-megapixel image sample produces sharp, nicely coloured images

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Another example of the 10-megapixel image quality in good light

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10-megapixel image sample shows the struggle to deliver exceptionally sharp images up close

Low-light shooting is surprisingly decent, even without optical image stabilisation. The shutter is understandably slower into action, but you can still get some decent shots. Alcatel employs electronic image stabilisation here to keep things steady instead. The LED flash can be more of a hindrance than a help for indoor photography.

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With some light indoors at night, the camera can produce some rewarding images

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This night-time shot illustrates how optical image stabilisation is a real miss here

Moving to the front-facing camera, more megapixels doesn’t necessarily equal better selfies. You’ll still need good lighting to reduce the chances of noisy, lacklustre images, but it performs better than most front-facing cameras we’ve played with in this price range.

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Despite the 8-megapixel sensor, you won’t get fantastic selfies

Video can be shot at a maximum of 1080p HD, and doesn’t excel beyond what we’ve seen with similar setups. There’s very little in the way of added features to improve video, and while footage is reasonably sharp, it isn’t as vibrant as we’d hoped for. Sound recording isn’t of the best quality either. On the whole, we expected more from the Idol 3 in this department.

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