Alcatel Onetouch Idol 2S – could this mid-ranger compete with the top dogs?

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If you’re on the lookout for a mid-range smartphone that looks pretty stylish and is small enough to not feel bulky in your back pocket, then the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 2S seems to be worth a look – at least if the predominantly good reviews about it are anything to go by.

A high-end look at a fraction of the price

With its brushed metal finish, rounded edges and slim frame, it’s obvious – as the Mobiles.co.uk Idol 2 S review is quick to highlight – a large emphasis has been placed on this phone’s design, demonstrating that “you can buy a high-end look at a fraction of the price.”

Furthermore, unsightly greasy fingerprints won’t hamper this phone’s appearance, as we are told – by Mobiles – that the black crystal glass has an Oleophobic coating (whatever that is) which repels the oil produced by pawing fingers.

And that’s not all, equally as unsightly scratches are unlikely to vex this phone’s owners, thanks to its “impressively durable” scratch-resistant Dragontrail Glass, a novel alternatively to the most widely heard of Corning Gorilla Glass.

So its ‘high-end’ well-polished design is pretty impressive, what about the Idol 2S’s operational spec?

It won’t ‘set the world on fire’

In its pretty positive review of the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 2S, Android Central admit that this new mid-ranger “won’t set the world on fire” but it’s “not without its charms.” Android Central marks the phone’s bright screen and overall size and form, as several of its plus points.

The review describes the phone’s software experience as not being all that bad and asides a handful of brightly-coloured icons, there’s not that much going on – A positive trait for Android Central who describe this relative emptiness as “inoffensive”. And, of course, being an Android phone you can “soon customise anything you don’t like.”

Smartphones.findthebest talks about the Idol 2S’s camera – an 8 megapixel rear camera, which according to the review, will produce high quality photos.

And now that how easily a camera can take selfies has become a defining quality of smartphone cameras, the Idol S2’s 1.2 megapixel front camera has been dubbed as being “an average choice for selfies.”

The screen’s resolution of 1,280 pixels by 720 pixels, means it is a 720 HD screen. As display sharpness can be measured in pixel density per square inch of the screen, at 294 PPI, according to Smartphone.findthebest, it’s about average for a phone released in 2014.

And the downsides?

What is however below average, is the Idol 2S’s battery life of 10 hours, which is some six hours less than the 2014 average of 16 hours.

Another downside is, as Digital Versus writes, its slow touch response time of 130 milliseconds, which, incidentally, still falls within the average category.

Of course the Idol S2’s main selling point is its 4G compatibility.

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All in all this stylish 4G phone with a five inch display which you can watch videos on in high definition and that is cunningly disguised as a higher end model but retails for a mere £185, has got to be worth a try.

Alcatel OneTouch PIXI 7 – how good can a £70 tablet be?

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In recent weeks we’ve seen major players including Tesco and Vodafone stepping up their efforts in the budget tablet market – anybody would think it was getting close to some major seasonal gift buying event.

Now French manufacturer Alcatel is getting in on the act, bringing its OneTouch PIXI 7 tablet – first unveiled at Mobile World Congress back in February – to the UK. It’s a Wi-Fi only device with a budget price of £69.99, which places it above the sort of obscure far eastern brands you can pick up online for under 40 quid, but below better known names. It’s £10 less than the original Tesco Hudl for example.

The question is, at this price point what sort of compromises does it involve? At 9.9mm thick and weighing only 285 grammes it’s suitably pixie like. Inside is a 1.2 GHz triple-core CPU running Android KitKat, 512MB of memory and 4GB of internal storage that can be upped to 32GB with a microSD card.

Unusual for a cheap tablet is an infra-red port which lets you use it as a universal remote for your TV. You can stream content with Miracast too. Where the cost cutting really shows though is in the 960×540 screen resolution and in front and rear cameras both with a meagre 0.3 pixel resolution.

As Trusted Reviews says, “The specs are assuredly underwhelming, but that’s no surprise considering the price point.”

Cnet points out that the PIXI’s design is reflected in the price,

“To look at, there’s no question that it’s a budget device. Its rounded plastic back is very plain, with none of the elegance you’d see on more expensive devices. Still, if you’re expecting bleeding-edge design for 70 quid, more fool you. It’s all plastic and comes in ‘bluish black’ — oddly unspecific, but at least Alcatel didn’t make up some awful name like ‘Midnight Emperor’ or ‘Ocean Shadow’.”

The presence of two cameras impresses Phone Arena, though their spec didn’t.

“Usually, affordable Android tablets omit cameras, so it’s to our amazement that this one is outfitted with not one, but TWO cameras. Don’t hold your breath, though, seeing that they’re measly sized 0.3-megapixel ones – front and back! They’re not there to snap the most detailed shots, but instead, they’re simply tacked on to give us that option of snapping something if nothing else better is present.”

The Gadget Show likes the fact that it runs a relatively recent version of Android,

“Although there’s no sign of the latest and greatest Android 5.0 Lollipop onboard, the fact it runs KitKat is respectable enough (we’ve seen plenty of budget slates and phones running Android that are a couple of iterations out of date)…”

Overall there’s no doubt that the PIXI 7 is a budget device with a slightly silly name. But if you just want to update your social media while you watch TV on something with a bigger screen than your phone, it’ll do the job without stretching your finances. The PIXI is available now from Three stores.