The Alcatel OT-282 is aimed primarily at people who can't or don't want to use most of today's more complicate smartphones. It's essentially targeted at the same type of people who buy Doro's handsets – seniors and those with some dexterity or sight problems. However, the _phone_ is much cheaper than most of Doro's models and has a couple of interesting features, including the ability to call out numbers when you tap them on the keypad.
Alcatel One Touch OT-282 - Design
The OT-0282 costs just £24 from Carphone Warehouse on Pay As You Go (when you top up for £10). The handset is also rebranded and sold as the 155 by Vodafone and costs £25 when bought online directly from the network.
The handset has a very traditional candy bar design with a small 1.8inch screen at the top and the keypad below. The _phone_ feels very light and a little bit plasticky to the touch. Also, although the rear has a slightly rubberised finish, it still feels a little bit slippery in the hand, which isn’t ideal given the target market. We do like the fact it comes with a desktop charging cradle, though.
Beneath the small screen there are three buttons for navigating the menus and these are flanked by the two call keys. The main keypad then sits beneath. However, the buttons are much, much larger than on older Nokia-style candybar phones, which makes them much easier to press when you're dialling numbers, entering contact names in the phone book, or tapping out SMS messages.
Alcatel One Touch OT-282 - Features
Alcatel hasn’t bothered adding a camera to the phone – something that's perhaps not surprising at this price point. However, there is an LED light perched right at the top of the OT-282 which can be used as a torch. This is activated by a straight forward slider on/off switch on the right hand side of the handset. The light only uses a single LED, so it's not all that bright, but it could be useful for helping you get your key in the lock when you come home in the dark.
Beneath the switch for the torch there's a second slider switch that's used to lock and unlock the keypad. This is a much simpler solution than the locking mechanism on most phones, where you have to press and hold a key to perform the same function.
Flick the phone over to its left-hand side and you'll find a dedicated button for turning on and off the FM radio, as well as a volume rocker switch. Above this sits a standard headphone jack. Annoyingly, however, Alcatel doesn’t include a headset with the phone.
On the rear of the OT-282, where you'd usually find a camera lens, there's a button instead. This is the SOS key. You can set this up so when it's held down for two seconds it sends an emergency text and then repeatedly dials four different numbers until someone picks up or the SOS feature is turned off again by the user. It's a handy safety feature to have, especially for those who live on their own.
Alcatel One Touch OT-282 - Screen
Unfortunately the display on the Alcatel One Touch OT-282 isn't very good. It's very small, measuring just 1.8inches across the diagonal and it's low resolution too, so text and icons tend to look a bit blocky. The biggest problem, though, is that it's got poor viewing angles, and as a result it can be a bit hard to read unless you're looking at it straight on. If you move to one side, or tilt the phone up or down, then colours tend to get washed out or the screen starts to look overly dark, making it difficult to read what's on the display. Certainly, next to the displays on Doro's 612 and 715 handsets, the one used here is very poor.
Alcatel One Touch OT-282 - interface
And for a phone that's meant to be as easy as possible to use, the menu system isn't wonderful. It feels quite sluggish when you're moving between the different screens and the menu layout isn’t as straight forward as it could be. For example, the main menu shows large icons on the left for stuff like settings and contacts, while on the right there are smaller icons to show you where in the list of menu items you currently are. However, the menu just keeps rotating like a carousel as you move through it, rather than having a start and a finish. Also, when you open a menu entry, often you're just greeted by two or three static text options that aren’t always as well explained as they could be.
When it comes to text messages the phone is actually pretty OK to use. By default it's set to multi tap text entry where you hit keys repeatedly to cycle through letters, however, you can turn on predictive text via the options menu, which speeds up things a lot.
We also like the way that the phone will speak the numbers on the keypad as you press them when you're dialling a telephone number. The built-in radio is handy too, especially as unlike a lot of phones it works even if you don’t have a wired headset connected to the handset. Elsewhere, there are very few extras. There is a voice reminder where you can record a message into the phone and have it sound an alarm and then play your message to you at a set time. You get a calendar function too, as well as a calculator and standard alarm clock, but that's pretty much your lot.
The earpiece is reasonably loud, but not any more so than most normal mobiles, but call quality was on the whole pretty good and we didn’t experience an unusual number of dropped calls with the phone. Also battery life was generally very good. Alcatel quotes a talk time of up to 10 hours and that seemed about right from our time with the phone.
We like the OT-282's large keys and the way it speaks numbers as you enter them on the keypad. However, the menu system is a tad confusing and the screen is also very poor. If you're looking to buy an easy to use handset for an older relative then one of Doro's phones would be a better option. They may be more expensive, but they're a good deal easier to use than the OT-282.