Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review

Introduction


Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Even though we’re quite familiar with Alcatel’s line of mobile phones, most consumers are still widely in the dark regarding the actual existence of the company – more so when they’ve yet to deliver a compelling _phone_ worthy enough to compete with the big names in the industry. Everyone is vying for that piece of the pie, and Alcatel wants to ensure that it’ll have some sort of presence amidst the fierce competition. During Mobile World Congress 2015, which was held just a little close to a couple months ago, we were pleasantly delighted by what the pre-production model of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 had to offer; the company’s first global flagship phone. Now that it’s in final form, we’re itching to find out what this $250 outright-priced smartphone can bring to the table.

The package contains:
  • Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Stereo headphones
  • SIM removal tool

Design

Seriously, this is quality stuff from a budget phone. It’s simple, lightweight, and incredibly thin!

While it’s not flaunting the premium aesthetics we find in some high-end smartphones, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 surely has several appealing qualities for something budget-oriented. For one, it’s incredibly skinny and lightweight for something packing a 5.5-inch sized screen. Secondly, the dark gray colored matte plastic rear casing bears a hair line brushed effect to mimic the look of something metal – while the chrome accents outlining the _phone_ complement its charming looks. All told, it’s a simple design that works.

In looking around the sides of the handset, it features your typical set of ports and buttons – such as a microUSB port, microphone, microSIM slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, noise-cancelling mic, volume controls, and power button. With the latter, it’s positioned towards the upper left corner of the phone, which makes for an awkward placement for something so wide and tall. A special treat, since it’s an ideal implementation, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is graced with dual front-facing JBL speakers.

 

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Front view | Side view
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm
4.96 oz (141 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Asus ZenFone 2
Asus ZenFone 2
6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches
152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)

Asus ZenFone 2


Display

Hands down, this is one of the most astounding displays in a budget-priced phone we’ve come across; plenty of solid qualities.

Out of everything, the most surprising part about the phone is its display – a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 Technicolor Color Enhance Display. Essentially, it’s an IPS-based panel with OGS (One Glass System) full lamination. No doubt, it’s sharp and highly detailed, but we’re equally impressed by its superb brightness and reasonable color reproduction.

Case in point, the display has a color temperature of 7280K, which makes things a look a bit colder than they are, but while there's certainly some room for improvement as far as color accuracy goes, the 665 nit brightness it achieves means that it remains easily visible even in outdoor, sunny conditions. Seriously, if this is the kind of results we can expect from a budget-conscious phone, everyone else better be up to snuff because this is commendable on so many levels

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 665
(Excellent)
29
(Poor)
1:960
(Average)
7280
(Good)
2.14
5.34
(Average)
5.68
(Average)
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
4.38
(Average)
3.82
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 79.2%
79.3%
72.3%
17.9%
12.6%
15%
38.4%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 84.7%
75%
86.9%
4.3%
13.8%
6.6%
15.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review

Introduction


Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Even though we’re quite familiar with Alcatel’s line of mobile phones, most consumers are still widely in the dark regarding the actual existence of the company – more so when they’ve yet to deliver a compelling phone worthy enough to compete with the big names in the industry. Everyone is vying for that piece of the pie, and Alcatel wants to ensure that it’ll have some sort of presence amidst the fierce competition. During Mobile World Congress 2015, which was held just a little close to a couple months ago, we were pleasantly delighted by what the pre-production model of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 had to offer; the company’s first global flagship phone. Now that it’s in final form, we’re itching to find out what this $250 outright-priced smartphone can bring to the table.

The package contains:
  • Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Stereo headphones
  • SIM removal tool

Design

Seriously, this is quality stuff from a budget phone. It’s simple, lightweight, and incredibly thin!

While it’s not flaunting the premium aesthetics we find in some high-end smartphones, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 surely has several appealing qualities for something budget-oriented. For one, it’s incredibly skinny and lightweight for something packing a 5.5-inch sized screen. Secondly, the dark gray colored matte plastic rear casing bears a hair line brushed effect to mimic the look of something metal – while the chrome accents outlining the phone complement its charming looks. All told, it’s a simple design that works.

In looking around the sides of the handset, it features your typical set of ports and buttons – such as a microUSB port, microphone, microSIM slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, noise-cancelling mic, volume controls, and power button. With the latter, it’s positioned towards the upper left corner of the phone, which makes for an awkward placement for something so wide and tall. A special treat, since it’s an ideal implementation, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is graced with dual front-facing JBL speakers.


Front view | Side view
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm
4.96 oz (141 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Asus ZenFone 2
Asus ZenFone 2
6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches
152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)

Asus ZenFone 2


Display

Hands down, this is one of the most astounding displays in a budget-priced phone we’ve come across; plenty of solid qualities.

Out of everything, the most surprising part about the phone is its display – a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 Technicolor Color Enhance Display. Essentially, it’s an IPS-based panel with OGS (One Glass System) full lamination. No doubt, it’s sharp and highly detailed, but we’re equally impressed by its superb brightness and reasonable color reproduction.

Case in point, the display has a color temperature of 7280K, which makes things a look a bit colder than they are, but while there's certainly some room for improvement as far as color accuracy goes, the 665 nit brightness it achieves means that it remains easily visible even in outdoor, sunny conditions. Seriously, if this is the kind of results we can expect from a budget-conscious phone, everyone else better be up to snuff because this is commendable on so many levels

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 665
(Excellent)
29
(Poor)
1:960
(Average)
7280
(Good)
2.14
5.34
(Average)
5.68
(Average)
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
4.38
(Average)
3.82
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 79.2%
79.3%
72.3%
17.9%
12.6%
15%
38.4%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 84.7%
75%
86.9%
4.3%
13.8%
6.6%
15.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

Interface and Functionality

Alcatel doesn’t mess around too much with the Android experience, as it boasts slight alterations to the UI – while focusing on simplicity than anything else.

Diving deep into the experience, Alcatel thankfully doesn’t have an overpowering custom Android 5.0.2 Lollipop UI, just because the minor alterations to it are mostly cosmetic. Purists will appreciate that it’s simple and straightforward for the most part, offering the essential Lollipop features we’ve come to like, but they’ve added a neat reversible feature that allows us to interact with the UI with the phone positioned upright or upside down – there’s even an accompanying swirl animation to go with it too. Overall, we can’t deny that the experience is simple and straight to the point, qualities that we surely appreciate, but power users might not feel too satisfied with its Spartan-like offering.


Processor and Memory

The phone hits a wall when it comes to its graphics processing performance.

Playing it safe and staying within that budget threshold, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is powered by a 64-bit based octa-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB DDR3 RAM and the Adreno 405 GPU. Even though it handles the basic stuff in the manner we’d expect, it’s simply underpowered for heavier operations – so don’t expect this to be a beast with 3D gaming.

Advertised as having 16GB of internal storage, that tally comes out to 11.04GB out of the box – a pretty generous offering, which can be supplemented thanks to its microSD slot.

Internet and Connectivity


Having such a generous sized display, especially with 1080p resolution, it’s the perfect thing for surfing the web – mainly because we can see the entirety of a site without having to zoom. Add to that, its LTE connection and smooth navigational controls help to solidify its strong performance in this category.

In standard fashion, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is packed with the usual set of connectivity features we’d find in almost every phone nowadays – so the listing include aGPS, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and even NFC. Our review unit, in fact, is able to surf on T-Mobile’s LTE network



Camera

Even with a sizable 13-megapixel camera, it performs in the way we expect – it’s good under sunlight; fails under low light.

Feeling the love, it’s outfitted with a sizable 13-megapixel auto-focus rear camera, and a higher-than-normal 8-megapixel front-facing snapper. Best of all, the lens is flush to the back, so there’s no raised section like what we see in many flagships recently. On the software side, the layout of the camera app is a simplified one that reserves things mostly for the viewfinder – though, it comes stacked with a reasonable arsenal of shooting modes. Even more impressive, however, is the fact that there’s a manual mode too with shutter speed control.

Neither being stellar or downright abysmal, the 13-megapixel snapper of the phone delivers decent looking photos in moderately lit conditions with its adequate details and saturated colors. However, it seems to struggle with dynamic range. Moving into lower lighting situations, things don’t get any better because we get smudgy details with noticeable levels of noise. Again, this is expected, but at least outdoor shots are usable to an extent.


While its still image quality is acceptable enough for most cases, its 1080p video quality is a disappointment due to its lack of detail and artificial sounding audio. However, we do appreciate its electronic image stabilization feature that helps to keep things steady when we have shaky hands



Multimedia

The display amazes, but the speakers sound thin and light.

How can we not love this phone when it comes to watching videos? In all fairness, it has the mesmerizing qualities to keep our attention for long periods of time – plus, the size and resolution of the screen is more than perfect.

Interestingly, Alcatel takes a different approach to the preloaded music player. Although it’s pretty generic looking from the onset, it puts us in the shoes of a DJ with its disco jockey like controls. When a song is playing, we can interact with the spinning disc to mix things up – or even have another track playing simultaneously for some crazy remixing. Add to that, there are even some novelty sounds that can be added at any time to further give it that DJ mix. However, we find the majority of them to be corny.

Pounding out audio through its dual front-firing JBL speakers, they deliver a potent 77.7 dB of power. Unfortunately, though, despite its strong output, the quality sounds a bit thin and light at the loudest setting

Call Quality

Its strong volume allows for audible phone calls in all sorts of conditions.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review
Generally speaking, its call quality is delightful enough to handle a wide array of situations – thanks in part to the strong volumes from its earpiece and speakerphone. On our end, though, voices are accompanied with a slight hiss, but it’s nothing that would otherwise spoil the overall experience. Oppositely, our callers have no issue on their end, as voices are crisp and distinct in tone.

Battery

Wow, it easily beats the Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in our battery benchmark test!

Impressively, the phone’s 2910 mAh battery cell churns out a result that’s considerably better than most others in its category with our battery benchmark test. Reaching a commendable 8 hours and 29 minutes, that’s better than the result from either the iPhone 6 Plus and Nexus 6. In our real world, day-to-day usage, it easily reaches a solid day with more than 25% of the charge leftover. For all of its acclaim, its battery reaches an ungodly long 206 minutes to recharge fully.

Conclusion


If this is what we can expect from a phone with an MSRP of $250, we’re going to have higher expectations from everyone else going forward. Quite simply, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is a testament to what can be achieved by a phone that’s on a budget. From what we’ve experienced in the past with Alcatel’s portfolio of smartphones, we weren’t coming into this with high hopes, but the outcome, surprisingly enough, awakens us to realize that the company can make GOOD phones – and this one certainly lives up to that claim. Considering that you’re only paying just a little over 35% of what you’d pay in getting an iPhone 6 Plus or Nexus 6 outright, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is has all the right ingredients and perfectly follows the recipe in what’s now going to be the new benchmark for entry-level phablets.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 5.0.2
Build Number: 7SMA-UEA1
Kernel Version: 3.10.49



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