Alcatel One Touch 6030D Idol

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With its superb screen quality and its excellent camera and imaging software, the One Touch 6030D Idol smartphone can compete with the very best in its class – except for two very unfortunate flaws

Chinese manufacturer TCT Mobile, which makes the Alcatel One Touch phones, has never really elevated the brand beyond the perception that Alcatel One

Touch is a low-end product providing cheap and basic prepay handsets to the market.

And while its prospects in this space are unlikely to change completely, efforts have been made to give the firm a greater presence in the market, such as the £300 One Touch 6030D Idol smartphone. Indeed, if ‘Sony’ or ‘Samsung’ was written on the front, we reckon the One Touch Idol would be a top seller.

Alcatel One Touch even took the uncharacteristic approach (for them) of partnering with Disney to place the phone in Iron Man 3 – albeit a 20-second cameo ending with the One Touch Idol 6030D being smashed against a wall. Did it really deserve such an ignoble ending?

Slate arrival
To look at, the One Touch 6030D Idol resembles any other slate phone on the market, adhering to the now almost classic smartphone look.

The phone has a large 4.7-inch screen, just 0.1 inches smaller than the Galaxy S III. It weighs just 110g, which according to Alcatel One Touch makes it the lightest smartphone. It is also one of the slimmest at just 7.9mm, that’s thinner than a pencil. The 1,800mAh battery is built in, which also helps keep bulk and weight down.

Despite a low-end price, the ‘Touch Idol’ seems higher quality than the average budget phone, in fact it’s closer in quality to phones costing three times as much.

There is no Gorilla Glass, instead the phone has the less common Dragontrail glass. This is claimed to be six times stronger than conventional screens in its ability to withstand scratches. It is also coated to reduce fingerprint smears.

Indeed, carrying it around in a pocket full of change and keys left the screen unmarked. The device looks sleek, with nice attributes such as its silver bezel and blue finish. Alcatel offers a range of options including pink, red and light green colours.

The Touch Idol can support dual SIMs, a feature becoming common among low-end devices. Inserting the SIM takes much fiddling for it to actually click in and be recognised. Incidentally, there is no slot for additional memory cards.

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the phone, next to the power button, and there’s a volume bar down the side. The USB charging port is along the bottom.

Screen idol
Another area often sacrificed in low-end models is a decent screen. The Idol screen quality is up there with the finest efforts of Samsung, Sony and Apple.

Android Jelly Bean (currently Google’s most up-to-date software) runs proceedings. There is an impressive panoramic image of New York City, which widens as you slide through the five home menu screens.

The typical Android and Google shortcuts and widgets are all present and correct (Maps, email, Play store and camera). Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are also pre-loaded for your social networking delight.

On first start-up the Idol does not run an initial set-up tutorial. Instead, it will offer tips and hints when selecting apps for the first time, such as advice on using the camera controls or sending an email.

Under the hood sits a dual-core 1.2GHz processor. This speeds through menus with virtually no lag – even when downloading apps from the Google Play store.

The auto rotation worked well too, responding almost instantly to the changing movements. It does not end up getting confused like some smartphones (we’re talking to you BlackBerry Z10).

Accessing the web is fast and easy. In fact the rendering of pages is better than on some more expensive smartphones we’ve tried.

Streaming videos over Wi-Fi was the same experience as using a PC, backed up by excellent sound quality.

Under control
As with most Android devices, there are three touch controls along the bottom of the screen. The back and main menu buttons remain. Instead of the standard search option, you can now view all applications currently open. However, the controls only light up when pressed and are otherwise invisible.

The standard touchscreen buttons range along the bottom of each of the home screens (calling, contacts main menu, text and web search).

The large screen makes the One Touch 6030D Idol easier to navigate than many other Android devices. A big (virtual) keyboard cuts down on typing errors and reduces the reliance on autocorrect.

Full article in Mobile News issue 543 (July 15, 2013).

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