The last Alcatel mobile phone that I owned was the One Touch 311, which was launched quite a few years back. Not only was it a great phone, but I would definitely mark it down as one of the top 10 mobile phones that I have had the pleasure of owning over the years. Fast forward to 2014, and Alcatel has once again caught my attention… this time with the One Touch Idol Alpha.
The Idol Alpha is truly an elegant device. The phone features a sleek and sexy design that is supported by an aluminium mainframe and sides. While the Idol Alpha looks delicate and fragile at first, it is actually a rather solid device. Adding to the phone’s visual appeal are the unique translucent plastic strips that are located on the top and bottom of the device. The plastic strip on the top of the device illuminates in order to notify you that you have received messages or missed any calls. In addition to this, both the top and bottom lights illuminate when you receive an incoming call. While accessing the menu the bottom light illuminates in order to highlight the phone’s touchpad. This is a rather impressive addition to a mobile device as it really adds to the overall design and visual appeal of the device.
While the Idol Alpha features a beautiful and elegant design, I couldn’t help but notice that the back cover is made from plastic. Granted, the plastic back cover does make the device lighter; however, having a solid metal back cover would have made the Idol Alpha feel a lot more durable than it already does.
The Idol Alpha is one of the thinnest devices I have come across in while. It is 7.5mm thick and weighs in at 177.4 grams. While it is probably one of the thinnest phones on the market it is most definitely not the smallest. Overall the Idol Alpha is 138 x 66.6 x 7.5mm, which means that it will fit in just about any pocket with ease. For the ladies, the Idol Alpha is one phone that won’t be a chore to find in your handbag. Overall, the Idol Alpha is a sexy, sleek and sophisticated looking device that is solid and reliable in design.
The Idol Alpha features a 4.7-inch IPS (In-Plane Switching) LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. The HD display is a rather impressive addition to the mobile device especially when it comes to viewing photos, videos and even full length feature films. Adding to the display quality, the Idol Alpha has the ability to display 16-million colours, which makes viewing images and video an absolute pleasure. To add to this, if you are a mobile gamer you will be pleased with the quality and size of the screen.
Apps and OS
The Idol Alpha comes with a standard array of Google applications, including: Chrome, Drive and Gmail. In addition to these apps, Alcatel has added in quite a few extras, which include: a FM Radio, compass, weather app, flashlight and a custom browser. Alcatel has also included a variety of One Touch apps as well a screen sharing app just to add to the mix.
Each Idol Alpha mobile device features the Android 4.2 Jellybean operating system. While I was keen to see a much newer version of the Android operating system on the device, I was pleased that Jellybean performed to its optimal capacity on the device.
One thing I like about the Idol Alpha is the fact that you can swop out the on-screen keyboard for Swiftkey. While Swiftkey takes some time to get used to, it is still unique and easy-to-use once you have become accustomed to it.
Memory and Processor
The Idol Alpha ships with 16GB (13.3GB usable) built-in storage space. Unfortunately the storage space is not expandable and it there is no option to add an additional microSD card to the device.
When it comes to processor, the Idol Alpha features a quad-core chip running at up to 1.2GHz. On the gaming side, the mobile device features a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processing chip running at up to 286MHz with the added addition of 1GB RAM running at 533MHz. Most games and hardware intensive apps run smoothly; however, this may change in the future as mobile gaming pushes towards the quality seen in console titles. Overall, the Idol Alpha runs smoothly, even with multiple applications open at the same time.
The Idol Alpha features a 13.1 megapixel rear facing camera and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. The rear facing camera is equipped with a single LED flash as well as auto-focus functionality. The camera can also capture HDR images; however, processing time can be rather sluggish at times. The front facing camera is perfect for posing for selfies as well as making great quality Skype and video calls.
As a photographer, the one thing I personally liked about the Idol Alpha is the fact that you can manually set the camera’s ISO settings. Just be warned that setting the ISO too high will affect your image quality. Switching over to video, you can record 1080p footage at around 30FPS (Frames Per Second). The recording quality is really smooth and detailed, with the added bonus of great sound quality from the microphone.
For a device its size, the Idol Alpha has a pretty decent battery life. While some mobile devices tend to last for around for 8 hours or less, the Idol Alpha battery depletes after between 10-14 hours usage. Granted, if you are constantly on the device for most of the day, you will probably have to charge it at least twice a day.
From my personal experience with the device, I took it off charge at around 6am and at around 10pm I still had 34% of battery power remaining. As stated, your battery depletes faster the more you use the device; however, I watched multiple videos, listened to music, made and received calls, browsed the internet, played a bit of Dungeon Hunter 4 and the device still had a fairly decent amount of battery life left.
The Idol Alpha is definitely a phone with top notch call quality. While making multiple calls, throughout the review period, I noticed no drop in quality from either making a call from the device or receiving one on another device.
The Idol Alpha is a great phone. It is packed with some great features and apps that will keep you on the go, up-to-date and informed. Furthermore, the Idol Alpha has an extremely sleek and sexy design that will capture the attention of anyone in the room. One of the key features of the phone that really makes it unique is the translucent illuminating plastic strip on both the bottom and the top of the phone, which notifies you of any missed calls, notifications and messages. Overall, Alcatel has done an absolutely fantastic job when it comes to the Idol Alpha mobile device.
Review and Photography by: Darryl Linington