Alcatel OT-708 Touch in-depth review -

 

Look and feel

A small, pebble like device with a plastic chassis and 2.4-inch resistive touch-screen.

Ease of use

The touch-screen is fiddly to use and the stylus is a must for navigating the menus. The virtual keys are confusing because their function changes depending on the home screen, and the camera takes a long time to launch.

Features

The 1.3-megapixel camera is a token gesture that captures low quality pics, the sound system is tinny and the 5MB internal memory offers barely enough space for storing contacts.

Performance

The touch-screen, camera and music player leave much to be desired, and internet browsing is best saved for short, essential tasks.

Battery life

Battery life was average.

 Alcatel OT-708 Touch Review -
2

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:57:26 PM

4

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

4

out of 5

Ease of use

4

out of 5

Features

6

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

A touch-screen phone for under £50 is still hard to come by.

Cons:

With just 5MB of on-board memory you may even struggle to include all your contacts, let alone any media content.

Last month we reviewed the Alcatel One Touch Tribe, the budget manufacturer’s first affordable phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. While it may have been lacking the kind of features to persuade early adopters to turn their backs on the more recognisable brands such as Nokia, Samsung and LG, we liked it and feel there is a definite market for it. This month, we’ve got the Alcatel OT-708 Touch, the manufacturer’s first touch-screen phone. But will the momentum continue?

When touch-screens started to become more commonplace, there was no denying they offered a certain wow factor. However, as the numbers grew, people began to recognise that this awe only remained so long as they actually worked. Too many touch-screen handsets have crashed and burned as a result of not being tactile enough or too laggy. So considering Alcatel’s rather limited resources, the OT-708 is a brave move.

Fiddly screen

The pebble like OT-708 Touch is a dinky little number that weighs in at just 82g. It fits easily into a handbag and despite the plastic shell; it’s not a bad looking device. The volume keys and power button found on the sides of the phone are the only hard keys, and that was our first gripe. Below the screen is a thumb pad with an array of neon lights, and each one symbolises a key. Depending on what screen you’re in, they will either be positioned in a diamond shape or as an arrow. Unfortunately, there’s no indication of what each light does in terms of commands. With a bit of practice it may become second nature, but the initial experience proved frustrating.

The touch-screen itself is resistive (i.e. works via pressure) so Alcatel has fitted the OT-708 with a stylus that fits into the bottom of the device. The phone’s display is only 2.4 inches so it proved a useful addition, as some of the icons were a tad fiddly to press with our fingers. But firing up applications was surprisingly fast. On the left of the home screen is a pull out widget bar, akin to Samsung’s TouchWiz phones. Here the four widgets can either be fired up within the tool bar or dragged onto the home screen, which is where this particular feature differs from Samsung’s. For example, press on the messaging/call log screen when in the tool bar, and you’ll be taken into that function. However, drag it onto the home screen and you’ll have a brief overview that quietly rests in the background.

Token camera

Something that does require a fair degree of navigating is the camera as there’s no dedicated key. Once you’ve found the feature within one of the three menu screens you’ll then have to choose between video and static camera. This intricate path could be forgiven if the camera was any good. However, the 1.3-megapixel snapper will only prove useful(ish) for spontaneous shots – which you probably won’t capture by the time you find it.

Music-wise and we endured a tinny experience. If you’re at all serious about your tunes, this won’t be your main outlet, and with only 5MB of internal memory, you’ll need to invest in a memory card (up to 4GB) if it is. Again, the web experience was very stop and start due to the sluggish GPRS. It’s suffice for sporadic browsing, but you won’t be regularly jumping on the internet waves unless really necessary.

Conclusion

As mentioned, we were quite taken with the Alcatel One Touch Tribe. It was a bold yet productive move to introduce a QWERTY keyboard, and it remains an attractive proposition for its price. The same can’t be said for the OT-708 Touch. The touch-screen is acceptable but it doesn’t enhance the overall user experience, and the rest of the phone is very much low-end. The fact that there are plenty of other (superior) affordable touch-screen phones suggests the odds are stacked firmly against the Alcatel OT-708 Touch.

Danny Brogan
danny.brogan@nhmedia.co.uk