Review by Sunetra Chakravati,
12/12/2011 4:02:26 PM
Cheap and cheerful, classy looks, lots of customisation options, social networking aplenty and push email
No 3G or Wi-Fi, the keyboard backlight actually makes the keys harder to read
If you're the parent of a teenage girl looking for her first mobile phone, the Alcatel One Touch 810 might just fit the bill without breaking the bank. With the obligatory social networking access as well as some unusual customisations, the One Touch 810 even tempts you with a free gift and you'll still get change from fifty quid.
You notice we said ‘teenage girl’? That's because if you were to see this sitting on the coffee table, you'd instantly assume that someone had left a makeup compact there, not a mobile phone. The clamshell design is a 70x70mm square with nicely rounded corners, the surface of which is completely mirrored. The bottom half of the clam features a white pearlised finish and at 16mm thick and weighing a measly 94g, it most definitely falls into the 'cute' category.On one corner of the square there's a 3.5mm headphone jack and on the opposite corner a small cover hides the micro-USB port. The only physical button on the outside of the phone is a volume rocker on the right edge. When you flip the lid, shiny things burst into life under the mirrored exterior as a customisable LED matrix sparkles.A 2.4-inch 320x240 pixel display resides under the lid, while there's a full QWERTY keyboard on the bottom half of the phone, along with send and end buttons, a couple of soft keys and a multi-directional navigation button. If all that sounds like a lot, it's nothing compared with the combinations available once you take into account the shift, function, and symbol keys.Once you familiarise yourself with where things are on the keypad it's highly responsive and there’s a reassuring click when you connect with the keys. The subtle contouring ensures that incorrect keystrokes are a rare occurrence. Dark grey text on white keys is clear and befits the trendy looks of the handset, but when you touch the keys, it throws you a curved ball. The keypad illuminates and what was once grey text is illuminated by white light, stripping away all the contrast that made the keys so clear to begin with.
The QVGA display is realistically all you can expect from a sub-£50 phone. With no Wi-Fi or 3G, this GPRS/WAP-enabled handset isn't really designed for surfing the web but it'll see you good for all the social networking you'll want to do. There are pre-installed Java apps for Facebook and Twitter as well as Bebo, Flickr and MySpace via the ‘My Friends’ shortcut. Budding photographers will be happy enough with a two-megapixel camera that neatly doubles as a streaming webcam if you hook it up via the USB. There are five shortcuts along the bottom of the home screen, which are customisable to a certain extent. Wallpapers and ringtones are also assignable, as is the option to create your own design for the LED display, which is a nice touch. As a media machine, the One Touch 810 will play MP3, WMA and AAC+ audio as well as MP4 video files, but you'll need a microSD card – up to 16GB is supported.
As an entry-level handset, the Alcatel One Touch 810 should provide suitable stocking-fodder for your little princess this Christmas. It's user friendly, well built, looks great and even more importantly will let her keep track of her friends on Facebook and @justinbieber on Twitter. It's not 3G, nor does it have Wi-Fi, but you need to remember that you're paying less than £50 for a SIM-free handset.