Alcatel OneTouch Xtra in-depth review -

Look and feel

The OT-880 feels good in the hand, from the soft-touch back to the nicely sprung slide mechanism. The keyboard isn't high end but certainly usable, and the chrome-edged front screen looks classy enough.

Ease of use

The Alcatel system is straightforward and accessible. It may not be loaded with smartphone extras but this makes it intuitive to use what's there.

Features

A basic camera, no wi-fi or even 3G, but the configurable home screen with shortcuts to weather, news and converter programs, for instance, means this is a smart non-smartphone

Performance

It has a resistive touchscreen that is largely responsive and though the phone's processor is nothing to write home about, it's quick enough to work well.

Battery life

Because there are fewer antennae (no wi-fi, no 3G, no GPS), the battery lasts longer than the average smartphone.

 

 Alcatel OneTouch Xtra Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:58:10 PM

6

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

4

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

The phone has cute looks, decent performance and is fun to use.

Cons:

No wi-fi, no 3G and only a basic camera

Say what you like, there's something cute about Alcatel's phones. No-nonsense handsets without pretension or artifice but plenty of verve. They're affordable and fun. A quick glance at the handset tells you this isn't a high-end model, but not everyone wants a pricey, super-specced smartie.

The messenger

The OT-880 is a neat lozenge of a phone, oval save for a kidney dish dent on the left side. That's where you press with your thumb to slide the screen across to reveal the QWERTY keypad underneath. There are three buttons on the front of the phone altogether. That program-launcher sits in the middle and the send and end buttons are built into the flexible plastic front that frames the display. Slightly low-end but oddly appealing.

 

You turn the phone to landscape orientation to use the keypad - the screen image flips quickly but only when you open the phone, rather than it changing when you tip the screen. This means there's plenty of room so the keys are well spaced out - no danger of hitting the wrong letter here. In fact, you could argue they're too widely spaced: though typing a text message was never arduous, you'll find your thumbs bouncing around a lot. The predictive text function when using the keyboard is decent enough, with suggested words along the base of the screen which you can tap when the right one appears. This can save time, though don't expect iPhone-level texting smarts, auch as auto-capitalising 'I'.  

 

Nice touch

The 2.4-inch screen is not high-resolution, though some of the wallpaper images look impressive. There's a lovely parrot and even a sunflower that's rather like Samsung's trademark image (cheeky). It's a responsive resistive touchscreen - firm pressure yields good results. The only lacklustre performance was the slide-to-unlock screen: it was easier opening and closing the keyboard to launch the screen. There's a frankly ferocious haptic response when you touch the screen, so powerful you hear as well as feel it, but it's better than switching it off.

 

You can add programs to the main screen - a button beneath the screen launches a list of programs such as email, weather, radio and the Opera browser. A long press plonks the icon on to the parrot's beak, or whatever. Removing shortcuts is easy, just drag them downwards and a rubbish bin appears to gobble them up.

 

A few extras

So far, so good. But as this phone is aimed at a youth audience keen on instant messaging and texting, it's not built for more demanding internet use, so you can use the excellent built-in Opera browser over GPRS but as there's no 3G, you shouldn't expect pages to load that fast. Similarly, there's no wi-fi and no GPS.

More seriously, given the target market, the camera is a lowly 2-megapixel model with no flash, though you could argue that a higher-res camera would merely mean it would take forever to send images by GPRS.

And Alcatel has included an element that eludes many a pricier phone - a proper 3.5mm headphone jack. This is a good thing but the headphones supplied aren't great. It's almost as though Alcatel thought, "Look, they're going to use their own headphones, so just pop some cheap ones in the box". Space for a microSD card means this phone is a serviceable music player.

Conclusion

There's a lot about the OT-880 that's basic or underwhelming, but the positives outweigh them and overall the phone is sweet, effective and charming.