Low cost, decent selection of simple apps, worthy budget camera
Touch-screen responsiveness, tiny keypad, difficult to transfer media
Alcatel's One Touch 602 is a budget phone aimed at social animals who can't afford the latest Android or Apple device. Despite the low price it packs a touch-screen and two-megapixel camera, but at this level there are always compromises...
You might not know the Alcatel name, but this French manufacturer is set to unleash a range of swish Android phones in 2012. The Alcatel One Touch 602 is wedged right at the bottom of the entry-level band (similar to the Virgin VM560), using a basic OS that nevertheless resembles Android.
We immediately warmed to the OT 602's colourful design. That bright blue body is firm right through, and has a metallic sheen that belies its price point. It's dinky enough to fit in any pocket or bag, and also a good weight - suitably light without feeling cheap.
Despite the low price, Alcatel has furnished its blue baby with a resistive touch-screen and the interface has an Android-esque feel to it. To start, you unlock the phone by tugging down on an on-screen tab. You're given three desktops that can be populated with shortcuts and even widgets, such as a Clock, Calendar and News Feed. Four shortcuts at the bottom of the screen give you access to your Apps, Mail and Contacts, and allow you to customise the desktops with more widgety goodness.
Resistive screens are known to be a little temperamental, and the One Touch 602's is no different. Flicking between desktops sometimes takes two or three attempts, as does pulling down the notification tab, while the phone always seems to vibrate when you poke the display. This makes it difficult to know if your prod has actually registered when you're trying to open an app.
Most of the included apps do their job well. The Calendar helps you set up tasks quickly and simply, complete with notes and alarms. The Contacts menu is basic but allows you to store up to four favourite contacts for quick access. You can also assign photos to each contact, but they need to be low-res – the photos we'd taken on top resolution with the phone's two-megapixel camera were deemed ‘too large' to use.
The One Touch 602 is clearly aimed at younger users who want to keep in touch with mates online, without costing daddy a small fortune. Facebook and Twitter apps are included and are perfectly usable, allowing you to update your status and check on your friends. You also get an Opera browser for getting online. It's not suitable for extended browsing sessions, but for quickly checking something online it does the job.
Texting isn't the smoothest experience as the virtual keypad is tiny, and letters aren't given their own individual buttons but clustered together in groups of four. Thankfully the predictive text tool speeds things up, unless you're using that slang stuff that's popular with the kids.
For a budget camera, our photos came out rather well. Well-lit shots are sharp and colourful. Features are understandably basic, but you do get a digital zoom, as well as a night mode and basic colour effects such as a sepia filter. You can also shoot bog-standard video, another nice touch given the low cost.
Transferring files to and from your phone is normally a doddle - just connect to your PC via a Micro USB cable and away you go. Unfortunately, the One Touch 602 doesn't come with a USB cable, and using our spare office cable didn't seem to work. We had to swap files using our microSD card instead – the phone's tiny memory can be expanded up to 8GB via the internal slot. A mains charger is included and with regular use you'll still get well over 24 hours of use.
The One Touch 602 is a cheap way of staying in touch with friends online, and comes with a decent range of apps. Our main complaint is with the responsiveness of the screen, and frequent texters will prefer a phone with a dedicated keyboard.