Here at IFA 2013 we had the chance to try the Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha and we can say that it is one of the best-looking handsets we've tried so far at the expo. Upon picking it up, our attention was drawn by the transparent elements on the handset's top and bottom sides. They don't only look great, but also serve a practical purpose as the bottom one lights up when there's a notification pending. Then there's the metal diamond-cut trim at the sides of the device. This design feature enhances the looks of the One Touch Idol Alpha even further without making it uncomfortable to hold with its sharp edges. With a thickness of only 7.5 millimeters, the smartphone should slip easily into any pocket.
The Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha doesn't stand out only with its design. Its 4.7-inch screen with scratch-resistant Dragontrail Glass looks pretty nice as well, and even though it has a resolution of "only" 720p instead of anything beyond that, the panel is detailed enough to meet the demands of most consumers. Colors on it look great, as is usually the case with IPS displays.
Alcatel has equipped the One Touch Idol Alpha with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. While the software on a retail unit might be different from what our demo unit had on it, we didn't notice any performance issues whatsoever. Android 4.2 along with the heavily customized user interface ran quite smoothly on the device. Speaking of which, the UI feels quite distant from what you'd see on a stock Android smartphone. The app drawer, for example, is accessed from a special menu that pops up when you tap the right capacitive button. Our guess is that by removing the apps list button from its usual place, Alcatel is aiming to simplify the overall user experience. If all app shortcuts are on the home screen, an app drawer won't be really needed too often. Another peculiar tweak by Alcatel is the addition of a home screen page where widgets can be listed vertically in a scrollable list.
With the Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha you get a 13.1MP main camera with auto-focus and LED flash. A front-facing cam is also present, capable of taking 720p videos. There are 16GB of storage on board, but unfortunately, that cannot be expanded due to the lack of a microSD card slot. Another feature missing is LTE support, so all you get is 42Mbps HSPA+ cellular data connectivity. The smartphone's 2000mAh battery is rated for 10 hours of 3G talk time, which is an average figure.
All in all, we'd say that we're impressed after our first encounter with the Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha. It is a beautiful smartphone with an adequate specs sheet, so if the right price tag gets attached to it, the Idol Alpha might indeed make a splash in the mid-range segment. We're expecting to see it on shelves globally later this year.