Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5-inch) Review

Introduction


Even though we’re quite familiar with Alcatel’s line of mobile phones, most consumers are still widely in the dark regarding the actual existence of the company – more so when they’ve yet to deliver a compelling phone worthy enough to compete with the big names in the industry. Everyone is vying for that piece of the pie, and Alcatel wants to ensure that it’ll have some sort of presence amidst the fierce competition. During Mobile World Congress 2015, which was held just a little close to a couple months ago, we were pleasantly delighted by what the pre-production model of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 had to offer; the company’s first global flagship phone. Now that it’s in final form, we’re itching to find out what this $250 outright-priced smartphone can bring to the table.

The package contains:
  • Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Stereo headphones
  • SIM removal tool

Design

Seriously, this is quality stuff from a budget phone. It’s simple, lightweight, and incredibly thin!

While it’s not flaunting the premium aesthetics we find in some high-end smartphones, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 surely has several appealing qualities for something budget-oriented. For one, it’s incredibly skinny and lightweight for something packing a 5.5-inch sized screen. Secondly, the dark gray colored matte plastic rear casing bears a hair line brushed effect to mimic the look of something metal – while the chrome accents outlining the phone complement its charming looks. All told, it’s a simple design that works.

In looking around the sides of the handset, it features your typical set of ports and buttons – such as a microUSB port, microphone, microSIM slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, noise-cancelling mic, volume controls, and power button. With the latter, it’s positioned towards the upper left corner of the phone, which makes for an awkward placement for something so wide and tall. A special treat, since it’s an ideal implementation, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is graced with dual front-facing JBL speakers.


Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches

152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.96 oz (141 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches

158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

Asus ZenFone 2

Asus ZenFone 2

Dimensions

6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches

152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches

152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.96 oz (141 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches

158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

Asus ZenFone 2

Asus ZenFone 2

Dimensions

6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches

152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Display

Hands down, this is one of the most astounding displays in a budget-priced phone we’ve come across; plenty of solid qualities.

Out of everything, the most surprising part about the phone is its display – a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 Technicolor Color Enhance Display. Essentially, it’s an IPS-based panel with OGS (One Glass System) full lamination. No doubt, it’s sharp and highly detailed, but we’re equally impressed by its superb brightness and reasonable color reproduction.

Case in point, the display has a color temperature of 7280K, which makes things a look a bit colder than they are, but while there's certainly some room for improvement as far as color accuracy goes, the 665 nit brightness it achieves means that it remains easily visible even in outdoor, sunny conditions. Seriously, if this is the kind of results we can expect from a budget-conscious phone, everyone else better be up to snuff because this is commendable on so many levels


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31 Comments

1. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

if the i-fruit 6 got 9 will being 2.5 times more expense an got weaker speces then this phone deserve 9 as well

7. CallMeJayKing

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

Specs aren't everything. Apple products are generally optimized better than any other device. But, don't get me wrong i still feel that Apple does overcharge and their bank statement proves it. Proud owner of a Galaxy s6 edge before the flame war begins.

12. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Oh boy, get ready for angry PA trolls.

27. robcar

Posts: 110; Member since: Jan 18, 2011

Apple can build there own OS around their own specific hardware/phone so of course it's gonna be some what more optimized or at least a lot easier to optimize things. But iOS is more unstable than Android, it can crashes a lot. But i think Windows phone are even more efficient.

9. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

the iphone 6 is a beast when it comes gpu power and the cpu isnt slow at all but they could have done better. also apple optimizes the iphone really well. it definitely doesn't have weaker specs than the alcatel idol 3.

2. rdaex

Posts: 152; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Wow... I really wish this phone was sold in stores in the US.. thats really the only way it will get some traction.

3. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

8.5? Really PA? While the HTC Desire Eye only got 8?? Who the f**k makes these ratings???

6. tury694

Posts: 167; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

This is better than the Desire Eye if you factor in the price point.

4. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Zenfone 2 much better. Can handle multiple games only $50 more.

8. TyrionLannister unregistered

This phone has dual stereo speakers, much better screen and pretty much leaves the zenfone 2 in dust when it comes to battery life. Oh, did I forget the way better camera and stock UI on this.

10. TypicalGeek

Posts: 214; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

Zenfone 2 camera performance is already on par with Desire Eye with latest update, and battery life is now just over a day. Knowing Asus (PC component side), they will release updates that will improve performance and functionality over the time. I may sound biased because I ordered one, but I personally think it's a wonderful package for the price Asus is asking. I do agree that display on Idol 3 blows most flagship, but 2GB RAM doesn't cut it anymore. Both are great budget phones, and one is better than the other in some ways, not every way. You just have to pick what suits you best.

11. TyrionLannister unregistered

I would be fine with even a 700$ flagship with 2GB RAM. I don't know why people care about RAM. I don't see any difference between a phone with 2GB or 3GB RAM. 4 GB is absolutely absurd gimmick. And anyway, the 4GB RAM on the zenfone is LPDDR3. I would take a 2GB LPDDR4 RAM over a 4 GB LPDDR3 any day of the week. P.S. I don't close any apps and my phone with 2GB RAM works extremely fine. About the updates, I don't know but unless I see testss proving that, I won't believe. I'm not a believer of a 1-day or 2 day battery life as one's day is not the same as other person's. For me, an Xperia Z3 will be a 1-day battery phone despite Sony's claim otherwise.

14. TypicalGeek

Posts: 214; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

I'm aware that 4GB in Zenfone 2 is LPDDR3. It's not going to transfer data as fast as LPDDR4, but there shouldn't be a problem trying to run a few games and apps at the same time. I have Nexus 5, SD800 2GB, and it struggles to run a few apps at the same time. 4GB isn't gimmicky, it's futureproof. You don't have to utilize it, but if you do need 4GB it's there. My dad had Z3, and I used his phone for a few occasions, I think battery life is outstanding. If you can drain a Z3 battery less than a full day, you probably need to carry charger around or get a phone with removable battery.

15. TyrionLannister unregistered

I use my phone irregularly. I can get a Z3 battery down to 20% in a day easily on some days. That means a one day battery to me. Nobody needs games to run in background. They eat up battery. With a few apps, 2GB is great and more than enough for me. I would not ditch a phone just because it has 2 GB RAM. That's my point. I have a laptop running 8 GB RAM and it rarely even consumes 3 GB. And that's Windows. Android RAM management will get better and better over time, not worse and I can't see any reason that 2GB RAM phones will slow down in foreseeable future. 1 GB RAM androids run horribly and iPhone 6 runs just fine. So android has a huge scope to go better. Regarding your Nexus 5, it's because of memory leak. It will be fixed soon

17. TypicalGeek

Posts: 214; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

All I'm saying is Z3 battery is stellar, if you can drain Z3 battery down to 20% in a day, you will have issue with conserving other phone's battery. You should either get a phone with removable battery or carry charger around. I clean app on background every now and then within the day. Though if I have to open several apps at the same time for a short period of time like 15-30mins. 4GB is handy. I'm not saying I disregard a phone with 2GB. I can definitely live with 2GB phone, it's just different from how I live with 4GB phone. Yeah Stock Lollipop 5.1 has some serious memory leak, as well as battery drain issue. They say the fix is coming, but it's been 2 months. I need something reliable, I can't just wait for the fix indefinitely. I'll still keep my Nexus 5 as a back up.

5. waddup121 unregistered

Don't Sham it guys, these ratings are really well-deserved. It's one of the best Budget phones you can get for $250 bucks (which is crazy low!) And packs a ton of features which makes it a very good buy. Using Calls with either side of the device ftw!

13. fonelover123

Posts: 153; Member since: May 04, 2015

i want this phone the two best phones are LG G4 and Alcatel Idol 3

16. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Good review, hope you guys review the Zenphone 2 as well, so we can see which of the 2 are best overall.

21. Furbal unregistered

I had the zenphone, if speaker volume and screen brightness are at all important the Alcatel wins easily.

18. DannyJr

Posts: 38; Member since: May 08, 2014

I'm in the market for a new midrange phablet, and I've dwindled it down to the Zenphone 2 and the Idol 3. After all is said and done, which one should I buy? This purchase won't be subsidized by my carrier so I'll pay full retail on it. I will primarily use it as a tablet replacement, though I will still use my Tablet for gaming. So, is this the one or should I pay more for the top end Zenphone 2?

19. BReND0

Posts: 74; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

This phone is dope. Is it available on US soil for purchase ?? I would shell out 250 for this delightfully beautiful phone. Dual JBL speakers. Now your talking. Name brand speakers. Allnit needs is moto x or g functionality. Vanilla android. Google now commands. Needs to be nano Sim. Still. Awesomely styled phone

23. mmaaxx

Posts: 2; Member since: May 21, 2015

why should it be nano sim what difference does it make? and yes its on us soil did you read the review? lol

20. Simona unregistered

Think I will buy this for my mum or brother.. very good phone along with alcatel smartwatches Ideal hardware !

22. mmaaxx

Posts: 2; Member since: May 21, 2015

can anyone confirm it has nfc tap to pay with google wallet To see if you can tap and pay with your Android device, follow these steps: Go to your phone's Settings. Touch More settings. Make sure NFC is turned On. Go back to Settings. . Check for a "Tap and Pay" option in the menu. If you can see the "Tap and Pay" option in the menu, you can Tap and Pay with your device.

28. MTTech

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 08, 2015

Yes it does!!

24. EngleBertZombie

Posts: 36; Member since: May 22, 2015

one thing that could have made this phone better is if the power button and volume rockers were centered on the sides, then this phone could have been ambidextrous being able to use it either way.

25. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

Why centered? You can reach easily with your left hand for the power button and right hand for volume.

26. SaintMarks

Posts: 20; Member since: May 25, 2015

When are the 4.7 inch phones available for purchase? I would like to buy them for my parents.

29. viagioz

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Alcatel idol3 does not permit to switch Wi-Fi ON in airplane mode, therefore you will not be able to access to any entertainment in flights which offer it like movies, magazines,etc. This functionality is also useful when you want to use wi-fi without being disturbed with incoming calls.

30. BappleCat

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 13, 2016

Do not buy this phone without a case. I it and had it for about a month, when it cracked in my pocket. Eh, just a small crack, not too bad? Well it happened to also break the digitizer, so no touch screen for me. I bought a $80 replacement, and it literally broke four days later. Never had this problem before, the glass is so low quality. Either that or its cursed.
OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, Octa-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2910 mAh(13h 3G talk time)

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