Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha Review


Introduction


The Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha (also known as the Idol α) is a phone that you won’t mistake for any other - it features an outstanding design with a sleek body outfitted with translucent strips of plastic on the top and bottom. It’s something for those who value singularity in style and at the same time don’t want to spend a fortune on a device.

If - for a moment, though - we forget about the stylish looks of the Idol Alpha, you’d see that in it’s essence, this is nothing but a fairly typical mid-range phone: it features a 4.7” 720 x 1280-pixel display, a quad-core MediaTek system chip, and a 13-megapixel camera. It lacks 4G LTE connectivity and expandable storage, but those are trade-offs that might be acceptable if Alcatel has priced this right, and if it delivers for all else. So does it? Let’s take a look.

In the box:

  • User Manual
  • microUSB Cable
  • Wall Charger
  • In-ear headphones

Design

The exquisite design with a set of two translucent strips of plastic make it look like no other phone out there.

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha is an exquisite phone with diamond-cut edges, aluminum mainframe and sides (it’s got a plastic back, though), as well as a stylish and unique translucent plastic strips on the top and bottom. The plastic strip on the top even lights up to show you missed notifications, a way more impressive way to draw your attention to the phone than a single LED light.

All of this shows meticulous attention to detail, and the whole phone feels solidly put together as well - it’s one of thinnest phones out there (measuring 0.29”, or 7.5mm), and it’s pleasingly lightweight. The OneTouch Idol Alpha is sized to fit well in most pockets and, while it’s not perfectly well suited for single-handed use, it feels compact enough. Altogether, this is clearly a device for those who value a phone that is stylish and unlike any other, but without being over-the-top kitsch.

The Idol Alpha uses capacitive navigation keys, but weirdly, the buttons are not marked – instead, you can see the button labels on the translucent plastic strip below the actual buttons. You get used to it quickly, but it's just a weird decision that is hard to justify in any meaningful way.



Display

The 4.7-inch 720p display has colors that look good, but not perfect. Reflections make it hard to read outdoors.

The Idol Alpha comes with a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels, translating into a pixel density of the quite reasonable 312ppi. The display definitely does not lack much in terms of sharpness, and it’s hard to notice any pixelization at all, but if you compare it against, say, a 1080p display of a similar size, you’d notice that making out smaller fonts is a bit harder on the display of the Idol Alpha.

In terms of colors, the screen is not bad at all. Color temperature is excellent at 6750K, so white are very good, not blueish. Gamma is also excellent at 2.24. However, colors are somewhat oversaturated and not correct – they are poppy but not natural, as you can see in our color charts below, resulting in average color error (delta E) of 6.21, which is definitely not true to life image. If you are not color purist though, the screen looks pretty good!

The Idol Alpha screen can get reasonably bright to 486 nits, and that’s hugely important for comfortable outdoor viewing. However, at the same time, it’s also very reflective, so overall, outdoors, you’d need to stare with a bit of extra effort to be able to read what’s on the display. In addition, we should note that the screen cannot get dim enough for comfortable reading at night - it’s lowest brightness is still too high at 76 nits, a level that will disturb your eyes if you use it in a dark environment.




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