Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+ Review
We get decent photos and video in most situations out of the Idol X+.
The 13 MP shooter on the back of the Idol X+ is paired with an LED flash, and we get a 2 MP camera at the front, capable of 1080p video. The camera app interface is very intuitive, with a transparent background, so that you can always follow the frame in front of your lens. There are HDR, Panorama, 360, Night and Sports shooting modes, while from the more advanced settings only ISO (up to 1600) and exposure adjustment sliders are present. There aren't any color effects to apply if you are into those, so you'd have to probe the Play Store for a 3rd party app.
Most of the time, the color saturation of the pictures is quite natural, representing correctly the scene in front of the lens, without overblown or subdued hues. However, part of the photos we took in broad daylight have an unappealing cold cast to them. Exposure is largely correct in most circumstances, delivering true-to-life photos. Detail is plenty, as we would expect from a 13 MP shooter, and the noise situation is kept in check. The HDR mode takes quite some time to merge the photos, taken with different exposure settings, while the end result is rather unrealistic-looking to boot, as if passed through an Instagram filter.
When indoors, or in other low-light situations, the photos come out quite good as well, without an excessive amount of noise, even when the lights get dimmed down. The LED flash, however, is rather weak, and didn't illuminate our test scene properly from the standard five feet distance.
The frontal camera is spiced up with something Alcatel calls Emotishots, which takes four slow successive photos of your expression, giving you the time to adjust for the perfect selfie to rival Miley Cyrus. There is also a Beauty Face option with the front-facing cam, that smooths out skin tones and removes blemishes. The selfies are quite decent, with accurate colors, good exposure, and enough detail, keeping noise out of the picture.
Video gets captured with Full HD 1080p resolution and fluid 30fps, but only in broad daylight. When you step indoors, or the light dims down, the frame count drops down to 17fps, resulting in rather poor fluidity. It exhibits the same oversaturation as the stills, making the footage look more vivid than it actually is. Exposure adjustments while panning around happen quickly, and the handset supports continuous autofocus, though shifting the focus back and forth between a close object and the background happens within two or three seconds sometimes.
Alcatel spices things up with a quality “Hi-Fi” audio output and JBL headphones supplied in the box.
The gallery sports grid thumbnail view, and offers a rich variety of photo enhancement and editing options built into the interface.
Music playback is categorized by artists, albums, genres and playlists in the player interface, and there are a bunch of equalizer presets to apply. The touted “Hi-Fi” sound that the Idol X+ offers, is a combination of hardware and software components. The phone offers one quality Sabre ES9018 sound processor by ESS that supports 24bit/192KHz playback, a Maxim9720 headphone amplifier, and a bunch of equalizer presets to choose from. The “Hi-Fi” sound is only available to you when you plug in a headset. We can attest that the sound output is pretty good, even when you plug in random in-ear headphones, rather than the supplied JBL set. We measured the headphones output power to be 0.86 volts, which is stronger than average, though not quite in the iPhone 5s 1 volt category, for instance. We get a very good loudspeaker at the bottom of the Idol X+, too, which sounds strong and quite clean.
Video playback support is stellar, with DivX/Xvid/MKV files all playing without a hitch in up to 1080p resolutions. The player itself is rather barebone, though, with just an extra loop function, so we'd recommend to quickly pawn off the video footage playback to 3rd party Play Store apps.