Hands-on with the Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha

It isn’t often that a new smartphone surprises me but the Idol Alpha certainly did and if you are looking for a mid-range smartphone then I think this one should be near the top of the list.


In my hands-on with the Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha we discover the shocking truth that elements of its design actually out perform those of some of the most expensive smartphones on the market. Read on to find out more!


Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha design


The most striking design elements include a precision diamond-cut metal body that at the top and bottom of the phone extends outwards to hold two transparent segments. These are lit in varying different ways by LED’s to indicate either the phone’s status or of incoming notifications.


Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha


To mirror the strength characteristics of that metal frame the smudge-resistant display is protected by Dragon Trail Glass which is almost indestructible. The 4.7” IPS HD display is certainly one of the brightest I have seen and has a resolutions of 1280 x 720 pixels.


The user interface impressed me greatly with fluid transitional effects as you move from one home screen to the next. I found that the Magic Smoke live wallpaper worked best by offering a striking contrast between icons and background.


There are a number of home screens to scroll between and some of these hold app icons, others hold widgets of which you can choose from many whilst another screen has the apps organised into folders, which made them really easy to find. The whole thing is completely customisable so you can add and delete icons and widgets as you like.


Transparent notification panel


The Idol Alpha is very thin at 7.5mm and at 117 grams it is one of the lightest smartphones on the market. A range of colours are available and I had the slate version which looked great to me. Other colour options include a matte gold, brushed gold and brushed pink.


Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha features


Powered by Android v4.2 you get all of those Google goodies such as Google Maps, Gmail, the Chrome browser, YouTube and much more. Everything is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz processor and while there are more powerful processor on the market I experienced no lag time when using any of the Idol Alpha’s features.


A really big selection of apps have been pre-installed and you have access to Alcatel’s app store as well as Google Play. A series of Gameloft Live games provide entertainment while the media player works awesomely well with the rather cool looking headset that is provided in the box.


Wi-Fi can be used to access the internet, share files, share your screen and create your own hotspot so you really do get the latest features.


The battery seemed to hold up pretty well but there isn’t a power saving mode. Instead you can manually turn off Wi-Fi and GPS, close open apps from the multitasking window and dim the screen should you need to reserve power.


Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha camera


The camera is the stand out feature on the Idol Alpha and with 13 megapixels of resolution what more could you want? Well there is plenty more and I had a great time playing around with HDR, burst mode, panorama mode and a set of advanced settings that let you tweak the exposure and ISO sensitivity.


Camera settings


After capturing a series of photos I went straight to the gallery and was greeted by an extensive set of photo editing tools that included Beauty which promptly transformed my selfie from ogre to prince!


Photo editing software


I tried out video recording too which at 1080p was just about as good as anything I have seen before. Video calling is possible using a forward facing 1.3MP camera so that and Skype took care of my VoIP needs.


Alcatel OneTouch Idol Alpha verdict


The Idol Alpha certainly isn’t going to disappoint anyone who is in the market for a mid-range smartphone. In fact the camera quality alone make this a star buy and that’s before we even factor in that brilliant user interface.


Well done Alcatel OneTouch, the beauty really is in the detail!


Written by: Michael Brown

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