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Hands on with Alcatel OneTouch's new smartphones at IFA 2015
Alcatel OneTouch took complete advantage of the spotlight available to the company at IFA 2015 to showcase a slew of new products, including everything from smartphones, tablets, a wearable device, and even a couple of connected accessory devices. We’ve already gone hands on with a few of these devices, and now, it’s time to take a closer look at three more mid-range smartphone offerings from the company. Here is our first looks at the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Star, Pop Up, and the Idol 3C!
Alcatel OneTouch Pop Star
We begin with the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Star, an entry-level offering that offers a lot in terms of customization. Taking a look at the design, the device features an all plastic construction, but manages to offer an elegant look, with some nice curves on the back along the sides and the corners. The curves allow for a very comfortable feel in the hand, and its relatively compact size makes for a great handling experience and easy one-handed use.
One of the big selling points of the Pop Star is the fact that the back cover is actually removable, and users have a variety of rear covers to choose from in different colors, finishes, and designs, with some of the material choices available being wood, leather, and denim. Considering the fact that this is a very affordable smartphone, it’s great to see that you don’t have to pay a premium just to be able to choose between and enjoy different material options.
Taking a quick look around the device, the headphone jack is up top, the microUSB port is at the bottom, and the power button and volume rocker can be found left and right sides, respectively. Up front is a physical home button, flanked by capacitive back and recent apps keys.
On the specifications front, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Star comes with a 5-inch display with a 720p resolution, and under the hood is a MediaTek processor, which varies depending on whether you opt for the 3G or 4G LTE-capable iteration of the device, along with 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage with expansion via microSD card up to 32 GB, dual SIM slots, and a 2,000 mAh battery. There is also an 8 MP primary camera with an LED flash, along with a 5 MP front-facing unit.
On the software side of things, the Pop Star runs a near-stock version of Android 5.0 Lollipop, but there is some customization to be seen, like the icons that are different, for example. There isn’t a whole lot else different from stock Android here, and that should provide for a smooth performance, which did seem to be the case in the short time we spent with the device.
As far as pricing and availability is concerned, the Pop Star will be available in Q4 later this year in Europe, priced at €109 (~$122) for the 3G version, and €129 (~$144) for the 4G-capable iteration of the device, making it a great choice for those looking for an affordable smartphone option that allows for a lot of customization when it comes to the look and feel of the device.
Alcatel OneTouch Pop Up
Next up is the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Up, which is one of the many mid-range smartphones that the company showcased at this year’s event. Just like the Pop Star, the Pop Up is also made entirely of plastic, but offers the same great feel in the hand, and the overall build quality is solid. The relatively compact size makes this device very easy to use in one hand, which isn’t something that can be said about a lot of Android smartphones that are currently available.
The rear cover is also removable in the case of the Pop Up, and users have the option to switch between various color options. You may not have the numerous choices in design and material that are available with the Pop Star, but it’s still nice to have some type of customization available, to cater the look of the phone to better suit your tastes.
On the specifications front, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Up features a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a 720p resolution, and under the hood is a 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 610 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage which is further expandable via microSD card by up to 32 GB, dual SIM capabilities, and a 2,000 mAh battery. The device also comes with a 13 MP rear camera with a LED flash, and a 5 MP front-facing unit.
On the software side of things, the device is running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, and as Alcatel OneTouch has been doing with most of their devices recently, it is a mostly stock iteration of the Android OS, with a only a few changes in the form of different app icons and other subtle differences to be seen around the user interface. Keeping the software experience as close to stock as possible also helps on the performance front, and in the short time we got to spend with this phone, things looked to be smooth and snappy.
As far as pricing and availability are concerned, the US availability of the device is still unknown, but the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Up will make its way over to Europe in Q4 later this year and will be priced at €179 (~$200).
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3C
Alcatel OneTouch also introduced a new version of their fantastic affordable offering, the Idol 3, and while the use of a suffix generally indicates a change in specifications and features, things between the Idol 3 and Idol 3C remain identical under the hood. The big difference here is with regards to the back cover, which is now removable, and comes in a variety of different bright color options that users can swap between, including white, pink, green, orange, blue, mint, and a lot more. The design of the device otherwise remains the same as its namesake, and also comes with dual front-facing speakers, and is still reversible, just like before.
The specifications of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3C include a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a Full HD resolution, and under the hood is a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage which is further expandable via microSD card by up to 128 GB, and a 2,910 mAh battery. The device also comes with a 13 MP primary camera with a LED flash, and a 5 MP front-facing unit. On the software side of things, the device is running an near stock version of Android 5.0 Lollipop, with the only noticeable changes being in the different app icons and the OneTouch stream, that is Alcatel OneTouch’s second screen experience.
Everything that you would expect and is possible with the original Idol 3 makes its way over to the Idol 3C as well, and as we’ve seen with the former, the performance in this case is also very smooth and snappy. Essentially, if you loved everything about the Idol 3 but wished but for a little more customization and color in the design, the Idol 3C is the device you’ve been waiting for.
As far as pricing and availability is concerned, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3C will be available at some point by the end of the year, but a more specific timeline was not offered, and the phone should also retain the great pricing that made the original Idol 3 so great.
What do you think of Alcatel’s latest handsets? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out the other great content we went hands-on with at IFA 2015.