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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 smartphone review – high quality and amazing value

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The new Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 proves that you don’t have to spend big money to get a quality smartphone with a sleek design and host of features that rivals other devices that cost three times more.

Alcatel OneTouch has built a reputation for producing smartphones that punch above their weight and the Idol 3 also climbs into the ring in the same fashion.

It can stand toe-to-toe with the top shelf brands and not only match most of their features but also offer a few unique touches as well.

The Idol 3 is available in two models with either a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen.

For our Tech Guide product review we decided to take a look at the larger Idol 3 with the 5.5-inch display.

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DESIGN

The Idol 3 is 15.3cm long, 7.5cm wide and just 7.4mm thick with a weight of 140.7g.

It has a minimalist design and the top and bottom of the screen look the same with a JBL speaker at either end.

There’s a reason why they look they same which we’ll discuss later.

The left edge of the device has the on/off/lock key and a slot that fits both a microSD card and the SIM card.

Along the right edge are the volume keys with a headphone jack on the top and a charge/sync microUSB port on the bottom.

And the back panel has a fine brushed metal look and feel even though it is actually plastic.

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The device has a stunning 5.5-inch full high definition IPS screen which is capable of displaying more than 16 million colours.

Despite the budget price the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 has a solid build quality and feels good in your hands.

PERFORMANCE

Apart from its good looks, the Idol 3 also has plenty of power under the hood including an octa-core processor (1.5Ghz quad core and a 1Ghz quad-core) which makes the device is pretty fast.

We only ever experienced a hold up opening apps and the camera a couple of times but for the most part the device was snappy and smooth.

The device is running the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system and has minimal additional user interface.

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True Android fans who dislike heavy and bloated UIs offered by other well-known manufacturers, will appreciate the Idol 3’s approach which is reminiscent of Google’s very own Nexus smartphones.

One thing we liked was the reversible feature which meant we could pull the device out of our pocket or bag and not have to check to see if we were holding it the right way up.

It works fine no matter which way you choose to be up which is why the top and bottom look the same.

Another feature you’ll find at either end of the Idol 3 is a JBL speaker.

The JBL front facing speakers on the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
The JBL front facing speakers on the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3

These dual front facing speakers sound surprisingly good and make it possible to play your music out loud and in high quality. Forget pairing a Bluetooth speaker – the phone sounds just as good by itself.

The device has a 13-megapixel rear camera with auto focus and full HD video capture and an 8-megapixel front facing selfie camera.

It takes photos that are comparable to those taken with other high end brands but slightly short of the quality that you’d get with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

 

Picture take with the Idol 3
Picture taken with the Idol 3
Another picture take with the Idol 3
Another picture taken with the Idol 3

On the power side there’s a 2910mAh battery tucked away in the sealed chassis of the Idol 3. For our review the device easily ran for the entire day with heavy use.

It doesn’t have the fast charging capabilities of some of the latest top shelf smartphones but that’s hardly a deal breaker.

VERDICT

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is one of the best value smartphones we’ve ever seen.

It offers a refined design, excellent build quality and the features that would rival smartphones with prices tags three times higher.

The Idol 3 provides a great and satisfying experience with lots of features and all at an incredibly affordable price.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3

Price: $349 (5.5-inch), $299 (4.7-inch)