We all have a first phone story. Huge clunky phones that could fall 2 floors down, disintegrate and still come back to life when re-assembled. I remember my first phone review here though I didn’t even know that I was doing a review. “Samsung SGH something flip/flap. She was such a girl. She had sleek shiny ivory coloured skin, well rounded figure, soft curves and super sensitive buttons #nohomo. And the voice! Oh the polyphonic voice! I spent a good three years with that beauty but with the advancement in phone features, I realized that she was quite the absolute blonde.”
That was my second phone. My first was an Alcatel which was a hand-me-down from my mother after my siblings bought her a little Siemens that lit the whole room red whenever it rang. The Alcatel was a little curvaceous number which at that time immediately became my world. Never mind that the most I could do with it was text. I could not even call much. Scratch that. I could not call at all! I was on Kencel and a phone call cost a whopping 40 bob a minute with no per second billing.
My phone journey has since had the full range of ups and downs and as of this week, I’ve come full circle with the coming into my life of the Alcatel One Touch Idol 3.
The Idol 3 is unapologetically pretty. A smooth sleek design that enters your life and snuggles right in. My test kit came with a little stuffed Alcatel droid whose ears my little niece has since chewed off..
At 4.7 inches, it is smaller than my palm – something I’m still finding new but very easy to fall in love with. New because over time I’ve gotten caught up in the big phone syndrome, always carrying around a phone that I can barely hold in my hand or fit in my jeans pockets.
There is however some adjustment for me to make since the real estate on the key board and screens size as a whole are not quite what I’m accustomed to. I watch a lot of documentaries and series on phone and a 4.7 screen will take some getting used to. I’m a blogger and I’m always taking notes on the go and typing is not as easy I’m used to. It’s not difficult to adjust though.
One of the most unique features I’ve found on this phone is that the OS will rotate fully so that you can use it in whichever vertical orientation top or bottom. Meaning that because it is built with speakers and receivers on both sides, if your phone rings you can pick it and talk without having to worry whether its upside down. This is an optional feature and its cool as they come but I doubt I would turn it on for continuous use. I’ve a feeling I’d confuse myself with the physical buttons. Like where was I and where is the wake up button again? To be fair though, you can wake the phone up by double tapping the screen – a feature you’d have to enable in settings.
For a phone that lives its cute life in technicolour, it only comes in black, silver and ivory. Do I worry about phone colour that much? To a reasonable extent yes. Somewhere between ‘I will not diva my way to the Alcatel factory to demand for a cerulean phone’ and ‘I will not spend my life with black or steel grey phones.” Not that manufacturers should go all psychedelia but hey, let there be colour!
At 13mp back and 5mp front, the phone’s camera is not only passable but really good especially in well-lit circumstances. One of the major reasons I always want a good camera phone is because I love Instagram and would shudder at the thought of being that girl who posts grainy photos on there. I also take photos and tweet them on the go and I do not want bad photos on my twitter either.
The front camera is wide angle and will capture everyone in your selfie. A camera feature I’ve particularly come to like is the ‘fast face focus’ which optimizes the camera to focus on human faces in an instance. Hello selfie gang! Goodbye frozen smiles!
I jog every once in a while and good music is a must have. I also live on spotify especially in the office. The sound quality of the Alcatel Idol 3 is well taken care of and actually quite enhanced by the sound industry heavyweights JBL. With a good selection of fast paced workout music, and JBL earplugs that come with the phone, I’m good to hit the track. I like the direction phones are taking with sound. A phone that I reviewed late last year was fitted with Dolby sound and now this!
I rarely ever play phone music out loud from the inbuilt speakers but I’ve tried it and JBL has delivered quite impressively on that too. Both speakers are front facing and engineered for surround sound.
This particular phone has 16GB internal memory and no additional memory slot. What could have been a slot for a memory card has been assigned to an additional SIM. Ultimately this phone is for you if a double SIM means more than storage and there are plenty of people with this kind of set up. Alcatel has a similar phone with a single SIM and a memory slot. Knowing my use, I would pick the latter.
I’m online and especially on blogs and twitter for longer than I want to admit. As such, my data is always on. The one time I’ve been out of the office for a full day of tweeting, taking photos and reading blogs, the phone was able to handle well for three quarters of the day and I only needed a recharge towards 4pm. When I’m in the office I use WiFi and PC and that way the phone battery has been able to go upto a day and a half.
That is so far my experience with the Idol 3. I did a small walk about in my immediate vicinity and asked people to give me their first impressions of the phone and this is what I got:
Renee Murrey – Nice and fits so easily in the hand. She’s happy that it can fit in her jeans pocket without half of it protruding and threatening to fall off. It won’t bulge too much either. If for example she’s haggling for stuff at the market, the worry that her phone will get thugged is eliminated.
Esther Kagure – Let’s start by saying that she’s a photographer. She spends her days carrying around heavy cameras and equipment. Esther feels that the phone is too light and could slip right through and out of her life without her noticing.
Juliet Atieno – She’s left handed and this is the first time she has seen a phone that is so easy on left handed people. (The wake up button for the phone is on the top left).
Sam Gichuru – Sleek and easy on the hands. But he was uncomfortable with the indents that hold the speakers at both ends of the phone. They give off the feeling that the screen is not well anchored and wondered how well the phone would hold if it got into some trauma.
Joshua Mutua – Josh is an apple fan. He loves this phone and feels that it would convince him to cross over to android. But on second thought he feels that the word idol and the branding font are girly and says that he’d buy it as a valentine gift for his girlfriend in a heartbeat.
Josephine Mwangi – This girly girl loves that the phone is sleek and very funky.
Ansel Melly – He feels it’s an awesome little phone and he would buy it for his girlfriend for valentine.
Kennedy Kachwanya – He prefers rougher hardware and feels that this one is good for the ladies.
Steven Musyoka – Nice and sleek but it would not be his first choice. He’s more at home with chunkier phones.
Here are some photos I took with the phone.
The Alcatel One Touch Idol 3 goes for Kshs.20,000/- give or take depending on the outlet.