Aug 27 AT 3:41 PM Brooks Barnard 0 Comments

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 first impressions

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7-1

Alcatel OneTouch thoroughly surprised the Android world earlier this year with the release of the Idol 3 5.5. We weren’t blown away with its specs, benchmarks, or flagship killing, but it is a beautifully simple budget phone with a great design that works. There are no gimmicks, and it’s a cheap, well-designed phone that performs.

Back at Mobile World Congress in March, Alcatel OneTouch announced two variants of the Idol 3, with one of the headlining features for both devices their usability upside down (which I guess could be called a gimmick). The Idol 3 5.5, the bigger variant with a 5.5-inch display was released in April. Now, the smaller version, with even less horsepower under hood has been released as the Idol 3 4.7. So, the big question on my mind for Alcatel OneTouch is this: Can lightning strike twice?

Let’s start with the specs:

Network Technology GSM 850/900/1800/1900 UMTS/HSPA+ B1/2/4/5LTE B2/4/5/7/12/17
Dimensions 134.6 x 65.9 x 7.55 mm
Weight 110g (3.88oz)
Display 4.7″ HD (1280×720) TFT-IPS, (312ppi)
Internal Memory 1.5GB RAM + 16GB ROM
Expandable Memory Yes microSD (up to 32 GB)
OS Android Lollipop 5.0.2
Camera 13MP Main Camera w/ Autofocus + 5MP FF
Removable Battery NO
SIM Type Micro SIM
Video Recording [email protected]
Battery 2000mAh
Processor 1.2GHz Quad-Core MSM8916 w/ Adreno 306 400MHz
Sound (Supported Formats) MP3/AMR/MIDI/ APE/AAC/AAC+/FLAC/Hi-Fi Sound/FM Radio RDS/Handsfree/Vibrator
Additional Features Dual Speaker Front Facing Speakers with JBL Audio

What I like:

  • I love the size. Love, love, love the size. I’ve been using the Nexus 6 for several months and I’m not a fan of the size. Using a device this size is a breath of fresh air. It’s so easy to hold and use with one hand. The slippery back issue I had with the Idol 3 5.5 doesn’t matter anymore. The back is made of the same materials, but the size of the phone makes it easily grippable.
  • Performance has been great thus far. I’ve been doing a lot of gaming on the device (NFS Most Wanted, Granny Smith, Hill Climb Racing) without any stutter or lag. If you have another game you like to benchmark performance with let me know.
  • The display. You’d think having about three-fifths the pixel density of the Nexus 6 would bother me, but it’s not. Viewing angles are great, the display gets bright, and 720p looks fine on the 4.7-inch display of the Idol 3 4.7.
  • Unlocked price of $179.99. I like that.
  • Expandable memory. I’ve been a long-time user of Nexus devices without expandable memory and forgot how nice it is to have an extra place to store photos and media content. It’s handy.

What I don’t like

  • I’m disappointed by the speaker sound quality. The Idol 3 4.7 has dual firing front speakers that get loud, but they’re very tinny. I don’t remember this issue with the Idol 3 5.5. Comparing the sound to the now $500 Nexus 6 with dual firing front speakers, the Nexus 6 clearly sounds better.

An obvious competitor to the Idol 3 4.7 is the recently-released Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen.), which offers the exact same unlocked price point of $179.99. The Idol 3 4.7 is smaller in all dimensions including display size, is lighter, and has the dual front JBL speakers. The 2015 Moto G looks like it has two front speakers, but it doesn’t. However, the Moto G does have lots of tricks up its sleeve, like Moto Maker customization, water resistance, and a larger battery. Additionally, the Moto G comes with two memory options: 8 GB of ROM with 1 GB of RAM for $179.99 or 16 GB of ROM and 2 GB of RAM for $40 more. The Idol 3 4.7 comes with one memory option: 16 GB of ROM and 1.5 GB of RAM.

Options are good and both devices have their trade-offs. Both phones have lots of similarities and deciding between them is going to come down to personal preference and overall performance. And as reported, so far performance has been great with the Idol 3.

That’s all I have to report on now. The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 is available now unlocked for $179.99 on Alcatel’s website as well as on Amazon. So far the Idol 3 4.7 feels like another winner, especially at the size and price point, but I’m not ready to give it my full recommendation yet. Stay tuned in the coming week for a full review of the device. And be sure to let me know if you want anything specific covered in the full review.

Are you in the market for a small budget unlocked device? Do you feel like 4.7-inch is too small? Or do you find smaller devices refreshing in a world of phablets? How does the $180 price point feel to you? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

Brooks is an engineer living in the Bay Area recently dislocated from the Great Northwest. He's an Android enthusiast who decided to start doing something (productive?) with his countless hours Android modding and theming. He has a hot wife, is a father of three, an avid F1 fan, and enjoys watching sports when he can. His current devices include the Nexus 6 and 7 (2103) both running stock roms and may or may not be rooted. You can follow Brooks on Twitter @Brooks_Barnard.

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