It is very rare to find a phone from Alcatel lying around. I always got that smirk look from people whenever they saw me with an Alcatel phone. “Do they still make phones?”, “Oh yes they do”, my reply every time. What we have here is the 5.5″ version of the Alcatel Idol 3 – there’s a lesser specced 4.7″ version. This phone comes in a uniquely designed slim plastic body and feels good in the hand. Come along with us in this Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review.
Question is, Why should you buy this phone? Do you think Alcatel still has what it takes to please the masses? Our review will show you all the facets, while the buying decision is left for you to make. See the full specifications sheet of this device HERE and our full Unboxing Photos HERE.
- Vibrant 5.5 inch HD Display.
- Lightweight plastic design.
- Awesome JBL Stereo sound quality.
- Occasional stuttering.
- Under sampled camera pixel.
Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review: Hardware/Design
You rarely see a phone made of plastic all round and yet it looking elegant. You might mistake the body for metal, but the light weight will tell you otherwise. All the same, this phone has a premium design. Two plastic silver bands lie around the perimeter of this phone. The edges are rounded too. All this adds to its beauty and sleekness.
At the front, you find the dual stereo speakers (top and bottom). The bezels here are slim, with the notification light on the top left side. The front camera is on the opposite side (slightly close to the middle), then beside it, the sensors. Alcatel did well to slice in two mic on this phone. Hence, you can place the phone anyhow to take calls, without affecting clarity. On top you find the 3.5 mm headphone jack, and at the bottom you see the USB v2.0 port.
The volume rockers are found on the left hand side, while on the right you see the power button. Below that is the SIM Tray, with SIM 2 slot doubling as a Micro SD card slot. Of all phones I’ve used, the Alcatel Idol 3 is the best designed plastic phone. I give it that credit.
4G LTE Compatibility
We tried out both Smile 4G and Ntel 4G SIM cards in the Idol 3. Neither picked up a network inside the phone.
Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review: Software
What we have here is something very close to Stock Android. The Settings and Notifications pages, are very similar if not the same. There are a little kinks and additions here and there. You can activate gestures like Double tap to wake, Turn over to Mute, etc. You can also control the notification lights, lock screen and flip cover.
The launcher is themed a bit differently. When you swipe to the left side of the screen, a page opens. From here you can set the weather, check calendar, and even change wall paper. A few apps came pre-installed here, good thing is, you can uninstall them.
Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review: Display & Camera
This phone has a stunning, super sharp display. The color reproduction is excellent. Viewing angles and sunlight legibility are top notch. No matter how you tilt the phone, everything still turns out clear and vivid.
The Alcatel Idol 3 carries a 13 MP camera at the back, which does a decent job. I noticed, when the camera is set at 16:9, the megapixels is reduced to 10 MP. Image output in well lit conditions are really great. On some occasions, the phone struggles to focus on objects. Here we have an 8 MP selfie camera that takes very good selfies. Instagram users and Snapchat lovers will have a swell time with this. Also note the lens doesn’t cover a wide angle.
I compared this phone with the 8 MP lens of the BlackBerry Z10. Below are Night shots taken from both devices. You be the judge:
Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review: Multimedia:
I can boldly and confidently tell you that the Alcatel Idol 3 is a fantastic multimedia phone. The (dual- stereo) speakers here are not only loud, but very fine-tuned. Alcatel paired up with JBL to work on the sound in this phone. It also came shipped with JBL earphones. You will enjoy music on this phone – both on the speakers or through earphones. Watching videos on this phone is equally good, blame the clear display and pure sound.
Multitasking / Performance:
This device is a performer. On it, you can glide through apps and return to them – just like you would expect from a 2 GB RAM device. But despite being powered by a Snapdragon 615 chip, this phone still stutters occasionally, while playing a heavy game or when you try to multitask for long periods. Below are bench mark results from Antutu Benchmark, GeekBench and Quadrant.
- AnTuTu: 32,728/33,023
- GeekBench 3: 654/652 Single-Core, 2,321/2,308 Multi-Core
- Quadrant: 10,393/10,751
Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review: Battery life
This aspect isn’t the major high point of this phone, neither is it the lowest. The 2910 mAh battery here can take you through one day of average use. But for power users, you can extract up to 8 hours of heavy pressing. With 2 SIM cards installed and steady 3G, plus 3 hours of hotspot, steady chatting and emails syncing, I was able to hit 8 hours of usage before the battery went down. SOT (Screen-On-Time) was 4 hours.
Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review: Miscellaneous
I discovered the phone supports USB OTG. The phone generally doesn’t heat up during usage. You can peg to 3G (WCDMA), though you can’t peg to 4G. Double Tap to Wake also works excellently on this device. Call clarity here is very audible. The review unit was the 32 GB model, but we got 25 GB usable. This phone has notification light that emitted only white color.
Alcatel Idol 3 5.5 Review: Wrap Up
The Alcatel Idol 3 is one hell of a phone, and it is hard to hold anything against it. If you love exclusivity, this phone will offer you that, because this is one device you won’t see in people’s hands – especially in this part of the world. That aside, the awesome audio experience, great display, capable battery, and good performance, are all among the things that make this phone stand out.
I call her “The Dainty Mistress”, because of what she offers. You catch that feeling with this phone by your side. If you love it lightweight and yet powerful, this should be your port of call.