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Alcatel One Touch Idol S review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £130
inc VAT

A great-value 4G smartphone with fantastic battery life


Android 4.2.2, 4.7in 1,280×720 display

Alcatel may not be the most well-known smartphone manufacturer, but as we found out at this year’s Mobile World Congress, the company is looking to make a big push into the UK market over the next few years. One of the first models spearheading this drive is the One Touch Idol S, and the phone’s impressive specification certainly makes a good first impression. Even better is the price. At £130 SIM-free, this is a credible rival to our budget favourite, the Motorola Moto G.

Alcatel One Touch Idol S

The Idol S is just 7.4mm thick and weighs just 110g, which helps make it a far more desirable piece of kit than most phones this cheap. We weren’t disappointed with the phone’s build quality, either. It felt just as well made as the tough-feeling Moto G when we held them in each hand. Our review sample had a fairly uninspiring grey soft touch finish on the rear panel, but it’s also available in red and cherry colours for an extra splash of personality. There aren’t as many accessories and different cases available for the Idol S as for the Moto G, but we’d happily trade in some customisability for the Idol S’s slimmer, lighter chassis.

Alcatel One Touch Idol S

Alcatel One Touch Idol S Display

The phone’s 4.7in IPS display certainly has the quality to match the handset’s classy chassis, and is a cut above your average budget smartphone screen. With a resolution of 1,280×720 pixels, the screen has a pixel density of 312 pixels-per-inch (PPI), helping text, web pages and app tray icons look perfectly sharp and crisp. The screen has deep blacks and impressive contrast levels, but the screen is slightly cool; whites had a noticeable blueish tinge when we compared the phone side by side with the Moto G. Admittedly, colours in darker shots didn’t pop out of the screen quite as much as on the Moto G, but in general use the display still looked vibrant; it’s a great screen for the price.

Alcatel One Touch Idol S

Alcatel One Touch Idol S Chipset

The phone’s dual-core 1.2GHz MediaTek MT6577 chipset had no problems running Android 4.2.2; the operating system felt snappy and responsive. We noticed a slight amount of hesitation when swiping through homescreens when we first turned the phone on, but once it was up and running, web browsing was smooth, even on complicated web pages with plenty of nested comments. We found the phone’s default web browser was smoother when surging the web than Google Chrome. With its default browser, the Idol S completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in 1,265ms, compared to 1,787ms in Chrome.

The Idol S can just about handle 3D graphics, but it may not be able to run the latest 3D games very smoothly or at the highest detail levels. Real Racing 3, which sets its detail levels automatically, loaded up with low detail, but ran reasonably well with only an occasional stutter and slowdown. In the 3D Mark Ice Storm test, the Idol S managed a score of 4,400, which is around average for a budget smartphone.

The phone’s battery life was fantastic. The Idol S only has a 2,000mAh battery, which is smaller than the Moto G’s pack, but we still saw an impressive 9 hours and 43 minutes in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to half brightness. This is almost thirty minutes longer than the Moto G, and should be enough to get you through the day on a single charge, with some room to spare.

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AwardBudget Buy


Main display size4.7in
Native resolution1,280×720
CCD effective megapixels8-megapixel
Internal memory2048MB
Memory card supportmicroSD
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/2100, LTE 800/900/1800/2600
Wireless dataGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, LTE


Operating systemAndroid 4.2.2
Microsoft Office compatibilityPDF viewer
FM Radioyes
Accessoriesheadset, charger, data cable
Talk time8.5 hours
Standby time29 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£130
Price on contract0
Prepay price£99

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