Alcatel Idol 3 (5.5) and Idol 3 (4.7) review: Two phones, one soul

The Alcatel Idol 3 name is shared between two smartphones that couldn’t be any different. Announced during MWC 2015, one is a 5.5-inch behemoth, while the other is a more than pocketable 4.7-inch device. And as luck would have it, we got to review both concurrently, but in different spots in the world.

Alcatel Idol 3

Both devices should be available worldwide, but Alcatel will be using the Alcatel Idol 3 to start a proper offensive on the US market. The Alcatel Idol 3 (5.5) is the company’s boldest entry there to date, aiming to bring style, a rich feature set and value in the upper mid-range segment. It comes with 1080p screen resolution and a Snapdragon 615 chipset. So we got to review this one on US soil.

The other one, the The Alcatel Idol (4.7) is the more affordable of the two and it’s no surprise it comes with lesser hardware. It’s got the same camera as its bigger sibling, but it has a 720p only resolution screen and a Snapdragon 410 chipset. It’s the mini in the duo and it’s aiming at the lower midrange spectrum of the market. We got to review one in our European HQ.

A quick glance at the long list of features of both phones shows Alcatel means business with its latest products. With IPS screens, dual speakers, 13MP Sony IMX214 main cameras, and lightly customized Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and sleek exteriors they certainly leave the right impression. Both come with the industry first fully reversible design meaning you can talk on either of them holding it with either way up. Not only the UI, but also the active speaker and mic combo will happily rotate to accommodate your preference even mid-call.

Alcatel Idol 3 (5.5) key features

  • Optional dual-SIM variant in select markets
  • Reversible phone design
  • 5.5″ 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS display with 401ppi; adaptive color and contrast enhancement (Technicolor Color Enhance)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with a custom UI by Alcatel
  • Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex A53 & quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex A53 CPU; Adreno 405 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM; 16GB of built-in memory (32GB for the dual-SIM model); microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
  • 13MP Sony IMX214 main camera with 1080p video capture and digital stabilization; optional manual controls; 8MP front-facing unit with 1080p video recording
  • Cat. 4 LTE (Up to 150Mbps); HSPA (up to 42.2 Mbps download); dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.1; NFC; FM radio
  • 2,910mAh battery
  • 1.2W front-facing stereo speakers (JBL endorsed)
  • Comes bundled with a JBL headset

Alcatel Idol 3 (4.7) key features

  • Optional dual-SIM variant in select markets
  • Reversible phone design
  • 4.7″ 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) IPS display with 312ppi; adaptive color and contrast enhancement (Technicolor Color Enhance)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with a custom UI by Alcatel
  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU; Adreno 306 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM; 16GB of built-in memory (32GB for the dual-SIM model); microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
  • 13MP Sony IMX214 main camera with 1080p video capture and digital stabilization; optional manual controls; 5MP front-facing unit with 1080p video recording
  • Cat. 4 LTE (Up to 150Mbps); HSPA (up to 42.2 Mbps); Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; NFC; FM radio
  • 2000mAh battery
  • 1.2W front-facing stereo speakers (JBL endorsed)
  • Comes bundled with a JBL headset

Main disadvantages for both

  • Awkward power button placement but has double tap to wake
  • Battery is not user-replaceable
  • Alcatel’s custom user interface might not fit all tastes

Despite their budget-friendly nature, the Alcatel Idol 3 duo covers all the bases in terms of hardware features – even more so for the bigger phone. The 5.5″1080p IPS display ensures that the handset punches above its weight in this department. The smaller one may have lower pixel density but it’s still gorgeous to look at.

Alcatel Idol 3Alcatel Idol 3Alcatel Idol 3Alcatel Idol 3
Both Alcatel Idol 3 models look the same despite the size difference

The stereo speakers are a particularly welcome feature in the mid-range segment. Coupled with the large and crisp display, they ensure that the Idol 3 will be a highly capable platform for consuming media content and gaming.

As always, we will kick off our review with unboxing, followed by design and build quality inspection. Head over to the next page for a closer look at the smartphones.

TAGS: ,

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *