Alcatel Idol X+ review: 8-ball game

Alcatel has been slowly, but steadily making a name for itself for selling affordable, well-made phones throughout the entire price range. This year’s Idol X+ is their flagship and it’s an affordable yet robust product. With an octa-core processor of Mediatek’s MT6592 variety, the X+ is able to throttle as many processor cores as it needs, to balance performance and battery efficiency.

Alcatel Idol X+

The Idol X+ sports the same 5-inch fullHD display of its predecessor, the Idol X, and puts on an extra 500mAh of battery capacity – and dual-SIM support – while adding just 1mm to its thickness. The LCD panel is so close to the surface it’s as if there’s no glass between your fingers and the interface. It also features a minimal amount of side bezels, both facts lending to the premium feel.

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Alcatel Idol X+ official images

But not all of the changes are for the better. To make room for the extra SIM slot, the Idol X+ has lost the microSD card support of its predecessor, and it runs the same aging Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean build.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the key features and disadvantages of Alcatel’s new flagship.

Key features

  • Dual-SIM support
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support; Dual-band 3G with HSPA for both SIM cards
  • 5″ 16M-color 1080p IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
  • Android OS v4.2.1 Jelly Bean
  • Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, 2 GB RAM, Mali-450MP4 GPU, MediaTek MT6592 chipset with eight full-featured cores and individual throttling
  • 13 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, geotagging
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 2 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • 16GB/32GB internal storage
  • microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • 2,500mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Comes bundled with high-quality JBL headphones
  • Optional fitness BoomBand

Main disadvantages

  • Non-replaceable battery
  • No microSD card slot
  • No LTE
  • Android version not quite up-to-date
  • Below average loudspeaker performance
  • Back cover doesn’t feel premium and gets easily smudged and scratched

Until now Alcatel’s strategy for keeping costs down revolved around low internal memory, which was compensated for by the microSD card. With no card slot and only 16GB storage on board of our review unit, things are obviously a bit different this time around, and we’re curious how the 32GB version will be priced and whether it will be as competitive as the other products in the company’s portfolio. That said, the Idol X+ is a package that will certainly ring a bell if you didn’t miss our review of the Alcatel Hero phablet.

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Alcatel Idol X+ in our office

But pricing is something we’ll get to in due time. For now, let’s get things under way with our in-depth hardware examination.

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