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Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra Review: It’s All About Style

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra: It's all about style!
Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra: It’s all about style!

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra Review

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra caught the attention of a lot of people worldwide because it appeared on the Hollywood blockbuster hit, Iron Man 3. Not only that, it also boasted of being the thinnest smartphone in the world (at the time it was announced). It also doesn’t hurt that the internals are pretty respectable and that it had a gorgeous 4.7-inch AMOLED screen with HD 720p display quality.

Here’s a quick refresher on the full specs. By the way, just in case you haven’t read our initial impressions and unboxing post about this device you might want to click here.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra Spec Sheet

  • 1.2GHz Dual-core Processor (Mediatek 6577)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB Internal Storage
  • 4.7-inch AMOLED screen, Corning Gorilla Glass with Oleophobic coating
  • HD 720p display, 1280 x 720 pixels
  • 8.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 1.3-megapixels front-facing camera
  • Can record HD video 720p (front and back)
  • WiFi b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with AGPS support
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 1,800mAh Battery
  • 3.5mm jack to micro USB adaptor*
  • SRP: Php14,990

Read on for our full review!

Form Factor: Absolutely Stunning

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra shines the most in the style and design department. The device has a smooth black matte finish at the back and the front is fully made of Corning Gorilla Glass. Ports have covers so that it looks like one solid block of polycarbonate. The most impressive thing about it though are the measurements. The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra is just 6.45mm thick, truly making it one of the thinnest Android smartphones in the world today.

Just so you get a feel of how thin this is check out the two photos below:

Ridiculously thin at 6.45mm
Ridiculously thin at 6.45mm
Almost a deadly weapon, hehe
Almost a deadly weapon, hehe

In order to achieve this level of thinness though they had to make one big sacrifice — there’s no dedicated audio jack. If you want to listen to your music or to the audio of your videos with your earphones/headphones you’ll need to use the micro USB to audio jack converter cable that comes in the box. If you have trained ears (which means you’re an audiophile) you’ll probably notice a slight decrease in the audio quality. Personally I felt that the mids were more recessed but I’m not sure if that’s because of the converter or the audio player in the device. Note though that we’re just nitpicking here and to the average ear there probably won’t be any major difference.

Awesome screen!
Awesome screen!

The device continues to rack up more points in the Style category with their screen. First we have to mention that they used Corning Gorilla Glass. That makes it more scratch resistant but we wouldn’t go as far and say that you should totally skip having a screen protector installed. Note that it is scratch RESISTANT and NOT scratch PROOF. There’s a big difference in the two words, hehe. Anyway, the 4.7-inch screen looks gorgeous and it continues to look awesome when you turn it on.

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra uses AMOLED technology for the screen which gives out more vibrant and lively colors as opposed to TFT screens. It’s also no slouch when it comes to the quality of the display as it has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (720p HD). Images and text all come out crisp, clear, and very detailed.

To summarize — the excellent screen is the perfect companion to the sleek form factor. Two thumbs up.

Performance is okay, not excellent but not bad

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra is powered by a dual-core MediaTek processor, 1GB RAM, and runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The big question is if this set-up can adequately handle the muscle needed for a 720p HD display on a 4.7-inch screen. For the most part the answer is yes. There were occasional rare lags and memory heavy apps took a while to load but they were forgivable.

IMG_5106

IMG_5107

Based on the benchmark test the One Touch Idol Ultra is in the same league as the Galaxy Nexus and Kindle Fire for international brands. Locally it actually has higher scores than the Cherry Mobile Omega HD and the Starmobile Diamond. How do these numbers translate in various usage scenarios?

Gaming

We tried several games on the One Touch Idol Ultra and it was able to handle most of them without any major problem. We tested a variety of titles ranging from hardcore to casual including zombie FPS Dead Trigger, NBA 2k13, Candy Crush, and Wild Blood.

Favorite game to test smartphones -- Dead Trigger!
Favorite game to test smartphones — Dead Trigger!

The loading time takes a while but once the game starts going you shouldn’t have too much problems. We did encounter some lag spikes though when the zombies started filling up the stage in Dead Trigger.

Social Networking

Built for social networking!
Built for social networking!

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Intsagram, LinkedIn, and all other social networking apps run smoothly on the Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra. There were rarely any lags and that’s to be expected since the dual-core processor combined with the 1GB RAM and the optimizations brought about by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean were made to make the over-all Android experience more seamless and fluid. We get that on the Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra.

By the way, please do follow Unbox on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. 😛

Watching Videos

Regardless if you’re watching 720p videos on YouTube or stuff that you’ve downloaded into the Idol Ultra, they will all look spectacular on its 4.7-inch AMOLED HD display. The form factor also comes out to be a huge plus when watching long videos since the device is so easy to hold with one hand without your arm tiring.

That's the Unbox Podcast on YouTube! Lol.
That’s the Unbox Podcast on YouTube! Lol.

We watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones on this… and yeah we were all shocked as hell with what happened. George RR Martin, author of the book, is now officially one of the most hated men in the world, hahaha!

Reading Articles and e-Books

Rappler on the One Touch Idol Ultra
Rappler on the One Touch Idol Ultra

The 4.7-inch screen and the lightweight and thin form factor also delivers an exceptional reading experience especially if you use the various reader apps like Flipboard, Pulse, or even the customized-per-site apps like Rappler, InterAksyon, and The Verge. All the text look solid and crisp.

By the way we’ve been getting a lot of requests for an Unbox Android app. While we can’t mention any specifics yet we can definitely say that we’re working on it. Stay tuned for further announcements!

Camera

The Alcate One Touch Idol Ultra packs an 8-megapixel shooter at the back with auto-focus and LED flash. We took some sample shots to share with you guys below. As you’ll see it pretty much is average in terms of picture quality due to the color reproduction.

View from our condo window
View from our condo window
Cat ring holder. Cute eh?
Cat ring holder. Cute eh?
Fluffy slippers FTW
Fluffy slippers FTW
Home work desk. Notice how the camera is having a hard time with the light at the background
Home work desk. Notice how the camera is having a hard time with the light at the background

Then again you can’t really put big optics in such a small and thin device. We think this is one of the trade-offs as well for the 6.45mm thickness. Don’t get us wrong though, the photos aren’t bad. They’re just not above average as we hoped they would be, hehe. 😛

Battery Life

Now this is where we were all surprised. You’d think 1,800mAH would be bad but for some reason the Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra can actually go the distance. Standard battery life for smartphones with moderate to heavy usage is around 7-8 hours. We got around 9-10 hours with the Idol Ultra with the same usage. We’ll verify this some more in the next week and edit this post should we find any changes. For now though we’re pretty satisfied with it.

Verdict

Should you buy it?
Should you buy it?

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra is priced at Php14,990 which puts it on the higher end of the price spectrum compared to the other offerings with the same internals. That said, what you’re really paying for here is the engineering and design that went into the form factor which in turn enhances the over-all smartphone experience. It’s a simply gorgeous and beautiful gadget that will always be a great conversation piece each time you take it out.

If you’re in the market for a stylish and unique day-to-day smartphone (sans heavy gaming), then you might want to consider the Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra. If you’re after more muscle though then you might want to take a look at the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD which we will also be reviewing on Unbox soon. 🙂

 

 

Disclaimer: Alcatel Philippines is an advertiser on Unbox.ph.

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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2 Comments

  1. been using that smart phone for months… napasin ko pag naka data connection ako mabilis tlaga ma_lowbat tapos pag naka charge while downloading nag iisnooze n masyado daw nag iinit ung battery and sobrang nag iinit ung battery while playing dead trigger…ang maganda lng yung design…

  2. for you, ano un phone ang pinaka maganda and performance based on specs, price (say, below 15k) and battery life?

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