Alcatel’s Best Offering To Date
When Alcatel announced their new smartphone offerings the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD stood out the most. The 5-inch HD phablet packed a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, Android Jelly Bean, HSPA+ (3.5G) connectivity, and even a big 2,500 battery! The price also wasn’t too bad at just Php13,490.
Here’s a quick rundown of the specifications as a refresher for everyone:
Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD Spec Sheet
- 1.2GHz Quad-core CPU (Mediatek)
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD Card
- 5.0-inch IPS Screen, Dragontrail Glass, Oleophobic coating
- HD Display, 1280 x 720 pixels
- 8.0-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED Flash
- 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
- WiFi b/g/n, WiFI Hotspot, HSPA+, GPS with AGPS, Bluetooth 4.0
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- 2,500mAh Battery
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- SRP: Php13,490
Based on the spec sheet alone the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD appears to be Alcatel’s best offering to date. It’s interesting though that they priced it lower than the Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra. Anyway, we’ve been playing around with a unit for the last week or so. Read on for our review!
Hardware: Thin, Sleek, and Lightweight
Despite the formidable internals and the seemingly daunting 5-inch phablet form factor, the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD maintains a slim and compact form factor. At the front we have 5-inch Dragontrail scratch-resistant glass. At the back we have a smooth black matte finish. All the ports (including micro SIM slots and microSD), buttons, and controls are located on the sides as this device doesn’t have a removable back cover.
The form factor of the device lends itself to being manageable and actually comfortable to use even with one hand thanks to the thinness and the weight. This, we think, should be the standard already for phablets.
Display quality is also ace. The HD Display (1280 x 720 pixels) delivers stunning detail in images and crispness in text. Colors are vibrant and sharp. Definitely ideal for watching HD (720P) content while on the go or if you’re just at bed and you’re too lazy to go to the TV.
We also appreciate that Alcatel went one step further and applied Oleophobic coating to the glass screen. This reduces fingerprints and smudges tremendously and even gives a better touchscreen experience all together. These are features you’d expect from 18k and up phones so this is definitely something that we like about the Scribe HD.
If there’s one thing that worries us with the physical construction of the Scribe HD, it’s the placement of the rear-facing camera. It protrudes too much and it will definitely get scratched or damaged if you always have it on it’s back on rough surfaces.
Fortunately Alcatel came up with a solution for that with a freebie they included in the box.
Magnetic Flip Cover comes free in the box
A black magnetic flip cover (made of TPU material) comes with the package. It magnetically aligns and attaches itself to the side of the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD. With the cover on it makes for sense to have it face down on surfaces since you want to protect the lens of the rear-facing camera.
One thing we found weird though is that Alcatel put the micro USB port on the side that is hidden when the cover is closed. This means that if you want to charge the device you’ll need to have it open or you’ll have to remove it completely. It’s not really a big issue, we’re just nitpicking, hehe.
Speaking of freebies, the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD also came with a custom screen protector (clear type) and a capacitive stylus. Not bad right? You get everything you need in the box already.
Software Performance: Impressive, fast, and smooth!
The Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD scored 13,000+ on the Antutu Benchmark Test (a third party app that measures over-all performance of a smartphone and compares it to other devices). This puts it on the same league as the Google Nexus 7 and 10 while being a notch lower than the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note II. Considering this is priced at just Php13,000 that’s pretty impressive.
In real life usage the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD delivers a near flawless Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience. Transitions and animations are fluid and smooth, barely with any traces of lag. We did notice though that heavy apps tend to take longer to load but once they’re running they do so without any problems. Throughout our testing we were using a Live Wallpaper so it was good to see that the device held up despite the memory hoggers running in the background.
Here are some more observations about the different case scenarios in using the phone.
Good for Gaming
The Scribe HD was able to handle most, if not all, of the games we threw at it. Again the only thing we noticed was that it tends to take a while to load the app but once it’s there we barely felt any issues with performance. NBA 2k13, Wild Blood, Dead Trigger, Candy Crush, Temple Run, Angry Birds, etc., you name it and it pretty much worked without a hitch.
Over-all gaming experience was also enhanced thanks to the gorgeous 5-inch HD screen. It was also easy to control due to the slim and light form factor.
Note taking app using stylus
The Scribe HD has a note taking/scribbling/drawing app called Scribe HD. Ideally this is for use with a stylus but it was still fairly responsive and accurate even if we just used our fingers. It’s a pretty straightforward app. You open it, you open a page, and then you just write. It’s kinda like the S Note of the Galaxy Note but without any of the fluff.
Perfect for reading, social networking, and the usual stuff
Speaking of the form factor, the Scribe HD is perfect for reading apps like Flipboard, Pulse, and news/blog apps. The HD resolution delivers crisp and clear text while the huge display gives you a big enough canvass to enjoy reading and checking out the images.
Note from the Editor: We’re currently working on the Unbox Android and iOS apps. Watch out for it in two months. :-)
This is also the same experience you get with social networking apps. It’s perfect for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even Google+ if you’re into that, hehe.
For browsing we suggest you just skip the default browser app and download Chrome.
Camera: Average Photo Quality, good stock photo editing app
The 8.0-megapixel shooter of the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD is pretty much standard fare. It’s not bad but it’s not impressive either. Here are a few sample shots that we took while we were in Tagaytay during the weekend. You’ll notice that the camera has some problems with the exposure and white balance.
What’s good about it though is that the camera app has HDR and even good photo editing features. There are even built-in filters that you can use (we don’t know if you’ll use ’em though since you’ll probably use Filters of Instagram).
Battery Life: It can go the distance
The 2,500mAh battery of the Scribe HD is more than enough for moderate – heavy users. Even with 3G and Sync on plus browsing, e-mail, calls, texts, and a few minutes of gaming now and then, the Scribe HD usually lasted us 13-14 hours before getting to 0%. With light usage it went on for more than a day.
When it comes to battery life, the Scribe HD will go the distance.
Verdict: It’s a solid, durable, everyday workhorse and entertainment phablet
Everything taken into consideration, we can give the Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD our stamp of approval. It delivers a near-flawless Android experience thanks to the powerful internals and the gorgeous HD and spacious 5-inch display. The over-all package also gives more value for money as it comes bundled already with the magnetic flip cover, capacitive stylus, and even a screen protector.
The Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD is already out in the market today. Just visit any Alcatel kiosk or store in the malls (there’s one in SM Megamall Cyberzone).