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My opinion in this review is based on the Alcatel OT-222 I had and only used for 3 weeks before giving up and buying another phone. I would like to give Alcatel the benefit of the doubt as I have used other models of Alcatel phones in the past without any major problems and while I hope that mine might have been just an unlucky example of this model the fact that out of the 9 phones we were given only 2 of them are still in use 6 months later probably speaks for itself.
I have nothing against cheap phones especially for work and at the moment the phone I am using for work is a cheap Samsung with no fancy stuff which cost me £15 but it works, does what I need it to do and usually survives if I drop it. I ended up with the Alcatel after my boss decided against giving us top ups for our old work mobiles and thoughtfully provided us all with contract sim cards. This was great apart from the fact the new sims were on a different network which meant replacing our previous Nokia phones.
The new shiny phones arrived and we were all handed an Alcatel OT 222 we really shouldn't complain a free phone is a free phone but to be fair we had just replaced our perfectly working ancient Nokias with the mobile equivalent of of a baked bean can on a piece of string.
The Alcatel just looks like any other low cost clamshell phone with a plastic outer casing which is available in different colours Pink,Grey and black judging by the selection we were sent.When you open it up there's a coloured screen which although small is clear and easy to read. Navigation through the limited functions is easy there's a simple picture icon menu for settings,calls,contacts,games etc controlled by a 4 directional pad and a central OK button. The numerical buttons are quite small and the ones on mine had to be pressed quite firmly to get them to work not a major problem for calling but this meant any texts I needed to send for work ended up being done from my own phone as it was faster than using this
Obviously there's no camera on this but for entertainment factor if you're really bored there's Java games and an FM radio but that's about it I can't say I even bothered trying this to see if it worked. The phone comes with a rather dismal selection of built in polyphonic ringtones and also vibration alert which you will probably be glad of after hearing the ringtone selection.
The worst thing I found with this phone was the sound quality during calls. Call quality on my one is as bad as it gets and is the reason I gave up using this after around 3 weeks. The sound on most calls could best be described as someone drowning in a bowl of rice crispies with a duvet over their head which in turn left me calling people back on my personal phone so I could hear what they were trying to tell me.
The Alcatel clamshell design is a pain in the neck to anyone who does a lot of driving especially as my built in handsfree kit doesn't work with it due to no bluetooth and the clamshell design makes holding the phone in the handsfree cradle impossible if you want to use it with a wired headset in the car. This lead to missed calls from the office and customers as I refused to even try and answer this while I was driving.
Build quality isn't great although it would probably be ok if you hardly ever use your mobile. The clam shell design is useful for protecting the phone in a bag or pocket but when used constantly the clamshell becomes loose and most of ours were a bit loose and wonky after a few weeks of use.
The good things about this phone are it's small and fits in a pocket easily, the charger is a mini USB so it will charge from most Sat Nav cables which saves buying a car charger. Battery life is good and seems to last forever I charged it around twice a week if I remembered but unfortunately good battery life doesn't make up for the rest of the problems.
On the plus side my 5 year old niece quite likes having this in her toy box and apparently there's no problem with call quality when used without a battery or sim card to call imaginary friends up and invite them to parties in her wendy house!
If I hadn't experienced the call quality problems I would've probably recommended this for anyone requiring a cheap basic phone it is easy to use and would be ideal for the elderly or anyone who hates messing around with new technology and just needs to make calls. Sadly because of the call quality this isn't really worth the fiver my cheapskate boss later admitted he paid for it so unless they give you a 10 quid top up at the same time I'd say £5 is too much to part with for this.
The current price of this is around £10 to £15 which is cheap but for the same money there are basic phones available from Nokia,Samsung and other Alcatel models which in my experience are better phones than this.