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I bought this phone as a backup for when my Blackberry Curve 8520 broke, for £40 on O2 including a £10 top up. I thought it would be a good backup because it has the similar QWERTY keyboard which I prefer to use rather than a touch-screen phone. It is small and compact with no buttons on the sides which could be pressed on accident while in my pocket.
The screen is rather small which is a downside, as I like to have big screens on my phones but as a backup phone I can't really complain. The Alcatel's 640x480 pixel camera is to be quite honest, terrible. The screen on the camera also means that the pictures are tiny and the resolution is awful. Filming anything on the camera is pretty much pointless as the videos are very short. When I put a memory card into the phone it was hard to find where the files were and not all of my pictures would load onto the phone, however this was not really too much of a problem because I could see the pictures on my laptop.
The were two games already installed onto the phone, one called 'Chicken' and another 'Panda'. Both simple and easy to play, however what I really wanted were apps that I could download. Unfortunately this cannot be done due to there not being an app store for Alcatel and it not being a smart phone. There were some pre-installed applications such as a converter, timer, stopwatch, alarm, notes and others, which in fairness were rather useful. The ringtones are also quite entertaining.
Last but not least; internet. This was one of the reasons I bought this phone because I am a regular internet user and like to keep up to date with my social networking. The interface on the internet was very basic however, and everything was very simple and difficult to navigate. One problem that I was most frustrated by, was scrolling using the 'down button'. This was irritating as every time you wanted to see more of the page you had to press the button and if you wanted to scroll quickly, the button had to be pressed repeatedly and the phone was not always as quick to respond to your demand.
I shouldn't have really expected too much of such a cheap phone, but if you do not use the internet as much as I do then it's good value for money and does the job. Do not expect too much of this phone, if you don't use the internet or camera much then this is the phone for you.
I am currently using this phone as my main mobile. I have never really liked using more expensive phones as they can be quite a nightmare if lost and are usually extremely fragile. I have found with this phone that it can take a lot of punishment that a more expensive phone (upwards to £50) cannot. It has fell out of my pocket on many occasions and apart from the back of the case coming off and the battery falling out, it has remained in perfect condition, always working perfectly when put back togather. It is a perfect phone if you want it to serve its purpose of calling and texting people. It can be a little slow when texting at times though with anywhere between a 10th of a second to 2 seconds delay between character but for the price, it is fantastic value for money. Any flaws are outweighed by the extremely cheap price tag, making it one of the best of the market for its price range.
Why did I pick this phone?
I bought this phone towards the end of last year when my phone was broken and I needed a quick replacement temporarily until I got my Blackberry back. I wanted a simple phone and to be honest I had one in the drawer I could have used but it was locked onto Vodafone and I am on an o2 contract so for the £10 or whatever it would have cost me to unlock it I thought I may aswell just get a new one.
I looked on the usual websites - argos, amazon, tesco etc but couldnt find a great deal within my very limited price range. Well, to be fair there was plenty of options but I am rather picky when it comes to phones. I'm extremely used to a qwerty keypad so found this essential and I also like to have something that at least looks relatively stylish.
I eventually found this phone on ebay and I paid somewhere around the £25 mark but I have heard others say they have bought it for less. The phone looks exactly the same as the one in the picture however mine has a bright metallic blue case which is the primary reason that I picked the phone.
The phone is very basic. You have calling, texting, WAP, camera and thats about all along with a couple of preloaded games and the obligatory calculator etc. It is smaller than your standard Blackberry and I would say its no more than about four inches tall.
It has a 1.8 inch screen and a standard qwerty keypad with rubber buttons. It weighs approx 80g which is very light.
Setting the phone up couldnt be easier. You literally insert the sim card and turn it on and your ready to go. Personally I do like to make the phone my own so I spent half an hour editing ringtones and taking pictures to set as contact pictures etc.
Making calls is so easy. You can either dial the number and then press the green call button, press green and select someone from your recent call list and press green once again to call or select someone from the phone book and press green.
I was really surprised at how crisp and clear the sound quality of this phone was. I used it for a couple of months and never had a problem. You could hear the other person easily and clearly and they too could hear me.
The phone does have a speakerphone which again I found to be of a superb quality and there were never any crackles or problems.
Sending text messages
I am definitely a texter and can easily send 100 a day therefore it was important to me that this was a decent phone where texting was concerned. I was very pleased with this phone and especially liked the keypad. The keys are made from rubber, unlike the Blackberrys which have hard plastic keys. I much preferred the rubber as it made so much less noise when I was texting which is something I am aware of with my Blackberry when I'm in public or with friends.
You have the choice of predictive text or normal text. I did try the predictive a few times but because I was so used to texting on a qwerty keypad I found I was pressing too many buttons and instead was writing the whole world before the phone had had a chance to finish my word for me! Therefore I tended to stick to standard texting. One thing I did find annoying when texting was the difficulty of getting numbers, you had to press control or alt twice before typing a number and this actually took me some time to discover which meant I was left writing messages such as 'your phone bill is thirty six pounds and fifty four p' which was annoying! Symbols on the other hand are easy to use and there is a button on the bottom of the keypad which you press and then select your symbol. The message inbox holds a good amount of text messages and the messages folder can hold about 200. You have the traditional inbox, sent messages etc rather than having the 'conversations' you tend to get these days.
One of the reasons why I chose this phone was because it had a camera. Granted, I knew it wasnt going to be a wonderful one but I am a bit of a picture fan and therefore like to have something on me to capture anything I see as essential! The camera is described as VGA which I assume means that it is just a standard camera. There is a zoom but this blurs easily and there is no flash or special effect options. The camera is ok. If your subject is still its fine as long as its light in the room but if your trying to catch something moving you've got no chance and will just end up with a blurred blob!
The phone also has an FM radio which headphones are provided for. I used this a few times but tend to use the radio on Sky if at home or my car stereo if out however when I did use it I found that the signal was satisfactory, some stations were fuzzier than usual but others were fine. The sound quality was good though.
It does boast an MP3 player which I thinks brilliant for the asking price but I cannot comment on this because I didnt put any music on it. However, the ringtones are MP3 and these sounded crisp, clear and strong.
There are three preloaded games on this phone which are very basic one was a driving game which I did play quite a bit and there was a card game and I think the other was a helicopter game. All of these had very basic graphics but to be honest I did get a little bit addicted to the driving one!
In addition to this you have an organiser, calculator, voice recorder and there is an option to email but I could never get this to work myself.
I was really impressed with the battery life of this phone. The battery lasted 3 days most of the time which, considering I was probably spending 3 or 4 hours a day at least playing games, sending texts, making calls etc I think is great. I found that the phone charged really quickly when plugged in too. The phone is supposed to have a standby time of 450 hours and a talk time of 9 hours. I cannot comment on the standby time but do agree with the talk time.
I used this phone for a couple of months and to be honest I was very impressed. Granted, it doesnt have internet browsing, social networking apps, instant messaging or video player functions like my Blackberry does but it was fine to use as a phone rather than a second computer.
I would definitely recommend it to people either as a spare or for someone who doesnt want a lot of things on their phone. It is a lovely colour and it still looks good as new despite most of my phones tending to get rather battered!