The name Alcatel brings memories of a pre-smartphone era filled with an array of colourful, durable devices that were known for their reliability and cheap price points. Enter the smartphone era and many of the names from those days disappeared and/or tried to evolve with the times. Alcatel has also tried from time to time, but with little fanfare.
The French company’s latest device is the Dh899 OneTouch X1. I was excited when I got the cute little box and overcome by nostalgia as I unpacked it. What I found inside was the iPhone 6. I turned it around to double-check and realised it wasn’t a mistake or a prank, thanks to the Alcatel OneTouch logo at the bottom and a mesmerising X design that takes up most of the top side of the phone. It has a nice feel to it, though I had to be extra careful because it’s just 6.9mm thin and weighs a light 140g. But with a 2.5D Dragontail glass front and Gorilla Glass back, the phone is well protected from slips and falls.
The X1 comes with a 5-inch Super AMOLED screen with 720p resolution producing a decent variety of bright and vivid colours. A 13MP camera at the back and 5MP on the front are all you have at your disposal. Phones in the mid-range category give you decent-enough cameras for casual use but more obsessive snappers won’t be too happy.
The OneTouch X1 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 401 chipset with an octa-core CPU that gives it a decent amount of power to perform under most practical situations with lag kicking in when I would task it beyond its obvious limits.
With a 2,150mAh removable battery, I expected to be charging the phone a few times a day but, surprisingly, did not have to.
The OS is built on Android Lollipop and has nothing exceptional about it except it comes preloaded with apps you’re most likely to use and segregated into folders, which I found quaint. Otherwise it was fluid and provided a decent user experience.
However, Alcatel has done nothing to stand out from the crowd with the OneTouch X1 and has to compete with bigger names packing better features at similar price points. The company needs to do a lot more to make a significant impact in what is an already saturated market.