In front of me is the 4.7-inch Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 that just recently went on sale in the US for $180 off-contract. If you remember a few months ago, the 5.5-inch OneTouch Idol 3 went on sale and to this day, it’s one of the best bang for your buck budget smartphones currently on the market. But we are all human. We all have difference, preferences and opinions. The more options, the better to better fit our needs. For those of you who have smaller hands who don’t like larger smartphones and don’t have a ton of money to spend on a smartphone, the 4.7-inch OneTouch Idol 3 is designed with you in mind. So enough talk. Let’s see what this smartphone has to offer.
I’m going to go ahead and set it off to the side for a now so that we can take a look and see what’s included in the box. We have a SIM card ejector tool directly underneath. There’s a Quick Start Guide in a multitude of languages. Alcatel did also include some JBL-certified earphones with removable tips so that these will fit comfortably in your ears. No matter what size your ears are, they will fit; they should fit comfortably. There’s also an included micro USB charging cable of course and a US wall wart here as well. And that’s about it so pretty simple stuff.
Now let’s take a look back at the 4.7-inch Idol 3 and take off all that plastic to undress the smartphone. The plastic cover does mention some specs such as the Hi-Fi audio, 4.7-inch IPS display, LTE, and Android OS of course. I’ll cover all that stuff in detail here in a moment. But this device is pretty small compared to many other smartphones on the market nowadays. And it really is just a smaller version of the 5.5-inch OneTouch Idol 3 from Alcatel.
We have the power/sleep on/off button on the left hand side, the volume rocker on the right hand side, a 3.5mm headphone jack up top and a micro USB charging port on the bottom. The front is home to a 5MP front-facing camera sensor, a 4.7-inch 720p IPS LCD display, and we still have the dual stereo front-facing JBL-certified speakers. It’s really nice to see that they are still very much present on the smaller device.
Flipping the Idol 3 over and we will find the 13MP camera sensor and flash as well as the Idol and Alcatel OneTouch branding. The back cover is pretty much identical to the 5.5-inch Idol 3. It’s a matted plastic back cover and it feels like a very, very soft sand paper almost. The device, as a whole, doesn’t feel like a premium smartphone. We don’t have any metal around the device and the back cover is plastic. But that is really to be expected for a smartphone that costs less than $200. On the plus side, it is very lightweight and it is very thin; coming in at 7.6mm thick.
So the 4.7-inch Idol 3 features a Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM and either 8 or 16GB of internal storage that can be expanded with a microSD card. I can navigate the OS in a fluid manner but when I open apps and truly start multi-tasking, I do start to notice things become choppier and performance starts to slow down significantly. GeekBench 3 gives the 4.7-inch Idol 3 a single-core score near 500 and a multi-core score near 1400. Alcatel does have their own custom skin on top of Android Lollipop and it’s not terribly intrusive. The most radical design change is with the home screen of course. And most specifically, the app icons.
However, you can always change this with a different launcher. This is Android, after all. And best of all, all the beautiful Material Design animations are still very much here. The slide down notification panel and the settings drawer are relatively unchanged from stock Android. Besides double tap to wake, the most convenient Alcatel feature on the 4.7-inch OneTouch Idol 3 is the reversible functionality which allows you to answer phone calls even when the device is upside down. The software will calibrate itself accordingly and there is a mic on the bottom and top of the device so it’s pretty cool, pretty unique. I’ve never seen a feature like this before.
The 720p display is also pretty solid. It’s not terribly vibrant nor doesn’t get very bright. But the 1280x720 resolution crammed inside a 4.7-inch display size is satisfactory. It gets the job done. My favorite feature of this device still has to be the dual stereo front-facing speakers. They sounded great on the 5.5-inch Idol 3 and they sound great on the 4.7-inch Idol 3. Plus they are still very loud. They can get seriously deafening if you turn them up all the way.
In my full review, I’ll be sure to test everything I mentioned in detail as well as the battery life and the camera performance to see if this $180 smartphone is really worth your hard-earned money. If you would like to see an in depth comparison between this device and the bigger 5.5-inch OneTouch Idol 3 or the Moto G 3RD Generation, let me know down below in a comment.