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Review: Alcatel OneTouch Idol X

- March 31st, 2014

Before trying out the Idol X, I had never used an Alcatel OneTouch phone before.  In fact, I knew very little about the phones and TCL, the company that makes them.  So I wasn’t sure what to expect from a phone of a less recognizable brand than say, a Samsung, LG or HTC product.

But the Idol X makes quite an impression.

The phone uses a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor with 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot which can expand it by 32 GB.

This puts the Idol X in the middle of high-end smartphones, as most high-end phones nowadays come with at 16 GB of internal storage and the top-tier ones are rated faster. (For example, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One have quad-core processors with clockspeeds of 2.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz, respectively.)

That being said, the Idol X is still a fast device.  The phone runs on Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2) so it’s not the most recent version of the OS. But it has a clean interface that’s quick to respond and apps load quickly.

And it’s easy to carry and use. Although its flat edges make it a little boxy, at 6.9 mm thick, the Idol X is thinner than both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5S. In fact, it makes it one of the thinnest phones on the market today. And at 130 g, it is also one of the lighter phones available. (Though, here the 5S beats it – as it’s only 112 g.)

But the real draw is the camera. The Idol X comes with a front-facing 13 MP camera, which doesn’t compare to a couple of phones currently available, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020,the Sony Xperia Z1, or even the S5, but it still a more powerful camera than on most smartphones.

Plants

As you can see in this rather banal shot I took of sad-looking plants in my house, the default colour balance and exposure makes for a relatively clean and crisp image.

The front-facing camera is only 2 MP but is still capable of taking decent selfie, provided there is enough light.

Both cameras are also capable of shooting video, the main camera at 1080p. Though, the quality here is a little worse. The image is generally darker and more pixellated and the sound recording has a little feedback but it’s generally clear.

The 140.4 mm x 67.5 mm x 6.9 mm phone uses a 1,920×1,080 IPS LCD display which presents a reasonably clear image, though not always the most vivid. The colours on the Idol X are not as a bold as the more vibrant displays of an iPhone or Galaxy phone.

Videos also tended to look a little washed out at times and sometimes even a bit pixellated, but the sound quality is generally good.

And this strong sound quality extends to both music playback and phone conversations as well. When it comes to making calls, the sound quality is great. Both ends of the conversation are clear, provided the other phone isn’t a dud.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol X

Alcatel OneTouch Idol X. (Supplied)

The Idol X comes with a 2,000 mAh battery which can supposedly offer up to 20 hours of talk time (when running on an outdated 2G network, that is). Though, Bell, which my review model was provided through, promises a more realistic nine hours of talk time on its 4G network and 16 days of power when on standby. And in my own experience with the phone, that seems to be more accurate.

So while the Idol X is not the most powerful phone around, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a solid, versatile smartphone for a reasonably price. Available through Bell and Virgin, you can get it for free at both with a two-year plan or for just under $250 before taxes – which is significantly cheaper than most comparable phones.

"Review: Alcatel OneTouch Idol X", out of 5 based on 1 ratings.
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5 comments

  1. Steve | March 31, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Just a note: ALCATEL ONETOUCH is an entirely different company than Alcatel-Lucent. ALCATEL ONETOUCH is the mobile division of parent company TCL. Alcatel-Lucent does not manufacture cell phones. They can be followed on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ALCATELONETOUCHCanada) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/alcatelotcanada)

  2. Adam Swimmer | March 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks. I have made a correction to the story.

  3. Greg Gazin | March 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Adam, I’m just playing with the Nokia Lumina 625 another phone for the entry level price-point market. Will have to compare specs. I likely won’t take any pictures of my plants, they’re sadder, more “leafless” and lifeless than yours. :)

  4. Muhammed Moinul Islam Sohag | May 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Dear Adam Swimmer,
    Thanks for your review.

    I want to know two facts about this phone.
    Can I make operator based video call (3G-324M;not client based like skype/fring ) by this set ?
    Does this phone become over heated on prolong usage ?

    Take care.

  5. Adam Swimmer | May 24, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Hi Muhammed. I tested out the phone awhile ago, but as far as I can remember, I didn’t have any overheating issues while using the phone. It may have got a little warm over time, but nothing worse than most phones on the market.

    As for video calls, you can certainly use any Android app to make the call. As for making them independently of a third-party app, I believe so, but you’d likely need to add the feature to your plan on Bell or Virgin.

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