Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 unboxing

idol feat

Yesterday I let you know that Alcatel OneTouch was ending its promotional pre-order price of $199, with the promise that I’d share the unboxing video with you as soon as it was finished. It took me a little longer to shoot and edit than I had planned, but, it’s finally here. And it’s shaping up to be a great phone, even at the $249 price point.

Although it won’t be carried officially by T-Mobile (as far as we know), the phone does support all of T-Mobile’s LTE bands. Including band 12 (700MHz).

Key specs include:

  • 5.5-inch 1080×1920 display (443ppi)
  • 64 bit Octa-core Snapdragon 615 chip – 1.5GHz quad + 1GHz quad
  • 13MP rear camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Dual front-facing speakers with JBL audio
  • 16GB storage – expandable to 128GB
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2,910mAh battery (13hrs talktime on 3G)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n

Since starting to film the unboxing I’ve spent probably 20-24 hours with the phone and it’s not given me any cause for concern. To answer one of your questions: The Snapdragon 615 chip doesn’t seem to be heating up any more than usual. In fact, after 10-15 mins of playing Spider-man unlimited, it wasn’t warm at all. Battery life hasn’t been tested enough for any real comment on that, but at 2,910mAh with a 1080p display, I don’t foresee it dying before the work day is out. In fact, with moderate usage, I’d be surprised if it couldn’t last a day and a half. But I’ll find out more on that as I use it more extensively.

Benchmark performance is pretty good too. One the standard Geekbench test, it scored 657 for the single-core score and 2447 for multi-core. That puts it pretty much on-par with the Galaxy S4 for single-core and the Nexus 5 for multi-core performance. In real world use, the device has been smooth switching between apps, although loading content is understandably a little slower than I might be used to with a more powerful flagship smartphone.

As an overall early first impression, I’m pleased with it. It seems like you get a heck of a lot of phone for just $250.

If you’re interested, you can pre-order the Idol 3 direct from Alcatel for $249.

Tags: , , , ,

  • Ben

    WANT. Assuming you have an ‘in’ with the Alcatel press office, can you ask them what the glass LCD cover is made of (Gorilla Glass 2/3/etc.)? I can’t find an answer to that anywhere.

    • brybry

      yea that information would be great. Also any idea if they are making any accessories ( cases , screen protectors etc.. available?

      • benben

        I ordered one yesterday for 199 and i ordered screen protector from amazon for 7$

        • brybry

          can you link me to the one you purchased? was it tempered glass?

        • benben

          SOJITEK Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 5.5″ Premium Anti-Glare Anti-fingerprint Matte Screen Protector [3 Pack] – Lifetime Replacements Warranty + Retail Packaging

    • benben

      I dont think that they aruse gorilla glass for this phone its 199 after all

      • brybry

        looking at the previous idols they used dragontrail and gorilla 2. So hopefully it’s one or the other.

      • Ben

        The $129 moto e has Gorilla Glass 3. The phone doesn’t have to cost $600 to have Gorilla Glass.

        Also, the $199 price for the Idol 3 was early pre-orders. It’s now up to $249 and appears to be headed for $279 around release time.

        • benben

          Not the same spec

        • Fabian Cortez

          Yes it is.

    • Cam Bunton

      I’ve asked. I’ll get back to you when I get an answer.

      • Rachel Beinish

        Hi Cam, I’d love to know the glass answer also. I did preorder and have had my eye on this phone since MWC!

  • brybry

    Cam you have to end all these with “Cheerio” lol

    • JustCruising

      LOL.. that accent is kind of cute.

    • Cam Bunton

      Hahaha. I would, but that’s just taking it a little too far for my liking. ;-)

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Wow….i wish it came in a smaller 5in screen size

    • Aaron Peromsik

      Looks like there is a 4.7 version coming too, but the other specs are downgraded along with the screen size: for example, 1GB RAM, 1.2GHZ Snapdragon 410, 8GB ROM. If they made a 4.7 with the other specs same as the 5.5, I’d buy it.

      • Ben

        Completely agreed, even for a similar price as the 5.5″ model.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        Yea I agree with those specs its not worth it to me

      • Mike

        They don’t won’t the 4.7 competing with its so called flagship

        • Aaron Peromsik

          The only problem is that this way I won’t buy either one. 5.5 is too big for my taste and 4.7 with announced reduced specs is not much of an upgrade over my Moto G. By not competing with their own devices they are leaving people like me to consider devices from their competitors.

        • Mike

          then get another device that fits you sinc me android offers many phones

        • Ben

          Why not make both of them flagships? The iPhone 6 and 6+ have similar sized screens and very similar specs – the only differences I know beyond the obvious ones (screen size, pixels, etc.) of is optical stabilization in the 6+ camera, and a longer lasting battery (likely due to extra room in the 6+).

        • Mike

          Yet there’s nothing competing against iPhones since Apple manufactures its own devices . Android phones have a lot of competition with different manufactures .

    • Cam Bunton

      There’s a 4.7-inch model coming, but it’s not as powerful.

  • Analog Spirit

    I like how it comes SIM-free (unlocked) and supports LTE band 12 straight out of the box. It would be a worthy replacement for my Nexus 5 that I sold last year. For US$250 it looks like an amazing value for the price, and I just might have to go ahead and pick one of these up. My only concern would be the overall size. If it’s similar in overall dimensions to the LG G3 (i.e. with very minimal bezel so not too huge), I’d be fine with it. I do wish it came in more colors (red would be nice) but I could live with the black.

  • Ray

    Is it capable of making Wifi calls?

    • Cam Bunton

      Not as far as I know.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        That was a deal breaker :(

        • Fabian Cortez

          Uh, you only get charged the moment Amazon ships the phone. I believe that’s plenty of time for Google to get into gear to bake Wi-Fi calling into Android.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          What does that matter? Lack of wifi calling out of the box nah no thanks

        • Fabian Cortez

          What does that matter? Lack of wifi calling out of the box nah no thanks

          That matters because that’s the exact same pissue you’re complaining about. Please understand the issue before you complain.

          Google is supposed to “bake” Wi-Fi calling into Android this year so that no matter what Android phone comes out, once you put in a T-Mobile SIM card, Wi-Fi calling will work without needing any intervention by T-Mobile [or any other carriers that employs Wi-Fi calling].

          It’s currently that way on iOS and the proof of concept for Google is supposed to be the Nexus 6.

        • williejackbrainer

          I think Google will have WiFi calling baked into a later (summer time) version of LP.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          yep

        • Guest

          Already have a nexus 6 and no wifi calling yet. Its a deal breaker unfortunately

        • steveb944

          Except it’ll be on a newer version of Android that most current devices will probably not even get. You can’t buy things on possibilities, especially if it’s a needed feature for that person.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Except it’ll be on a newer version of Android that most current devices will probably not even get. You can’t buy things on possibilities, especially if it’s a needed feature for that person.

          I don’t buy things on possibilities.

          Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the whole idea behind Android 5.0 the ability for all devices to get updates quicker since there’s a partition for all of the carrier bloatware and manufacturer modifications?

        • steveb944

          But you told Guest to preorder on that possibility… If it’s not available out of the box and he needs it, it’s not worth wasting his time.

          I never read that, but you believed that? I don’t see that happening ever because carriers and manufacturers don’t see it benefiting them.

        • Fabian Cortez

          But you told Guest to preorder on that possibility… If it’s not available out of the box and he needs it, it’s not worth wasting his time.

          I didn’t tell anyone to preorder based upon the presumption of future Wi-Fi calling.

          That user complained about the lack of Wi-Fi calling and called it a must. So based upon that and that alone, he or she wasn’t ordering the phone. The irony is that he or she has a nexus 6 and bought it knowing there was no Wi-Fi calling.

          The phone specs alone at this $199 price point are enough to scream “buy me.” Wi-Fi calling or not.

          I never read that, but you believed that? I don’t see that happening ever because carriers and manufacturers don’t see it benefiting them.

          Be specific.

        • steveb944

          “the whole idea behind Android 5.0 the ability for all devices to get updates quicker since there’s a partition for all of the carrier bloatware and manufacturer modifications?”

        • Fabian Cortez

          Ok you can stop trolling now.

          You parade around with an Android logo yet don’t even know.

          http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/operating-systems/android-lollipop-might-make-it-easier-to-uninstall-carriers-junk-apps-1270998

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        Thats a shame.

      • jason

        If they come out with wifi calling on this phone it would be awesome phone for the price, there are not alot of decent mid range price android phones for tmobile like $150 to $300 range…..Galaxy Avant and Optimus l90 are only android phones I can think of that arw half decent and falls in that range

      • Ray

        Thank you for your response Cam. I also contacted Alcatel’s customer support via email and they responded within 48 hours. That is a good first impression for me. Anyway, they confirmed that the screen is OSG full lamination and that it does not have Wifi calling. Again, there are apps that can make Wifi calls such as Skype. So no big deal.

        • Ray

          Sorry I meant to say OGS full lamination….not OSG.

    • Mike

      It’s not officially supported by T-Mobile so I doubt it has wifi calling

    • Ray

      You could always use an app for Wifi calling such as Skype, Viber or WhatsApp. So it’s not a deal breaker for me, which is why I purchased one for $199.

  • sushimane

    That’s some pretty good specs.

  • Tyler

    Alcatel suggested on Twitter that the Idol 3 supports VoLTE. Does it?

    • Fabian Cortez

      I’d like to know this as well.

  • iTzJu

    Are we capable of rooting this device? any information if the boot loader is unlocked? considering their marketing scheme revolves the device being “unlocked”.

  • Deadeye37

    How are those front facing speakers? Do they sound decent and can they play music loudly?

    • brybry

      More indepth unboxing
      Search for “qbking77 idol 3” on youtube. goes more indepth in the unboxing.

  • Joe

    This actually is a damn good phone from my first impressions that I see.

  • If you didn’t order when it was $199, you were slipping. This phone is a really good deal even at $249, is just a steal. High end specs, looks great, only weighs 140g, SD card slot, snapdragon 615 octa core, 1080p screen, two high end Sony cameras, and the list goes on. I think some should get over name brands, and enjoy a quality product. This will be one of them. When a new device is launched, the first thing that happens is people start to complain about what it does not have lol. This device is a high end phone, not a back up phone. This phone offers more than most current phones, at a fraction of the cost. Give it a chance, order it for yourself then you will find out. Don’t rely solely on the Internet unboxing, it’s only $199 or $249 depending on when you ordered. Go for it!

    • Fabian Cortez

      Plus band 12 and the flexibility to return it to Amazon.

    • Joe

      Ok personally I don’t understand this backup phone thing like how does it work you have a $700 phone like the s6 like I have and then what you buy like another $200-$700 back up phone that you will not even use much or what? I think its stupid.

      • Right. Why do people say they are buying a phone as a backup phone? lol, it’s silly. You have a phone already, so that’s it. I actually am going to USE this phone daily. Now granted, I am a tech blogger…but still. I don’t get review units, I purchase them straight out. $199 for this phone, is a fantastic deal. Name brand known or not, it should be better than over HALF of the phones on the market today.

        • Joe

          Aggre.

      • J.J.

        Well I sell my phone every year a month or so before the phone I want comes out and I like to have a decent “backup” to keep business going until my main arrives. I currently use a note 4 everyday and one plus as my back up. Actually right now I pop the Sim in the one plus and been using that the last few weeks just as a change up

      • J.J.

        Especially if you do lots of business on your phone like many, if you can afford if it’s essential to have that back up already set up in case you lose/break your main phone. Does that clear it up?

        • Joe

          Yeah the loose/break part well I really don’t plan on doing that. The business part I get but other than that I don’t get it then again I can Barely buy a flagship phone.

      • steveb944

        I personally like to have a back up (cheaper) device for travel so if something happens or I’m in a questionable spot I won’t miss my main phone.

        For now it seems I may just give this device to an immediate family member, and then keep their old device as a back up. BUT the JBL speakers, flip design, and slim size is making want to drop my Oneplus One for this.

    • steveb944

      I agree that it’s a phenomenal deal, BUT it’s definitely not high end. I think it fits into it’s own class between mid range and flagship.

      It doesn’t carry top end specs across the board, especially as we see in the processor being marked in line with the S4 and the N5, with slow content loading it shows those are devices years old and past their prime.

      I went ahead and pre ordered tho as given what Cam has shown us and the amazing pricing, I couldn’t resist. Looking forward to getting this next month.

      • Why is it not high end? lol, I’m curious how you and why you feel it’s not.

        • steveb944

          Did you not read my last post?

          It may be high end for Alcatel, but for the current market it’s not.

          The processor, resolution, lack of OIS for the camera, small internal storage, and ‘only’ 2G RAM set this a step behind high end.

          And I’ll quote directly from Cam, “…although loading content is understandably a little slower than I might be used to with a more powerful flagship smartphone”.

        • You guys are funny, and lost.

        • steveb944

          Wow great rebuttal… Let me know when you actually know anything useful.
          And all of a sudden I’m two people? Yeah I’m the lost one.

        • You are, because you look like just another window shopper. Never buy, just rely on what the internet says. Lost…but hey, if not…that’s okay too. Just stop believing or agreeing with the internet, and get the items yourself. If you can’t afford them, or think they are too high in price, or think it’s not worth it. So be it. Have a good one. Won’t comment anymore.

        • steveb944

          HAHAHA. Don’t make me laugh Mr. Tech blogger.

          Where did I say anything of the sort? Good job on judging something by it’s cover, your blog must be the most fine detailed piece ever.

          I actually thoroughly research products before purchasing so I know what to put my money into. I also buy a new device every 4-6 months when there’s a slight bump in tech innovation. This current release cycle tho is mediocre at best.

          Have a good one as well, and hope you enjoy your precious.

    • davidwal

      I really like this generation of the Alcatel’s phones. I had an One touch fierce 2 and I thought that was a great phone. It was like a poor man’s Nexus when I put the Google Now launcher on it and Google Camera app. If I did not have an Iphone 6 plus I may have gotten this handset.

  • I got one pre-ordered yesterday. I’m thinking this would be a big upgrade over my Galaxy S3. Can’t afford those flag$hip$.

    Looking forward to a full review well before May 21.

    • Cam Bunton

      Yeah, I should manage that. I have a couple of other phones to do before then, so this is 3rd/4th on my list. But easily before May 21.

      • brybry

        lol forget the other phones. This one noone has done. Please make numero uno

        • Cam Bunton

          Ha. It’s more about when I have to send the devices back.

    • J.J.

      Nice. Should be a solid upgrade for you. I almost pulled the trigger yesterday just because of how good of a deal it was, but I decided to be fiscally responsible!! Grownups …..

  • steveb944

    Thanks Cam! If you can go into a bit of detail on moving apps between SD and internal storage. I recall reading it’s better on Lollipop but all my current devices don’t havs external storage to test it out.

    I’m SO pumped to try this device out. The auto flipping is pretty cool.

  • ged92781

    Cam, does it support VoLTE? Thanks.

  • David Tyler

    I wanted a Galaxy 6 or a HTC One m9 to replace my HTC One m7, but I can’t simply afford it. I cant see myself paying $600 plus for a phone again. I preordered the Idol 3 yesterday. Looking at the specs, it seem to meet my expectations.

  • lolrehashes

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing the iPhone 4, new for 2015.

    • lolignorantphonecomparisons

      iPhone 4 had a 13 mp camera? An octacore processor? a 5.5 inch screen? lol.

      • Ѕροη†αηεους Μιхх ♪♫

        or expandable storage, or JBL speakers and headphones? completely reversible display? sub $300 price point? @lolrehashes is the worst kind of troll, the kind that has no idea what they are talking about

    • qmc

      so?

      iPhone 6: Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the new Nexus 5, new for 2013.

  • andreas hosemann

    Before I ever purchase a phone I check out the customer service of my company and unfortunately the toll free number is an in service so this phone is a no buy for me I would rather purchase a phone from a solid company like Google or Microsoft and they answer your calls the phone looks nice though

    • brybry

      what sort of customer service were you looking for?
      if you’re worried about warranty and such, just buy it with an amex/discover or even vc/mc that offer extended warranty and you’ll be set.

      • andreas hosemann

        I’m not worried about the warranty I don’t want to order the phone through Amazon so I called the 800 number to place my order and phone number was out of service wish I had a good phone number to call the company look like a nice phone

        • brybry

          I think it was their webpage and amazon only. since you’re going to end up paying 249.99 might as well wait for the full review before jumping in

        • andreas hosemann

          I will definitely be waiting for the full review of this phone just to see how good the phone really performs in everyday use Thank you so much

  • Guest

    |

  • Jovian Fry

    Does it support wi-fi calling?

    • jsho

      No, it is not T-Mobile branded.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        I neglected to read the part where its not tmobile branded lol

        Gotta wait for google to bake it in

        • iTzJu

          Hopefully Alcatel will be pushing updates to this device. Alcatel and sofware updates from what I’ve read don’t really go together.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          exactly

    • Ryan

      All phones support WiFi calling. If you ate referring to T-Mobile WiFi calling, it has to be an officially branded T-Mobile phone.
      However Google Voice and the Hangouts dialer allows free WiFi calling with essential features and even gives you a 2nd free phone number.

  • Whin77

    Cam, not sure if you have answered this question already but do you know if it is fast charging (like a Oneplus let’s say)? If it does, that would be sweet. Do you have any more comments/updates overall on the phone since you wrote this article? Thanks!

    • Ray

      According to Alcatel’s website charging time is 2.5 hours.

      • Whin77

        Yeah saw that too… Just wondering what it actually is in real life… 2.5 is not so bad on paper.

  • FireDogLake

    Ordered two units on the promo-date of April 17th … $199.99 each – no sales tax – no shipping charges. That’s $398.98 for two really Gr-8 units. Alcatel has earned a place in the spotlight with this one. By the way – if prefer polymer (plastic) covers to metal. Far more durable and resilient.

  • brybry
  • Jay Coak Sr.

    Looks like this might be my next phone.

  • brybry

    There are a bunch of different reviews including from the verge, android police etc.

    I tried posting a link but doesn’t look like it’s going to get approved.
    Reviews are pretty positive.

  • Jim dene

    So are you saying I can switch my T-mobile sim card right over to the Alcatel One Touch Idol 3 phone? Another question is, would I need to order this phone online as unlocked? Please advise, thanks.