Alcatel is known for its mid-range smartphones, but the France-based company is now taking aim at the premium brands with the Alcatel One Touch Idol X+. Beneath this handset's shiny plastic veneer beats the heart of a mobile powerhouse, one that is slated to arrive stateside around Q3 2014 at a projected cost of $329 off-contract.
A shiny, slightly curved plastic blue-black panel covers the smartphone's rear. The small hump counteracts the slippery surface, granting us a firm grip. The sides of the phone are wrapped in silver plastic that offers a metal impression. The left side holds a SIM card slot, with a volume rocker and another SIM card slot on the right. On top of the Idol X+ sits the power button and the headphone jack. The microUSB port is located along the bottom of the device in between the bottom-mounted speakers. Alcatel surrounded the 5-i
nch display with a 0.9 inch bezel, one of the thinnest we've seen. The Idol X+'s 0.45-ounce frame measures 5.5 x 2.7 x 0.31-inches.
Alcatel supplied the Idol X+ with a bright, full HD IPS display that offered wide 170-degree viewing angles. We were wowed by the deep pinks and rich greens incorporated into the phone's interface. However, we couldn't take our eyes off an image of a multicolored rose. Aside from the vivid gold, blue and orange petals, we were struck by the level of detail such as the delicate veins and striations in the petals.
The Idol X+ is powered by a 2-GHz MediaTek MTK6592 octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (expandable to 32GB). So what are the advantages of having an octo-core processor? Improved multitasking for one. During our hands-on, we played "Reckless Racing," a touchscreen mobile game, with the camera app running in the background, along with a few open Web pages. We were impressed by the graphics, including the trail of mud we kicked up as we got stuck against a wall. While impressive, we're looking forward to running some quantifiable benchmarks, including 3DMark11.
The smartphone includes a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 2-MP front-facing camera. Taking snapshots was blazing fast, taking less than a second to capture the image. While impressive, the star of show was the filter feature. Tapping what looked like a tricolor Venn diagram in the lower right corner launched nine Instagram-like filters in mini-windows. The filtering feature worked in real time, allowing us to pan the camera around the room without nary a stutter. The camera also has a 360 panorama mode that creates a 40-megapixel image. Movie Solid, a video stabilization technology, has also been included to smooth out all those shaky shots.
Another exciting feature is the smartphone's enhanced audio. Teaming with JBL, Alcatel has placed amplifiers in the headphone jack and the pair of bottom-firing speakers. The result delivered loud, full audio as we listened to Chaka Khan's throaty alto on "I Feel For You." In addition to the aural enhancements, JBL has also created a set of headphones for the Idol X+.
According to Alcatel, the Idol X+'s 2500 mAh battery will see a 18 percent decrease in power consumption thanks to the octo-core processor. Depending on the task, the processor will scale back or ramp up core use from one core to the full eight. Although it sounds good in theory, we'll reserve our judgement until we run the LAPTOP Battery Test on the device.
The first shipments of the Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ are set to roll out to China starting in February. The phone is slated to arrive stateside sometime in Q3 2014. The phone's projected price will be $329 off-contract. However, the company has yet to reveal which, if any, of the U.S. carriers will be picking up the device. The first initial shipments of the phone will have Android 4.2 as an operating system with later devices shipping with Android 4.4.
We're looking forward to reviewing the Idol X+ when it comes to the States. Stay tuned.