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Alcatel One Touch 990 review

Will this budget phone be the new king of cheap Android phones?

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Our Verdict

It doesn't quite top the Orange San Francisco for us, but it's worthy to join the high-class, low-budget crowd

For

  • Cheap and cheerful
  • Basic phone tasks are handled pleasingly
  • Android 2.2 runs admirably for a budget smartphone
  • Good speaker and you can listen to radio
  • YouTube's great

Against

  • Video capture is poor
  • Battery will need charging daily
  • No Flash support
  • Some jerkiness in web browsing

You get two cameras on the Alcatel One Touch 990: a front-facing one and a 5MP effort on the rear. While the former's good enough for a quick mug shot, the back one's really where the action's happening.

But just a simple figure is not an indication of quality – how does that 5MP snapper account for itself? Well, sadly this is an area where the Alcatel One Touch 990 is a letdown.

When it comes to actually snapping your shots, you have plenty of options: a 1x to 3.9x digital zoom, several white balance settings, a flash mode using the light on the rear of the Alcatel One Touch 990, the ability to store location data for your photos and tweak the usual exposure and ISO settings.

But as the results below bear out, the Alcatel One Touch 990s shots can be lacking in sharpness, and it struggles to deal with shadowy regions and suffers from colour casts.

(Click on any picture to see the full resolution version)

Alcatel one touch 990

FLAT: At wide zoom and using auto white balance on a sunny day, skies were washed out, and slightly shadowy regions appear far darker than to the eye. The reds here lack the punch we see in the real world, too.

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Alcatel one touch 990

NOISY: Zooming in to the maximum 3.9x setting results in a muzzy, noisy picture that, despite lacking an expanse of sky to throw off the camera, is still far too dark.

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Alcatel one touch 990

CLOSE-UP: In this close-up, detail is reproduced well, but there's a definite purple tinge to the shot.

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Alcatel one touch 990

RED: We thought it might be the gathering clouds, so adjusted the white balance setting to match. That just turned our images red. Unfortunately, we couldn't really make this out on the phone's screen.

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Alcatel one touch 990

CLIPPING: Thinking we had the white balance sussed, we took a picture of this red brick building. The detail's not too bad, although again you'll see a lot of sky clipping going on.

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Alcatel one touch 990

LANDSCAPE: Here's a (sadly red-tinged) panorama. Once again the sharpness and detail we'd hope for were lacking.

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