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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

Alcatel one touch 990

Entertainment-wise, there's enough to keep you busy on the Alcatel One Touch 990, with Music, Radio, Video and YouTube apps to delight your eyes and ears. At least, that's the principle – how does it fare?

The default Music player, while subtly different from many we've used, is a rudimentary but competent enough affair that just about gets the basics down and leaves it there. You can view your music by album, artist and song, picking tracks to play with the press of a finger.

Playlist management is less capable than we'd like, though. You have to long-press songs or albums to find an option to add them to a playlist, or save your current selection as a whole. After that, tweaking requires you to delve into the playlist (via the playlist tab) to remove songs one at a time – there's no option for batch selection.

The lack of an EQ or sound profiles grates too, but as ever, if you find the default app too uninspiring, there are plenty of alternatives in the Android Market.

What was good was the built-in speaker, which although definitely trebly, produced a clean sound that wasn't like the wasp in a tin can-like tones of many portable devices we've heard. Sticking some nice Sennheiser headphones in the top socket proved the Alcatel One Touch 990 can grunt out some decent quality sound that way, too.

It's not a treat for audiophiles or anything, but the hardware is pretty great for everyday use. Just pair it up with the right software and you're good to go.

Alcatel one touch 990

The video player follows a similar theme as the Music app, being pretty much the definition of about sufficient. It performs capably enough when things are slow, but fast camera moves and quick transitions aren't exactly easy on the eyes, with the phone struggling to keep up with the action. Even quick hand movements seemed to blur more than they really should. It's also a bit slow to load.

Colours were good, though, with reasonable punch, and the simple controls proved more than capable for scrubbing through clips and so on.

And the FM Radio, while basic, was quick to set up and simple to use. It does mean sticking in the earphones provided with the phone, though, which are chunky, very plasticky and less than downy soft in your ear. If you can find a decent replacement pair that also act as an aerial, though, then you'll find listening to the radio a pleasing experience.

Alcatel one touch 990

The YouTube app performs as capably as it has elsewhere, without any of the lag we encountered with the web browsing.