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Hands On: Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

It's the world's slimmest smartphone

Our Early Verdict

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra is a capable mid to high end device offering you a decent smartphone experience. It'll stand or fall on the price: if Alcatel is looking to match the likes of the Galaxy S3 and HTC One X+, it'll run into difficulties.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 16 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Super slim
  • Nice design
  • Pretty quick

Against

  • Overlay isn't great
  • Poor camera
  • No microSD slot
  • No headphone jack

The Alcatel One Touch Ultra is the latest device to claim the title of "world's thinnest smartphone" thanks to its incredibly slender 6.45mm frame.

Arriving as the slightly punchier sibling to the One Touch Idol the Idol Ultra features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and an HD 4.7-inch AMOLED display which sports a 720x1280 resolution.

Confirmed for the European market, the One Touch Idol Ultra won't be available in the US and other select regions – although the reason for this is being kept under wraps along with the handset's release date and price.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

The slim body fits nicely in the hand and the One Touch Idol Ultra feels like a much more premium device than the plain old Idol, with a polycarbonate chassis getting the nod over the cheap plastic of its brother.

This provides the One Touch Idol Ultra with a nice weight in the hand, but does mean there's no access to the battery – with a slot for a microSIM located on the right hand side of the device.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

It's got a small plastic cover over it to avoid dust getting inside, but it's quick tricky to open up as it requires you to push it in at one end to pop out the other – all a bit fiddly if you ask us.

Sadly there's no microSD slot on the One Touch Idol Ultra, meaning you're stuck with the 16GB of internal storage Alcatel has crammed inside that wafer thin design.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

On the top you have the microUSB port and power/lock key although they are switched around compared to the usual layout on top of smartphones – with the lock key on the left which just felt wrong when we came to unlock the Idol Ultra.

It's not a make or break issue and we're sure you'd get used to its position after a few days, but it certainly felt odd during the short time we had with the phone.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

Surprisingly there's no sign of a headphone jack anywhere on the handset, so if you're someone who likes listening to music on their phone, steer well clear of the One Touch Idol Ultra.

We can only assume it was ditched in an effort to make this the slimmest phone in the world and we ask, was it worth it?

There's touch buttons below the screen for back, home and multi-tasking which weren't always responsive to our prods, leading to some frustrating pokes.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

On screen though Android Jelly Bean is more responsive and runs pretty smoothly making for an enjoyable user experience – as long as you don't need the touch buttons.

Alcatel has put a light skin over the Jelly Bean system, changing the app icons and adding in quick settings to the notification bar.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

It's certainly more of an aesthetical overlay as the core Jelly Bean experience is still there, although we're not huge fans of the icon design, as it makes the system look a bit cheap.

This means a lot of the core Android 4.1.1 features are present on the One Touch Idol Ultra including the stock keyboard, providing a decent form of text input and the large responsive screen makes typing easy.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

The main web browser is the default Android offering while Google Chrome has also been installed, giving you a choice of apps to access the internet on – although we were unable to put either through their paces due to the lack of a web connection.

Another stock Jelly Bean application is the camera, giving you Google's intuitive system which offers fancy features such as panorama and photo sphere modes as well as stalwarts such as white balance, scene modes and video recording.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

The camera itself is an 8MP offering and protrudes slightly from the rear of the phone and we're willing to bet that at this point the One Touch Idol Ultra is not 6.45mm.

There's a single LED flash to the left and you can record 720p video from the camera, while round the front there's a 1.3MP lens, also capable of recording at 720p, but quality will not be great.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

Shutter speed was pretty quick with the One Touch Idol Ultra letting us take shots in quick succession, although the results were not quite as stellar.

The photos we snapped of the Alcatel booth appeared to come out slightly blurry and pixelated, which is disappointing for a handset which is looking to elbow its way into the higher end of the market.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra review

Early Verdict

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra is a capable mid to high end device offering you a decent smartphone experience.

Without knowing its price it's difficult to tell where the One Touch Idol Ultra will be pitched, and if Alcatel is looking to match the likes of the Galaxy S3 and HTC One X+ then it's going to run into difficulties.

However if the price is kept suitably low then the One Touch Idol Ultra could be an interesting proposition, even without a hole to plug your headphones into.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyIdol Ultra
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourGrey
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameALCATEL onetouch
Battery Talk Time16 Hour
Screen Size11.9 cm (4.7")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)115 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerMediaTek
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density316 ppi
Height134.4 mm
Width68.5 mm
Depth6.5 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerTCL COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY HOLDINGS LIMITED
Product NameIdol Ultra Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Product LineIdol Ultra
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, G-sensor
Manufacturer Part Number6030D-2BALDE1
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.tclcom.com
Package Contents
  • Idol Ultra Smartphone
  • Slim Charger Head
  • Micro USB Cable
  • In-Ear Stereo Headset
  • Micro USB to 3.5 Jack Adaptor
  • Quick Guide