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Alcatel One Touch Idol 3 hands-on review at MWC 2014

Alcatel One Touch goes big with the Idol 3, a 5.5-inch affordable phone that packs some impressive camera tech, an HD screen for movies and games – and slightly mental upside-down desktops.

MWC 2015 hasn’t just been a launch pad for expensive, premium smartphones; we’ve also seen some great mid-range mobiles launch, like the Acer Liquid Jade Z, which pack some seriously good specs for an affordable price tag. French company Alcatel One Touch has launched another potential Moto G beater, the Idol 3, which packs a 13-megapixel camera and a spacious 5.5-inch HD screen, as well as an affordable price tag.

The Idol 3 is quite a slender phone with a good weight to it. It doesn’t feel cheap but it won’t weigh you down either, while the construction is reassuringly solid. There’s not a hint of flex and it feels like it should survive a couple of drops without smashing to bits.

If you’re after an affordable entertainment machine, the Idol 3’s spacious 5.5-inch screen will be a serious selling point. The 720p resolution keeps movies and the rest pleasingly crisp and it’s also a bright and colourful panel. From our brief play we reckon it’s a solid rival to the Moto G’s 5-inch 720p display. You’ll also get a kick out of the dual front-facing speakers, which seem to pack a punch even over the constant drone and noise at MWC.

Android has been given a splash of extra colour by Alcatel One Touch but it’s more or less the same loveable OS, although now your desktops can rotate upside down, so you can use the phone without spinning it around when you pick it up the wrong way. Quite a random little feature, but certainly unique.

A Snapdragon 615 processor sits inside providing basic everyday performance, good enough for web browsing, playing with apps and the rest. We did see a couple of stutters when flicking through the desktops and menus, but nothing too worrying. 

The Idol 3’s 13-megapixel camera has touch-focus and takes photos almost as soon as you hit the shutter button. You have a few modes packed in, including HDR, beauty mode and panorama, and you have full manual controls if you don’t want to rely on the auto mode. Interestingly there’s also a barcode scanner mode, which should hopefully fetch information and online prices for any product you zap.

We’ll bring you a full review of the Idol 3 when it hits the UK later this year.

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