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Archos Diamond Alpha Hands-on Review: Dual-lens mobile at a pleasing price

Our hands-on Archos Diamond Alpha review takes a close look at this affordable flagship mobile phone. From its dual-lens camera with Sony tech to the Full HD screen and feature-packed Nubia software, the Diamond Alpha has plenty to offer for that low asking price.

Archos used to be known for its brilliant personal media players, well back in the day. These days the French company mostly sticks to affordable mobile devices and its latest flagship phone sports the rather grandiose title of Diamond Alpha.

This 5.2-inch Android handset is designed by Nubia and sports some pretty premium specs, despite its attractive asking price. Here in the UK, the phone costs just £350. This makes it a rival to the Honor 9 and OnePlus 5, two other handsets that undercut premium rivals while offering a strong all-round experience.

That Full HD screen is a strong starting point. The high-def resolution keeps images crisp, while the reasonably vibrant visuals are a close contender for the Honor phone’s output.

Nubia’s metal unibody proves pleasingly rugged, with a chunky, chamfered frame that’s reminiscent of the HTC 10. Despite reasonably wide bezels stretching from the screen, the Diamond Alpha sits quite neatly in the palm and can just about be operated with a single hand. Around the back you’ll find a fingerprint sensor which is quite accurate, although there’s a pause between tapping your digit and the phone unlocking.

We particularly like how the notifications light is built into the Archos Diamond Alpha’s home button, positioned in the traditional place beneath the screen. You can adjust the brightness level if so desired and make sure it doesn’t disturb you at night.

Sadly this handset uses the rather creaky Android Marshmallow OS, which has long been succeeded by Nougat. However, Nubia’s own overlay sits on top of Android to add some quite funky features. These include shortcuts for calling up apps or altering the screen brightness simply by swiping the edges of the screen. You can see these in action in our hands-on Archos Diamond Alpha review, below.

As you’ll see, the Snapdragon 652 processor (backed by 4GB of RAM) offers respectable performance for everyday tasks. It’s no match for the Kirin 960 chipset which powers the Honor 9, or the Snapdragon 835 which is packed inside the OnePlus 5. Yet as long as you don’t demand too much of it, the Diamond Alpha can run apps without issue and even indulge in some split-screen multitasking.

Battery life so far seems respectable, with a full day’s use offered by each charge.

You can also see the Diamond Alpha’s dual-lens camera in action in the above video. Those two 13-megapixel shooters work together to produce quite detailed images, with support for up to 4K video recording also. Photography experts can use the manual controls to capture a more precise shot.

You can buy the Archos Diamond Alpha in the UK and Europe right now.

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