Alcatel have a wide range of devices and keeping up with exactly where each model sits in the range is at times a struggle, when I visited their stand at MWC it took me five minutes to gather myself and work out what was what. Alcatel have sent me on of their more budget models to have a play with. The Onetouch Pop D5, which I’ve been using for the last few weeks. Let’s start the review off with my good and bad points.
Good and Bad Points
- Nice size.
- Feels solid.
- Micro SD card.
- Removable battery.
- Very basic spec.
- Lots of pre installed apps taking up valuable memory.
- The app Launcher is confusing.
- Lack of RAM creates constant screen redraws.
- Lag in most areas of the UI.
- Camera performance is shockingly bad.
- KitKat isn’t funny anymore.
- Viewing angles on the display aren’t the best.
- Almost unreadable in daylight outdoors.
- Android 4.4.2.
Budget phones tend to lack any design, opting for the price to do the talking in the selection process. It’s the same here, there isn’t really anything about the look of it that stands out. Apart from maybe the removable back plate, which is available in a range of colours.
The front of the device you get the display which no doubt will have fingerprints all over it, the capacitive buttons, the sensors, the notification light and the earpiece. The left is bare and the right has the volume rocker, the top has the heapdhone socket and the power button, the bottom has the power socket. The back of the phone has the rear camera, the LED flash and the rear speaker. Nothing really of huge interest.
Check out my hands on video with the Pop D5 for a round up of the hardware and software.
Spec wise the Pop D5 is a bit basic.
- Processor: MediaTek MT6582 Quad Core 1.30 GHz.
- GPU: ARM Mali-400 MP.
- Display: TFT capacitive, 4.5″ 480×854 pixels (218 ppi).
- Internal Memory: 4 GB (1.58 GB available out of the box).
- RAM: 512 MB.
- Rear Camera: 5 MP, 2592 ? 1944 pixels, LED flash, Panorama, HDR, Video 720p at 30fps.
- Front Camera: VGA.
- Network: GSM / HSPA.
- Battery: Li-Ion 1800 mAh.
- Dimensions: 132.5 x 67.9 x 10 mm.
- Weight: 150 g.
- Extras: Micro-SIM, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A-GPS, FM Radio.
- Available Colours: Black/White, Platinum Silver, Ash Gray, Volcano Black, White, Platinum Silver, Cozy Red, Lemon Yellow, Aqua Blue, Jade Green, Lavender.
- Price: £79 from places like Argos.
I really can’t see much that is worth mentioning, the CPU, the display, the memory and the camera are all lacking. Compared to something like the original Moto E or the Lumia 530 you’d really have to be a hardcore Alcatel fan to buy this.
Here is how the internal storage looked out of the box.
Alcatel like many other phone manufacturers have their own skin that they apply on top of Android, sometimes it is to mask older versions of Android, sometimes it really adds something of use to the UI and then sometimes it doesn’t really add anything. It’s just a vehicle to pre-install a load of bloat and to create lag for the user.
The Alcatel launcher is as you’d expect, some skinned icons, some skinned widgets and a whole load of pre-installed junk. No less than 22 extra apps that you’ll probably not use or want.
Some elements of the launcher are quite cool though and on higher spec hardware would probably give a nice experience, first of which is the drop down toggles, which if there isn’t any notifications automatically opens the toggles.
The next nice thing is that some apps actually act a bit like widgets when you swipe up on them, I found that messages, phone, music, notes and calendar all have a popup widget that shows you extra info when you swipe up on a homescreen icon.
Lastly the other nice thing I found was the lockscreen, which you swipe to the right to unlock and to the left to trigger the camera. But you also get lockscreen notifications.
Other notable stuff
The 5MP camera on the Pop D5 isn’t great, in low light it struggles a lot, in normal light it gets over exposed and in bright light you can barely see the screen and the lack of tap to focus means it takes a picture of whatever it wants.
The lack of tap to focus basically means that you point the camera at something and it will decide what to focus on. It meant macro photography is a no go and only really landscape photos are do able. Even then the quality isn’t good. When you compare the camera offering here to what Motorola or Nokia are offering at the low end in the control stakes you struggle to comprehend such a basic offering from Alcatel.
The front facing camera is rated as VGA and it takes some noisy low res selfies. The front facing camera also seems to add one or two black pixels all the way along the left hand edge, which is weird. As usual apologies for my selfies.
The Pop D5 quite surprised me with it’s battery life. Under heavy use you could easily kill the 1800 mAh battery by lunchtime, but under light use I got two days out of it, admittedly it only had 3 hours of screen on time. But nice to see none the less, it would be handy as standby phone for holidays or something. Just to say about the shots below, the phone was turned off at night, hence it only saying 1d 8h.
- Antutu – 18824
- Quadrant – 7035
- 3DMark – Failed to run.
The Pop D5 has a single rear speaker and a top mounted headphone socket. Call quality was ok and the other caller could hear me clearly. Music quality again was ok, the max volume for music wasn’t great and I had to put the volume on max most of the time and any background noise and your stuffed. The loudspeaker on the back is loud enough to listen to music in a quiet room, the quality wasn’t great and at max volume was a bit distorted.
The Alcatel Pop D5 for the money is a pretty basic phone. The overall experience is as you’d expect on a MediaTek based device for about £80, with lag here and there, some dodgy screen angles and a huge lack of internal memory.
I’d really struggle to recommend this phone to anyone, as I mentioned earlier the low end Lumias or the first gen Moto E or Moto G will offer a much better experience. The lack of memory, lack of storage and the atrocious camera just ruined the whole experience.