Hands on: Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 (8) review

The Windows tablet that thinks it's a phone

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Our Early Verdict

Where customers can't afford both a phone and a tablet, the Pixi 3 (8) could be a viable option, but in the more developed markets it'll end up being a much more difficult sell.

For

  • Solid build
  • MicroSD slot

Against

  • Sluggish performance
  • OS jarring on big screen

Windows 10 Mobile is a versatile operating system, and it'll happily sit on larger-screened devices. Whether anyone actually wants the combination of Windows 10 Mobile on a bigger display though is up for debate, but that hasn't stopped Alcatel launching the OneTouch Pixi 3 (8) at CES 2016.

This 8-inch tablet is a decidedly budget affair, and although Alcatel is yet to release pricing details for the Pixi 3 (8) I'm confident it'll be entry-level in cost.

It does mean there's no direct competition for the Pixi 3 (8) to concern itself with when it comes to other Windows 10 products, but it will have its hands full with the budget Android competition.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 8 review

In terms of design the plastic build doesn't give the Pixi 3 (8) any form of premium appeal, but it does feel solid and well built. Its 209 x 124.9 x 8.3mm frame is relatively easy to handle, and the power/lock and volume keys located on the right are within comfortable reach.

On the opposite side a plastic flap covers the SIM and microSD ports, although the flap does feel pretty flimsy, and I can see if breaking off if you're not careful with it.

Fire up the display and while the result is bright, the 1280 x 800 resolution is a little grainy. What's more distracting though is Windows 10 Mobile, which just feels out of place on a screen this big.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 8 review

The live tile home screen works well on displays below six inches, but on the 8-inch Pixi 3 it doesn't look or feel right. It also doesn't flow particularly well, which will be partly down to the 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM.

Apps were slow to load, and the operating system didn't feel smooth or responsive. It's certainly not unusable, but if you're coming from a slicker device the slow-down is noticeable.

This is an entry-level device, so it was never going to be packed with power, but the Pixi 3's basic grunt does mean it misses one big feature from the Windows 10 platform: Continuum.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 8 review

Continuum enables a phone or tablet running Windows 10 to perform as a computer when plugged into a monitor or display via a dedicated dock. It's one of the key pillars of Microsoft's new ecosystem, but it's simply too much for the OneTouch Pixi 3 (8) to cope with.

Something it does have is the ability to make and receive phone calls and send texts – this may be an 8-inch tablet, but it will also function as a full-on smartphone too. I wouldn't advise holding it up to your face when someone calls though, as you'll look a bit silly.

If you really want to have calling functionality on your tablet, you're better off investing in a Bluetooth headset.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 8 review

There's a disappointingly low amount of internal storage, just 8GB, but at least the microSD port supports cards up to 32GB in size, which softens the blow slightly.

Alcatel has provided two cameras on the Pixi 3 (8), a 2MP front-facer and a 5MP rear option, both of which are just about serviceable for basic shots, but your smartphone's snapper will likely outdo it every time.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 8 review

Early verdict

The OneTouch Pixi 3 (8) is a cheap and cheerful Windows tablet which I'd be happy to use for the basics, but for anything more complicated it's likely to struggle.

Aimed more at emerging markets where customers can't afford both a phone and a tablet, the Pixi 3 (8) could be a viable option, but in more developed markets it'll be a much more difficult sell.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Deputy Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and operating systems. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week (for the highest score on Super Mario Bros using a giant controller), John hasn't looked back since.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.