The Alcatel One Touch 990 is an intriguing proposition for those looking for a good budget smartphone. Some parts of it are way better than we have any right to expect for a cheap Android phone, and most of the rest of the time it's reliable fare. But there are a couple of areas we'd really like to see improved too, such as the video capture and power management.
The look is really good. It's not at Apple iPhone 4S levels of attractiveness, but you'd be hard pressed to tell this wasn't a £200-plus model. It goes to show that budget doesn't have to equal fugly.
It's Android done well. If you dig Google's mobile operating system, you'll have plenty of it to enjoy. No cheap layers get in the way of the experience, and it's smooth in operation the vast majority of the time.
It's a good phone, and gets the basics right – messaging and calling are both easy and generally pleasurable.
It's a good all-rounder smartphone. Despite its foibles, web browsing is OK, there's plenty of potential for media use and the provided apps are a solid foundation to get your Android journey underway. When you want to expand on that, there's always the Android Market ready and waiting.
And, of course, how can you not like the price?
Unless you're careful, the Alcatel One Touch 990 will need regular charging, because it doesn't always manage its power use well on standby. We don't want to have to micromanage our phone's power.
Web browsing has a few disappointing input lag issues with scrolling on image- and video-heavy sites. There's no Flash support either.
The camera's not great and video capture is downright shoddy, with mushy quality and washed-out colours.
There's loads that shines on the Alcatel One Touch 990 and little that leaves a bitter taste in our mouths, which is a real win for a budget Android smartphone with few obvious concessions to its price.
You can certainly get more feature-packed phones if you're willing to part with extra cash, but if you're keen to keep costs low and enjoy many of the advantages of a modern smartphone, you wouldn't be going far wrong by putting your money into this. It doesn't quite top the Orange San Francisco for us, but it's worthy to join the high-class, low-budget crowd.