Alcatel One Touch 990 review

Will this budget phone be the new king of cheap Android phones?

Alcatel One Touch 990
This budget Android smartphone has a lot to offer for the price

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As is usual with modern smartphones, there are an awful lot of apps packed into the Alcatel One Touch 990. Being an Android phone, there's the usual slew of Google's offerings including Calendar, Latitude, Places, Talk and Navigation (in beta).

Google Maps was seriously impressive, getting a satellite lock in mere moments, then scrolling, rescaling and fishing out directions from the ether with alacrity. This makes it an eminently usable tool, rather than a last-ditch resort, although do be aware of eating into your battery life.

If you're keen to track your data use and talk time (which is especially handy if you're working with contract limits), there's a handy Traffic Manager app.

This displays a general overview of your usage stats and a breakdown of per-app data use.

The Notes app is a handy way of keeping lists or jotting down thoughts, although it's light on options for sorting what you store, so you'll have to be ruthless with keeping it manageable.

Having both News And Weather and AccuWeather apps on the phone by default seems mildly redundant, but both do their jobs reasonably well, serving up meteorological information with at least three day's worth of general forecasting. The former also serves up a list of headlines aggregated from across the web, which is good for catching up with events over your morning cup of coffee.

At the other end of the day, you might need the LED torch to help you see your keys in the dark, and it fulfils this function just fine. We wouldn't go for a night walk around a forest with it or anything, though.

Calendar does a decent job of keeping your life in order, and can be synced with your Google account to help keep your schedule unified.

And if you want to get some Office tasks done on your phone, you'll find OfficeSuite ready and waiting for you. That's assuming all you want to do is read documents, mind – you'll have to upgrade to a Pro account to actually create and edit them.

The final app of real note is the Android Manager, which is the solution that Alcatel employs for transferring files to and from the phone as a partner to mounting your SD card with the USB cable provided.

We found the computer client it requires to pair with a little fiddly to get set up and synced with the app using the not-very-clear instructions provided (although being early to the party may have hampered us in this, and it could be much smoother by the time the phone hits shelves).

Nonetheless, it worked well once up and running, and saves having to mess about with drivers, proprietary suites and all that jazz.

And of course, being an Android smartphone, more apps are available to download from the Android Market.