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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Alcatel one touch 990

Ask yourself this question: do you like stock Android? Because you'll be getting a fair amount of it with the Alcatel One Touch 990. That's hardly a bad thing, since Google's mobile operating system in 2.2 (Froyo) trim is assured and pleasing to use.

All the regular good stuff is packed in here, including but not limited to an array of home screens for storing the many apps and widgets you have access to, a simple menu system and a comprehensive selection of settings that enables you to customise the phone to a high degree. It's smooth, it works and it's eminently usable.

One thing that Alcatel has changed for the One Touch 990, however, is the on-screen menu at the bottom of the screen, sticking a phone shortcut on the far-left menu key in the centre and messaging icon of the far-right. We reckon this selection of shortcuts is a sensible choice for minimising the time users new to smartphones will need to get the basics down.

But the placement of the icons themselves is less than ideal. Why? Because while you can swipe between the five home screens on offer by default, pressing the little dots to switch between screens suddenly becomes a hit and miss affair. And when you miss, you end up in the dialler or messaging apps.

We're quibbling, though – swiping works just fine, and you can opt to long-press the menu to jump to any one of your screens. There are plenty of workarounds, and we doubt you'd even notice if you're not in the habit of navigating via the dots.

You can also opt to add or lose an extra two home screens to have either seven or three, depending on what you find most manageable.

In terms of prettifying your Alcatel One Touch 990 experience, there's the usual assortment of supplied wallpaper shots, the chance to use photos of your own and a selection of live wallpapers. There are some themes to skin your widgets as well. If what's on offer isn't to your liking, there's plenty more in the Android Market. After all, this is Android – it's nothing if not customisable.

What the Alcatel One Touch 990 doesn't let you do is save configuration profiles, so you can't easily flip between work and personal setups, for example. Stick that bikini model or Twilight star as your background and you'll have to make your peace with the whole world (or at least everyone in the office) knowing you like to spend your days gazing dreamily at Edward Cullen.

We tend to go for a one-size-fits-all approach anyway, so user-generated profiles are a nice touch we can definitely live without, but your mileage may vary.

Finally, the array of widgets on offer by default will be familiar to Android devotees. All the usuals are present – weather, clocks, the search bar and the like.

The only really notable inclusion is the Twidroyd widget, which enables you to absorb Twitter content from those you're following and upload your thoughts to the microblogging service. Its implementation here follows the "simple but effective" trend that we're quickly discovering.