Alcatel OT-980 review

Budget Android twisted together with a QWERTY keyboard

Alcatel OT-980
The definitive Alcatel OT-980 review

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Alcatel ot-980

For a sub £100 handset the Alcatel OT-980 is to be praised for incorporating the relative novelty of a mini slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

However this does make the phone chunky, and we aren't sure we wouldn't have preferred a better touchscreen and more responsive on-screen keyboards instead.

Resistive screens often need quite a press for anything to happen, but in this case the screen was annoyingly keen to register any touch as a press rather than the start of a sweep.

For example, in the main apps menu it often thought we wanted to open an application when in fact we were just tapping it as the start to a sweeping operation. Very annoying.

The range of apps that bulk out Android are things you can get anywhere, but it is nice to see them here just the same. We particularly liked the internet radio app, but different users will have different favourites.

Android doesn't really feel hampered by the absence of a skin, but we did feel the Alcatel OT-980 ran slowly at times. The lack of internal memory will be a problem for some, and you'll have to invest in a microSD card before you can use the camera which is ridiculous.

We liked

There is a good smattering of extra applications to bump up what you get with Android itself, and many of these have some usefulness about them.

While the screen is small, the Android web browser makes a reasonable fist of web sites, with good zooming and text reflow both really helping.

There's no FM radio, but a streaming radio app can use 3G or Wi-Fi to get you stations from far and wide.

We disliked

The Alcatel OT-980 is rather chunky, thanks to its need to accommodate that slide-out keyboard. Not everyone will appreciate the compromise.

The camera is poor. The low grade photos you may learn to live with, but the shutter lag could be a long term irritation - and you can't even use it out the box.

The handset's resistive screen was not as bad as some at responding to finger presses, but we did find some irritations with it. And, at the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, it is just not as slick as higher end smartphones.

We have to give Alcatel kudos for coming out with an Android handset in a sector of the market which is already feeling quite full and for doing something a bit different. But we aren't sure the chunky physical design really floats our boat and despite really budget price point, the functionality doesn't quite marry up.

There are a lot of people who won't mind the lack of functionality when they see the price point and realise the depth of apps they can get.

But we still think there needs to be a phone that nails the budget end of the Android spectrum and we haven't seen that yet.