For the past two weeks, I’ve been testing the ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 Android phone, and the ALCATEL ONETOUCH WATCH. I’ve never used a smart watch, and I’ve been using a Samsung Galaxy 4 for over a year, so what I think about either of these devices will be based on these two facts.

ALCATEL ONETOUCH WATCH

thumbnail_ watchThe ALCATEL ONETOUCH has a sleek, round design, looking more like a traditional watch than the other, more rectangular smart watches. Because it is carrying around computer technology and a long lasting battery, it’s heavier than your average Timex. However, as any connoisseur of fine watches will tell you, fancy wristwatches can get pretty weighty, and I didn’t find the ONETOUCH watch to be too heavy on my wrist.

The watch I was asked to test was dark red/volcano black, which I found very sporty, with a touch of class. Many people commented on how nice the watched looked, and then were excited that it was a smart watch. The watch will be available in classic chrome/dark gray and elegant metal-white later in the year.

For someone who isn’t super tech savvy, I found learning how to operate the ONETOUCH rather easy. The setup directions were clear and concise, and once the watch is turned on, it’s very easy to navigate. Besides telling time (with three different watch face options), the ONETOUCH comes with a variety of features, primarily for fitness fanatics. These include heart-rate, sleep cycle, distance covered, steps taken and calories burned. They’re all easy to learn.

The special features work in conjunction with an app you have to download on your phone, the ONETOUCH Move app. Once your watch syncs to your phone, you not only can input the data recorded for these health features, but you can also receive info from the phone, and also perform a couple of routine functions on your phone by using the watch.

For me, I was most interested in how the watch would be able to notify me when emails and texts came in. Because I rely on my phone for work, as well as regular communication with my kids, I was eager to be able to do this with the watch. Alas, the ONETOUCH does not have this type of capability. If you want to read emails and send a reply, it still has to be done with your phone. Likewise, when a text comes in, the watch will show you the message, but any reply must be done with your phone.

While this was a little disappointing, it was still nice to be notified when a message arrived, especially when I left my phone in another room.

Another cool feature was being able to operate my phone with my watch. It may sound silly, because how can you hold your phone and take the picture by touching the watch. However, I found that once I was comfortable holding the phone in my left hand, I took steadier pictures by using the watch command. Or, and this is neat, you can shake your wrist and this will also snap a photo for you. You can also control your phone’s music with the phone. This is not an option that I explored too much, as I’m insist on still using an iPod

The ONETOUCH is compatible with Apple or Android. It has long battery life: Up to 5-days with built-in USB 2.0 for easy charging. I only had to charge twice in the two weeks I used it. It is priced at 149.99 and available exclusively through AlcatelOneTouch.us

ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3

thumbnail_phoneAs I said, I’ve been using a Samsung for over a year and I’ve been satisfied with the model. I use my phone mostly for reading emails, texts, actually speaking to people, and surfing the Web when I’m on the train. Basic stuff. I didn’t think I would want a larger phone, until I held the ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3. It wasn’t
just that the phone is bigger, the text is clearer, which is key when you’re bouncing around in a sweaty train car.

The ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 has a 5.5 Full HD IPS Display with Technicolor Color Enhance, wihich allows for better viewing at different angles, even in sunlight. It also has a reversible UI. It has dual 1.2 watt front-facing stereo speakers from JBL. The sound quality coming from the phone is excellent. Volume control could be better. The phone goes from silent to loud to very loud to extremely loud. I was never able to figure out if there are better increments of the sound. This is something Alcatel can work on for the next generation of the IDOL 3.

What really thrilled me about the ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 was its speed. The performance as a phone and a web browser topped the Samsung in a big way. Additionally, the response time for opening apps was a major improvement over my Samsung. In every way, the ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 was a wonderful upgrade over my old phone.

The phone’s camera is 13MP, with Sony IMX214 sensor and 8MP wide-angle front camera. Every picture I took was crisp and ten fold times better than my Samsung. The phone has 16GB of memory and 2GB RAM. There is a slot for expkandable memory, but you have to be aware of what kind of SD card you’re purchasing, i.e. the shape. I have an SD card that I used in my old phone, a Verbatim card. Verbatim is a very common brand, but this particular card would not fit into the phone’s slot. I must admit, that’s very disappointing.

Speaking of the card slot, it seems rather flimsy, if you ask me. Unlike my Samsung, which had a metal pocket specifically for the SIM card and the expandable memory to snap into, the ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 has a thin strip of metal that holds the SIM and the memory card that must be inserted into the side of the phone. It’s rather easy to bend and you have to be cautious when inserting the card into the phone. The SIM card can slip off. However, once inside the phone, everything worked just fine.

The phone also comes with JBL headphones. They work just fine. If you don’t like the sound quality you can always switch them out.

The ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 has a long lasting battery. When fully charged, it can last up to 13 hours talk time and up to 600 hours stand by time. This was AWESOME. My Samsung is dead by the end of the day, even when there aren’t any apps running and the phone sits idle. It’s so frustrating when I charge my phone in the morning and by mid-day the darn thing is almost dead.

If security is an issue for you, the ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 features “Eye-D” which uses the blood vessels in your eyes to unlock your phone screen. What?! I couldn’t believe it, but it works.

Other features include Reversibility, which allows you to hold the phone in any position and the screen will turn upside down. a time lapse setting on the phone, and a OneTouch Mix App that allows you to act as a DJ with the music you store on your phone.

The award-winning ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 unlocked Android smartphone is available for purchase exclusively through AlcatelOneTouch.us for $249.99.

Both devices are winners, as far as I’m concerned. Are they perfect? I guess not. But for someone who likes the idea of a smart watch, but isn’t willing to commit big bucks for the iPhone, the ALCATEL ONETOUCH WATCH is a good substitute. I would like to see it be able to let you read your emails, but the other features are nice. The ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 kicks ass over the Samsung and I know I’ll be using it all of the time.

WANT TO TRY OUT THE ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL 3 AND THE ONETOUCH WATCH? 

Popdose has a watch and phone to giveaway to one lucky reader.  To enter, tweet #LiveUnlocked to me at my Twitter handle @MrMalchus by next Friday, August 21, 5 PM. I will choose a winner at random.

Good luck, and thanks for reading Popdose!