What if you could get an incredibly capable phone at an astonishingly affordable price? That’s exactly what you’ll get with the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3, a fully unlocked Android phone that costs just $249. Not $249 with a two-year contract; just $249 period. When you compare the Idol 3’s feature set to those of the iPhone and—I’ll just pick a flagship Android phone here—the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, you’re going to be amazed at what you get for the price (and when it comes to pricing, what you don’t get stuck with).
I’ve been testing the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 for a little over a week and I’ve come away very impressed. The Idol 3 is a good looking device with a nice large screen (both in terms of size and display quality) that actually doesn’t feel as delicate as some smartphones. It performs well most of the time, although there are times when apps and functions can temporarily get sluggish. The main (rear) camera is quite capable, though the front (selfie) camera lags noticeably when it comes to taking front-facing video. Given the price, this is an exceptional phone that is mostly good and has only a few minor faults; it’s even got some features that top those on my iPhone 6 Plus as well as a couple of enhancements that will set it apart from other (even top-of-the-line) Android phones.
I should note that throughout this review you’re going to see some comparisons to the iPhone 6 Plus. That might seem unfair—why compare it to Apple’s flagship device which is much more expensive as opposed to comparing it with other Android phones? Well, for this specific review, it makes sense for two reasons. First, since October of 2014 the iPhone 6 Plus has been my main phone so it’s what I compare everything else to. Second, the Idol 3 has the same size screen as the iPhone 6 Plus and I think it makes an interesting, useful comparison (and you know what, the Idol 3 even holds up pretty darn well against the iPhone 6 Plus—and even excels in a few non-critical areas). Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get started.
Before I get any further, let me talk about two of Idol 3’s three standout features, the speakers and ...