What is it?
The Idol 2 Mini S is an offering from Alcatel OneTouch in the entry to medium budget phones, which features a slick design, feels good in the hand, and brings you decent specs in a well thought out Custom UI on top of Android Jelly Bean. It retails for around £120, and is a great first phone if you want to try a smart phone out, or if you want one for a teenager/spare phone.
Quick look at the specs:
- 4.5″ qHD IPS screen, 540 x 960 pixels, 16m colours, 5 point multi touch
- Quad Core 1.2GHz Processor
- Android Jelly Bean 4.3
- 4G LTE
- 8GB memory, available 5GB
- 1GB RAM
- MicroSD up to 32GB
- Main Camera: 8MP, autofocus, touch focus, HDR, panorama, burst mode, night mode, etc.
- Rear Camera: 2MP
- 2000mAh battery
- 129.5 x 63.5 x 8.5mm, 116g
Look and feel
This phone has been designed to look and feel good. A brushed Aluminium finish on the back and the sides gives you plenty of premium feel, and the smooth finish all around lets you know that this has been a well thought out design. The phone does not have a removable back, which makes it different from the same range of phones.
The front features soft Android buttons at the bottom, which do not take up room on the screen. The screen does feature some bezel around it, and the top you have the earpiece, a notification LED and the front camera.
The back proudly features the Alcatel OneTouch logo, as well as a row of drilled holes at the bottom for the speaker.
The ride side shows off the power and volume rocker keys, while the left has the covers that take the microSD and the microSIM. Interestingly, you don’t need a pin to pop it open or not. However, they do give you a SIM ejection tool which is a long flat bit of plastic. You do need it, definitely. I found that feature a bit odd, as the SIM is quite deep in the package, and if it wasn’t you could get away without this tool.
The buttons do feel good to touch, and have a nice feel on pressing.
While the phone is still running JellyBean (it was released in 2014), it has a custom UI on top which gives you the same sort of experience that most Alcatel OneTouch phones give you. You have a slide down menu to give you toggle control of quick settings, as well as fancy features such as swiping up on apps to get a widget like info (for example, who called you, your texts, etc).
Also packed in is a ‘knock’ feature which wakes up the screen if you knock on it, ala LG.
Another plus is that it comes with SwiftKey pre-installed, a feature I like.
However, that isn’t the only thing that comes pre-installed. A whole range of apps and games come pre-installed, a lot of which you will probably never use. Some of them are: AVG AntiVirus, Asphalt, Adobe Acrobat, CamCard, Currency Converter, DangerDash, Deezer, Flipboard, Gameloft Live, Green Farm 3, Kingsoft Office, Little Big City, HotSpot, My Tracks, PicSay, Real Football 2014, Shazam, One Touch Smart Live, One Touch Smart Suite, Texax Hold Em, Viber, WiFi Transfer, etc. Luckily you can install all of them apart from the Alcatel OneTouch apps.
You get 5GB of usable space after all that has been taken has been taken.
The hardware works so much better on this than our recently tested Pop D5. More RAM and more space mean the processor has more room to run. This doesn’t mean that everything is lighting fast, and a bit of sluggishness is evident at times, but overall the performance is reasonable.
The screen is bit of a disappointment. With a decent set of specs, and great software, the low pixel count is bit of a let down. The colours are good, it looks good in sunlight, but you just feel that something is missing.
The camera is pretty reasonable for the price range. Once again, it is not something that will blow you away, but it gives you a decent enough performance, with multi focus, HDR, panorama modes, etc.
Battery life is a bit on the low side, as it was always asking for another charge by the evening. Features such as knock to wake up etc do use up battery, and this was an example of that.
More information on this can be found on the Alcatel OneTouch website.
It retails for around £120, and is available with contracts/PAYG deals from CarPhoneWarehouse, or SIM Free from Amazon.
For £120, you get a reasonable all around performance for a mid to budget sized phone. Good software features are let down a tiny bit by the screen, but if you want a phone that looks and feels good without breaking the bank, this is the one to go for.