Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Alcatel Idol 5S... Reviewed!


This is a pretty nice phone... but I don't recommend it.

I've been using the Alcatel Idol 5S for a few months now... the packaging is decent for this phone, nothing flimsy... which gets a thumbs up but don't get roped in by your first impression. Opening the package up... I wasn't expected all the bells and whistles that some companies provide with their flagship phones, not even the headphones. I just wait to be surprised but there was nothing beyond the expected.

Headphones would've been a nice addition, but... there were none. 

The one thing I was highly disappointed about (before even getting to the phone) was the length of the cord. W...T...F is someone supposed to do with these nearly bite-sized cords? Okay... maybe not bite-sized, but they are half or less than half the size of factory cords that I've usually had the pleasure of getting with other phones (no joke). It has to be extremely close to a wall outlet, preferably near a side table or a counter so that it's not resting on the floor (of a low wall outlet).

It came with a USB Type-C cable... which I prefer so much more than the standard mini because it slips right in regardless of which way the connector is placed in. Late at night when I just want to sleep, I don't want to fight with a cord. The specific cord that came with this phone has now been designated to the vehicle. It works well in there, and since I didn't have additional ones to accommodate charging this phone in the vehicle... I was happy to get some use of it that didn't involve frustration. I replaced the cable with a much longer one for home & office use.

As far as the phone itself, it's a nice metal & glass combination. Think of a thin ice cream sandwich with glass as the cookies and... metal as the ice cream. The feel is nice, although it feels too smooth to hold confidently without it potentially slipping. The clear case I purchased for it... saved the day, it allows for a nice grip. One thing the case takes away from though is access to the 2.5D screen. You might be thinking "What in the heck is  2.5D screen".

This phone's screen sticks out a bit... not for the purpose of seeing things at an angle or something, but when using the phone and you want to swipe the side of the screen to get access to another screen, scrolling or options... you don't have to worry about the body of the phone being in the way. All you have to do is run your finger from the side of that unblocked glass and easily use that function. It's a very nice convenient way to flow and I'm glad it's designed that way... and I can't overlook the fingerprint scanner on the back.

That's one thing I give this phone... the design is pretty darn good, which includes the speaker placement. They have two front-facing speakers on this thing which I love vs the back ones I call... mufflers. I never got that, if I want to look at something and the phone's cradled or its laying on something... then why not put the speakers in the front in order for the audio to be enjoyed? That's a valid question.

Anyway, I like the way they use the metal frame to house the speaker... which add to the overall length of the phone by way of their placement just above and below the screen. It's a clean premium design and the headphone jack being on the bottom is a win for me... it just feels better when using wired headphones. I've noticed that I don't get that tug the way I do when it's on the top for some reason, I don't even know what I do to avoid it... it just doesn't happen.

Using apps on the phone is pretty smooth for the most part... I didn't really experience problems there aside from apps just closing once every blue moon or not starting at all (which was rare... like with Sonic Forces). By the way, the music app that comes with this phone sorta stinks. It works, but you can't even start a track over, it will take you to the previous track... so if you have a better option (roll with that).

Other cons I've experienced with this phone beyond the length of the cord... are the lack of updates.
The phone needs updates in more ways than one. The Alcatel Idol 5S won't always give you proper playback through the headphone jack. Sometimes it will play through the phones built-in speakers instead. Staying in the realm of audio... I've experienced even more playback problems with Bluetooth headphones than with the wired ones. I don't get that... if it's connected and will allow for calls to be made... then what's up with the media? I literally have to go into the settings to uncheck the media box and recheck it at times. That can be annoying... especially if you're on a plane or somewhere you should probably be hush hush (noise in a study hall is unacceptable). They have to get that together because I use headphones often... technical difficulties are not a part of the plan.

Still remaining in the wonderful realm of audio... another problem I have with this phone is the sound notifications. You turn the phone on silent mode and... it turns the sound back on when it's good and ready. That should be up to me.

Something else I've experienced with the audio... is this squeaky cart's wheel like sound (almost like a whistle) when using Google Duo. There is no way to enjoy conversations with family and friends when you can't hear each other and I've even resorted to using sign language at times. Alcatel... go ahead and deliver those updates.

The reason I do not recommend this phone... is the battery life, it's downright horrible. If I have to be out for awhile, I bring a cord... just in case an outlet is available and I try to preserve my battery as much as possible. The dance gets annoying though because if you want to game, talk, text, get on "the Twitter" or whatever... the battery takes a hit harder than other phones I've owned (even those at lower price points). You're better off just waiting in order to save a few more rupees to get a phone with better or comparable features with a much better battery life.

That sucks because the phone has a pretty good 12MP camera... allows for split screen activity when needed (if the apps are compatible), allows for 512GB of expanded memory, etc. It should've allowed for battery swapping at least.

Using the phone less... I was able to get longer battery life out of the phone using it for phone calls and text (here and there) and even using a few social media apps. This allowed for a battery life that extended nearly the entire day. I didn't use it for YouTube, Netflix... etc. So it depends on what you use it for, especially since some apps demand more juice than others (to be fair).

Pricewise... I got this phone for about $120, which is pretty good considering the standard unlocked price is nearly $300. The price point for this phone should be about $160 to $200 in my opinion, anything higher needs a better battery because at least the quality softens the blow... but it still isn't a good trade-off to me. Check out the specs below and I'll end this review with the reason I can't recommend this phone.

TECH SPECS:

DESIGN

  • Size: 5.85 x 2.79 x 0.29 in
  • Weight: 5.25 oz
  • Color: Crystal Black
  • Aluminum Frame, 2.5D Glass

MEMORY

  • 32GB ROM/3GB RAM
  • SD Support: Micro SD (Up to 512GB)

FEATURES

  • Processor: MSM8953 / Qualcomm®Snapdragon 625
  • CPU Frequency: 8*2.0GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 506
  • Sensors: G-Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor, E-Compass, Gyro, Hall Switch, A-GPS, Fingerprint

OPERATING SYSTEM

  • Android 7.1 Nougat

DISPLAY

  • Size: 5.2 in
  • Resolution: FHD (1920×1080)
  • Glass Type: Dragontrail 2.5D
  • Touch Technology: Capacitive
  • Touch Points: 5
  • Screen to Body Ratio: 77.6%
  • LED Indicator: Indicate Charging, Events
  • Oleophobic Coating (Anti-finger Coating)

CONNECTIVITY

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
  • UMTS: B1/2/4/5
  • CDMA: 1x BC0/1/10, EVDO BC0/1/10
  • 3G/4G/LTE: FDD: B1/2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/66 TDD: B41
  • 4G Data: Cat 6
  •  
  • VoLTE (On T-Mobile Network Only)
  •  
  • Wi-Fi Specs: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • Wi-Fi Display
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB Type: Micro USB 2.0 (Type C)
  • SIM Type: 4FF (Nano-SIM)

BATTERY

  • Size: 2620 mAh
  • Standby Time: 753 hrs (3G)
  • Talk Time: 20 hrs (3G)
    This doesn't include the time you use the screen.

CAMERA

  • 12MP Rear Camera
  • Flash Type: Dual Tone
  • Focus: Contrast Auto Focus + Phase Detection AutoFocus
  • Image Sensor: OV12870
  • Sensor Size: 1/2. 8”
  • Sensor Pixel Size: 1.25um
  • Sensor Aperture Size: f/2.0
  • Angle: 79 Degrees
  • Rear Camera Video: 1080 @ 30fps with EIS
  • 8MP Front Camera
  • Image Sensor: OV8865
  • Sensor Size: 1/3.2”
  • Sensor Pixel Size: 1.4um
  • Lens Aperture Size: f/2.0
  • Lens Angle: 78

SOUND

  • Music Player: Google Play Music
  • Supported Formats: AAC LC, AAC+, enhanced AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, MP3, MIDI, Vorbis, PCM/WAVE
  • Power Watts: Dual 3.6 w Speakers
  • HD Voice
  • Dual-mic Noise Cancellation
  • HAC Rating: M3/T3

BIOMETRICS

  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • Fingerprint Functionality: Unlock, Private Mode

IN BOX

  • Quick Start Guide
  • Data Cable
  • SIM Tool

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

  • UNI360
Overall... it's not a bad phone at all, but I honestly can't recommend it with the battery life. Serious things happen that require battery life, and apps are cool but if you need something that can hold juice without also being a drain on standby... you can't risk owning phones like this (if you use your phone often). Emergencies happen. To decrease the risk of your battery being impacted by optional things... turn off those background apps (especially when you're away from home). I can't fault the phone for those.

Design: 5

Quality: 5

Battery: 1

Price: 3

"3.5 / 5 Cool Points"



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