Sunday, 03 September 2017 11:20

Alcatel aims for affordable new Androids and kid-friendly smartwatch

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A new kids smartwatch, the MT30, and new Alcatel Androids, the A7 and Idol 5S among others, have launched at IFA 2017, and are coming to Australia “in the latter stages of 2017 and early 2018".

Top value brand Alcatel announced new products at IFA 2017, but they’re not listed at Alcatel Australia’s site yet as they’re yet to arrive down under. 

That said, tech companies worldwide are using the Berlin-based consumer electronics extravaganza that is IFA 2017 to showcase what they’ll be offering to consumers for the traditional end-of-year sales shopping bonanza, and Alcatel is no different.

Naturally, it bills its new products as being part of a “range of new and exciting devices that continue to build on its legacy of delivering feature-rich, affordable and lifestyle-driven options for Australian consumers”, which is certainly a true description of the company.

We are told that all of these products “will be headed for Australia in the latter stages of 2017 and early 2018, and includes several new smartphones as well as their first smart watch to be launched in Australia". 

Of note is the fact each product listed below is listed as arriving in "early 2018", so precisely which products will actually make the 2017 cut and have a chance of capturing some Christmas 2017 sales is yet to be seen — perhaps other Alcatel products in the range not specifically listed are coming — and we'll see if Alcatel's people can shed any more light on this. 

Sam Skontos, vice-president and regional managing director of Alcatel South-East Asia and Pacific, said: “Our releases announced today at IFA prove once again that premium and innovative technology can be met with affordability and accessibility. The MOVETIME Family Watch is a particularly exciting addition for us, as we move further into the wearables space.

“It provides the independence kids crave with the peace of mind parents need, all delivered in a fun, intuitive and affordable smart watch that we can’t wait to bring to Australia and New Zealand.”

So, what’s the detail on the new smartwatch and the two featured Alcatel Androids?

The first new product to get top billing is the “MOVETIME Family Watch (MT30)”, set to retail for $149 and arriving “in early 2018".

It’s a 3G smartwatch “designed as a daily companion for kids which enables them to call or message their parents and friends, while also providing accurate location tracking and geo-fencing capabilities should children exit a pre-set zone.

Naturally, it has a “compact, interactive and colourful design”, and “comes with changeable watch faces and wristbands".

As you can imagine, it has a touch screen, and is “built with software that is easy for young children to use as they add friends through Bluetooth, send emoji icons and play built-in games".

On top of that, and adding to its kid-friendly nature, it is “IP67 robust, water-proof and dust-proof (up to one meter of static water)”, while having a “450mAh battery capable of up to two days of battery life on a single charge".

Its has the Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform inside, which niftily includes “integrated GPS capabilities”, allowing a “variety of location features such as indoor and outdoor positioning, two-way calling and geo-fencing".

There’s an SOS button on the watch which “enables the device to call for help in an emergency and be located with superior accuracy, while the geo fence feature can send alerts when their device exits a pre-set zone. Through the dedicated MOVETIME Track & Talk app, parents can view their child’s whereabouts or contact the device".

To help with chores and to further convince parents to tech-up their children, Alcatel explains its MT30 “also provides children with a to-do list and reminder function to help teach time-management”, with the promise that “it makes parents’ everyday lives easier with an easy way to flag important dates and appointments".

Specs of the MOVETIME Family Watch MT30 are as follows:

  • 3G Connectivity
  • Bluetooth
  • IP67 Robust
  • Water-Proof (Up to 1 meter of static water)
  • Dust-proof
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
  • GPS tracking via MOVETIME Track and Talk App

Next up is info on Alcatel IDOL 5S and the Alcatel A7.

The Alcatel A7 will retail for $299, and will be available in Australia in "early 2018".

Alcatel advises its A7 is a “stylish phone with a modern look, boasting a generous 5.5-inch super bright display and a premium range of finishes".

Proudly boasting of “an incredible 16MP rear camera with a wide f/20 aperture and ultrafast phase detection autofocus (PDAF)”, we are told that this “ensures users capture super clear photos every single time".

On the front is a “crisp 8MP front camera” said to be “ideal for selfies and video calls".

Pumping up the power stakes is a “huge 4000mAh battery with 9V 1.67A fast charging support”, which Alcatel bills as “allowing consumers to spend less time powering up and more time where it matters".

Speed demons wanting faster LTE speeds in a phone that doesn’t cost $1499 will appreciate “up to Cat6 4G LTE connectivity”, while the MediaTek octa-core processor promises “fast performance when multitasking or gaming”, coupled with “32GB storage and 3GB RAM” for what is the promise of a “zero-lag multimedia experience".

It even offers features like VoLTE, or voice over LTE, delivering better voice quality in 4G areas on compatible telcos.

I’ll be keen to see how true this is in real life, for lower-cost phones normally come with lower-cost stutter, but as we are talking about what is a 2017 smartphone (to be sold in early 2018), its performance for the price should be a lot better than value phones have offered in the past.

A7 Specs are as follows, IDOL 5S details below these specs, please read on!

DIMENSIONS
152.7 x 76.5 x 8.95mm

DISPLAY
5.5” FHD IPS (1920 x 1080 pixels), Full Lamination
Dragontrail glass, Oleophobic coating, GFM 10 touch points

BANDS
Nano SIM
2G: GSM B2/3/5/8
3G: B1/2/5/8, (42Mbps DL, 11Mbps UL)
4G LTE CAT6: B1/3/7/8/20/28A, (300Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL)

OS
Android 7.0 Nougat

CPU
MediaTek Octa Core (4 x 1.5GHz + 4 x 1.0GHz)

CONNECTIVITY
VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Wi-Fi direct, Wi-Fi display
Micro USB 2.0, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, HAC M3

CAMERAS
16MP AF camera, LED dual-tone flash
Sensor size 1/3, Aperture f/2.0, PDAF, HDR, EIS,
Video capture: [email protected]
Video playback: 1080P @30fps
8MP front camera with wide-viewing angle (84°), Single LED front flash, Real time face beautification, Selfie Album, Face Show

MEMORY
Internal memory: 32GB STORAGE + 3GB RAM
End user memory: 23GB
Support MicroSD

BATTERY
4000mAh, 9V 1.67A fast charging

CHIPSET
MT6750T

OTHERS
Fingerprint, G-sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, E-compass, Gyro
HD Voice, Photo hide, Wi-Fi transfer, 3.5mm audio jack

Then we get to the IDOL 5S, retailing for $349 in “early 2018”

Alcatel says its “stylish IDOL 5S (4G LTE) features a slim 7.5mm metal unibody hosting a super bright 5.2-inch display wrapped in 2.5D curved glass for silky smooth edges".

Its front facing dual speakers “seamlessly integrate into the metal and glass body to enhance its sleek appearance, while the built-in ‘Now’ key enables users to pre-set to launch specific apps, tasks or other actions".

Presumably this ’Now” key will be more useful than Samsung’s “Bixby” key on its S8 and S8+ smartphones, given that it can be programmed to seemingly whatever you want, as opposed to the single capability of Samsung’s key.

Billed as “designed to capture crystal clear snapshots, the IDOL 5S features a 12MP rear camera with dual tone LED flash and an 8MP front camera with flash".

For the creatives, Alcatel proudly posts its IDOL 5S “comes with the ability to create Cinemographs (still photos with minor moving elements) and Light Trace (an imaging technique that adds light to an under-illuminated subject while taking a long-exposure photograph)".

Cinemagraphs sounds like another way to save “Live Photos”, but hey, that’s competition for you.

It comes with a MediaTek MT6757CH processor, 32GB storage and 3GB RAM and 2850 mAh battery.

No VoLTE is listed in the specs below, even though this is supposed to be the “premium” phone in the range, but it does sport plenty of other features. I’ll check with Alcatel’s people to see whether its listing was missed, or not, but if it isn’t there, it’s hardly the end of the world as calls would simply go over the 3G voice network as is the case with every other non-VoLTE phone out there, which is the vast majority of them today.

IDOL 5S Specs are as follows:

DIMENSIONS
148 x 72 x 7.5mm

DISPLAY
5.2” FHD TFT IPS (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Full lamination, Corning 2.5D glass, Oleophobic coating, Capacitive multi-touch, 160 viewing angle

BANDS
Nano SIM
2G: GSM Quadband 850/900/1800/1900
3G: UMTS B1/2/5/8, (42Mbps DL, 11.5Mbps UL)
4G LTE CAT4: B1/3/7/8/20/28A, (150Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL)

OS
Android 7.0 Nougat

CPU
MediaTek Octa-core (4 x 2.35GHz, 4 x 1.64GHz)

CONNECTIVITY
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz & 5GHz), Wi-Fi direct, Wi-Fi display
Type C USB 2.0, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.2, Support OTG

CAMERAS
12 MP rear camera, PDAF, CAF, Aperture: f2.0, sensor size: 1/2.8”, pixel size:1.25µm, 6P lens, dual-tone led flash
Video Capture: [email protected]
Burst Shot, HDR, Photo collage, Super Resolution, ZSL, Night Mode, Panorama, Snapshot in video recording, Real time photo filters, Manual Mode, Light Trace, 360 Photo, Cinemagraph, Video stabilization (EIS), Real time video filter, Micro-video, Slow motion video, Face show
8 MP front camera, FF, Aperture: f2.0, sensor size 1/3.2”, pixel size: 1.4µm, 5P lens, High CRI flash
Face beauty, Selfie panorama

MEMORY
Internal memory: 32GB STORAGE + 3GB RAM
End user memory: 23GB
Support MicroSD

BATTERY
2850mAh

CHIPSET
MT6757CH

OTHERS
JBL headset, Dual speakers with Smart PA, Dual mic, Noise cancellation, E-compass, G-sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, Gyroscope, Torch Light, FM Radio, HD Voice, MiraVision 2.0, HD recording, Dirac EQ, Glonass, Hall Switch

Finally, as you can see from the two images below, Alcatel has an IDOL 5 model, presumably less featured than the 5S, and also an Alcatel A7 XL model to go along with the A7. Whether these two other phones at different price points also make it to Australia is something we'll ask Alcatel's people, maybe it was a test to see who would notice and ask the question! :-)

As always, please turn phone horizontal if viewing on mobile to see the full images. 

Related: Laptop Tablet Review: Alcatel PLUS12 2in1

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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