Alcatel may not be a household name in the U.S., but it is a relatively well-known smartphone maker in its homeland of China. Back in March, Alcatel launched the Idol 3 smartphone, and now it’s finally going up for preorder for a limited time before its official launch. With a decent though not ground-breaking specs list, the main selling points center around the phone’s photo-taking and audio-pumping capabilities.
Updated on 04-17-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added news of preorder prices and availability for the Idol 3.
Alcatel is putting the Idol 3 up for grabs on its website and Amazon unlocked for $200. The pre-sale price is a limited time promotion, so anyone interested will have to move fast. The offer ends at 11:59 p.m. PST on April 20, and official pre-sales will start the very next day on April 21, but you’ll have to pay $50 more for the Idol 3 at that point. $250. Preordered Idol 3 phones should ship around mid-May when the phone officially launches.
You can pick from a 4.7-inch quad-core 720p model or a 5.5-inch octa-core 1080p model. Both offer 4G LTE connectivity, a symmetrical design that lets you use it either way up, and Android Lollipop pre-installed.
It’s the speakers and the camera that are most likely to make you choose the OneTouch Idol 3 over any other phone. It comes with two front-facing speakers made by JBL and utilizes its Clari-Fi fidelity technology. Alcatel says this gives you “the power of professional hi-fi audio components” in the palm of your hand, providing a 3D, surround sound experience you can use to pump out the tunes on the beach, in the park, or at a houseparty.
Then there’s the 13-megapixel camera, featuring a specially configured large aperture to let in as much light as possible and a wide (84 degree) angle for those all-important group selfies. Alcatel is promising fast focusing and real-time HDR calculations, but we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on it to see how well the handset and its components work in practice.
It’s the upgrade to last year’s Idol 2, which featured a premium-looking design but a low-resolution screen, and which wasn’t widely available outside of Asia. “It’s a smartphone that really shows that we can deliver the best experience for our customers,” says Alcatel’s William Dowie. “It’s the perfect product to demonstrate the value we provide and to showcase the Alcatel OneTouch brand. On another note, it is also our first fully global launch.”