Alcatel One Touch Hero Hands-On Review

Alcatel One Touch Hero Hands-on







The phablet category went from nothing to the most contested niche in the span of three years, after Samsung introduced the first Note, and this year everybody plus dog and cat are making phablets, and even bigger ones at that.


Design


Alcatel enters the fray with the One Touch Hero, and when we examined the handset plus the accompanying accessories, the phone fully deserves its title. It is huge, with a bright and vivid 6" Full HD display, yet thanks to the minimized bezel all around, it is fairly manageable, though one-handed operation is a full stretch. Alcatel has provided the usual interface enhancements for one-handed operation, like shrinking the dialer or keyboard to the left or right on the screen, so you can tap with your thumb only, but it is still uncomfortable to use this way.

Stylus


The stylus felt a bit tight to take out and insert back in, so we hope it will be worn in with time, and the provided software for making a good use out of it is not yet on the level of Samsung's apps like S Note and the new Multi Window mode. There is no app drawer, like on Lenovo's phablet, instead everything is placed on the homescreens, making it faster to access.

Specs and performance


The phone sports 1.5 GHz quad-core MediaTek chipset coupled with 2 GB of RAM, which is enough for your daily routines, though we'd like to see a more powerful silicon in a phablet like this. The handset sports a tucked-in stylus, like Samsung's Note family, which would presume some multitasking on your part, so a beefier chipset is warranted here, though we didn't have issues with Android 4.2 and the interface overlay in our quick encounter with the phablet.

The rest of the specs are top-notch, with a 13 MP camera and LED flash peeping from the back, while a generous 3400 mAh battery pack is tucked under the cover, one of the large units in the class. Alcatel also provided a memory card slot for expansion of the 16 GB you already have, so the phablet has all the makings of a premium one.

Boatload of accessories


A notable addition to the Hero are the numerous accessories for it, such as an E-ink back cover, pico projector stand, or the Bluetooth accessory for checking out call logs, emails, text messages, and controlling your music player, while the gigantic phone stays in your pocket or purse. These, however, are prototypes still, and Alcatel reps told us they are still mulling which ones are to make it to market, alongside price and availability of the One Touch Hero phablet.


Projectors are awesome, especially on your smartphone


6'' Alcatel One Touch Hero phablet goes full out: pico projector, companion handset, E-Ink/LED covers
Starring among these is a 12Lm pico projector add-on that should cater to both the business-minded and those simply looking for some entertainment. While we've seen this tech fully integrated in phones before, we still prefer that the option is available, rather than not (pending price, of course). Alcatel promises that their solution will allow users to project an image larger than 70 inches. Obviously, don't go throwing away your TV just yet -- pico projectors for smartphones, by and large, have had a sketchy track record at best.

MagicFlip and E-Ink covers


6'' Alcatel One Touch Hero phablet goes full out: pico projector, companion handset, E-Ink/LED covers
The Alcatel One Touch Hero also comes with a dedicated E-Ink cover that will give a break to both the Hero's battery and your eyes whilst reading. An alternative cover, dubbed MagicFlip, connects to the phablet through a series of pins on the back, providing notifications via an embedded LED light. Both these covers, along with the pico projector will connect to to the smartphone via the pins on the rear of the phone, meaning that you'll have to settle for one or the other. Once again -- nothing, strictly speaking, new or innovative, as we've seen this tech before.

Bluetooth-enabled accessory phone


6'' Alcatel One Touch Hero phablet goes full out: pico projector, companion handset, E-Ink/LED covers
Remember HTC's Mini+ bluetooth IR blaster handset that doubled up as a phone? Well, just in case it wasn't apparent enough that the Alcatel One Touch Hero is a true jack of all trades, the company has decided to go for a similar accessory. The bluetooth-enabled device will connect to your, admittedly, much bulkier One Touch Hero, allowing you to take and place voice calls, receive texts and also sync your phonebook and calendar entries, without having to whip out the 6-incher.




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