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Review Alcatel 535
Alcatel OneTouch 535 was firstly shown in February 2003 and aroused a great interest of both users and journalists. Release date was embarrassed because the company stated that the phone would be available only in September or August. In reality the shipments of this product began in the end of July and now you can purchase it in many countries, including Russia. Alcatel OT 535 is a middle-class phone, to some extent it is the handset of the second generation if to speak about phones with a color screen. Such models as Sony Ericsson T300, T310, Nokia 3510i, Motorola C350, Panasonic GD67 are regarded to the first generation. The main differences of Alcatel are not in the screen, but in the phone’s functions. This handset is mostly positioned as a phone for youth market.
Alcatel OT 535 is available in several colors – grey, red and blue. Red phone is a typical youth handset, two other colors will be suitable for elder people too. We estimate the target group of this phone as young people at the age of 20-29 years. The second target group is users who are 30-35 years old, red and blue colors are aimed to them. So, the phone could cover a large group of users and promised to become a very interesting novelty. The main rival is Samsung C100, which is aimed to elder target group, taking into it classic design.
In all cases Alcatel 535 has dark-grey edging and silver back cover.
Dimensions of the phone are typical to the phones of this class - 106õ47õ20mm. Absence of external aerial allows comfortably wearing this phone in the pockets of shirts and trousers.
When you look at the phone for the first time, you’ll immediately pay attention to its large display. It measures 34õ34mm and has a resolution of 28õ128 pixels. Screen of Philips 530, which has similar resolution, measurers only 28õ28 mm. Nokia also has smaller displays.
ÝThe display supports up to 4096 colors; the quality of the picture is not bad, all colors are bright. The information on the screen is almost invisible in sunny day. Usually, up to 5 text lines and service information are displayed on the screen. In SMS-mode the screen contains up to 7 text lines. Backlighting is soft, it is lighted gradually. Line which shows time, battery status, signal level is moved in a standby mode on the screen. It is a kind of screen saver and it is not possible to switch it off.
Two soft keys are located under the screen. They are rather small but comfortable. The user almost doesn’t need these two soft-keys while moving through the menu. They are used rarely, that it why they are small.
Although joystick is not large, it is very convenient. You don’t make mistakes while using it. It allows to move in 4 directions, besides it reacts to pressures (OK).
Alphanumerical keypad is made of plastic, all keys are of middle size and spaced close to each other. We think that the keypad is rather comfortable, there are no problems with it. Keys have a white backlighting, central row has a brighter backlighting, but characters on the other rows are also visible.
Personal key is located above the screen; one can assign two menus to it (short and long pressure). Presence of this key is a corporate identity of Alcatel. Besides you can assign any alphanumerical key from 2 to 0 (1 is associated with voice mail) to any menu. These keys can be also assigned to phone numbers. This choice is up to you.
A hole for strap (it is not included in the standard delivery kit) is located on the top side of the phone. You expect that a charging connector is placed at the right or left side of the phone as it was in previous models, but in fact it is situated in the bottom of the phone. Handsfree connector is also located there.
IrDa one can find at the left-hand side. It is used to transmit data, receive and send business cards and other information.
A special hole covered loudspeaker is placed on the back cover of the phone (originally it is called Hi-Fi; it is a corporate identity of French companies, Sagem also calls it so). Near it one can notice a covered external aerial connector.
If you open a back cover, you can see a battery. It has an unusual construction; the battery is fixed by springy contacts, placed on the sides.
The battery has a capacity of 800 mAh. According to the manufacturers, it could provide up to 250 hours of standby time and 8 hours of talk time. In reality the phone operated about 3 days in case of 25 minutes of talking and up to 20 minutes of using other functions. On average battery life will last about 3-4 days. Time of full re-charging is about 2 hours.
SIM-card holder is standard.
This phone has a typical menu from Alcatel. The main menu is a list of icons and tips. You can move to the right and to the left. There is no shortcut number navigation, but it is not necessary because it is possible to call necessary items by one touch using alphanumerical keys.
The user could set large icons to display main menu. I don’t know whether it is necessary or not.
Submenus include groups of functions. For example, when you enter menu “Messages”, you could see several icons and one of them – “Create message” will be highlighted. You could select type of message from the list. To view sent and received messages, you should move joystick to the right and you could see the other list. At first sight it is not easy, but you get used to this menu structure very quickly. It’s logical and not very long compared to some menus of other manufacturers. On the whole menu organization is very nice. Surely it was thought over in details. For example, there are separate special bookmark for pictures and icons in the image gallery.
Finally, it is necessary to say that a user could select menu colors and menu schemes (or atmosphere, according to developers). Really, when you change a menu style, you change not only color, but whole perception of the phone. Developers were successful in creating unique atmosphere.
The phone supports both Russian and English predictive text input (T9). You could set a preferable type of text inputting, it would the default one. To change language you should choose it from the menu. Unfortunately this choice is available only for one field. For example, if you fill in several fields in the phonebook, moving to the next field means changing of language.
Phonebook. Phone memory is divided in several directories. There is a separate directory with contacts from SIM-card, by default there are three folders – Common, Office and Personal. The user could create own directories, they play the role of users groups in this phone. One could assign own melody to the special folders, it is not available for separate records.
There is a search by first letter in the list. Some records could be moved between directories. Several fields could be added to one name: Surname, name, home, office, mobile phone numbers, main phone number, fax, pager, the other phone number, two e-mail addresses, company, occupation, address, city, state, ZIP code, country, notes and 4 fields with personal information. As a result, one entry could contain up to 23 records, size is almost not limited. This phonebook will satisfy the most demanding users. Voice tags could be added to some names, voice dialing is also available. The recognition is sensitive to environmental noise, this function does not always work correctly.
Own picture could be assigned to the records in the phonebook. You could also download your own picture and use it as wallpaper. The phone supports JPG, GIF, aGIF, PNG, BMP files format.
Taking into account dynamical memory of the phone, it is difficult to say how many contact you could save in it, but not more than 800. Anyway you will have a memory problem with this handset.
Messages. The phone supports not only SMS, but EMS and MMS messages as well. Peculiarity is that you could see messages of all types in the folders. For example, in Incoming or Outgoing messages SMS, EMS and MMS messages are collected together.
There are templates for SMS-messages. Your phone number is automatically added, for example, there is such template as My number is 777 77 77 or Call me at 777 77 77. Your real number is displayed there, the phone takes it from SIM-card memory.
It is pleasant to work with MMS-messages in the phone. Firstly, each message will consist of several slides, each one could contain a melody, picture and text. But the message couldn‘t exceed 50 Kb. Secondly, there is a special menu item, how to create messages with voice mails. You can record any sounds using voice memo function and send this record immediately to your friend.
Finally, you could send a group message, this list could be different from the directories available in the phonebook.
Customize. The user could choose a melody, type of ringing tone, its volume. It is not possible to select mixed alert type (vibracall and melody simultaneously). There is only a possibility to switch on vibracall and only after that a melody. On the other hand, there are several melodies marked as vibe. Vibrating alert is active when they are playing but you can’t switch it off.
There are no profiles but you could switch off all sounds by one touch. It is sufficient for the phones of this class.
All display settings are available here. It is also possible to record voice commands to call menu items.
There is an integrated musical composer in the phone. Besides, it is possible to store any voice record as a melody.
Other settings are standard.
Tools. There is an alarm-clock in the phone (daily and once). Countdown timer is also available.
One could make records for different days in the organizer and setup reminder for them. It is not possible to input recurrent events. The calendar has both weekly and monthly views.
You could set local and remote time in the phone. Besides, there are calculator and currency converter. Voice memo allows to record up to 60 seconds.
Events. One could view information about last 10 received/10 missed and 10 dialed phone numbers. Records about all other events are also stored here.
WAP. A wap-browser of 1.2.1 version is available in the phone.
Games. All games can be used only in landscape mode. Taking into account that the phone has a square screen, this display orientation is not sensible, because it is not very convenient to hold it in this way.
There are two pre-installed games in the phone. The first one is Wall Breaker is a good version of Archanoid. You could waste much time playing it.
The second game is Mutant Alert, not typical of the phones of this class. It resembles me a first version of Wolfenstein. You run in the laboratory and try to kill all monsters. The phone operates slower here than usually.
We noticed that if you did not touch keys while playing the game, backlighting it automatically switched off and you should turn it on. You should set in the menu that backlighting is always on, it's more comfortable. Sometimes the phone returns you to the main menu.
The handset supports gaming platform In-Fusio, what allows to download new games (operator dependable function). This service is not available in Russia. But, neverthless, In-Fusio partly compensates lack of Java.
Media Album. All pictures and melodies are available in this menu. The set of pre-installed pictures and melodies is very large. There are many funny and ironic pictures. All selected sounds and graphic show that this phone is aimed to young people.
Software. Software is not included in the standard delivery kit but you could download it from the site. It is necessary to download only setup file. It allows to set modem connection between the phone and PC. Then you should choose programs and download them from the shell of setup utility.
Alcatel PC Suite will help you to synchronize data of your phone with Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes. Besides, you’ll get an opportunity to use pictures and melodies. There is a special application which allows to use the phone as a modem (GPRS connection). In our opinion it is one of the best software kit we’ve ever seen. After installing the software a respective icon is appeared in Windows Desktop. Click it and you receive an access to all applications. Let’s view some of them in more details.
You could syncronize data as throug IrDa. aslo using data cable (USB) which not included in standard package.
Create Stamp. It allows to create an icon (128õ128 pixels or 64õ64 pixels) from any picture. These pictures could be used as you like, even in MMS-messages.
Create Animation. The same as Create Stamp, but allows to create an animated file: your own animated file, or any combination of three pictures. You can adjust a period between them.
For example, I took site button and sent it to the phone. In a few minutes it was setup there. It was real pleasure to do it .
Customize Sound. You can mix sounds and receive own melody, or just choose any file and download it to the phone. Capabilities of the program are impressive. It is compatible with ÌÐ3, Wave, Midi formats.
Customize Image. It’s a kind of graphical editor. There are several effects, which you could apply to the picture. One click and edited file is on your phone.
Content Manager. This program allows you to download and upload any pictures and melodies. Separately you could download these files, using applications mentioned above.
Reception quality of this phone is nice, it provides stable connection. Volume of the loudspeaker is high, you can listen to the person on the other side very well. Speakerphone function is also well-realized.
Volume of the 24-tones polyphonic ringtone is louder than average phone has. It is heard inside and outside. May be it’s more difficult to hear the phone when it lies in the bag. Vibrating alert is weak.
Today Alcatel 535 costs about 180 USD. Probably soon it will reduce to 160 USD or even lower. This phone is a very attractive solution for youth market and elder people as well. Among the phones of the second generation equipped with color screens (Samsung C100, Siemens M55, Siemens C60, Nokia 3100), it is one of the best models. Alcatel 535 is the main rival to Samsung C100. It would not very easy to choose a phone if the price will be equal. Each phone has its own advantages and disadvantages. Later we’ll publish a comparative analyses of these two phones. There is no sense to compare it with Siemens M55, because the phone from Alcatel is much more interesting.
Alcatel 535 is not so extensively advertised as Samsung C100, but we recommend to pay attention to it. It is one of the products from Alcatel for the last years. Later sales of Alcatel OT 735 which apart these features has an integrated digital camera will begin. This phone is based on the same platform as Alctel 535.
Published 14 August 2003
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