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Review of GSM-handset Alcatel One Touch C-825
Live photos of Alcatel OneTouch C825
The handset comes in a variety of trims, but regardless of the variation you can see a band edging the middle of the casing. What makes it look offbeat is that on the right side it is much thicker than on the beveled ends. It may seem to be a tiny detail, yet this part of the design is worth some special attention as it puts a finishing touch on the handset, making it stylish enough. The device measures in at 95x50x18 mm and weighs in at 99 grams. The C-825 is in fact a tri-band handset.
The quality of materials used is something positive we’d like to dwell upon, since it has become an attribute of latest Alcatel-branded models, which in fact look much more luxurious than they cost, or, better to say, stand out against the backdrop of other solutions within the same price-bracket. The leather-like surface of the back cover’s plastic of our unit was finished in brown as well. The display is edged by a glossy rim, similar to the inset put on the back panel that is scratch-resistant among all other things. The design of the handset feels one-piece, lending it an expensive and quality looks. The block of functional keys made of standard matte plastic is a bit out tune with the rest of the casing, though. But this is the thing you won’t notice unless you give the phone a close-up.
The upper end houses a hole for a carrying strap, volume rocker, while on the right sits a dedicated camera key and a volume rocker. Headset and charger are plugged in MiniUSB slot which is placed on the left side. There you can also find a microSD memory expansion slot. Both slots are covered with rubberized stubs, which sit tightly in their socket and don’t feel loose. While the memory cards bay in the C-825 supports hot-swap, it is quite difficult to extract the cards with your finger, so you’d better do it with something small and sharp.
The TFT display found in the C-825 shows up to 262 K colors and outputs bright and vivid picture that looks good in various environments. With 176x220 (2 inch) resolution up to 9 text lines and 3 service lines can be displayed on the screen at a time. Fonts are drawn very well; we have no gripes with this parameter. The screen fades in the sun but the picture remains legible. Rating the screen, we should say that its specs are above the average, and compared to other offerings coming from this class, it turns out to be just marvelous.
Right beneath the screen you may find the music keys, whereas the soft keys they are flanking the navigation key. Unintentionally you expect soft keys to be on the top, so it is quite uncomfortable to work with them at first. All buttons are soft and sport good ergonomical merits.
The numeric keypad is remarkable for being modeled after the RAZR’s unit, though made not of metal, but of a celluloid plate instead that makes the keys move softly. The solution is quite quirky but quite comfortable to deal with. The grill-like backlighting does not deliver equal amounts of light to all keys, but you won’t end up seeing no captions in the dark.
The slider sports spring mechanism that allows for smooth sliding action. The metal plate along which two sides are sliding is placed on the back. You are free to assign custom sounds to open/close actions.
The back plate houses a lens of a 1.3 Mpix camera. Detaching the cover, which thankfully has got no gap, you will find a 750 mAh Li-Ion battery. The maker quotes the lifetime at 10 hours of talk time and 270 hours of standby time. In conditions of Moscow networks the handset lasted for about 3 days at 40 minutes of calls and minimal usage of other functions. You can also listen to music via a stereo headset up to 7 hours straight. It takes the handset a bit less than two hours to charge from empty to full.
With 10 Mb of built-in memory, the device allows you to install any applications or store your data. But you’d better use a memory card for such purposes, which is at your service to the last bit. The software filling is standard for the company’s latest-and-greatest devices, being utterly unified and set apart from the previous generation of phones, specifically Alcatel S853. The differences lie in more unsophisticated functions, phonebook in particular, forgoing of EMS support, voice notes in calendar and etc.
The main menu can be displayed as a 3x4 grid by grid, or, if you like, a list or one-item-per-screen view. For all menu items shortcut navigation is available (including the second level, though apps and functions won’t launch this way)
In most submenus you will see lists with horizontally arranged tabs on the top, which allows for easier sorting of functions by type. Generally speaking, the handset’s menu is laid out pretty well and leaves an overall good impression. Although the C-825 localization is far from perfect (original name of some menu items affects its quality as well, though) but it is a definite improvement over the predecessors.
Listing the drawbacks, we can’t pass by the lack of ability to send any lists with flagged files over Bluetooth (as only the first item is sent whatever the case is). The same goes for copying lists onto the memory card – the first item gets transferred, all other get booted. The most common way of Service-messages behavior, that didn’t pass over the C-825, is probably the most annoying about the phone – for example a service message of our carrier always hangs on the screen as new and thus keeps the backlighting on, cutting the batter life dramatically.
USB-connection. The device enables you to use standard USB date cable, on plugging in the battery starts recharging automatically. Three operation modes are available – COM-port emulation, WEB-camera mode and USB Mass Storage (provides access only to the only memory card). Data transfer rate makes up about 550-660 Kb/s. Camera mode is not particularly fetching as all the phone functions get locked and on top of that you’ll spend some time adjusting the camera. Such mode is of interest for handsets with desktop charger, as well as, for those with forward-facing camera for videoconferencing. And even though the manufacturer puts this feature into the limelight when it comes to promoting the C-825, in practice it is of no real use.
Phonebook. The C-825 can store up to 800 entries in its phonebook plus the SIM-card memory is also available. In the general list both numbers from the phone and SIM-card memory can be displayed. The horizontal tabs allow you to quickly jump from the general list to entries saved on the SIM-card or to the handset’s own contact list. The last tab serves for showing groups – unlike vast majority handsets, the groups here are not directly assigned to already submitted contacts, letting you select entries from the general list or enter them by yourself (by default you are allowed to enter text and phone numbers). The groups are for bulk mailing and assigning custom picture, tune or video.
In settings the user can choose the fields he wants to be displayed during information input, which it is quire comfortable, since such fields as address, for example, don’t make much sense.
Any entry may contain such fields as Name (there is no separate field for Last Name), up to 4 phone numbers (field type is pre-defined), e-mail address, company name, birthday (not bound up with the calendar). Also you are free to set a personal ring tone, video clip and picture for each contact. When calling the picture is displayed in full-screen mode, type of the number and group (if the contact belongs to one) are also shown. In the general list you will find both the name and the default number, as well as a thumbnail image.
Messaging. The device supports concatenated messages containing up to 1224 symbols, at that predictive text input can be used. Ten text templates are at your disposal. The number of messages stored in the C-825 is limited only to the volume free memory; you can also categorize your mail by creating custom folders. The manufacturer has forgone EMS support.
Topping out at 300 Kb, an MMS message can be composed with the help of one of the five templates. Generally speaking, there is nothing special about this department.
Games and applications. The C-825 comes preinstalled with two games, SuperNinja and Super Billiards. New games can be uploaded; heap size for Java applications makes up 1 Mb.
Camera. The device carries a 1.3 Mpix CMOS-matrix onboard. The following image resolutions are available:
Multi-shot mode for taking 3 or 5 shots in rapid succession, as well as mosaic mode (resolution is reduced automatically) is available. Three types of file compression are built in the C-825 – economy, standard and high. The timer can be also set on 5, 10 or 15 seconds. White balance can be automatically adjusted for daylight, lamplight, fluorescent lamp or cloudy weather. The following overlays are available – grayscale, sepia green, sepia blue, color invert, gray invert, blackboard, whiteboard, copper carving, blue carving, embossment, contrast, sketch. Plus there are three other overlays which you can modify: Contrast, Sharpness, Brightness, Saturation. Frames can be applied to the snaps taken in low resolutions; the handset comes loaded with two types - horizontal and vertical.
Standard settings include digital zoom (managed via the side-mounted volume rocker), portrait (when zipped open) or landscape (when closed). Such layout is typical only for a considerably small number of handsets; Motorola Z6 is among them, for example.
In terms of bundled settings the camera in the C-825 is remarkable for being very flexible and possessing loads of parameters available for adjusting. Unfortunately, snaps quality has nothing to do with camera’s functionality, even on the screen such images look somewhat insipid. On PC their looks doesn’t improve upon that on the handset either.
Video. Video is captured in 3GP format at a resolution of 176x144 pixels with sound. All in all, the video quality is quite average, the C-825 has nothing to shout about.
My creations. All files acquired with the help of the camera are stored in this menu item. The handset is quite sluggish when it comes to opening files (the memory type has no impact on it) as drawing thumbnails takes considerable amount of time
Performance. The device does not support 3D Java, so we’ve managed to launch only the first two test packets. The results are more than just moderate - they are in fact inferior to all the products by other companies. Overall, this doesn’t have anything to do with the interface – the device turns out to be pretty swift, to make sure of this watch the video clips offered in this review.
Media Album. This item contains all multimedia files but their categorization is quite quirky at least for those who have not dealt with Alcatel products before. In the main list you will find My Audios, My images, My videos etc. At that these menu items are assigned for already loaded files, rather than for the photos made by bundled camera. The latter are stored in My creations, where no categorization is applied. Memory card is viewed separately, data structure on the card is pre-defined, but you’ll have no hard time figuring out what is what by looking at the folders name. Though, you can create your own folders as well.
In the lists you may also see thumbnails of images that can be viewed in full screen mode.
Music player. The player’s settings include repeated playback of current track, repeat of all tracks, shuffle and repeat shuffle. You are at liberty to choose one of 7 equalizers – Normal, Bass, Dance, Classical, Treble, Party, Pop, Rock. Each of them has 8 manageable bands with the ability of its adjustment in the way you wish.
Four interface colors are available – Lime, Red, Black, Light Green. Though they alter only the skin color, rather than the interface layout.
Playback via Bluetooth - the player doesn’t know how to transfer sound to a connected Bluetooth-device automatically, only if you have launched the corresponding mode it will turn to your BT accessory. You can surely notice that this scheme is somewhat similar to what Motorola applies in its solutions. You are able to jump between tracks, adjust volume, but you can’t see track’s title on the headset (DS970 by Sony Ericsson).
Music should be stored on the memory card in Music folder, as otherwise the device won’t find it. Tracks can be sorted by genre, artist, album or you can call up the tracks you played back recently. Any track can be added to My Star List, which is something like a list of favorites. You are also enabled to throw various tracks onto playlists.
Wrapping it all up, the player does pretty well and is in line with other handsets. In stand by mode track title and artist are flashing on the screen, but there is no place for a progress bar or remaining time. The rewind is progressive. The dedicated player controls allow you to manage playback as well as call up the player itself (long press of the Play key).
Tools. All functions collected here can be referred to extras.
Bluetooth. Bluetooth settings are extremely unsophisticated: the handset can be paired up with other devices, A2DP profile is also supported. Bluetooth will give you no hard time, that’s for sure (version 2.0 + EDR, Broadcom BCM2045 chipset).
Organizer. Only month-view is available with the C-825’s calendar. To each date unlimited number of events can be assigned with the ability to set up an alarm, make the event recurrent (week days, weeks, moths). Everything is quite basic, no additional capabilities except for view of concatenated events list are provided.
Alarm. The phone offers five alarm clocks; you are free to turn on/off any of these. Each alarm is set to trigger off at certain time, on weekdays, the following features are also available: Snooze (up to 10 minutes), alert type (silent alert and tune, tune, silent alert, silent).
Calculator is run-of-the-mill application with memory function.
Converter is used to transform units of weigh and length as well as currencies.
Voice notes can be recorded in WAV or AMR format. By default they will be stored in the phone memory, memory card can also be selected for these purposes. Record length is restricted only by memory volume. The sound recorder can be stated up during a call.
My shortcuts. It is the list of user-created shortcuts that can retain both phone functions and link to web resources as well as phone numbers. At that numbers can be inserted manually or taken from the phonebook. All in all My shortcuts allows instant calling up of a particular feature, perhaps it will seem comfortable to some.
Call lists. The device offers 3 call lists with 20 entries in each. Within a list identical entries are summarized if they go one after another, then the number of calls is shown in detailed view. Also, viewing detailed information on any call you can check out call date and time. In this item you will also find statistics on calls duration, GPRS-sessions, call divert settings.
Settings. This section provides access to settings that have something to do with the handset.
Melodies. On each of the horizontal tabs you can manage setting for a certain event, the first tab is dedicated to ring tone, with the help of second one you may choose the mode (silent alert, silent alert and tune, silent alert then tune, silent, discreet), the third is about the volume, while the fourth serves for managing key tones, the fifth stands for message alert and the sixth tabs lets you choose alarm clock tune. You are also free to choose tune for the device switch-on/off, as well as for opening of the slider.
Color. Here you can customize menu color. By default there are four color schemes, matching the themes that come pre-installed installed with the phone.
Slider. Here you will find the settings for adjusting sliding action settings, i.e. auto answer on zipping the C-825 open, and termination of any operation when the phone is slid closed.
Themes alter the interface looks, change colors and the default tunes.
“Flight mode” mode (Antenna off Mode) – the network part of the phone gets disabled.
Equalizer – settings for the equalizer, that actually do alter sonic experience, are surprisingly stored outside the player itself. With their help you can choose one of the 7 equalizers – Normal, Bass, Dance, Classical, Treble, Party, Pop, Rock. Each of them has 8 manageable bands with the ability of its adjustment in a way you wish.
Display. Here you can select wallpapers - for this purpose any file may be used. Also in this item you will pick images for the phone switch-on/off splash screen (any picture or video), and layout of the main menu (grid, list or thumbnails).
Time. This is where you choose the time zone and set up date and time auto-update settings according to network settings.
Keys – settings for default actions for the soft keys and the shortcuts for numeric buttons. In the latter case you should decide what you want to assign to numeric keys: functions or phone numbers, as mixed mode is not available.
In the settings you may also find T9 vocabulary, auto key lock and input language selection and menu language settings.
Services. SIM-menu is available via this item.
WAP. The built-in Browser 2.0 supports certificates, yet is not capable of something out of this world when it comes to scaling standard pages. It has nothing to shout about, except for the low speed, which is really disappointing.
The volume of 64-chord polyphony is rather high (above the average), the phone rings loud enough just about in any environment. The silent alert power is a bit above the moderate. The reception quality is not the thing we would complain about.
In spite of some downgrades, compared to the previous Alcatel-branded solutions, this is a rather interesting device, especially for those who had no experience with Alcatel products before and at the same time is looking for a slider with a light price tag. Such draws as excellent screen, pretty good settings of the phonebook and ring tones, as well as good build quality and materials used, certainly are in favor of the OT-C825.
The device can not boast rich settings for handling the memory card, the media player is also somewhat insipid, yet is not that bad at all thanks to Bluetooth’s contribution into the handset’s selection of features. If we don’t take into account the steep expectations this handset doesn’t have any fatal drawbacks and fully lives up to its price tag. It is practically perfect solution for the youth, as stylish looks and low price aside, it sports adequate music department as well. Unquestionably, the brand is not among the top-demanded trademarks on the market these days, but this fact gives it certain advantages – you should not pay a substantial price premium for the brand itself. The handset is very neat and leaves an overall good impression, it can be recommended as a not too pricey slider – personally I have failed to find any identical solution within the same price-bracket, meaning that the device has turned out to be fetching. The C-825 will cost you about 180 USD without the memory card and about 210 USD with one 512 Mb big.
Published 14 March 2007
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