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Review of GSM-handset Alcatel OT E-805

Live photo of Alcatel OT E-805

Sales package:

  • Handset
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Wired headset (with FM-radio and 3.5 mm jack for the Russian market)
  • MicroSD memory card (ships with 256, 512, 1024 Mb cards or without)
  • User guide
  • miniUSB data cable

Alcatels approach to new products creation has altered recently, as relatively expensive materials are used in budget handsets changing their quality for the better. Setting out to survive on the market with such an enormous competition Alcatel is bold enough to create super-low-end modules for the niches that are all the rage these days, for example the E-801 has become the most affordable music phone on the market to date. Of course, we could harp on the phones being only a partly music-heavy offering, and its sound quality yielding to that of other models, but one thing is for sure up until now it has got no rivals in 120-130 USD price-bracket. As its update, the company offers the E-805 packing a handful of interesting features.

There is nothing unusual about the handsets design; it is standard candy-bar, whose lower-than-average price can be easily identified by the missing navigation pad. At the same time, the materials used are highly competitive with those of top-echelon offerings. Made of soft touch plastic the phone does not slip in your hands and feels good when held. The phone measures up at 96.5x54x17.5 mm, while weighs 75 grams. The built quality is brilliant, no gaps, spongy feel or other problems that can spoil your quality time with handset.

Download video (mpg, 9.8 Mb)>>>

The casing is colored in black but the glossy rim around the screen may vary. It comes in three trims brick-red, iron and emerald (which we managed to get our hands on).

The display cannot boast any newsworthy highlights. Utilizing cSTN-matrix, it shows 65 K colors at 128x128 pixels resolution, which allows up to 6 text lines and 2 service lines. The picture is not sharp enough and looks dirty to some extent. Taking into account that the device comes from the low-end segment, it is something we have come to expect from the display, however it is evidently inferior to the many other screens of similarly positioned, yet released earlier, offerings.

The keypad is brightly lit in red, making it well-visible in different environments. The dent in the centre of the keypad makes handling the buttons a cinch. Generally speaking, the keypad is comfortable enough, but the absence of navigational key is really disappointing. Perhaps it is not that essential, keeping in mind how unsophisticated the handset is.

The left spine houses three dedicated music keys with the help of which you can start playback of tracks anytime. FM-radio comes included with the E-805 only thanks to the default headset, solely used for managing the radio.

The slot placed on the casing is meant for microSD cards, although all sources insist on support for miniSD cards, however this is not true. Cards up to 1 Gb big can be easily swapped on a working device. The socket flap is made of rubber and firmly linked up with the casing.

Under the back cover is 650 mAh Li-Ion battery, but as the manufacturer claims, the battery life makes up 10 hours of talk time and up to 250 hours of standby. In the conditions of Moscow networks the handset lasted for about 3 days at 30 minutes of calls with only a couple of messages and 1.5 hours of music listening. At full blast music kept playing for 7.5 hours straight. It takes the E-805 1.5 hours to charge from empty to full.

MiniUSB slot is placed on the lower end, which is not particularly convenient, when it comes to plugging in a headset. With a USB data cable plugged in, you should enable connection with PC to launch USB Mass Storage mode (data transfer speed to the memory card reaches 300Kb/s).

Menu

The menu layout is dead-simple, since it is a budget solution, the menu is displayed in the list mode. The menu lacks shortcut navigation, but here it is not essential here because of the quite poor set of menu items.

Phonebook. Up to 255 numbers can be stored in the phone's memory. Each contact allows for submitting only one phone number. Groups are also supported, for each of them you are free to assign ring tone as well as a tune for SMS-messages. In general list you can make use of only of the first-letters search. As matter of fact the E-806s phonebook can not boast any extended functionality.

Messages. When typing in a message you can to use predicative text input mode; there are templates available as well (up to 15 of user-manageable). Created message may be sent to several phone numbers including those stored in the phone book.

Sounds. Here you can select the type of alert (ring tone, vibrator, vibrator and ring tone, vibrator and then ring tone, vibrator then beep and ring tone, silence), volume and ring tone. Special tune for SMS as well as for the alarm clock and the device turn on /off may also be selection in this section.

Display. Allows picking wallpaper, menu color scheme, adjusting contrast and screen-saver.

Settings. From this menu USB-connection is activated, you are free to set the time for automatic switch-off, customize time as well as view words added to the dictionary.

Calls. This menu is quite standard, settings for call forwarding as well as three call lists (each contains 20 entries) are found here.

Games. There are two games coming pre-installed with the E-805, one called Russia (tetris) and Bricks (arcade).

Tools. This menu item includes basic calculator and four alarm clocks, where only triggering time is the only customizable option.

Music Player. Music files can be stored only on the memory card in MP3 directory, play lists are not supported. You can go into shuffle and repeat modes, and even pick one of nine equalizers (Original, Classic, Pop, Bass, treble, Bass-tre, Rock, Dance). The user is enabled to select one of three player skins. Music is uploaded over USB connection, which should be activated manually.

The player presents you with only a few abilities, yet one shouldnt demand more from such budget solutions. In standby mode the screen shows track title and artist, rewind and fast forward are disabled on the E-805.

Impressions

There is no official information on how many voices the handsets polyphony module sports, yet Ill take the risk and make a guess that it has got 16 chords, which is indicated by tone values of other handsets built on this platform. To our surprise the ring tones are very audible, default tunes sound well and are a pleasure to listen. The ability to assign custom tracks as ring tones is also supported.

The quality of localization leaves much to be desired, fonts are drawn badly, differing in size and being overall slim, which makes it challenging to recognize whats written on the screen.

On the plus side, the quality of materials used as well as the design make it difficult to figure out that it is actually a low-end solution costing 120-130 USD. The handset belongs to budget class is aimed to provide with music those who are not ready to spend a large sum of money on a phone or player but at the same time not too sensitive to the sound quality and extra settings availability. The only now-marketed product with resembling positioning is Sony Ericsson W200, but at a price 200 $, it is the model with wholly different abilities, sound quality and a great headset coming boxed with it. We cannot say this offering wont succeed in replacing Alcatel OT E-801 it will certainly generate some sales, especially among youth, students and in some particular regions. Other manufacturers cannot offer music handset with such a lightweight price tag, thus the E-805 will have win some consumers hearts, if few. Once more Id like to emphasize that the quality of casing is a great advantage making the handset stand out against hordes of similar proposals available on the market.

Impossibility to purchase custom headphones as a replacement of the default ones is a letdown for the E-850, but the presence of the 3.5 jack slot on the original earphones partly solves this issue. If the original headset breaks down, you will face a real problem, as miniUSB-adapters do not work with this device. In short, the sound quality put up by the player can be given an average market, at that its volume is very limited. 

Three sales packages will arrive in the market, which will be set apart only by included memory card generally, the junior model will be the one with a 265 Mb one in the box and the senior offering will boast 1 Gb memory card. At the price range will remain pretty tight, when 10-12 USD will buy you the best available package instead of that with 265 Mb card inside. This means that if the lowest price for the version equipped with 256Mb will be worth 110-115 USD, then the senior variation will cost you about 130-140 USD.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Vera Paderina (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 02 March 2007

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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