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Review GSM phone Alcatel OT E157
Despite Alcatel OT E157 is a low-end solution, it can boast of having a pseudocolour screen. The screen is realized simply. The display itself is monochrome, and a mat under it is a semitransparent colour picture, that is why the screen seems colour.
The device has small dimensions and weight - 96x42x20 mm, 80 g. It easily goes both in a pocket of shirt and trousers. The handset will be shipped in two body variants - light grey with a black or a vinous edging. The plastic of the body is qualitative, and assembly rouses no cavils.
A strap hole is placed on the top of the device, and a microphone gap is placed on the bottom. A charger connector and a headset one near it are on the right side. And the left side of the phone is element-free.
A small monochrome display with the resolution of 102x80 pixels (29x24 mm) is on the front part of the device, up to 5 text lines may be shown on it at the same time, and one of them is service. The screen mat is colour and picturing a landscape. At first, you'll find it hard to read data from the screen, since it is like torn away from the background, and the mat attracts attention, but you'll soon get used to. In the sun, the information is well read from the screen; nevertheless this is a good old monochrome display, though with a colour mat.
A pseudocolour screen is an interesting solution, and many will like it, the only question is the mat picture, tastes differ, and some people will dislike a mountain landscape on the E157's screen. Thus, such screens are unlikely to be widely spread, since selecting an optimal picture will be quite hard for a manufacturer.
The keypad is rubber and divided into blocks with two keys in each, the blocks are separated with a small hollow. This decision to join the keys is esthetically interesting, but it causes some problems when using the device, since small key size tells upon, and accidental pressures are frequent. However that mainly concerns people with big fingers, and women and children will find it comfortable to work with the keypad.
Besides Latin characters, number keys hold Cyrillic ones. The keypad backlighting is green, even and all the characters are read well.
Almost the whole back of the device is taken by a plastic cover of the battery compartment. It slightly creaks and has a slight backlash. A 650mAh Li-Ion battery is shipped with the phone. A complete battery charge was enough for 4 days in Moscow with 20 minutes of talks and up to 20 minutes of using other functions. The device showed a middling result comparable with Nokia 1101. Full recharging takes about 2 hours.
The main menu is a vertical list, and each item is a small icon with a tip. Four items are seen at once. Submenus are also vertical lists, and three subitems are seen on the screen, since a section name takes the upper line.
Pressing a left functional key in the standby mode calls the main menu. Pressing up or down in the standby mode, you'll go to Messages or Phonebook correspondingly.
Localization is carried out well, still abbreviations happen, but that is due to a small screen. The only drawback is Russian fonts are thinner than English, and that's why information is worse read. You can not only use Russian and English T9 dictionaries, but add personal words to it.
Phonebook. Up to 255 numbers may be stored in the phone's memory. Only one phone number may be assigned to a contact. Search by a number of a group is at your disposal. There are 6 groups completely adjusted by a user, personal name, call melody and SMS alert are possible for each group. Contacts may be shown altogether (both from the internal memory and SIM) or separately.
Phonebook capabilities are minimal. But it should be enough for a user with few contacts. The thing that disappointed is there is no search by name, all the contacts are to thumb through one after another, and if there are more than 50 contacts, it gets problematic.
Messages. The phone offers no EMS support, and all the SMS are stored on a SIM. Positive points are group SMS and a capability to send a text message to e-mail address (if the function is provided by your operator), besides, you can change all the 8 templates as you like.
Melodies. Here you can select a call type. That can be only a melody, only vibra, vibra with a melody at the same time, vibra then a melody, or vibra - melody and a silent mode. Also here you can set call signal volume (5 levels), set an incoming call melody, SMS signal and other sounds.
Screen. Here you can turn an inverse effect on, then the text will be light and the background will be dark. To tell the truth, this mode looks unusual, but some people may like it. Besides, one of the two headbands that will be shown at turning on and off the phone can be selected. Also you can adjust screen contrast.
Settings. Date and time is set from here, also choose a menu language, set the time for automatic phone on and off. And here is a T9 dictionary, where you can add words.
Call service. Here are all the network settings.
Games. There are 2 games in the phone, they are Russia a widely known Tetris) and Bricks (also very famous acranoid).
Tools. There are 4 alarm clocks with only time set for each. They work with the phone off.
Also besides alarm clocks there is a plain calculator.
There is a slight cavil on the connection quality. When the device was in poor coverage zones, it was almost impossible to call right till the phone is answered. In sure reception zones the device behaved well. The loudspeaker volume is average, and you'll hardly hear your interlocutor in a very crowded street. 16-tones polyphony is claimed, though it more resembles a 4-tones one. The power of a vibra is low, it may be missed sometimes.
And here we get a typical low-end model with the minimum functions. The minuses are the absence of search by name and the absence of phone memory for SMS. And unsatisfying reception quality may be referred to the problems of this very test sample.
Logical and clear menu is a real advantage, as well as small size and weight, and a pleasant phone design. The presence of a pseudocolour display is an arguable moment, since the mat image may be not up to you, and the display will be unusual for the first time.
Alcatel OT E157 will be launched in the end of August 2005 for approximately 50 USD. The model is probable to be demanded among parents buying phones for their children.
Published 27 July 2005
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