Alcatel has been producing budget phones for several years now, but they have remained largely off my radar. However, recently they were kind enough to send me a sample of the new Alcatel POP 4 6-inch which has a device specific name of 7070X.
Alcatel appears to produce a huge number of phones catering for most tastes, looking at Phone Arena, they have released over 30 phones in the past 3 years.
The POP 4 6 sits close to the top of phones released by Alcatel in terms of specifications, with only the Idol 4s looking like it has better specifications. In fact, it seems to be exactly the same specification as the POP 4S but with a 6-inch screen vs a 5.5-inch sreen.
The Alcatel POP 4 (6) sports a 6-inch 1080p screen, octa-core MediaTek processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, a 13-megapixel main camera and an additional 5-megapixel selfie unit on the front.
Some more specific details include:
- 6 inches, IPS LCD 1080 x 1920 pixels with a pixel density of 367 PPI
- MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755
- Octa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53, 64-bit
- Mali-T860 MP
- 3500 mAh battery
- LTE Cat 4 (150/50 Mbit/s), HSDPA+ (4G) 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS
- WiFI 802.11 a, b, g, n
- Bluetooth 2
- Fingerprint sensor
The body is made from a nice feeling aluminium case, with a glass screen of unknown specification (I will ask my PR contact. Build quality feel excellent and the design is nice, though nothing particularly to write home about, it is just a standard looking Android phone. I find only Samsung, Sony and LG have stand out designs for their top end phones. Due to the aluminium body, the battery is not replaceable, but this is pretty standard nowadays.
The phone only comes with 16GB of onboard storage, which is a bit low compared to high-end models, but about right for mid-range phones. It is upgradable via MicroSD and you can format your card to act as phone storage, so the lack of storage isn’t a major concern.
The phone is powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 system on chip (SoC) which has an Octa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53, 64-bit, Mali-T860 MP GPU and has 2GB of ram. The octa-core SoC sounds impressive, but it is firmly in the mid-level range of SoCs that you will find on a lot of mid-range Chinese brands like the Oppo F1 Plus and also used ion the Sony Xperia M5.
While that doesn’t sound overly positive, I have found it to be more than adequate for all my use. I am not a heavy gamer, I mainly use my phone for email, WhatsApp, Facebook, Reddit, browsing, tracking my runs and a lot of music streaming from Spotify. During my use the phone was always very snappy, in fact, it felt faster than my ageing Nexus 6P. I have also tried it with Youtube, Amazon Video and Netflix and never had any issues. It may not win any benchmarking awards, but at the end of the day, the vast majority of the public just want a phone that is quick for normal tasks.
Coming from the 6P the screen took some getting used to, it is quite a bit larger than the 6P and the resolution is lower. So, everything feels a little large. This does make typing easier though as the pre-installed SwiftKey is massive onscreen which I like.
Putting the 2 phones side by side does show some weaknesses, the Alcatel picture quality does seem excellent but in comparison to the 6P, it just isn’t as good. The screen is less bright and the colours are a little washed out. It isn’t really a fair comparison when the Nexus 6P was £400 when released and still commands around £300 for used or refurbished.
The camera on the POP 4 6” is surprisingly good, again no real match to high-end phones, but I would be more than happy with the quality of the pictures if this was my day to day phone. I am not very good with photography but I took some sample shots in my home town of Blackpool on an unusually sunny day. I used the default settings a literally just pressed the take photo button, so these are very much a standard photo.
One area I was very pleasantly surprised with is the battery performance. I am not really a power user, so your mileage may vary. On Sunday did some casual browsing of Reddit, messaging, emails and probably about 5 hours of music streaming, as well as tried out the camera for quite a few photos. Generally (nowadays), my 6P will be at 10% at the end of the day, the POP 4 6” was at a comfortable 27%. The battery in the 2 phones are basically the same size, but the lower screen resolution and mid-range SoC seem to be helping get a bit more out of the battery than my 6P.
The phone has all the 4G bands you will need as well as Bluetooth 4.2, but there does not seem to by NFC or WiFI AC, just 802.11 a, b, g, n. Again, these are not huge omissions for your average person, I don’t think I really need AC speeds on my mobile, and I don’t think I have used NFC on my Nexus 6P in over a year. It does mean Android pay will not be supported, though.
Apps & Interface
The phone comes with Android 6.0 which is a bit of a shame as I would have liked to see 7, but this won’t be a huge issue for most propel.
Alcatel has been quite good at keeping the bloatware down to a minimum, there really isn’t much extra stuff added on. From a quick glance there only seems to be music centre, boost, MaxxAudio, Onetouch cloud, User Care and Xender File Transfer that are added on.
The User Care feature seems to be a very interesting addition and not something I have witnessed on a phone before. When you set up the phone it allows you to auto-enrol for your warranty. I am not sure exactly how this will work, but hopefully, it means you don’t have to faff around with proof of purchases if you have an issue with it. The actual User Care app can carry out diagnostics on your phone to make sure everything is working correctly and has links for the Alcatel hotlines and repair centres. Considering this is a mid-range phone, so targeting the general public, rather than enthusiast, this will hopefully make hardware support far less stressful.
The default launcher also appears to be very vanilla, there are not loads of annoying widgets like you will find on Samsung. It seems very similar to the default settings of Nova Launcher which is my go to launcher.
Overall this is a great mid-range phone, it shows off just how far mobile tech has come, you can get 90% of the features and performance of a high-end phone but for less than half the price. Yes, you do have to make some compromises, but I don’t think the majority of people will notice the difference on a day to day basis.
The Alcatel POP 4 (6) performs admirably, has great battery life, a decent camera, and is not bogged down with bloatware.
At the moment there does not appear to be any UK stock, but there should be soon. Amazon.De has the phone listed at EUR 269,00 which works out around £230
If you would like to win the review sample that I was sent you can enter below: