My first English video on YouTube (Unboxing of the Alcatel 997D) received an overwhelming amount of feedback – there’s obviously an enormous interest in this phone and only little information around. So why not try my first full review in English? Here we go:
Summary: The Alcatel 997D delivers a lot of strong features for less than 200 EUR (in Germany, at least): 1GHz dual core CPU, 4.3″ WVGA display (480×800 pixels) with a very decent quality, 1 GB RAM, dual-SIM with a lot of comfortable features. There is actually just one competitor in this price range with similar features, the Mobistel Cynus T1. Although the flash memory could be more generous (only abt. 2.5GB for apps and data), it can be easily extended with a microSD card and Alcatel even ported the “move to SD” feature of previous Android version to Ice Cream Sandwich.
There are also some downsides, but none of the is really severe: The camera is not the best one, but then again quite ok for a mobile phone (too strong compression independent of the app used, exaggerated colours and an uneven an dirtily stained LED light) unless you went to shoot videos (even in VGA mode this is jumpy). Unfortunately there’s no option to define different ring tones per SIM card – please add this soon, Alcatel! The many pre-installed apps are somewhat annoying, but can (mostly) be easily un-installed. Only the LED torch app with it’s tremendous amount of right granted can’t be removed – this needs to be fixed. One other glitch can be quite annoying, too: When the screen brightness is in auto mode, the display and touch-screen tend to come to life during calls, making it possible to end calls unwillingly with your cheek – I lost two calls in one day of using the 997D for business as well, this can be quite embarrassing. Luckily there’s the simple workaround of switching off auto-brightness.
These issues are far from fatal and there are some workarounds as well, so I see no reason to warn you against buying this phone. To the contrary, with it’s incredible performance compared to price the Alcatel is really recommendable if you are on a budget – even if you don’t need the dual-SIM option.
Just compare this with the specs of the Samsung Galaxy S Duos: The Samsung phones offers “half the CPU” (single core), half the RAM, a smaller display and comes in cheesy-shiny-plastic styling, but costs ~50 EUR more. I wouldn’t think twice, which one to buy…
By the way: The international Alcatel website also lists as 997, lacking the D and only having one SIM slot – so obviously the D stands for dual-SIM.
In case you can order from Germany at bearable cost, here are some vendors and prices:
Here are two comparisons with my Huawei Ascend P1: GPS performance (ok, but somewhat lower than the Huawei) and screen brightness (dito)
The camera of the 997D compresses pictures too much – this seems to be a driver or hardware issues, as it also persists with alternative camera apps (files get larger, but compression issues stay the same). But you’ll only see that when really zooming into the picture. Additionally colours are exaggerated – see red tractor pictures (Alcatel 997D left, Huawei Ascend P1 right):
Here are a few more test pictures taken with the Alcatel One Touch 997D Ultra:
Update 19.11. & 18.12.: A few screenshots: AnTuTu Benchmark results (some say before the update of end of Oct. it was faster, almost 6000. With the latest AnTuTu it’s at ~6200), the permissions of the pre-installed LED torch app (which have been fixed in firmware version “vB5Y-0″) and a screenshot of an incoming call (to demonstrate how the SIM is indicated here).