Alcatel OT-S853 review: A music touch

Marek Lutonskύ, 15 January 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Where is the subwoofer?

While the user background and the basic functions correspond to the older Alcatel models, the music functions are completely new, built-in radio and MP3 player (some Alcatel phones supported MP3 ringtones before).

Alcatel OT S853 doesn't have a connector for standard headphones. By default, it allows remote control on a cable, to which you may connect a common 3.5 mm jack. In case you are not satisfied with the added poor quality headphones, you may use anything with a jack in the end to listen on the Alcatel. The length of the cable would interfere, in such case add another meter to the headphones together with the remote control.

Alcatel OT-S853 Alcatel OT-S853 Alcatel OT-S853
Headphones with common 3.5 mm jack may be connected to the remote control

The buttons on the remote control copy the left phone's side, except the keys for camera activation, which are unnecessary. The remote control is fixed to your outfit through fasteners and also contains a microphone. The music is muted during incoming calls. Then it continues playing. You may work with the phone ordinarily while playing.

Alcatel OT-S853 Alcatel OT-S853 Alcatel OT-S853  Alcatel OT-S853
The fasteners fix to your outfit

Let's look at the radio first. It uses FM range from 87.5 to 108.0 MHz. The tuning is manual, automatic or with directly set frequencies.. There are up to 20 positions for your favorite stations in the memory. The cable of the headphones is used like an antenna, RDS is not supported. The sound is relatively qualitative, the sensibility is sufficient. The Alcatel plays stereophonically in areas with good signal.


Radio on • 3D sound settings • volume

There were no perfect conditions for detailed MP3 player exploration. I don't have miniSD memory card, it's not widely used with phones, and not many pieces would get into the internal memory of about 10 MB. The tested phone didn't work with playlists and during the playing it showed the name of the album on the display, no other tags from the MP3 are showed. This still can be changed, let's not make definite judgments. The MP3 player quality is decent in this pre-final prototype.


Memory capacity

While listening to music via the built-in speakers Alcatel OT S853 is better than any other modern music phone. The sound has enough basses, medium and high tones from the speakers, mounted on the both ends of the phone and due to the sufficient area. You may increase it through the 3D effect activation. The result, however, is very unnatural.

The one thing I don't know is, what exactly does Alcatel mean by Stereo Surround 2.1. I get the Stereo, Surround also, I can see the two speakers, what about this one unit (1)? I just couldn't find Subwoofer in the phone.

The camera still has a chance

We have in our hands the first megapixel camera with the brand of Alcatel. I decided not to evaluate the picture quality so far. We'll see what Alcatel is going to think of in the next months.

The maximum camera resolution is 1280 x 1024 pixels. Another 7 resolutions are available, incl. the 640x360 panorama format. You may take pictures like photo camera or holding it horizontally. In this case, one of the buttons on the phone's side is used as a release button. You may control only the exposure compensation in the highest resolution, digital zoom is available only in lower resolutions. You can also record video in maximum resolution of 176 x 144 pixels and up to 30 seconds length.

 
Vertical picture taking • settings • when taking pictures horizontally the display orientation is changed

The pictures are stored in the gallery, from where you can view them. I didn't succeed to extend the image on the whole display, same with the video. What is more, in video mode there's no pause, not even a rewind option, just start/stop. There's no zoom option when viewing the photos.

 
Gallery • picture detail • video detail

The pictures or video records can be sent via infrared port or MMS. Maybe it will work through cable, too. I didn't have the necessary software, though. The situation with the Bluetooth is even worse. The tested phone can use Bluetooth only for connecting to a handsfree. There will be an option to send data and use wireless internet connection in the market version.

Searching by first character

The whole shared memory is available in the Alcatel phonebook. The capacity is not limited to the number of entries. The phone uses folders, the first one contains contacts on the SIM card, the second one, the entire internal phonebook. the others are just contact groups. You can create them by yourself and assign a different ringtone for each one of them.


Contact entering • dialing • Alcatel uses folders for viewing the calls  

Working with the folders is practical, Alcatel OT S853 however still uses searching by first character only. The phone of this class can't afford such thing in the year 2005. Even the interesting phonebook feature, to always find yourself back in the place where you have ended before, doesn't compensate for it.

 
Contacts on the SIM • the main contacts (a contact with assigned picture) • contact detail

You may assign up to 26 items to every contact. Besides the separate name and surname, seven numbers and e-mail address, there are also address, company, birth date (it's automatically added to the calendar), note and four lines personal information. You can't set a individual ringtone for the calling person, but you can assign a picture or even a video record, which is shown on the display at incoming call.


Incoming call of a person with picture assigned • missed call

The sound quality is excellent, both in the earphone and in the loud speakers. There is an option to record a call and the interesting thing is that the opposite side doesn't hear any alerting beeps. 64 polyphony or MP3 are ready to ring.


Ringtone profiles can be easily switched

During call you can also go into the phonebook, messages, calendar and tasks or you may write down a text note. This option wasn't functional when testing the phone, but we can expect it from Alcatel.

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