The message functions are still a little mystery, especially the built-in e-mail client. The tested prototype already had the built-in client, which however hadn't been functional. According to the announcement, we may reckon with it in the final phone version, the same as the eventual Push-to-talk support in case of operators' interest.
Views of the e-mail client
I can't commend Alcatel for the text messages so far. The editor in the prototype, that we have available, doesn't count the written characters and the number of the parts in which a long message will be divided, is shown just before the sending. Alcatel OT S853 uses T9 dictionary for fast writing. We had the opportunity to test English only. The editor is fast enough and uses well distinct characters.
Messages menu • testing text message
Alcatel didn't gave in to its system for storing the incoming text messages yet. All messages are stored to the SIM card, from where you can delete or move them to the phone's archive. The archive is limited only to the shared memory. I know that such message system would suit some, but from the results of an enquiry we know that most of the users don't like it.
Multimedia messages are divided into two parts. The common MMS are in the first one. you may insert pictures, video and sound in them. Next here is Vox MMS, a function, which allows you to dictate something by voice and send the result without any fuss in MMS messages.
The alarm is either simple or can be repeated every day. Right next to it in the menu I can see time countdown. There is no stopwatch in the phone. You can be woken up by selected ringtone or by radio.
View Extras • alarm settings
I don't have at disposal previous models in order to compare their functions with OT S853. However, I would say, that the calendar didn't change at all. There is daily, weekly and monthly view, in the other folder, a "to do list" (task manager). When entering new items you may choose between events, birthdays and calls. For birthdays, it's enough to enter a date and eventually to select a warning. The other two types of events require also time setting. The warning may sound directly in the time of the event or you can select it among 18 options.
Daily, weekly and monthly calendar view • to do list
You may choose from common tasks to remind you that you have to call someone. There is an option to set priority, date and warning to the tasks. There are no text notes in the phone, but in regard to their availability during the call, we may presume that they would appear as a separate application.
Appointment details • reminder settings
I believe that both the functions for time organization and the phonebook can be synchronized with a computer. We don't have at disposal any software to test so far.
The calculator is very simple, the currency converter, too. The tone recorder application is determined for recording "human" ringtones. Voice memo serves as a 30 sec. dictaphone.
Alcatel is not very good at data transfers. The phone doesn't work in 3G network. However it's possible to use GPRS and EDGE, both Class 10. For now you may connect to internet from a PC via infrared port and we believe that Alcatel will also improve the Bluetooth until the beginning of the sales. We expect that the connection through the added USB cable would be possible as well. The built-in WAP browser works also with simple web pages.
There were no games in the tested prototype. They had a separate folder in the main menu, so we can expect them. In addition, Alcatel supports Java MIDP 2.0.
The tested Alcatel OT S853 was not final. Until the end of January, when the phone is going on sale, many things would change, so we're going to complement the review in the end. For example, the phone can still improve the full Bluetooth support or the e-mail client. We won't be angry in case Alcatel reconsiders the search method in the phonebook according to the first character and perhaps even the way text messages are stored.
The success of Alcatel OT S853 depends also on the time, when it hits the market. The primary date has been already exceeded and the competition isn't sleeping. On CeBIT fair, we talked about a top and in most cases unequalled mobile phone. It was still rather competitive at the end of the summer, would it be able to compete in the first quarter of 2006?
Alcatel OT S853 is an excellent phone in any case. It is an unambiguous choice for the brand fans. They can't have anything better and the question is, whether they will ever have something better some day. In addition, Alcatel is planning an excellent price.