Alcatel's latest phones cover the high-end and budget bases

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September 3, 2013 11:00 PM PDT / Updated: September 5, 2013 11:00 PM PDT
Alcatel One Touch Hero
The One Touch Hero, one of Alcatel's latest high-end smartphones. Alcatel

At IFA 2013 in Berlin this week, Alcatel showed off a few brand-new phones aimed at both budget-minded customers and those who want a top-of-the-line device.

Alcatel is adding four new phones to its One Touch line: the Idol Alpha, Idol S, Idol Mini, and the One Touch Hero. The new devices range across every price level, from high-end to budget. We don't yet have official pricing details for each phone, but Alcatel has said the One Touch Hero and the Idol Alpha will cost the most, the Idol S will be slightly cheaper, and the Idol Mini will have a budget price tag.

Phone One Touch Hero Idol Alpha Idol S Idol Mini
Processor 1.5GHz quad-core 1.2GHz quad-core 1.2GHz dual-core 1.2GHz dual-core
Screen 6-inch LCD; 1,920x1,080 4.7-inch LCD; 1,280x720 4.7-inch LCD; 1,280x720 4.3-inch FWVGA; 480x854
RAM 2GB 1GB 2GB 512MB
Internal storage 8GB, 16GB 16GB 16GB 4GB, 8GB
Expandable memory Up to 32GB None Up to 32GB Up to 32GB
Battery 3,400mAh 2,000mAh 2,000mAh 1,700mAh
Main camera 13-megapixel 13.1-megapixel 8-megapixel 5-megapixel
Wireless charging Yes No Optional No
Dimensions (inches) 6.2x3.2x0.3 5.4x2.6x0.3 5.2x2.6x0.3 5x2.4x0.3

One Touch Hero
The most high-end and largest of the bunch is the One Touch Hero, at 6.2 inches tall by 3.1 inches wide. Alcatel hardly wasted any space, letting the 6-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel-resolution screen take up almost the entire front of the phone. The Hero has a curved body with rounded edges and a shiny back cover.

The Hero is packed with several features found in modern smartphones, including wireless inductive charging and the option to mirror your phone's screen on a connected device, such as a TV or computer. Just like the Samsung Note 2 , it also comes with a stylus so you can write, draw, and annotate directly on the large screen. Lastly, the One Touch Hero has a unique flip cover that shows notifications on one side with an embedded LED screen and flips around to display a second, e-ink screen.

The smartphone is running Android 4.2 and comes with a 3,400mAh battery that gives it a promised 16.5 days of battery life on standby with a 3G connection. Inside, the Hero has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, depending on the version you choose.

Alcatel says the One Touch Hero will be available starting in the October of thsi year, and will have a high-end price, probably in the $500-$600 range unlocked, though we don't yet know for sure.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha
The One Touch Idol Alpha Alcatel

One Touch Idol Alpha
The next new higher-end smartphone in the line is the One Touch Idol Alpha. Alcatel is playing up the phone's curved metal body, which features a 0.29-inch aluminum frame and smooth matte back. On the front, the Idol Alpha has a 4.7-inch IPS LCD 1,280x720-pixel screen.

The Idol Alpha doesn't have the same bells and whistles as the One Touch Hero, but its internal specs are respectable. It runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of memory. The phone also has a 13-megapixel camera and 2,000mAh battery for allegedly up to 15 days of standby time with a 3G connection.

The One Touch Idol Alpha will be available in the fourth quarter of 2013 and will likely cost several hundred dollars.

One Touch Alpha S
Moving into the lower-end smartphones, we have the One Touch Idol S. The phone has run-of-the-mill specs for a midrange device, with a 4.7-inch screen, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, and 4GB of internal storage. There's not much that stands out about the Idol S, except maybe its colorful metal matte back cover.

Alcatel One Touch Idol S
The One Touch Idol S Alcatel

The Idol S ships with Android 4.2 and sports an 8-megapixel camera. Look for the phone in September.

One Touch Alpha Mini
True to its name, the Alpha Mini is the smallest of Alcatel's newest One Touch phones, at just 5 inches tall and 2.4 inches wide -- that's just slightly larger than the iPhone 5 -- and has a low-resolution 4.3-inch screen. In terms of specs, the Alpha Mini is a true budget phone; it has 512MB of RAM, a smaller 1,700mAh battery, and a 5-megapixel camera.

The Alpha Mini's most unique feature is that you can pick either a single-SIM or dual-SIM model. The dual-SIM option gets 8GB of storage, while the single-SIM only has 4GB. The phone's brushed metal back cover also comes in four colors: silver, pink, navy, and black.

The Alpha Mini also will go on sale in September.

One Touch Idol X
The last phone that Alcatel is showing off at IFA has actually been around since February. The One Touch Idol X was announced at this year's Mobile World Congress and fits somewhere between the Idol Alpha and Idol S.

The Idol X has a 5-inch screen with a thin front bezel, and a smooth rubbery back cover that comes in five bright colors. The phone will be available globally shortly after IFA 2013.

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About The Author

Sarah Mitroff is a CNET associate editor who reviews Android and Windows Phone software and, occasionally, hardware. In the past she's written about everything from Android apps to startups Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat. She loves pretty space photos, the San Francisco Giants, and apps that organize the recipes she compulsively hoards.