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Alcatel's OneTouch Pixi 3 tablets offer value and not much else (hands-on)

Meant for emerging markets, Alcatel's latest 7- and 8-inch tablets offer 3G and 4G connectivity for a low price.

Now playing: Watch this: Meet Alcatel's 7- and 8-inch OneTouch Pixi 3 tablets
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BARCELONA -- Alcatel's latest 7-inch and 8-inch Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 tablets don't pack very powerful specs, but the price the company is selling them for will surely tempt you. These two tablets complement the company's Pixi 3 range of smartphones previously announced at CES in January, and despite the low price, they sport a pretty decent plastic build. We got our hands on them here at Mobile World Congress 2015.

There are four different models, with the 7-inch model sporting three variants -- Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi and 3G, and 4G. The 8-inch comes with 3G only, but has slightly better specs.

The 7-inch Wi-Fi-only model will cost a mere 69 euros ($77, £50 and AU$98), while the 7-inch 3G version is a small step up at 89 euros ($99, £64, AU$127). Lastly, the 4G model and the 8-inch tablet are a tad more costly at 129 euros ($144, £93, AU$184). The 8-inch is already shipping while the 7-inch Wi-Fi and 3G models will ship in May to Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Design

While some of you may turn your nose up at the thought of a plastic tablet, I quite like the soft-touch material used for the 8-inch model. It's comfortable to grip, but if you're worried about the tablet slipping from your hands, the 7-inch version has a patterned back that gives you a very good hold.

The Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 7- and 8-inch tablets. Sarah Tew/CNET

Both tablets sport curved edges, which are quite comfortable to hold in your hand. Unlike Samsung tablets, the Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 tablets have no physical keys, and rely completely on the onscreen buttons.

The volume and power buttons are located on the right side. At the back you'll find a rear 2-megapixel camera with no flash, but there's also a 2-megapixel front shooter for selfies. It's not the best, but you can take pictures if you need to.

The patterned rear makes for a good grip. Sarah Tew/CNET

Hardware

The 7-inch versions all come with slightly different internal hardware, so bear with me a moment. The Wi-Fi version uses a MediaTek quad-core processor, the MT8127, clocked at 1.3GHz. The 3G model uses a MediaTek dual-core processor, the MT8312, clocked at 1.3GHz.

Both tablets sport a paltry 512MB of RAM and only 4GB of onboard storage, but the tablets have support for expandable storage via a microSD card slot. They both run Android 4.4.

As for the 4G version, it is powered by a 1.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 210, and has 1GB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. The 4G model runs Android 5.0 Lollipop.

All three 7-inch models pack the same 1,024x600-pixel display and have the same 2,820mAh battery. The one thing I noticed about the display is that the viewing angles aren't very good, so that's something you may want to take note of.

Viewing angles aren't the best with the Pixi 3. Sarah Tew/CNET

Lastly, the 8-inch model mostly shares the specs of the 3G 7-inch version, such as the 1.3GHz MediaTek MT8312, but it has 1GB RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. The 8-inch version also has a higher-resolution 1,280x800-pixel display, and the viewing angles are slightly better.

All tablets, apart from the Wi-Fi-only model, can make voice calls, which is cool.

Outlook

The Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 tablets offer pretty good value for money, though if you're used to higher-end devices, you may find these aren't quite to your liking. Bear in mind though that Alcatel's targeting the emerging markets with these cheap tablets, and their low prices make them very attractive for such customers.

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