Hands-on with Alcatel's metallic Idol 2

Packing 4G connectivity and a new metallic finish is the quad-core follow-up to last year's Idol.

Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low
2 min read

BARCELONA, Spain -- The sequel to last year's Alcatel One Touch Idol is the Idol 2, a 5-inch Android handset sporting a beautiful premium metallic design in a slim 7.3mm frame.

While Samsung has been stuck in a plastic cycle since forever (though the upcoming Galaxy S5 may change this), other handset manufacturers have tried to win our hearts by using premium materials in their handsets. The Idol 2 uses this approach with a brushed metallic finish that feels sleek and polished in the hand. A quick caveat though -- I noticed the "metal" bands around the edges were actually made of plastic.

Meet the Alcatel One Touch Idol 2, the sequel to last year's Idol. Sarah Tew/CNET

Sporting a large 5-inch, 960x540-pixel IPS display, the screen popped with vivid colors and looked bright enough for outdoor use. Sadly, the low resolution is very noticeable, and doesn't feel as sharp as handsets with a higher-resolution display.

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress

The Idol 2 comes equipped with the usual connectivity options such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and features NFC as well. There's also an optional dual-SIM port (depending on where it is sold).

An 8-megapixel rear camera rounds up the feature set, and seemed capable of taking pictures with no shutter lag.

LTE and wearable phones: Alcatel's new devices at Mobile World Congress

See all photos

The performance of the quad-core 1.3GHz processor seems adequate for normal day-to-day use, but you probably shouldn't count on it for high-end gaming. Furthermore, you also won't be getting the fastest data speeds with this handset -- it only goes up to HSDPA (21Mbps) unlike the Idol 2 S, which sports LTE.

Lastly, it runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, but a promised Android 4.4 KitKat update is forthcoming. The UI seems very close to normal stock Android, but there are some tweaks to the lock screen, as well as minor visual changes to the pull-down notification menu and the settings screen to set it apart from stock.

Sarah Tew/CNET


Retailing at an affordable 199 Euros ($275, £165) without subsidies, the Idol 2, alongside the rest of the Idol 2 range, will be available for sale in the next few months in Europe, the U.S. and China.

The Idol 2 rocks a slim 7.3mm-thin body. Sarah Tew/CNET