Berlin -- Though it was only April that we reviewed the OneTouch Idol 3 , Alcatel arrived at IFA with a successor in tow. It's not features that make new OneTouch Idol 3C different, but a series of replaceable covers that range from understated to "Hey, notice me!"

Same, but also different

Like the Idol 3, the Idol 3C isn't aimed at discriminating smartphone buyers. Though the 5.5-inch display doesn't skimp on size, the 1080p resolution won't show graphics at their sharpest. There are no physical controls around front, but on the right spine are a volume rocker and a power control. The trim profile (152.7mm long by 75.1mm wide by 7.9mm thick) lets it slip comfortably into my pocket.

The eye-catching Idol 3C range. Alcatel

As I mentioned, the replaceable covers make the Idol 3C stand out (the Idol 3 had just a dark gray brushed finish). They come in five colors: white, lime green, yellow, purple and red. They're made of plastic, but they snapped on with a loud and satisfying click.

Diving deeper, the Idol 3C has the same JBL audio speakers as its predecessor. I didn't get the chance to test them, but I can't imagine they'll deliver sound any less sharp then what Jessica Dolcourt heard on the Idol 3 . The main camera has a 13-megapixel resolution, and the front shooter tops out at eight megapixels. Other features include a 2,910mAh battery promising 13 hours of talk time, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot that can take cards up to 128GB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It all runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop and a 1.5GHz octa-core processor.


As Jessica said, though Alcatel phones usually underperform, the Idol 3 brought new power to the table. As the Idol 3C shares the same internal specs, I don't expect it to be any less satisfying. Sure, it's the same specs five months later, but priced right it can still be a worthy buy for anyone who wants a handset that hovers just above entry-level.

Alcatel did not share pricing just yet, though I'd expect to fetch about what the Idol 3 cost (that was $250 in the US and £270 in the UK). Where exactly the handset will land is also a mystery; we'll update you as soon as we know.

For more of the best of IFA 2015, see CNET's complete coverage.