BERLIN -- Calling all faery folk. Alcatel's found its newest smartphone slumbering on a lily pad, and is ready to introduce the Pixi First to the mortal realm.

This elfin mobile has a 4-inch display and, Alcatel promises, a near-mythical price tag.

First-time buy

With the Pixi First, Alcatel appears to be setting its sights squarely on first-time smartphone shoppers, with an entry-level mobile that claims it won't lay waste to your savings account. The First itself has a 4-inch display, encased in a frame that measures 9.7mm thick, making this a reasonably slender phone. Not everyone will be swayed by the ostentatious Pixi branding stamped onto its rump, but a choice of four metallic-effect colours -- grey, silver, gold and pink -- do offer some freedom when it comes to the look of the phone.


Above that swooping logo you'll find a 5-megapixel camera, while a 2-megapixel snapper sits on the front. Those aren't particularly hi-resolution sensors, and with the Pixi First positioning itself as a cheap phone, I'd be surprised if it produces any award-winning snaps. But it may serve for capturing the moment on a night out.

On the inside, the Pixi First is packing a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and can access 3G data. It's a shame there's no 4G on board, but Alcatel vows to deliver 300 hours of standby time and 7 hours of talk time before the First cries out for its charger.

The price is sprite

The Pixi First is shaping up to be a stripped-down smartphone, and with plenty of competition out there, its value will be hinge greatly on its ultimate price. Unfortunately, while Alcatel claims the phone will have a low price, we don't know exactly what that price will be. I'm a big fan of low-cost, accessible gadgets, so here's hoping Alcatel finds a way to make the Pixi First the cheapest smartphone around.

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