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Alcatel OT-708 review: Alcatel OT-708

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The Good Small size; touchscreen isn't bad for the price; fairly appealing design; cheap.

The Bad No 3.5mm jack for your own headphones; no 3G or Wi-Fi means browsing the Web is horrifically slow; poor-quality camera.

The Bottom Line The Alcatel OT-708 is a decent touchscreen phone, considering how cheap it is. But it lacks most of the features that make a touchscreen truly worth having, such as a speedy Web browser and complex apps. If you're skint or want a cheap secondary handset, it's still worth a look though

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The Alcatel OT-708 is a zero-frills touchscreen phone. With few of the flashy features that have made smart phones all the rage, it bears about as much relation to the iPhone 4 as a goldfish does to a great white shark. But it is very cheap. 

You can pick it up for free on an £8.49 per month, 24-month contract, or for £80 SIM-free. For most people, though, it will probably make more sense to buy it on a £20 pay as you go deal.

Keep it in your trousers
Despite its tacky plastic carcass, the OT-708 isn't a bad-looking handset. Not much taller or wider than a Malted Milk biscuit, it'll slide into a pocket with no bother. It also feels like it will withstand far more torture than an iPhone or other high-faluting touchscreen handset.

The OT-708 is larger than a Malted Milk biscuit, but it won't crumble into a thousand tasty pieces in your pocket 

The only physical controls are a power button on the left-hand side, and a volume-adjustment button on the other. Otherwise you control the handset via the 61mm (2.4-inch) resistive touchscreen, and the touch-sensitive area below the display. This area features blue LED lights that form various patterns depending on which part of the user interface you're in. That's about as flashy as this handset gets.

Tolerable touchscreen
The OT-708's resistive touchscreen is nowhere near as slick as the capacitive touchscreens on high-end smart phones. There's no multi-touch functionality for zooming in with a pinch of the fingers, for example, and you have to apply a degree of pressure to make the display register your input. But the touchscreen still gets the job done, and we found we made few erroneous prods, due to the interface's large icons and clear menu system. 

The interface is basic by the standards of most touchscreen phones. The single home screen features two panels that can be hidden away when not in use. One, along the bottom of the screen, lets you quickly write a text, look up a contact, dial a number or access the menus. The other panel, which hangs down the left-hand side of the screen, provides access to some rudimentary widgets. Note you can't customise this panel to show different apps.

People who can't be bothered to look out of the window may find the weather widget useful, but the rest are pretty mundane. You can drag and drop them from the panel on to the home screen to see an expanded version, so the music player widget, for example, will show play and skip-track buttons. 

Headphone dismay
As well as a music player and elementary features such as a clock, calendar and calculator, the OT-708 offers an FM radio. You'll have to use the poor-quality bundled headphones to listen to it, though, as there's no 3.5mm jack. Also, if you want to store more than a few tunes on the OT-708, you'll need to whack a microSD card, of up to 4GB, into the slot under the battery.

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