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Alcatel OT-S520 review: Alcatel OT-S520

Alcatel has a history of making affordable phones, but with the OT-S520 it's produced an affordable phone that also looks good. The sleek S520 is available for £15 and is a simple phone with simple ambitions. It's only got 2MB of memory and a VGA camera, but that shouldn't matter if all you need to do is text and call

Andrew Lim
2 min read

Alcatel has a history of making affordable phones, but in recent times it's produced affordable phones that also look good. The OT-S520 is currently available to buy for only £15 and we wanted to know what you get for your money.


Alcatel OT-S520

The Good

Sleek design.

The Bad

Keypad; not enough on-board memory.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to inexpensive pay as you go handsets, Alcatel has definitely made a name for itself. The OT-S520 is another attractive phone from the company, but it's very basic and the keypad is much smaller than we'd like

You can buy the Alcatel OT-S520 on pay as you go with a Virgin SIM at Woolworths.

The first thing you'll notice about the OT-S520 is how small it is. At only 11mm thin it slips easily into a pocket and yet feels solid. We wouldn't go as far as saying that it was stunning but it is much more attractive than most budget phones.

The S520 is a compact candybar phone that fits easily into a pocket

A sleek black casing houses a small screen, compact keypad and VGA (0.3-megapixel) camera. On the side there's a handy mini-USB port that lets you charge it and use it as a Webcam but we couldn't get that feature to work.

The OT-S520 interface is well laid-out and easy to understand, so making phone calls or composing text messages is straightforward. You can also send and receive MMS, which is useful if you want to send pictures to your friends.

The S520's keypad is smaller than we'd like but it is usable

We rather enjoyed the OT-S520's games -- Chicken is a 2D platformer where you have to avoid getting squashed, and UFO sees you flying a plane and shooting at enemies. They're both very simple, but fun enough to keep you entertained at the bus stop.

As you might imagine at such a low price, there aren't many features so be prepared for a fairly simple experience. There's no Bluetooth so you can't send files to friends -- and even if you could there's only 2MB of on-board memory.

The other downside of not having much memory is that you'll find yourself having to delete text messages in order to make space for new ones. On the subject of text messages, the keypad is much smaller than we'd like and some users may find this annoying.

If you're planning on using the OT-S520 to browse the Internet then think again because there's no 3G or Wi-Fi. You do get a WAP browser but don't expect great things. This isn't a phone for feature-lovers -- it's about texting and calling.

The S520's screen may be small, but it's fine for reading text messages

This is a simple phone with simple ambitions. If all you want to do is make calls and send and receive the occasional text then you're not wasting your £15. Add to that a basic camera and sleek design and it's really not bad value for money.

Our only warning would be that with only 2MB of memory there's not much space for text messages or anything else, so if you're the type of person that likes to keep things, such as old messages and pics, this isn't the phone for you.

Edited by Marian Smith