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Alcatel offers up smaller OneTouch Idol 3 for US, Canada

The 4.7-inch smartphone will be available direct to consumers starting August 14.

Alcatel hits redial on the OneTouch Idol 3. Josh Miller/CNET

Chinese phone-maker Alcatel on doubled down on its OneTouch Idol 3 smartphone , announcing on Monday a 4.7-inch variant will sell directly to US and Canadian customers beginning August 14.

In a move that reinforces a trend of Chinese companies selling directly to North American customers, Alcatel's website becomes the online storefront for seeding the device, alongside the larger 5.5-inch version.

With higher competition in this direct-to-consumer space from rivals like OnePlus, ZTE and Asus, and no carrier support on this flagship model (Alcatel does sell some lower-end smartphones with US carriers), Alcatel is likely to make a small splash with this method, especially if the company holds off on pricey ads and campaigns to make phone-buyers aware of the handset.

Priced at $180 and compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile LTE networks, the 4.7-inch OneTouch Idol 3 features the latest in Android: Android 5.0.2, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing sensor and a 720p HD display (1,280x720 pixels).

Taking a peek inside, we find a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1.5GB RAM and 16GB storage. Extra storage through the microSD expansion slot caps off at 32GB capacities. The reversible OS flips over on the screen, so each way you pick it up becomes "up."

In her review of the OneTouch Idol 3 5.5 , CNET's Jessica Dolcourt found the smartphone to be a great deal for the money. Alcatel can only hope this smaller, lower-powered version also receives high marks -- and attention in an increasingly crowded game.