Alcatel OneTouch Watch is Alcatel’s first attempt in the smartwatches market and this transpires at times.
After wearing this smartwatch for the past week, I can say I’ve cracked “the code” in Alcatel OneTouch Watch. Alcatel is neither the best smartwatch nor the most accurate fitness tracker and in all fairness, this is its wonderful secret: A compromise.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch does not claim the best spot in above mentioned categories but wins as “cheaper” than most smartwatches and more “fashionable” than most fitness trackers. This is WT VOX review of Alcatel OneTouch Watch.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch Review – Design And Specs
I don’t know why but at the first touch it made me think of my Pebble watch. The mix of metal and plastic maybe but don’t get me wrong, Alcatel OneTouch Watch has a sophisticated, fashion orientated design with a brushed-metal circular body that does not shout “nerd” as loudly as the square-shaped Apple Watch or Pebble. I like the overall look and Alcatel’s brushed metal case is truly elegant in its simplicity.
Something new here as Alcatel OneTouch Watch comes with a butterfly locking system on the bracelet and in order to connect it to the other part of the strap the user must open a valve then fasten the lock marked with a tiny arrow. You may not like this whole procedure at first but once you find the correct size for your wrist, I promise you that this small “inconvenience” will turn into a plus.
The rubberised plastic strap has a notched like inner lining, which I personally use as an adjustable track for the metallic lock. If you decide to order one, just make sure you order the right size as this smartwatch ships in either small to medium or medium to large sizes.
There is no possibility of “band swapping” like with the Apple Watch and this is because Alcatel has integrated the charging point directly into the strap. On the positive side, Alcatel OneTouch Watch doesn’t use a proprietary charging cradle, it only needs a standard USB connector to power up. Alcatel claims between two and five days of battery life and I am happy to say that my Alcatel smartwatch lasted well into four days with medium brightness as default.
Right before we move on with this review I want you to take in consideration the £99 price point. This makes Alcatel OneTouch Watch cheaper than Jawbone UP3 and that is just a fitness tracker. Alcatel OneTouch Watch is stylish, even compared with some of the higher priced Android Wear smartwatches on the market. Cherry on the cake, Alcatel OneTouch Watch is IP67 certified. That is dust-proof and waterproof to you and me.
At the centre of the round face is a 1.22-inch colour touchscreen with 240 x 204 pixel resolution. It is not a full circle – there is a flat area at the bottom of it, just like on the Moto 360 – but it is bright, vibrant with great viewing angles. Alcatel has reserved the flat area for the “back” function, something we are very used to on most android smartphones.
The display provides great outdoor visibility and this is something I cannot say for a lot of smartwatches with colour screens I have tried so far. Most of the time the Alcatel OneTouch Watch’s display is off and can be wake up by pressing the button on the side or raising the arm as if to check the time.
The gesture actually works with less lag than expected but I still prefer a watch that lets me check the time when needed without having to move my arm. Tapping on the display opens the main menu, which contains icons with different functions and also worth mentioned is an oleophobic coating which protects the screen from greasy fingerprints.
Underneath the Alcatel OneTouch Watch lies an optical heart rate sensor which measures pulse and this feature alone makes Alcatel OneTouch Watch one of the very few smartwatches able to offer a built-in heart rate monitor at this amazing price tag and no, it does not stop here as this smartwatch also integrates an accelerometer, a gyroscope, an altimeter and an e-compass.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch Review – Performance And Features
Rather than running Google’s Android Wear, Alcatel developed its own software, which is compatible and can be synchronised with both Android- and iOS-based smartphones by using Alcatel’s free OneTouch Watch Move app. Using a custom OS expands compatibility, unfortunately this leads to limited functions in comparison to other smartwatches but I’ll detail on this later on.
Setting up the watch is a simple and pleasant experience. Apart from Bluetooth, this Alcatel smartwatch has built-in NFC for quick pairing with the surrounding, compatible devices. What is NFC or how does it work? See the video below:
Back to the OS, I am not too keen on it; the user interface to be more precise, as in my opinion it contrasts with the seriousness of the watch. The UX is too colourful, too childishly designed and this does not match the external design of this smartwatch.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch comes with a phone locator, compass, weather app, music controller and an app that allows taking pictures from distance, with your smartphone’s camera. There are also a few fitness-tracking apps which can count steps, track distance traveled, sleep quality or measure heart rate.
The Alcatel OneTouch Watch includes two analog watch faces and one digital. The faces can be customised without much effort – tap and swipe to change colour or background. There are 16 predefined images or textures and 16 predefined colours. There is also a custom setting that lets the user pick from any photos on the phone or just take a new photo the apply it as a background immediately.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch delivers notifications such as calls and social media when connected to a smartphone, however, it only supports notifications from a few apps (calls, messages, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Google+, Google Hangouts and Gmail), at least for the time being. Notifications are easily accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. While I like this feature, a colleague at the office found it quite clumsy and not that easy to do…umh…while riding his bike. No comment here.
The apps included with the Alcatel OneTouch Watch are simple and useful at the same time. The weather app shows the day’s temperature if summoned and the “Find Phone” function, available right on the main menu, can help the user find a missing smartphone but that’s available as long as the phone is within the Bluetooth range. If you’re like me, constantly leaving your glasses, car keys, smartphones behind or on the table at Starbucks, you’re going to love this anti-loss feature. It notifies you as soon as your watch and phone move too far from one another.
More apps accessible from the main menu include a stopwatch, a music controller and a very useful app that works as a smartphone camera timer. Alarm settings, airplane mode, brightness settings and colour inversion options (the icon can change to lighter or darker shades depending on the users preferences) round out the rest of the apps and features available for the Alcatel OneTouch Watch.
Unfortunately, as this smartwatch has a custom made OS, there is no app store, which means that there is no ability to download and install more functions or apps to your smartwatch. That’s a huge contrast from the Pebble, which has a robust app store or Android Wear which boosts over 5000 apps.
When it comes to the fitness part of the Alcatel OneTouch Watch, the companion app for iOS and Android can display activity levels and set goals with an attractive, informative dashboard. The step counting is accurate and the heart rate monitoring – at times a bit slow- is always consistent and as accurate as any other wrist-worn heart monitors I’ve tried. There’s also a sleep-tracking option on Alcatel OneTouch Watch but this is not automatic. The user must start it each night and stop it next day in the morning.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch Review – Battery Life And Price
This is where the Alcatel OneTouch Watch stands out of the crowd as it can be charged via a standard USB connector, so you’ll never need to worry about proprietary charging cradles. Alcatel OneTouch Watch has a 210mAh battery and this is half as big as Moto 360’s and G Watch R’s.
Alcatel claims between two and five days of battery life and my smartwatch lasted well into four days at its medium brightness setting which in my opinion is not short of outstanding when compared to the Apple Watch or any Android Wear smartwatches on the market. More than that, charging the device is very fast, from off to 100% in an hour.
Price wise, Alcatel OneTouch Watch is a “wallet-friendly” device. It comes with a price tag of just $150 or an equivalent of £99 and it is already available on Amazon and most online retailers.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch Review – Conclusion And Verdict
I am impressed with Alcatel’s debut in wearable tech market; despite a few questions around responsiveness and the lack of third party apps, Alcatel OneTouch Watch is a great smartwatch for anyone that doesn’t like to be tied to a specific operating system.
The price, given the quality and the specs is too good to be true; On sale at just £99, this is between £60 and £90 cheaper than any colour screen smartwatches on the market and this attribute alone, goes a long way to make up for its apparent shortcomings.
Alcatel OneTouch Watch Review – Gallery
- Beautiful modern design
- Good battery life, easy charging
- Reliable fitness tracker
- No app store
- No third-party watch faces
- No clean way to export fitness data