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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Review Alcatel 756

Standard delivery kit:

  • Phone
  • The battery charger
  • Manual

Alcatel Company gained more recognition among the mobile phones’ users after having produced models such as Alcatel OT 535/735. The distinguishing feature of these phones was the great set of functions and the low price. As for the 735 model, in was the first one in its class on the Russian market, which rendered it very popular. One of the phone’s disadvantages that made it look less competitive was the lack of Java support and the mediocre polyphony. The Java support appeared in 735i model; however, the polyphony remained the same. The bugs were removed in Alcatel OT 756 model that will enter the market at the end of the summer.

We had a chance to come across this model during the dealers’ conference of the Marvel Academy that took place on the Canarian Islands. That is where some of the pictures come from, although the model was not tested on the post board-that is to be done in the nearest future. I wish to grant a special thank you to the representatives of the Alcatel, who talked in the details of the phone’s possibilities and shared with us a lot of useful information.

The first thing to be mentioned is the extraordinary phone design, the phone’s keyboard is elevated, and the keys are firmly fixed one by another. The buttons are very handy to use due to their size, the working process with the number keyboard is not troublesome. In this phone, the manufacturer chose to leave aside the navigating joystick replacing it with the four-way scroll key with the O’K button installed within it. I would not judge how warranted the rejection of the joystick was, the supporters of either option can be found. One thing can be said for sure though is that the scroll key will not turn out suitable for every one, its sides are too narrow and you have to get used to this. The backlight of the key board is blue; it is very well seen in different conditions, both in the complete darkness and in the daylight.

The phone will be available in three different colors with the edging of the keyboard and the side surfaces differing in every case. The size of the phone is also very convenient (106x46x18.5mm) and in this sense the phone is comparable with Alcatel 735. The phone weights 92 gm.

The big display of the phone is quite noteworthy, its screen resolution being 128x160 pixels, which allows the phone to read up to ten text lines. The display is of TFT-technology and it can reflect up to 262000 colors. The description looks more appealing than it is the real life. Actually, the display can be compared with the moderate in its quality screen of 65000 colors (TFT), but by no means with the screen capable of the 262000 colors reflection. The downloading of our own images proved that the problem hides precisely in the screen and not in the images offered. On the other hand, when comparing with the previous models of this company, this screen looks much better, it is brighter and the colors are more distinct. When saying that the real display does not fit its descriptions, we should keep in mind that the phone is designed for the young generation. This in mind, it would be funny to expect the best screen quality possible since it would raise the price immensely, while the price of the given model is rather appealing.

When exposed to the sun, the screen fades out, but the information is readable especially if you find the right angle. Since the systematical font is big in size, there are normally no problems in the sunny weather, you can well dial the number or read the SMS.

The lithium-ionic battery is of 950 m capacity. At the producer’s request, it is capable of providing up to eight working hours at the talking mode and up to 210 hours at the stand by mode. The phone worked in the Vodafone network (the Tenerife Island) approximately four days in a row in case of 20 minutes of talk and somewhat an hour of using other functions. I have to acknowledge here that working with roaming, we did not have a chance to test the phone to its fullest, and it is a deal of the coming future. Overall, the impression of the phone was similar to the one left after the 735 model although the display is better, the working time is alike. The key must be in the enlarged battery’s capacity. The time of the full battery charge is a bit more than two hours.

In this model, the IrDA is located on the upper butt-end. The main change here is that the phone supports the transactions with the mp3 files from my Sony Ericsson P900 to the Alcatel OT 756. The vice versa procedure did not cause any inconveniences either. The same is true about the pictures and the image files. This means that now the IrDA is capable of not only sending the files to the PC using the common program software, but this operation is also possible for the phones themselves.

To round up the story about the phone as a device, I will spend some lines on the polyphony. The phone is empowered with the 32-tone polyphony; it sounds well and is much better than in the previous phones of this company. The volume of the ring is high; it is well heard in different conditions especially if it is not tightly pressed in pocket of the upper coat. If the back aperture of the speaker is covered by something, the sound is barely heard, this particularity has to be kept in mind. Overall, it can be said that the phone is a remarkable of a model; it can be compared to the other phones of its class in its polyphonic qualities.

On the backside, you can see the mirror and the lens of the VGA-camera. The camera is akin to the one we saw in 735 model although now you can actually make video shootings. Let us turn now to the other features of the phone.

Menu

When the organization is concerned, the phone’s menu is totally identical to the one in Alcatel 735/735i. Just like in the last model, the main menu is arranged in the rows of icons, you can choose to work in the regular full-screen mode (an icon and a caption under it). Among the novelties, a new function Tips & Tricks is noteworthy. This function, which would remind you of the similar one in Sony Ericsson K700, will provide you with an advice about the work with your phone.

Several functions in this new model are ameliorated in their quality and possibilities, Atmosphere (the set of pictures, melodies and a color scheme of the interface) being one of them. When choosing this function now, you do not see the variant of the screen image only, but you also hear the melody of the ring that corresponds with the chosen screen demonstration option. Of course, you can always opt to have the color scheme only for the screen image.

Among the innovations of the interface, the option to set the video clip as a screen saver is significant and quite interesting. Hurrying up the events, I will mention that it is the first time when you can assign to the subscriber in your phone book not only the picture, but the video also.

The phone has four Mb of the dynamic memory, which is shared by different attachments when necessary.

There is no shortcut number navigation in this phone; however, it is not in need since you can call up different functions of the menu by one touch.

The functions in the submenu are represented in lists and are thematically grouped. The best way to explain this is using the SMS as an example. Once you get to this menu, you can see on the top a row of icons with the banner “Write a Message” highlighted by default. You can choose a type of the message out of the list. To read the sent or the received messages you have to tilt the joystick horizontally, so the new list is displayed. At the first site, such organization of the menu does not seems quite complicated, however you get used to it very quickly since it is logical and it unloads the menu that now does not have brimming functions like several models from other manufacturers. Overall, the thought through and the well organized menus of the phone leave a very good impression on you. Similarly, in the image library there is a separate bookmark for the pictures and a separate one for the icons.

The typing in the phone can be done both in English (T9) and in Russian languages. While in the menu, you can select a preferable language and then it will be set by default. To change the languages when typing, you will have to turn back to the menu and select. A partial disadvantage is such, that the choice is valid for one field only, so when you enter new fields into the phone book, it means an automatic change of language of every new one.

Phone book. The phone’s memory is divided into several directories. There is a separate directory for the contacts kept on the SIM-card, in addition to that there exist three more folders by default-a General, a Business and a Personal one. The user can create the directories of his/her own; they serve as different groups of users in this phone. You can assign a call melody to some of the folders; however, you cannot do it for single files.

The main list offers you a search by the first letter of the name. Some files can be moved in between various categories. For one name you can enter a bunch of information such as first and last names, home, work, mobile and mostly used number; fax and pager numbers and some other number; two e-mail addresses, name of the company, occupation, address, city, state, zip code, country, some special notes and four margins with personal information. It turns out that up to 23 files can be assigned to one name with the occupation size being almost unlimited. You can enter any kind of information; the phone book will satisfy the most fastidious user. You can also assign voice tags to some of the phone subscribers, and then the voice recognition of these numbers is possible. This function is very sensible to the level of the background noise, the function of voice recognition does not work very well outdoors and then the quietness is preferable.

It is possible to assign a picture to some of the files in the phone. You can also download a picture of yourself into the phone and use it as an assigned picture for the file. The phone supports work with files of JPG, GIF, aGIF, PNG, BMP standards. You can also assign a video to the name (the phone records up to five seconds), although it is possible to allot a video only instead of the picture. The function is unique and is installed into this phone for the first time.

Granted that the memory is dynamically shared within the phone, it is troublesome to say how many names exactly you can save in the phone book; it can maximally hold 800 contacts for sure. In any event, you will not face the problem of the space shortage for your files.

Messages. The phone can operate with SMS as well as with EMS and MMS. The beauty here is that the developers did not separate the messages by types, so in the Inbox you can see all types of messages (it is true for the Outbox also).

The samples for the SMS are provided and it is nice how for some of the messages there is an automatic selection of your number. Here is an example: My number is 777 77 77 or Call me at 777 77 77, so if the number is the one of your own, the phone will extricate it out of the SIM-card memory.

The phone is equipped with everything you can wish for the MMS. First, every such message may be comprised of several sequential shots with melody, picture and text for each. However, there is a limit for such a message-it cannot hold more than 50 Kb. Secondly, there is a separate function in the menu where you can create messages with voice memos. To do this, you record what you wish onto the type recorder and send your message immediately. There are advantages in such organization.

Finally, you can create a selected address list, which is a separate list that will not be connected anyhow with the phone book directories.

Personalization (Customize). Here the user can choose a melody and a ring type with its volume. It has to be taken in that you cannot choose a miscellaneous alarm mode (the vibrator and the melody functioning together). There is an option of turning on the vibrator and only then the melody. On the other hand, on the melodies’ list you can find the ones marked as “vibe”, which means that when they are playing the vibrator goes off, although this is not represented as a separate ring mode.

There are no profiles in the phone, but you can turn on all the sounds by one press when in the stand by mode, which is sufficient especially for the phone of this class.

You can access all the menu settings from this menu and the wallpaper setting too. You can also record voice commands for the calls of different menu functions.

The phone is equipped with the built in music editor. There is also an option of saving the melody for any type recorder footage.

Other than that, the settings are quite standardized.

Tools. The phone is supplied with an alarm clock that might be set for a single or for an everyday mode. There is also a countdown timer.

The organizer allows you to record the events for separate days and to set an alarm for them. It is not possible to enter the repetitive events, the one-time events only. You can view the weekly or the monthly calendar.

The clock in this phone can be set for the local as well as for the remote time. The phone is also empowered with the calculator and the money converter. The type recorder gives you up to 60 seconds of recording time.

Events. This is a menu where you can view the last ten dialed, ten missed or ten received calls. The files of all other events are also located here.

WAP. The browser in the phone is of 2.0 version, there are no particularities here.

Игры. The phone is equipped with two games, one of them being SpeedDevils and the other one GylosTale. You cannot delete these games, but you can download the new ones (it is heard around that you can download using the wap).

Multimedia Album. All the pictures and melodies are represented here. The range of the pictures and melodies is very large and in this sense, the phone is great. The selection of droll and funny pictures is such that you just do not know where to start choosing from. Judging by the sounds, melodies and pictures variety it is easy to conclude that the phone is designed for the young generation.

Camera. The pictures can be taken in the resolution of 640x480, 352x288, 128x128, 64x64, 32x32 and 16x16 pixels. Besides, the big scale mode shooting is offered for which the image is scratched horizontally. In any case, the picture format will be the JPEG one and the three different dimensions and quality types are presented (high, standard and economy).

The phone’s display is used as a viewfinder. The interface has been thought through in all the details so while shooting you can change almost every image parameter by several presses. The function of the number keys 1, 2, 3 is to tune in the quality of the required size of the screen. The left soft key is there for the color choice (color picture, white and black, Sepia, Negative, Thin or contours).

With the # key you can quickly switch the picture resolutions, while the * key offers a set of several special modes. One of the modes is the option to create a GIF file using four shots. This means that you take four sequential shots, which then immediately turn into an animation in your phone. One restriction here is the resolution of 128x128 pixels that the developers found mostly convenient to save phone’s memory. The function is truly unique and adds to the phone’s exclusivity especially since other manufacturers had nothing alike to offer yet.

Another special shooting mode is the mosaic. This mode allows you to take four pictures (64x64 pixels) and then pleat them into one complete image (128x128).

The phone is equipped with the timer for the shooting with a delay. I am not to judge how necessary this function is, I find the Exposure setting more interesting. This function controls the lighting conditions by default although you can identify them yourself. In most cases, the automatic Exposure is sufficient.

You can choose the folders, where the pictures will be saved and can be taken out of for the MMS screen savers, by default.

I forgot to mention that you could use the frames for the pictures with the resolution of 128x128 pixels. This is a sort of an effect when you border the picture with a frame while shooting. Another exceptional feature of the phone is that you can download the frames’ files (PNG format) from PC, which means that you can create the special effects of your own. None of the phones has a similar function although the frames are used in many of them.

The phone is also empowered with the digital eight times zoom that you can activate by moving the joystick away from you.

Pictures in the different shooting modes (19 pictures)>>>

The video is recorded in the 3GP format, the phone supports the five minutes shooting with the sound. The videos are not supreme compared to the other phones equipped with such function; the picture is not stable. The key to the problem must be the processor of a moderate power that cannot manage decent video editing. On the other hand, you move around the menu much faster as compared to the previous models, so this can be counted as the phone’s improvement.

An example of video playing of the phone’s display (2.8 Mb, Windows Media Player)

Software. The software is not included into the phone’s standard delivery kit; however, you can download it from the manufacturer’s website. When you do that, the setting file only is downloaded. With this file, you set the modem connection with the phone and the PC and only afterwards, you can choose the necessary programs and download them from the shell of the setting utility.

Using Alcatel PC Suite, you can synchronize the data from your phone with programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. Besides, you will be able to work with pictures and melodies. Finally, there is a special program for using the phone as modem (GPRS connection). I must acknowledge that the software and its possibilities in the phone is of the best kind, the programs are nice too.I will talk a bit more about some other programs. In the Windows control panel there is an icon that will allow you to access all programs offered in the set.

The synchronization can be done through the IrDA or through USB-cable-that exists for this model.

Create Stamp. This function lets you create an icon of 128x128 pixels resolution out of any image. You can also use these pictures in your phone as you like, for example apply them to the MMS.

Create Animation. . It is all the same although you do create here an animation file. This might be an animation of your own or it can be a set of three pictures with the intervals between them. To draw a bottom line: enjoy being an artist!

Customize Sound. Your can mix your own sound out of two music files or else choose a file to download into your phone-it is all very easy. Even the convenience of this program granted, it is still striking how it operates with MP3, Wave and Midi formats.

Customize Image. This is an image editor of a kind. You can find several special effects here that you can employ for the picture. As usual, you can send an edited file to the phone by one click.

Content Manager. You can download any picture and melody into/from the phone using this function. Actually, you can download files separately using the programs described above.

Impressions

When the connection is concerned the phone works without any problems, it is a decent member of the Alcatel family. Among the major amendments, the 32-tone polyphony has to be mentioned as well as the option of playing the mp3 files and their mailing through the IrDA. It is interesting that the phone’s memory capacity is about four Mb and several minor works in the interface area were improved. The Java support allows downloading of the new attachments. I would not say that this phone’s display is outstanding; it is of the same quality or even better than in the models of the competing companies- such an approach should shape the judgmental point of view.

The phone is unique for the maximum choice of functions at the given price. Presently the price for this phone is not known yet since it will come out at the end of the summer only. I will dare estimating that the price will vary between 230-250 dollars at first and then will go down. The given price should be treated as the maximum one; it is very probable that it will be much lower. Actually, the phones future success will entirely depend on its price since the phone will be in a high demand on the market just as the previous models were.

Samples of ringtones (300 Kb, mp3)


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