India is amongst the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world and this has resulted in hundreds of new models making their way every other day, specially in the smartphone segment. Due to the high competition we are seeing lots of competitively priced phones specially in the lower to medium range segment. The new kid in the block is a wannabe BBAlcatel OneTouch Net phone from Tata Docomo, which is attractively priced at INR 5499/-

onetouch-net-review

This QWERTY handset has Yahoo written all over. Right from the color combination of the phone panel to the themes available on the phone and to tons of pre-loaded apps & services, it’s all about Yahoo! Why not? It’s a Yahoo! branded phone which comes with lifetime free and unlimited usage of Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger. We got to play around with the phone for the last few days and here is a detailed review of the same.


Make sure you check out the picture gallery at the end of the article.

First Impressions

The phone comes in a small and neatly packed box. OneTouch net comes in 2 colors – ‘White & Lavender’ and ‘Black & Silver’. I felt the phone to be extremely light, even with it’s battery and back-panel in place (That might sound obvious, iPhone 3GS is my primary phone). The default theme had lots of bright Lavender and little bit of White, which looked a bit too flashy the first time, but then it’s a Yahoo! branded phone, so expect lots of purple and lavender.

The QWERTY keyboard is ergonomically designed for two thumb usage. Even for someone like me, who is not used to QWERTY keyboards and has pretty big thumbs, it was pretty easy to type on the phone. One cannot fail to observe two prominently placed buttons, one which connects to Yahoo services and another to Tata Docomo’s Dive-in services.

Specifications

Screen: TFT, 65K colors, 320 x 240 pixels, 2.4 inches, Full QWERTY keyboard, Optical trackpad
Size / Model: 111 x 58.2 x 13.9 mm, 102 g / QWERTY phone
Memory: Internal 80 MB, external microSD, up to 8GB, 4GB included
Camera: 2 MP, 1600×1200 pixels
Battery: Standard battery, Li-Ion 850 mAh
Others: MP3/WMA/eAAC+ player, MP4/H.263/H.264 player

Features

  • Social networking integration via Social Pulse
  • Access to Yahoo Mail and Messenger free for lifetime on Tata DOCOMO
  • One touch access to Yahoo Search, News, Homepage
  • Special designated Dive In key
  • Special designated Y! key
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Short key access to My Song, CMT
  • One click access to Tata DOCOMO Facebook, Orkut and Twitter communities

Review

At Rs. 5499, Alcatel OneTouch net phone is attractively priced. The design is neat and looks like Tata Docomo is targeting the youth and college goers with this phone. With 3G services coming soon to India, mobile internet is bound to get bigger and bigger and Docomo is heading the right way with the launch of this phone. The students tend to message (SMS) and chat a lot. With QWERTY keyboard and lifetime free Yahoo! Messenger, Tata Docomo is hitting all the right chords with the Indian youth.

The most important thing to look for in a phone is the voice (call) quality, which is really good on OneTouch net. The volume range of the external speakers is good, but the quality is not that great. It comes with 80Mb of internal memory, which isn’t enough to store enough multimedia files, but it has a micro-sd slot which lets you expand the memory upto 8GB.

The phones comes with a USB cable, which can act as a charger, a webcam or mass storage. If you are a gaming fan, you will not be happy to know that the phone has just one game – long sudoku. With its ability to play Java games, one can download the PC suite from their website and use it to install the wide range of java games available on the web.

Just like BlackBerry, Alcatel OneTouch net comes with a motion sensor for navigation. First time users might find this delicate and tough to use, but one can easily adjust the sensitivity via the settings. The Mail app comes with support for GMail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. This is easy to configure and access. The background service constantly checks for new mails and will notify you as and when there is a new mail. The homescreen dashboard is something I loved as it has widgets which notify the new social network updates, new mail, new sms and also customizable RSS news feed.

2 MegaPixel camera can capture some nice pictures and videos, specially in the day times, but lack of flash light makes the camera unusable during night. The battery performance is quite ordinary. Several apps and services dry out the battery easily.

I wish they had provided wi-fi facility as well on this phone, that would have made it a killer. May be at this price it’s bit far fetched, but wi-fi would have surely made browsing on the phone fast and affordable.

List of Apps

Alcatel OneTouch net comes with several built in apps and it is tough for me to discuss each of them. But, I will list them out here anyway – Message Notes, Yahoo Homepage, SMS, Mail, Y! messenger, contacts, calendar, Flickr, Y! news, Favorites, RSS reader, social pulse, web browser, opera mini, FM radio, Fun, Weather, Camera, Profiles, Sync, music player, image viewer, video player, file manager, Calculator, Notes, tasks, Clock, Converter, Menu arrange, Bluetooth, Java, Call register, Tata Docomo Dive-in and Settings.

Special data plans

They have some exciting offers for both Prepaid and Postpaid users who opt for this handset. Prepaid users will get lifetime access to Yahoo! Mail and Messenger together with Free 250 MB/month for a period of 1 year. Local On-Net calls will be a 1p/6secs after 1st minute at default rate while other local and STD calls will be at 1p/sec.

Similarly Postpaid users have two plans Rs. 199 and Rs. 299 to choose from. While the Rs. 199 plan will give the user 300 local & STD mins free, the Rs. 299 pack will give its user a whopping 600 local & STD mins free! The local & STD call rate will also stand at 1p/sec. Moreover, they have bundled an exclusive Reebok watch worth Rs. 2,499/- when they purchase the handset on a Postpaid connection.

Conclusion

Alcatel OneTouch net from Tata Docomo is priced right at Rs.5499 and must attract the students and young professionals. The lifetime free Yahoo mail and messenger, along with the attractive data plans will help the phone compete well against the likes of Micromax and Karbonn in the budget phone segment. Except for the wi-fi and lack of third party apps, the phone is an “I have it all” kind of a device. I encourage you to go ahead and do a hands on the device yourself at the nearest Tata Docomo Dive in stores or check out their website for more details.

Disclosure: The phone was sent for review by Tata Docomo.


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Founder-Editor

Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp