The Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10 tablet is for those who want a tablet without breaking the bank for one. As a result, what you get is an average product tailored with such a user in mind. It shows in both specifications, the feature set and what you can and cannot do with it. I spent a little over a week using it and below you’ll find what I make of its various aspects.
- Size and weight: 245.2 x 146.4 x 7.9 mm, 380g
- Display: 9.6 inch 800 x 1280 pixels (157 ppi)
- Memory: 1 GB RAM, 8 GB internal storage (expandable to 32 GB via microSD slot)
- Camera: 5 MP main; 2 MP sensor on the front
- Processor: Quad-core Snapdragon 410 clocked at 1.2 GHz
- Operating System: Android 5.0 Lollipop
- Battery: 4,600 mAh (non-removable)
- Network: 3G, 4G LTE
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Tethering, Bluetooth 4.1, microUSB 2.0
Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab A we recently reviewed, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10 tablet has an aspect ratio of 16:10 which may not be great for some forms of content but which I prefer over 4:3. This actually makes it perfect for consuming multimedia content like movies and TV shows in my case. That also makes its profile a bit slimmer and easier to hold using one hand than the Galaxy Tab A.
Besides that, it has a rubbery back making it pleasurable to hold when using it.
It is also at the back that one will spot the 5-megapixel shooter which is on the upper right of the device with the ‘Alcatel OneTouch’ branding appearing at the centre. The speakers, which are just loud enough, are at the bottom and can be easily blocked when you’re holding the tablet in landscape mode.
The volume rocker and the power button are on the right side of the device and are just clicky enough to get you to accomplish what you want. In my case, that was only when I needed to take screenshots which proved to be quite a task considering the size of the tablet. But it wasn’t as tasking as it was on the Galaxy Tab A even though that device has a physical home key.
An infrared blaster is on the top of the device as is the headset jack. Coupled with the Peel application which comes pre-installed on the tablet, the IR blaster is handy for the couch potatoes and just about everyone who has or will be getting this tablet and prefers not to start looking for the remote control all the time.
The bottom of the device only has the microUSB 2.0 port to charge and transfer content, something you’re sure to be doing all the time since the device’s storage is limited.
Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, the 9.6 inch Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10 is quite a breath of fresh air. Yes the display is still as pixelated as ever since you can make out the grains when up and close but it’s way better than the Galaxy Tab A’s.
What that translates to is some half-decent viewing angles and “just ok” display to read eBooks and magazines, browse the web, play a game or two and access social media applications like Instagram without feeling isolated.
The tablet runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop and the software has been customized to provide a tailored experience to its users. The end result is a mixed bag. On one hand, users get a balanced approach with handy applications like Peel which takes advantage of the IR blaster to allow users to switch channels on their television sets and other compatible home electronics. On the other hand, users are stuck with a lot of pre-installed applications they may not necessarily need.
It is a relief to know that unlike other devices, users can uninstall almost all the preloaded applications and customize the tablet to their needs.
However, even in that case, they are still stuck with a tablet that is already halfway full despite already having limited onboard storage. If you’re to install many applications more so games or other “heavy” apps, a microSD is highly recommended.
Performance of the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10
The Snapdragon 410 is one of Qualcomm’s low end processors but it is no slouch when it comes to performance. At least on paper. On the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10 tablet, thanks to other limitations like the RAM, you should not try to push it hard because it will actually break. More so when the internal storage is almost filling as was the case most of the time during my review period.
I was able to clock several hours of watching past James Bond movies without encountering any issues but that is as far as it gets. Any resource intensive application will most likely ground things to a halt. Light stuff like puzzle games, eReader apps like my favourite, Moon Reader Pro and a few others will do just fine.
To the Pop 10’s credit, I was able to read the Business Daily ePaper religiously every morning without any glitches using WPS Office, an office application that is not quite light. However, firing up Microsoft’s Word application for the purposes of penning this review complicated matters a bit which is quite a shame since I really liked the Bluetooth keyboard which is available for purchase alongside the tablet and is absolutely fantastic.
As is expected of any tablet large or small, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10’s battery life was just what I expected. Nothing out of the ordinary.
On days like when the Pope was visiting and I was using it heavily to access my Twitter feed from time to time and watch his mass live on the Vatican YouTube channel, it held up well and lasted well into the night having only been charged the previous night. For just reading my morning newspapers and catching up on John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer with its sibling, the Idol 3, handling my mobile apps well, I was able to get up to two days of battery life.
If you are a heavy user, the Pop 10 will last you a full day. It may do a little under that if you actually pop in a SIM and use it fully as your phone and accessing the internet using cellular data. You can easily squeeze up to 2 days or more if you are not that aggressive though.
What makes the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10 tablet stand out is actually an accessory, the Bluetooth keyboard. It not only instantly converts it from just another Android tablet that you can pick up for your various daily needs to something you can actually use to type a really comprehensive response to that email your boss sent you while on your morning commute.
For the selfie obsessed, the Pop 10, as listed in the spec sheet above, has two cameras. A 5-megapixel sensor at the back will urge on anyone who fancies taking photos on a 9.6-inch device while a 2-megapixel shooter on the front promises not to make your WhatsApp profile photo grainy while still coming through when you need to Skype. Like I’ve noted before, taking photos with tablets, especially large ones like the Pop 10, is never a great idea but since it seems to be a thing, there you have it.
If taking photos using a device that is almost 10 inches is awkward then how do you describe making calls using such a device? The Pop 10 has a SIM slot to enable users to take advantage of cellular service (both 3G and 4G LTE) to access the internet but you can also go against the grain and make calls on it as well. I tried it, it works just fine. Save for, of course, the curious stares you’ll have to contend with.
- The tablet, unlike others, is easier to handle. This is not only because of its slim profile but also because of that rubbery back which provides a perfect grip and makes it comfortable to hold it by one hand when the need arises.
- The display, though obviously better than the Galaxy Tab A’s grainy one, could be better.
- The internal storage is not sufficient. 8 gigabytes of storage can be enough to the most basic of users but only if they can actually get something close to that. Only under 4 gigabytes are actually user accessible leaving little room to install applications, games and load media to consume. With an excellent accessory in the form of the Bluetooth keyboard, it is hard to take advantage since Microsoft’s Office apps on Android need a lot of space which is hard to get on the Pop 10.
What you get with the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 10 is choice, freedom and variety. It gives you more options. What it has going for it is the price. For just Kshs 26,000, you can own the Pop 10. Throw in Kshs 3,000 more and you can have it and that really nice Bluetooth keyboard. What complicates matters is that Kshs 29,000 is what you’ll also find the Tecno WinPad 10, a tablet that is quite popular with the Techweez reader base, priced at. To further complicate matters, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A which besides having that display we’ve battered already, also features 16 gigabytes of onboard storage that you may desperately need. The choice is yours to make. And it is not an easy one.