Alcatel introduces Idol 2 series to take on midrange competition

Alcatel OneTouch is slowly but surely climbing the ranks of the smartphone world, having evolved from a line of low-end featurephones and smartphones just a couple years ago to a more established brand with good quality hardware. It's not slowing down the pace at which it introduces new devices, either -- this week, it's launching roughly a dozen or so handsets. Two of them are the first devices in the company's new Idol 2 family (a successor to this lineup) -- the self-titled 5-inch Idol 2 (shown above) and its smaller friend, the 4.5-inch Idol 2 Mini -- and each one comes with a 3G option as well as an "S"-branded LTE variant.

The Mini, which measures 8.5mm thick, will come out first, with an estimated launch in the first week of March. The devices will feature a qHD display, a quad core 1.2GHz processor, Android 4.3 (upgradeable to 4.4), NFC, an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. The 3G model will be available for 169 euro ($232), while its LTE sibling will go for 209 euro ($287). The former choice also offers a plastic build, while the higher-speed handset has been bestowed with a metal back and plastic at the top and bottom for attenuation. Each model comes in your choice of four colors, although the Idol S Mini includes a chocolate hue instead of hot pink.

As for the larger Idol 2, it should be inbound by April or May at a cost of 199 euro ($274) for 3G and 249 ($342) euro for LTE. The duo will be around 7.3mm thick and offer improved HD Audio, as well as Android 4.3 (upgradeable to 4.4 KitKat), a 720p IPS display with nice viewing angles, Cat 4 LTE, a quad core 1.2GHz processor, NFC, 8MP rear camera and 1.3 MP front-facing camera. Fortunately, all of the above devices fit pretty well into the Idol family, as most of them all have the same feel, texture and genuinely decent build. They're also comfortable to hold. Overall, Alcatel OneTouch hopes that the Idol 2 series will compete well in the midrange market against legions of similar phones, but given its steady growth and increased marketing budget in 2014, we believe that they're doing something right.