Review: Alcatel Pixi 4 is a refreshing budget smartphone

TCL’s new smartphone has strong points in terms of the overall experience, and at this price point, any minor foibles can not be held against it


Alcatel Pixi 4. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Alcatel Pixi 4. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Chinese phonemaker TCL, which also makes smartphones under the Alcatel brand has come up with a truly budget smartphone called the Pixi 4. Priced at Rs. 4,999, the phone is made for causal or first time smartphone users. It is available only on Flipkart.com.

Pixi 4 is a good looking phone built on solid lines
Pixi 4 is a good looking phone built on solid lines

Design: Hefty but handy

Pixi 4 is a good looking phone built on solid lines. The back cover is made of a good quality plastic. The silver colour over it almost creates the illusion of a metallic back. Though it feels a bit hefty (169g), it never felt unmanageable due to the curves along the edges, matte finish on the back and the phone’s compact form factor. The navigation keys are placed on the front bezel and they look unusually big.

Display: Small screen looks dull

The smartphone’s 5-inch display comes with a modest resolution of 854x480p. The screen size is adequate for watching YouTube videos, social networking, and reading news stories. User is likely to miss out on the quality experience, though. Colours in games and videos look a bit washed out. The other issue is the visibility from wide angles, which is particularly poor when the phone is held in the portrait mode. The screen reflects a lot too which is likely to affect legibility in bright light.

The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box
The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box

Software: Clean Android

The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box with a nearly pure version of Android over it. Barring a few icons there are no design changes. Multi tasking tab opens apps in the same card based scroll while the app drawer shows all the apps on the phone on a vertical scroll with a white background. There are barely any customisation options built in the phone.

Alcatel has pre-loaded a few apps on the phone such as Booster and Alcatel Support. The former cleans cache files, and frees RAM space to boost performance while the latter provides access to some tips in case the user encounters an issue with the phone. It also connects users to Alcatel Support team through phone call and live chats. Overall, the clean interface makes understanding the phone a lot easy.

Performance: Struggles when stressed

The Pixi 4 runs on MediaTek’s MT6735 processor with 1GB RAM in tow. It is not a very powerful processor but has been powering a lot of smartphones in the range of Rs. 4,000 to Rs.15,000. In this case, the lack of sufficient RAM makes it a bit sluggish, especially during multi-tasking. It was able to handle games such as Temple Run or Smash Hit well, though.

The smartphone offers 8GB internal storage and 32GB via microSD cards. It supports all 4G networks which makes it a better bet than many other budget smartphones with similar price tag. The battery backup is modest. The 2,000mAh battery couldn’t last a whole day of modest use.

The 8-megapixel camera is a typical budget smartphone camera with limited modes and average picture quality
The 8-megapixel camera is a typical budget smartphone camera with limited modes and average picture quality

Camera: Average results

The 8-megapixel camera is a typical budget smartphone camera with limited modes and average picture quality. Even in daylight the picture looks washed out. Getting the focus on any specific can be difficult as the camera lacks some basic elements like touch to focus. Low-light results look blurry as well.

Verdict

Alcatel Pixi 4 is an interesting addition to the budget segment that caters to casual or first time smartphone users due to its good looks, 4G support and clean Android interface. If you can spend a little more, we would recommend you to go for the YU Yuphoria (Rs.5,499) as it supports 4G, has a superior 720p display, offers better performance, and offers twice as much storage as the Pixi 4.

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