The under $200 prepaid market in Canada has been heating up. Between the Moto G, ZTE Grand X and now the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Icon weíve got some really great choices.
The Pop Icon is available from TELUS for $200 on a plan or $130 pre-paid with a $10 credit while on Koodo prepaid you pay $200 and get a $20 credit. If youíre getting one, I recommend picking it up on TELUS prepaid.
What about the ZTE Grand X?
In the Canadian market, the Pop Iconís closest competitor is probably the ZTE Grand X. Spec for spec, theyíre almost identical. The biggest difference, other than the fact that the ZTE is only available from Bell while the Alcatel is from TELUS, is that the Grand X has a higher resolution 1280x720 display while the Popís is only 960x540. On the other hand, the Pop comes with Android 4.4.2 while the ZTE only comes with last yearís 4.3.
While both have similar specs, the Pop is also noticeably shorter and a tiny bit narrower which makes it a little easier to use.
The clincher is that the Pop comes with a 2 year warranty.
What about Motorola Moto G?
First off, Motorola recently announced an update to the Moto G called the Moto G. Yup, they kept the same name. Anyways, the Moto G Iím talking about here is the original one that only has HSPA, 8GB of storage and no MicroSD.
That Moto G has 4 things going for it over the Pop. First off, it has a faster processor and secondly, Motorola has been very good about keeping it on the very latest version of Android - even 0.0.x type updates. There are very few companies that are this pedantic about updates.
It also has a higher resolution screen and 8GB of built-in storage vs 4GB on the Pop.
Otherwise, the Pop has a bigger display which Iíd argue is more useful than having a higher resolution display plus it has a slightly better camera, a MicroSD slot and a 2 year warranty.
I think more people will prefer the Pop just because it has a bigger display.
- 5Ē IPS display
- 960x540 resolution, 220PPI
- dual-core 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB storage (2GB usable)
- MicroSD slot
- 5 megapixel rear-facing camera autofocus and LED flash
- VGA front facing camera
- 2000mAh battery
- 140.4 x 69.1 x 8.1 mm
- 130 gram
- 2 Year warranty
The only complaints I have about the body are that the seams in the corner donít install confidence.
I also wish that the part of battery cover near the USB connector wasnít so thin - I wonder whether it might crack if you use that part to peel the cover off. Thereís also a gap around the screen where it meets the body - this is also typical for this class of phone. If you have a lot of lint in your pocket you may find that dust gets trapped in this gap.
Still, overall, build quality is good. Itís similar to other ~$150 phones like the ZTE Grand X and Motorola Moto G. The paint job also feels fine.
Right: power and volume buttons
Left: nothing to see
Top: headphone jack
removable battery, MicroSIM and MicroSD
You get a 960x540, 5Ē IPS LCD display. These days, even phones that cost around the $100 mark have decent displays and the Icon is no different.
The first thing that I noticed is that the Popís display is matte! You canít really tell from the pictures but itís not reflective like pretty much every other phone. Indoors, itís wonderful because it reflects glare. The problem is that the display pretty much disappears when you try to use it outdoors in bright sunlight.
Viewing angles are reasonable as is the amount of colour/contrast shift off angle. The screen coatings are decent too.
There are a few other areas where the Iconís display needs work. First off, while itís quite large at 5Ē (the size is roughly the same class as many Android flagships), itís stretched a bit thin when it comes to resolution. 1280x720 on a 5Ē display looks fantastic while 960x540 can look a little rough at times. Text can sometimes look a little jagged - itís especially noticeable when youíre zoomed out of a web page.
The other problem is when the screen is mostly white (like when youíre looking at many webpages). When you do this you can see the screen back light on the sides if youíre looking at screen off-center. Normally I wouldnít care about this but itís very noticeable once you move about 20 degrees off-center which isnít typical of most phones.
While checking out the display I found one more small problem, the display actually has a dent on it. I doubt most users would even notice it but if you ever try to put a screen protector on the Pop youíll find that it will show up as a bubble.
The Pop is a $150 phone and for that price, you get a camera thatís pretty typical of this class of phone. You might get some good pictures outdoors in the bright sunlight but indoors youíll have to manage your expectations.
Video doesn't look very good. The microphone actually records decent audi but the problem is that it picks up a lot of handling noise.
I could be wrong but I didn't notice an option for the Pop to save photos on a MicroSD.