Alcatel is clear about its goal for the OT-980. This handset is for the mass market. The PS99.95 pay-as-you-go price at Carphone Warehouse suggests that it is an affordable Android option.
It is still a 3G handset with Wi-Fi and GPS. While it is closer to the LG Optimus GT540 rather than the HTC Desire it is Alcatel’s flagship model.
Alcatel isn’t content with pushing the price barrier. They also have a new hardware design. This phone is a slider phone with a QWERTY keyboard that allows you to type text to your heart’s content.
We have seen another slider from RIM recently, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and before that, the Palm Pre Plus. However, this budget option is in a completely different category.
The problem with sliders is their tendency to be big, chunky old devils. This is evident in the Alcatel OT-980. It measures 15.9mm in width, which is quite thick by modern standards.
This girth is why the Alcatel OT-980 screen measures 60.4mm in width. However, people with smaller hands might have difficulty reaching the screen one-handed.
This style of mobile can also get very tall when the keyboard is pulled out. The standard height of 112.5mm increases to 150mm when the QWERTY is activated.
Alcatel has at least sorted the weighting and the phone does not tend to tip forwards as you type.
It is quite pleasant to look at the black-and-silver physical design. The edge is covered by a silver band. It is the thinnest at the top edge and the largest on the bottom, where it makes up a large portion of the sloped design.
Below the screen is a quirky-shaped Home button. There are also small enough buttons for Menu, Back and End that it’s difficult to touch. You will need to use the screen to access the Android search function. There is no physical button here.
In a front fascia that could hold a much larger screen, the screen looks a bit lost. The screen is a 2.8-inch TFT job, 320 x240 pixels. This will help to keep costs down.
It is less sharp and has a lower resolution than the capacitive screen.
The side buttons are small and all but the right ones are empty. You’ll also find a volume knob, micro-USB connector, and 3.5mm headset connection.