There’s not much dual-sim Android phones in the market today and Alcatel wants to get into that action some more by introducing the Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N, an affordable, entry-level dual-SIM touchscreen Android phone.
Check out our review of this latest dual-sim Android handset from Alcatel that runs on Android OS Gingerbread, sports a 650MHz processor and has a 3.2″ capacitive touchscreen, and see if it will suit your needs.
When I held the Glory 918N, it felt solid and sturdy for an entry-level phone and its rubbery textured finish felt reassuring that it won’t easily get scratched from constant use. The metallic black plastic siding breaks the monotony of the finish of this phone.
The front is adorned with a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen plus dedicated touchscreen buttons below it for Menu, Search and Back. The Home function has its own physical button on another row below. The screen has a 320 x 480 resolution with 256k colors which already looks good on a small device.
Top side is the 3.5mm audio jack near the center. On the right you’ll find the volume controls and the Power/Sleep button beside it. Left side houses the microUSB port for charging and data connection.
The back panel has that rubbery feel going to it which makes it immune to prints and to some extent, scratches. You’ll see a slightly protruding area for the 3-megapixel camera. Prying open the back panel is a simple task where you’ll see the compartment for your 2 SIM cards and also the for the microSD card (2GB microSD included).
Overall, it feels nice to hold and doesn’t have that awkward handling feeling some small phones exhibit. Just for comparison, it’s just slightly smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Ace.
The Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N is powered by a 650MHz processor running on stock Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) OS so you wouldn’t be seeing a lot of widgets and trimmings. There are apps that would give you more widgets though if that’s your thing.
You must understand that as an entry-level phone, you shouldn’t be looking for always-snappy responses and smooth transitions and usage. The Glory has that tinny bit of lag at times when launching apps or switching screens but not to the point that it gets unbearable.
Here’s the Quadrant score (714) if you’re interested.
I tried a few games and some with heavy graphics such as Guerilla Bob and Age of Zombies exhibit frame stuttering but simple games like Pinball played smoothly. If you want smooth video playback, make sure you load small-resolution MP4 videos which it can natively play. Some AVIs require a third-party player and this will eat more resource from the phone when playing.
This phone would make a nice music player with Android’s stock music app that can detect all MP3s on your storage wherever you put them and will also display tags and album arts when available. Just don’t expect much from its speakers or stock earphones. You might want to get some decent earphones if you’re into using it as a primary music player.
I’m not a fan of surfing the net on such a small screen but if you’re in a pinch for it, the browser on the Blaze Glory 918N is serviceable. It can’t however play embedded Flash videos and the Flash Player doesn’t show up in the Market which makes me think it’s not compatible with the phone.
Another drawback of having a small screen is that you’re stuck with a small keyboard. I often get errors when touch-typing using this phone but luckily, the phone also features the TouchPal Curve keyboard which works somewhat similar to Swype. All you need to do is trace your finger to each letter and the phone will determine what you want to type even without you being too accurate. A nice feature indeed for a small touchscreen phone.
Dual SIM management
Probably one of the selling point of the Blaze Glory 918N is the dual-SIM dual-standby feature. The top portion of your homescreen is dedicated to the status of your SIM cards.
Go to Settings and you see the SIM management menu where you can set the data connection for both SIMS on or off. You can also easily do this from the Status bar. It’s important to note that only the SIM on the first slot can achieve 3G speed. If you place your data SIM on the 2nd slot, you’ll be stuck with EDGE/GPRS.
The Status bar is where you can also switch between SIMS. Or whenever you access your Contacts or Message list, you will be prompted if you want to switch SIMs (you can also turn this prompt off).
The Blaze Glory 918N features a 3.2-megapixel camera without flash. Shooting options are pretty basic here and don’t expect point-and-shoot quality photos from this phone.
Here are a few sample photos for the Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N.[nggallery id=29]
Quality is a bit noisy even under bright conditions but it shouldn’t be a problem if you’re going for a smaller resolution photo.
The battery on the Blaze Glory 918N is rated at 1300mAh and I got almost two days worth of usage from it. When 3G is always on though I would be getting just a little over a day from this phone.
It is what it is. The Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N is an entry-level Android phone that gives you dual-SIM capabilities. It has a nice heft, and feels solid and rugged even. Everything else feels normal for an entry-level smartphone, the screen quality, response, camera and performance gives you the basic Android experience that you need. Oh and you can also use this phone as a WiFi Hotspot by the way.
The Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N is priced at Php5,999 which I think is a fair price for its capabilities. If you want to go cheaper, Alcatel has the Blaze Duo 890D which is another dual-SIM Android but with a resistive screen for Php4,399.
|Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N Specs:|
|650MHz MediaTek CPU|
|3.2″ 262k color display Capacitive touchscreen (320 x 480)|
|Dual-SIM Dual Standby|
|Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread|
|200MB RAM, 150MB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB|
|3.2-megapixel camera, no flash|
|480p @ 30fps video recording|
|3G / HSDPA 7.2Mbps|
|GPS with A-GPS|
|FM Radio with RDS|
|Li-Ion 1300mAh battery|