Alcatel OT-980 Review

Alcatel is well known for its budget handsets, and it has a solid reputation in that market. Its latest effort comes with an Android-toting device that sports a full QWERTY keyboard slider akin to the RIM’s Blackberry torch. Unfortunately, the similarity between these devices ends there.


Alcatel’s OT-980 presents itself with a 2.8 inch resistive touchscreen with a resolution of 240 by 320 pixels which, for me, kills the potential of this promising device. (Resistive vs. Capacitive touchscreen, what’s the big deal?) The 2.8-inch display also looks awfully small with its beefy frame.

Alcatel OT-980

It is a portrait format slider that is surprisingly sturdy and comfortable to use despite its cheap appearance. The rounded casing allows it to sit snugly in the palm, even when the keyboard is exposed. The front panel housing the touchscreen and the back panel is made of rubberized plastic which gives the device a nice feel to it.

Alcatel OT-980 Alcatel OT-980 Alcatel OT-980

Below the touchscreen display is the home button in the middle with the call and menu button on its left, and the back and end call button on its right. On the right side of the device you will find the 3.55mm earphone jack, the volume rocker and the micro USB port for charging and data transfer. At the top of the back panel is the 2 megapixel camera capable of shooting VGA and QVGA quality pictures and videos. Beside it is the phone’s speaker.

Alcatel OT-980 Alcatel OT-980

Sliding the device, you will find the phones QWERTY keyboard which is fairly spaced and easy to use for people who doesn’t have super chunky fingers. The QWERTY keyboard will be your main tool for text input in this device since you will find using the onscreen keyboard on a device with such a small screen real estate coupled with the resistive screen to be annoying.


Alcatel’s OT-980 runs on a 600MHz CPU and sports Android 2.1 albeit with a few changes most noticeable is its application drawer which is reminiscent of Android’s Donut build, 1.6. Aside from this, most of its UI elements are vanilla Android from the notification bar and the presence of a number of home screens.

Alcatel OT-980

The device comes preloaded with a number of apps most of which are free like Ringdroid, Twidroyd and Shazam to name a few. What irritates me though is the fact that I always manage to accidentally launch applications when scrolling through the application drawer or swiping my fingers from different homescreens. This can definitely be attributed to the device’s resistive touchscreen.

Alcatel OT-980

Browsing with the OT-980 is a hit or miss kind of experience. For one, you are presented with an efficient and quick way to enter text via the physical keyboard, but then, the absence of multi-touch capabilities and the small resolution of the screen somehow negates it. Add to that the bane of its touchscreen’s resistive nature; you will sometimes accidentally click on a link when flicking on the screen.

Alcatel OT-980

A word of caution here if you like to play games on phones, some games won’t give you a nice experience when using a resistive touchscreen so you’re only limited to a handful of casual games that doesn’t involve a lot of swiping.

Other than the resistive touchscreen which I cannot somehow get used to, it’s a very decent phone with all the usual basic multimedia capabilities, Bluetooth 2.0 and GPS. The physical keyboard surely helps in composing long messages which is a plus.



In conclusion, Alcatel’s OT-980 is not a bad choice if you want to dabble into Android. Despite its shortcomings, the novelty provided by its physical keyboard will cater to a set of audience who finds it difficult to use on-screen keyboards. As it is, the OT-980 is not that bad considering its cheap price and unique nature provided you are comfortable in using a resistive touchscreen. This is by far the cheapest Android phone with a slider keyboard so if budget and physical keyboard are important to you, give the Alcatel OT-980 a look.

Alcatel’s OT-980 Specs:
2.82″³ resistive display (240×324 pixels, 256K colors)
Android 2.1 OS Eclair
194MB internal memory; up to 32GB expandable via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth 2.0 w/ A2DP
2MP camera, VGA video recording
GPS w/ aGPS support
QWERTY keyboard
1150mAh battery
SRP: Php7,999
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  • Chiorga

    Does not appeal me…

  • Ummmm.. Nice one… ! The handset looks quite compact too. Definitely, appeals to me.. Thanks for the detailed post.

  • riclags

    hi sir,if you were to choose between this, alcatel ot-980 over the acer beTouch e130, which would you pick? i want an inexpensive android phone (at least 2.1; i read the acer e130 can be upgraded to 2.1) with physical QWERTY keyboard and i think these 2 are the cheapest available in the local market. your opinion would be helpful.

    • hmm this is a hard one. i wouldn’t choose any hehehe. if i want physical qwerty, id save money for the galaxy pro that we just reviewed. but if these are the only two of your choices, if the acer has a capacitive screen, i’d choose that despite of the 65k colors. but if both have resistive screen, i’d go with the alcatel one. again, i won’t choose any of the two as my first cheap android phone. 😛

      • riclags

        i just read your samsung galaxy pro review and it’s interesting. but it being around php14000 makes me think twice about picking it (i’m looking for a phone with android os and physical qwerty keys that is php10k or cheaper). of course, of the 3, the samsung galaxy pro would be the wise choice.

        on a sidenote, would you happen to know if the motorola droid pro will be sold here in the PH? i don’t see much of their phones in stores anymore

        • yung motorola wala talagang marketing dito sa atin although may mga motorola phones naman sa mga cell shops in GH. don’t know if may droid pro though.

    • Teddybert

      there isn’t any problem with resistive touchscreens.. i would prefer them over capacitive becauseof its accuracy and durability especially in this phone with 2.8″.. imagine surfing the net on this screen size without the use of stylus.. :?? the only drawback here is the 2 MP camera which IMO is a bit mediocre..

  • Teddybert

    i’ve been with this phone for about 3 months and all I can say is that it’s a nice phone worth the price.. resistive you say? I would prefer resistive touchscreens if the display is only that small 2.8″. imagine surfing the net on that small screen without a stylus.. you just have to get used to it although capacitive really is better but not on that screen size..

  • Ryan

    sir, i have a few questions.. pls. answer po..

    1. does this phone can multi-task? like sa samsung etc.
    2. android 2.1 os.. pde ba xa ma-upgrade sa 2.2 or higher?
    3. and ano po ung mga advantages at disdavantages ng phone na’to?

    slamat po ng marami, at Godbless sau at sa bumubuo ng pinoy tech blog. =)

    • Roy

      Hi Ryan,
      I was the reviewer of this phone. As far as i know, this device won’t be getting a Froyo(2.2) update. As for multitasking, yes it can do the multitasking like any other android device. Hope that helps

      • Ryan

        tnx sir roy, it means na, ma-stock lng xa sa eclair 2.1? syang nman, im interested in this phone, para maiba nmn. wla kc aqng makita na alcatel na pde mag demo eh, once na mbuksan ung box, u need to buy it na. slmat ng mrami.

  • Fgo

    available pa po ba yang TRIBE OMNI OT-980? and mag kanu pa po ba ang price nya? then san po pwd maka bili nyan…salamat po..

    • avialable pa siguro. dunno kung magkano na. you may want to check visit their facebook page and ask there. may nakita akong alcatel stall sa sm megamall cyberzone. near the smart center.

    • jana

      yup.. meron sa sm mega mall :)) 6k..

  • Bernie

    I’ve had this phone for 2 weeks. The issues I’m noticing is that the sound seems to half for media after the battery drops into the yellow which only takes a couple of hours since the thing drops 1/4 after I just unplug it. Other then that it holds up through my work day but I do have to plug it in once I get home. It charges rather fast which is a plus. Seems to screw around if I close aplications via the task manager. The first one I bought briked right after the battery died. It wouldn’t charge but my carreir replaced it with no fuss and this ones working well. On screen keyboard is usless. Turnd sideways its not that hard to type on but every tap of the space bar chooses some weird word or name instead of what I just typd(some kind of odd tty word or auto complete can’t figure out how to turn it off. The only other thing id say is that my providr days the phone is 512 not 600 mega hurtz. And the memory is 70 mb internal and the memory is expandeble to 16 gig not 32. Is this differnt from location to location? Or provider from provider. As for updating the phone can be updated to 2.2 if you root it.

  • Jego Calderone

    Hi, question para sa mga long time users ng phoen na ito. Ano ang ups and downs ng phone na ito since nung binili niyo siya.Ano na po ang condition niya ngayon? Thank you 😀 I really need a review, kasi bibili ako ng phone na may keyboard less than 6k.

  • Nana Abena

    i have had my phone since october 2011.its my first android fon. i am however having a problem with my whatsup and viber apps so i uninstalled and have not been able to install them back. can you help? am thinking of resetting to the factory settings but hey will it work after that? help

  • Mag kano .mazyado mhl .ned q 2nd lng 2 gus2 q unit bk pd hnp mq ng msmbb s price m…pls tnx godbles.w8 q respon m

    • W8 q reply m .kht n lumang luma n gus2 q tlg unit bsta oj p lht pd q mlaman sagot