|Style & Handling|
|+ Affordable||- Terrible screen|
|+ 4G support||- Mediocre battery|
|+ Quad-core processor||- Poor camera|
Verdict: The Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S is a good value 4G slate, but its low resolution screen lets it down somewhat.
While EE has launched its own-brand EE Eagle tablet as an affordable way to get a 4G slate, there are even cheaper options, including the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S which EE has nabbed exclusivity on.
At just £99.99 it’s remarkably cheap for a tablet, especially one with 4G support, but is it good value or do you get what you pay for? Read on to find out.
The screen is the single most disappointing aspect of the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S. It’s a 7-inch 1024 x 600 TFT display with a pixel density of 170 pixels per inch.
Now, 7 inches is about as small as a tablet gets, but that’s expected at this price and there’s a market for slates that size, as not only are they cheaper but they’re also more portable than their larger counterparts, so that’s not a problem.
What is a problem though is the resolution, or more specifically the pixel density. 170 pixels per inch is pretty awful and ensures that nothing looks sharp, in fact things tend to look quite blurry.
Of course you don’t necessarily expect an amazing display from a budget slate, but the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 and EE Eagle run rings around it with their 215 ppi screens and while they are a fair bit more expensive they still fall into the budget category.
It’s not just the resolution that’s underwhelming though, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S also has a highly reflective display, making it almost impossible to use outdoors or even near a window.
The Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S has a bland, inoffensive design. With a very plain, totally plastic white or black build, there’s little to catch your eye here, but aside from the unnecessarily large bezels on the front it doesn’t actively look bad either and its feels fairly solid.
At 192 x 113 x 8.9mm and 279g the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S is actually reasonably compact and lightweight, which is good since one of the benefits of a seven inch slate is the increased portability, a feature which the Pop 7S maximises on.
It’s easy to use with one or two hands, it’s comfortable to hold, light enough to use for extended periods and easy to reach the buttons.
There’s a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor powering the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S. That’s on the low end, but it’s actually not bad at all for £100 and it’s backed up by 1GB of RAM, which is about the minimum that an Android slate can run well on.
All in all its performance is pleasantly surprising for such an affordable tablet. This won’t trouble the likes of the iPad Air 2 of course or even the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HDX, but it’s more than up to the task of running apps, casual games and handling web browsing and video.
Speaking of web browsing and video, the OneTouch Pop 7S also supports 4G, which in itself is a rarity on cheap slates and means that you can stream, download and web browse even when out and about if you couple it with a SIM card and some data.
Tablets aren’t known for their cameras and in the case of the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S you can really see why. The slate has a weak 3 megapixel camera on the back and an even weaker 0.3 megapixel one on the front.
So while it is technically capable of taking photos and shooting video you probably won’t want to. If somehow you don’t have a smartphone or proper camera with you yet have this it will manage to capture images, but the detail and colours will both be distinctly lacking. Tablets are never a good bet for taking photos, but if you really want to be able to there are far better options than this.
As you’d expect on an entry-level slate there’s little in the way of standout features. Its 4G support is unarguably the headline spec, beyond that you get Android 4.4, which isn’t the latest version but is reasonably up to date.
The OneTouch Pop 7S also has an IR blaster, which is rarely worth highlighting, but many slates don’t, especially at the more affordable end of the scale. This allows you to use it to control your TV, though unless you’ve lost your remote you probably won’t want to.
The Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S has a 3240mAh battery, which is fairly small for a 7-inch slate and it shows in use. Expect to get around 6-7 hours of multimedia use from it, which isn’t terrible but is well short of the ten hour mark that a lot of tablets can pass.
That figure also plummets once you start making use of its 4G capabilities, so bear that in mind before you consider a Netflix marathon on the train.
There’s a pitiful 4GB of built in storage, which probably won’t take more than about a week to fill up, but it does at least have a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 32GB.
That’s still not going to leave you enough room to store loads of apps, games and media on it, but given that it supports 4G you can always fall back on streaming. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0 and an IR blaster.
The Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S is almost a great entry-level 4G slate. It’s surprisingly powerful, has a solid if bland build and of course 4G. The battery life isn’t great but nor is it terrible, there’s not much storage but it’s expandable and the camera is rubbish but tablet cameras are never great anyway, so those are all acceptable issues for the price.
What’s not so acceptable though is the screen, which is both low resolution and low quality. Sure you’ll be able to stream videos to it when on the train or the bus, but when you have to view them on a blurry and reflective screen you might not want to.
It’s a real shame as that one aspect makes it hard to recommend the OneTouch Pop 7S. If you’re on a really tight budget then it’s still worth a look, but if you can spend a little more there are far better options out there.
Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7S Review SpecificationDimensions : 192 x 113 x 8.9mm Weight: 279g Screen size: 7” (600 x 1024) Screen Resolution: 600 x 1024 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 170 Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core application processor RAM: 1GB On-board Memory: 4GB (microSD card support) Camera: 3MP (rear), (0.3MP front-facing) Operating system: Android 4.4 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ No Battery capacity: 3240mAh Colours: Black, white Launch Date: Out now Price: £99.99