Probably the youngest do not remember them, but those of us who are already an age had the opportunity to use mobiles that we could now consider almost dinosaurs. I am talking about terminals as mythical as the Nokia 3210 or the Siemens C45, mobile phones that existed in the 90s (or rather in the late 90s). Well, in recent weeks I have had the feeling of returning to that time while conducting the analysis of the new Alcatel mobile. The Alcatel 3088 is a mobile with a retro design and a 2.4-inch screen, but it offers us the possibility of having current applications such as WhatsApp thanks to the KaiOS system.
Although mobile phones with increasingly large screens, many cameras and the power of almost a computer currently reign, it is possible that some users look for a terminal to simply be reachable. There are more than one and more than two that I know that do not take advantage of even 10% of what a current smartphone offers. So, why not better buy a very cheap mobile that allows us to be connected with friends and family? For this type of user, the Alcatel 3088 has reached the market . I have been able to test this curious mobile for a few weeks and here I tell you what it offers.
|screen||2.4 inches, 240 × 320 pixel QVGA resolution|
|Main chamber||2 MP, Fixed focus, LED flash, Video 640 x 480 at 30 fps|
|Frontal camera||Does not have|
|Extension||Micro-SD up to 32GB|
|Processor and RAM||SC9820E processor, 512MB RAM|
|Battery||1,530 mAh replaceable|
|Connections||4G LTE, WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.1, Micro-USB, 3.5mm Jack|
|SIM||Nano-SIM + TF Card|
|Design||Detachable plastic housing, Matte metallic paint|
|Dimensions||125.2 × 50.5 × 12.75mm, 90 grams|
Pre-installed applications (Facebook, WhatsApp, Google Search, Google Map and YouTube)
Compact design with physical keyboard
The Alcatel 3088 is a very compact mobile, far removed from current standards. It has a 2.4-inch screen with a QVGA resolution of 240 x 320 pixels . Under this screen we have a physical keyboard with several buttons to control the device, since the screen is not touch.
How do you handle a mobile like this? Well, the truth is that it is quite simple. Just below the screen we have two large buttons, one on each side, and in the middle of these buttons a kind of cross that will allow us to move through the system. In the center of the commented crosshead there is another button to confirm the orders. And under the buttons on the sides we have two other large buttons, to hang up (and back function) and to take calls.
On the screen we will see what each of the buttons is for at any given time. For example, if we are on the main screen, with the button on the left we access Notices and with the button on the right, Contacts. If we press the button in the center, the one with the drawing of the microphone, we enter the application menu of the device. Then we will go into more detail when talking about the operating system.
If we turn the device over, we will see a plastic casing with a smooth finish and good touch . This can be black or blue, just like my test model. This case, as you can imagine, is removable.
Removing it is very easy. In one of the lower corners we will see a small notch through which we can put the nail and lift. When removing the back cover we will find the battery, which is removable and, therefore, can be replaced. Under the battery we have the slot for the SIM card (Nano-SIM) and also the slot for the Micro SD card.
Also in the back we will find the camera lens, located in the central part and surrounded by a small frame that looks metallic and is brighter than the rest of the housing.
We will not find any type of button on the side frames of the device. The only thing we will have is a 3.5 mm jack connector for headphones on the top and a Micro-USB connector for charging and data transfer on the bottom.
With access to some basic applications thanks to KaiOS
The Alcatel 3088 is equipped with very simple hardware, so the Android operating system would not have worked properly. That is why the manufacturer has preferred to use the KaiOS system . But what is KaiOS?
KaiOS is a basic mobile device operating system based on Firefox OS, which is itself based on Linux. Perhaps you heard about it a little over a year ago, when the news broke that Google had invested $ 22 million in this system.
Despite being a basic mobile operating system, it is capable of running some of the applications that everyone wants to have on their mobile . To this we must add that the battery consumption that this system performs is very low. These two features have made the system much more successful than other similar systems (such as Firefox OS itself).
So what can we do with KaiOS? The first thing we should know is that, as I said before, it is not an operating system that is operated with a touch screen . So we will have to get used to moving through the menus and the different apps through the central cross of the terminal.
On the main screen we will see the time, date, coverage and a small row of icons on the right side. Here we will have the most important applications and to access them we will have to press the left arrow on the crosshead. By doing so, the applications will be seen in a big way and in a kind of carousel that is very reminiscent of smart watches .
If the application we are looking for is not here, we will have to click on the central button to access what would be the app drawer on an Android mobile . On this screen we will have, through icons, the different applications that we have installed on the mobile.
The Alcatel 3088 comes with quite a few applications already installed. Among them we have the usual messages, clock, calculator, camera, calendar, notes and even a file manager. But it also has some that we may not expect to find on such a mobile, such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and even the Google Assistant .
We also have an app store included in this curious system. In this store we can find some applications that could be interesting, although it may not be necessary for such a mobile. For example, you have several very simple games. On the other hand, I have been struck by the incorporation of a PDF reader, a QR code reader, a task organizer and even an ePub file reader.
How do the usual applications work on the Alcatel 3088? Well the truth is that quite well. A good adaptation job has been done to bring these apps to a mobile with a small screen and no touch.
For example, when opening Google Maps we will see a screen with some icons that show the main options. From here we can do a search, show the map or create a route, among other options. As I said, it is possible to create a route and have the mobile tell us the way, since the Alcatel 3088 is equipped with GPS .
Among the usual applications that are installed we also have YouTube . It is an adapted version that shows a small pointer on the screen to be able to move between the videos.
We move this pointer through the central crosshead and it works much better than expected. It has a kind of "predictive cash" to get to the options earlier. If we want to see the video in full screen we will have to press with the pointer on the playback screen and choose the option to enlarge screen.
But perhaps the most interesting application that the terminal has is WhatsApp . This messaging application has become practically an essential in any type of mobile, so it is logical that it is also available in KaiOS.
You may be wondering, how do I write if I don't have a touchscreen? Well, it is done "the old-fashioned", using the numeric keyboard that we have under the screen . All numbers have three letters associated, so depending on the number of times we touch that key, one number or another will appear. It's not as comfortable as an on-screen touch keyboard, but when you get used to it you can type relatively quickly.
Battery to last for several days
We are nearing the end of the analysis and it is worth taking a look at the technical data that the terminal offers. We must bear in mind that we cannot compare them with those of an Android terminal, but at least we will know what the Alcatel 3088 hides under the hood.
On the one hand it is equipped with a 1,530 mAh battery . It is a battery that is charged by a Micro-USB port and can be replaced . It offers us an autonomy to which we are no longer accustomed, being able to remain on hold for well over a week. With normal use of this mobile we can easily have 3-4 days of autonomy .
To move the operating system the terminal has 512 MB of RAM and a SC9820E processor . It also has 4 GB of internal storage and the possibility of placing a Micro-SD card of up to 32 GB .
Finally, it has a 2 megapixel camera with fixed focus, LED flash and that can record video with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps. The terminal does not have a front camera.
And it has connectivity, the Alcatel 3088 has 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.1 . It also has a headphone jack that will also allow us to listen to the radio. And I also want to highlight that it has an NFC chip , something that surprises me a lot.
Conclusions and price
Analyzing a mobile like the Alcatel 3088 almost in 2020 is quite rare. But I fully understand what the manufacturer is looking for with this type of device. Reaching certain types of users who want to be in touch but who are not interested in the functionalities of an Android (or iOS) smartphone is not easy.
With KaiOS we can have access to the most common applications, such as YouTube, Google Maps or Facebook. Also WhatsApp, an essential today. And, of course, we can also check email, send SMS and make calls. All this in a very compact and economical mobile.
And is that the Alcatel 3088 can be purchased with a price of around 55 euros . Of course, a minimum investment for those who seek to always be in contact with theirs.