gsmarena_004A very interesting budget smartphone, which doesn’t seem to be available worldwide, but which I’ve seen advertised at very persuasive prices in Hungarian supermarkets, even, is the Alcatel Pixi 4 (6). Interesting? Because that 6 stand for a 6-inch screen, on a gadget running Android OS 5.1 or 6.0 (Marshmallow), depending on the model. All for a price far below high-end competitors like the Nexus 6P.

There seems to be some divergence in the screen specs, because the Hungarian version carries a 960 x 540 display, and Android 5.1, while the international release at GSM Arena claims a 720 x 1280 pixel screen and Android 6.0. For the lower-end version, however, we’re still looking at a $147.20 price tag on a phone with a 6-inch screen. The cheaper version also seems to rock a faster chip, if the specs are to be believed: a quad-core 1.3 Ghz unit, versus a Qualcomm MSM8909 Snapdragon 210 quad-core 1.1 GHz Cortex-A7 chip on the international release. And 8 GB internal memory plus 1 GB RAM, and a micro SD card slot, seem standard across all models.

With phablets increasingly popular as an e-reading and general-purpose mobile device format, I shouldn’t need to point out the attractions of this device – or where the smartphone market is going in general. That huge screen, even if it isn’t the world’s best or brightest, gives you immense e-reading real estate for very little money – if the price holds true across all markets – in a form factor that until recently was available only at the highest end. With this cheap but very cheerful device, you can toss your phablet in a bag and subject it to all kinds of real-life abuse, without having to worry about bankruptcy if you drop or lose it.

I’ve used Alcatel devices in the past, and found them reliable, if unspectacular. Furthermore, the company hasn’t been afraid to innovate, or try new and different form factors. This time, though, they really seem to have come up with something I might want to rush out and buy. I haven’t seen the real thing yet, so watch this space. But I’ll certainly be taking a serious interest …



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