One of Alcatel’s competitively priced Android offerings is the One Touch Scribe HD. It has a 5-inch HD display, Android Jellybean, a quad-core processor, and a sub-Php14K price tag, to boot. Let’s find out if the Scribe HD is worth every penny by reading our full review.
Design and Construction
One of the best features of the Scribe HD in terms of design is how slim it is for a 5-incher. It’s not as thin as the 6.5mm One Touch Idol Ultra but at 8.5mm the thinness is very noticeable. The body is made of soft-touch plastic with a curved backside that reminds us of the HTC One X. The sides are bevelled which is more pronounced at the bottom.
Surrounded by a metallic frame on the front is the 5-inch display, together with the earpiece and 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera. On the right are the microSIM slot and microUSB port, while on the left are the volume rocker and microSD card slot. Right on top is the power/lock button and the 3.5mm headset jack. Found at the bottom is the microphone. Flip it on its back and you’ll see the protruding 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, a secondary microphone and the speaker located on the lower left.
Overall, the Scribe HD is well-built with a simple yet noticeable design. The bevelled edges and the slim profile feels good in the hands. The only complaint we have are the micro SIM and microSD card slot. The plastic flaps are difficult to pullout if you have short fingernails. The same problem applies when pushing the SIM and microSD card into place.
The Scribe HD is equipped with a 5-inch HD (720 x 1280) IPS LCD screen which equates to a pixel density of 294ppi. Mounted on top if it is a Dragontrail glass for added toughness. We tried scratching and stabbing it with a knife with enough force to scrape paint off a metal and make an ugly dent on a wood. As expected, not even a single scratch.
The result is a relatively crisp display with good viewing angles and color reproduction. The only thing it’s not good at is repelling finger prints and smudges.
OS, UI and Apps
Running under the hood of the Scribe HD is Android 4.2.1 Jellybean with Alcatel’s UI skin on top. Most of the visual tweaks are made on icons which look like bloated squares. It looks a bit toyish but not at all ugly.
Along with basic Google Apps, the Scribe HD comes with Alcatel’s own useful apps like the One Touch Cloud Backup, One Touch Media Share, One Touch Radio, Scribe Calculator and Scribe Note.
The Scribe Note is one of the forefront apps in the Scribe HD. It lets you utilize the stylus that comes with phone’s package to take down notes and do a little scribbling. However, the stylus writing experience is not up to par compared to the Samsung Galaxy Notes. The stylus is not responsive 100% of the time and cannot cope with relatively fast note-taking.
Other preinstalled apps are present as well like AVG, Kingsoft Office, Skitch, Barcode Scanner, Gameloft Live, and Shark Dash. Good thing these apps can be uninstalled which leaves you with a little more than 2GB of usable internal memory.
Camera and Multimedia
The Scribe HD is equipped with an 8 megapixel AF rear camera with LED flash. It comes with a wide range of features such as HDR, Panorama, Continuous shots, Multi-Angle shots and smile detection. Images taken are very clear and sharp with great colors. Although it shoots quick, the focus feels a bit slow. Indoor shots look good as well but noise starts to become evident. Take a look at the sample images below:
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The camera is also capable of shooting videos of up to 1080p at 30fps and are saved in 3GP format. Alcatel also took hints from HTC and allowed the Scribe HD to shoot stills while recording. Watch the sample video below:
As for its multimedia capabilities, the Scribe HD’s display is perfect for watching movies and videos as well as for browsing pictures. However, we discovered that the speaker’s quality is a bit iffy. At first we thought the speaker is just too weak to our liking when suddenly there’s a burst of loudness that lasted for a few seconds then immediately went back to its low-volume state. This occurs every now and then which is a bit annoying.
Performance and Battery Life
The quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and Android Jellybean worked very well in providing a smooth experience when using the Scribe HD. UI navigation is fluid without any noticeable lags and we were able to play Dead Trigger in High settings without any problem.
We placed the Scribe HD under a series of benchmark tests and here are the results:
* AnTuTu – 13,003
* Quadrant Standard – 3,944
* Vellamo HTML5 – 1,441
* Vellamo Metal – 433
* NenaMark 2 – 45.4fps
As for battery life, we loaded the Scribe HD with a 1080p movie file and continuously played it on airplane mode with volume set to 0% and brightness on 50%. The result is 7 hours and 36 minutes of continuous playback. Regular usage consisiting of light texting and calling, constant WiFi connectivity and heavy SNS, the Scribe HD can last for a day and a half. With heavy media consumption such as movies with speakers on and heavy gaming, the battery can last 5 to 6 hours.
The Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD is a great offering and even beats the One Touch Idol Ultra in some aspects. It has a good display with large real estate, great performance thanks to the quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, great battery life, and its cheaper too at Php13,490.
The only real concern here is the speaker quality. We hope that this is just an isolated case with the review unit we received. Square that away and the Scribe HD becomes an almost perfect candidate for those looking for a budget-friendly 5-incher.
Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD specs:
5″ IPS HD (720 x 1280) display, 294ppi
MTK 6589 Quad-core 1.2 GHz
4GB internal memory (2GB usable)
microSD up to 32GB
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0 w/ A2DP
GPS w/ A-GPS support
8MP camera w/ LED flash, 1080p@30fps
1.3MP front-facing camera, 720p
Android 4.2.1 Jellybean
2,500mAh non-removable battery
144 x 75 x 8.5 mm (dimensions)
Package includes: stylus and magnetic cover
What we liked about it:
* Great HD display
* Good performance
* Good camera
* Slim profile
* Great battery life
* Affordable price tag
What we didn’t like about it:
* Speaker volume issues