Alcatel OneTouch Watch review

Decent price tag but is the latest budget smartwatch worth the money?

We'll admit that when we first heard that Alcatel OneTouch was launching a budget smartwatch back in January at CES, we weren't holding out too much hope.

If the alarm bells weren't already ringing as a result of the 'budget' tag, they definitely were when we heard that the French company's new wearable was running on a proprietary OS.

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But, at just $149, is it worth a punt?

We've had the Alcatel OneTouch Watch on our wrist for the last week or so, read on for our full review…

Alcatel OneTouch Watch: Design and build

Alcatel, in the original OneTouch Watch press release, claimed its new wearable "looks like a watch and feels like a watch" - and it does ... albeit a slightly tacky one.

It's not a terrible build by any stretch but, while a lot more watch-like than some of the Android Wear brigade, it's not as slick as the similarly priced Withings Activité Pop.

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It's quite skinny, with the watch face itself measuring 10.5mm, but it does appear a tad bulky at the edges thanks to the bezel that contains the numbers and 5-minute markers. This bezel is not part of the touchscreen, so it's only around 80% of the face that the 1.22-inch display makes up.

Alcatel Watch review

The Watch is actually slightly more svelte than its round-faced rival, the Moto 360. The watch face itself is 41.8mm, again smaller than the Motorola smartwatch's 46mm diameter.

The brushed chrome and stainless steel, and micro-textured resin band, combine well – although we have serious reservations about the fit of the strap. It's fiddly to do up and comfort has clearly not its strong point. To fasten the OneTouch Watch you have to fold one part of the metal clip back to sit flush with the second part, and this lies next to the rubber strap. Not flush, just next to. That means the metal parts dig into, and sometimes pinches, the inside of your wrist and the band itself sticks out a bit. It also pops open of its own accord with worrying frequency. Talk about getting the basics wrong.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch: Display

Alcatel Watch review

The display is fairly vibrant, helped by the bold colours Alcatel has chosen for its icons - but there are some slight pixelation issues. The 240 x 204 display packs a 262K colour palette and, while this won't worry its OLED packing alternatives, the visuals are clear.

A neat feature of the display is that, along with the pre-installed watch faces, you can add your own photos as background images (syncing from within the companion app is easy) and even choose which watch type and metrics – think analogue or digital, date display etc – go over the top of these.

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And while the Watch's display hasn't got the necessary readies to make your images pop like your high resolution smartphone does, it certainly makes customisation easy.

You can also switch the display from white icons with colour backgrounds to dark icons if you wish.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch: Features and OS

There's no Android Wear in sight with Alcactel's debut smartwatch, instead we're treated to a proprietary OS that keeps things relatively simple. Once you suss out how to navigate through it that is.

When we first slapped the Alcatel OneTouch Watch on our wrist, it took us a while to figure out how to operate it. There's a button on the side - but all that seemed to do was turn the display on and off - and tapping the display seemed to do nothing.

We finally realised that in order to bring up the homescreen, you had to tap below the display, slightly above the number 6 on the bezel. A single tap takes you to the main apps menu screen and a double tap brings you back to your home watch face.

Swiping up on the touchscreen, from any of the screens on offer, brings up your notifications and then you can swipe up or down through them or move onto a different set of app notifications by swiping sideways; the Watch has a nice way of showing different notification groups side by side.

Alcatel smartwatch review

Notifications are limited to the updates and apps Alcatel has chosen although popular third parties are included. The full list is: incoming calls, missed calls, SMS, calendar, email, Facebook (and Messenger), Twitter, Skype, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ (and Hangouts) and WhatsApp. You can't respond to messages on the Watch, it's purely a notification system.

The touchscreen is responsive enough, with swiping and tapping all working as it should. There are 14 'apps' on offer from the Watch OS and you simply swipe horizontally to scroll through the icons. We use the word 'app' loosely here, as some icons simply represent settings such as vibration on/off, airplane mode and brightness.

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A quick tap on an icon fires up your chosen app. There's weather, fitness tracking, an activity recording stopwatch, smartwatch controls (music and camera) and a find my phone feature.

Music controls are limited to the default music player on your smartphone – so no Spotify – and are a little clunky, and the camera shutter mode requires an awkward journey through the Alcatel app first. Sadly, unlike the Apple Watch and Android Wear, you can't add additional apps.

Alcatel Watch review

There's no always-on mode for the watch face, the longest period before a time out is just 15 seconds. That wouldn't be so bad if the wrist flick motion to fire up the screen actually worked. We found it required a completely unnatural, quite violent, motion to get the face display on and 99% of the time resorted to pushing the button instead.

Another major issue we had was constant dropped connections and syncing issues between the watch and our phone. A smartwatch is pretty dumb if it requires you firing up the app every hour or so to keep the connection alive.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch: Activity tracking

Alcatel One Watch review

The health and fitness app, which you can keep up to date with on the watch itself or through the fairly basic app, counts steps, calories, distance, active minutes and sleep. When it comes to regular daily movement, it's not a million miles off the readings we got from a Fitbit Charge HR and, as ever with algorithmic calculated step counts, consistency is the key – and the Alcatel OneTouch Watch did seem fairly undeviating.

Sleep tracking is somewhat of a nonsense; you get a breakdown of the deep and light sleep you had since you manually start the process – whether you believe in its readings is another matter.

Distance and calories are measured using a calculation of the step count combined with personal metrics you input such as height, weight, age and sex. As with all non-GPS wearables, the distance calculations are estimates, rather than exact measurements – an 8km run, for example (you can tag activities using the watch), measured in at 9.4km.

Heart rate monitoring is on board and, although we found regular readings fairly consistent – if a little shy – don't even think about attempting to record your bpm on the fly; you need to be sitting still for this function to 'work'.

As mentioned, the app is fairly basic, but easy to use. You'll see daily breakdowns of all the info the Watch has recorded and it's even possible to instantly share your stats with social networks and contacts with a touch of the share button.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch: Battery life

There's a 210mAh battery inside he OneTouch Watch that Alcatel states can work for 2-5 days. We consistently got 2-3 days use from a charge – which only takes an hour – pretty impressive compared to rival smartwatches.

A cool feature is that the Alcatel Watch charges from a USB charger integrated into the watch strap - a simple feature that puts the likes of Samsung and LG, and their annoying additional adapters, to shame.

The Alcatel OneTouch Watch is dust and water-resistant to IP67.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch
By Alcatel
We fully expected the Alcatel Watch to be unresponsive, cheap-looking and bulky but it isn’t. Sure, you can see and feel that it's not built of the most premium materials and parts but, for anyone looking for basic fitness tracker features, as well as smartwatch notifications, on a device that looks pretty decent - then the OneTouch Watch could be the answer. However, there are parts of the Watch that are completely awful. The strap and comfort, the fact the connection drops all the time and the poor flick to life action response all come to mind. It’s also important to remember that, while somewhat cheap, you could pick up a Moto 360 or a rubber strapped Sony SmartWatch 3 for not a great deal more. It’s a decent effort from Alcatel, but not one we can fully endorse.

  • Pretty good battery life
  • No additional charging cable
  • Cheap price tag
  • Works on Android and iOS
  • Poor, uncomfortable strap
  • Constant syncing and pairing issues
  • No additional apps to install
  • Wrist flick action doesn’t seem to work

What do you think?

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  • Berghersh·

     It amazes me how all of the reviews online about the swatch failed to note that this is the best alternative to the Apple Watch if you're an Apple iPhone iOS user.

    I had the Apple Watch for one month and I have to say I'm very disappointed at the price point, maybe Apple Watch three will be better but at this point the Alcatel one touch watch is the best out there for me. 

  • Vincenzo·


  • Shourya·

    can i download games in it? Or are there any preloaded?



  • daenas·

    I am completely thrilled with this watch!  While not top of the line, I can't answer or make calls and I can't text message from it, I can receive all the notifications from my phone, ignore/mute an incoming call, check the weather (pretty accurate), read text messages, receive notifications from my events on my calendar, play music on phone, take photos on my phone, and customize the watch face to anything I want.  There has been a firmware update, which my watch updated to right out of the box, so I can't speak to the previous firmware and the issues with it.  I have no connection issues either and to make it easier it has the NFC protocol making pairing with a phone effortless.  I'm a female, I'm 5'9", so I have to buy the bigger men's watch and nothing pinches on my wrist at all.  I don't understand what issues the reviewer was having and the watchband is adjustable as well.  For the money this watch is the best and I'm very happy with everything it offers.  I suspect it will probably offer more in the future with firmware updates as well.

  • RedRat·

    Hi. I bought the watch on March 5. On March 12, the watch stopped functioning during a short swim. I wrote to the contact on alcatel website but received no answer. I bought the watch because of the heartrate monitor without strap, but it does not work either. 

  • Krido·

    Im a alcatel watch user, verything is fine but the simple thing that's alcatel add is Always On feature on this watch, and give more colourfull watch needle on his software updates.

  • RobertShowell·

    the charging cable design is not very good and makes it vulnerable to breaking, it dosent charge if you keep taking it on and off as its breaking the cable inside, I have had to replace twice because of this error

    • ctha·

      hi Robert,

      It seems my charging cable inside has been broken. Where did you get it fixed, any reference would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • daccad·

    I have this smartwatch from december 2015 - 7 and a half months already.

    I like it VERY MUCH. There is no problem when flicking (not at all), it have NO BUGS, it work flawless in all aplications. I think the review is way to harsh, and this Alcatel Onetouch MUST have 5 stars - if we keep it in budget range (is simply the best for the price). I like very much the charging idea, i like the accuracy of pedometer (even if there`s no GPS).

    I have only one issue: it`s disconecting from my phone if i let the phone out of the range (arround 10 metters). But i discovered it was a phone problem, i dont believe ths smartwatch have also a real problem with conectivity since i tested it with anoter phone.

    Good job with this watch, im tired of the overpriced samsung and iphone disasters.

    • sperli·

      Unfortunately, I have to confirm the vulnerability of the wrist. First, I had to have it changed after three months, they changed the whole watch for me. The second time, it lasted a little bit longer - five months. But yesterday it happened again. I don't think I use the watch in an unusual way. I wear it all day long, usually also at night. I can still try the guarantee repair, so I'll see. But definitely, this is a vulnerability by design - a bad idea at least with the materials used.

  • Geohouli·

    I picked up a brand new one last week from a high street retailer for under £70.00 in the UK and I can safely say I am very impressed. It is reliable and seems to be reasonably accurate at what it does.

    The health monitoring is good. The heart rate monitor is excellent and the app notifications cover most apps I use on a regular basis including email, messaging, Facebook, call alerts etc. all worked flawlessly from word go.

    The screen is reasonably good and much better than pebbles, fitbits etc. OK much more expensive devices may have better screens but a clue to how they manage that is in the cost.

    To get the level of functionality available for this cost is phenomenal. This thing is the equivalent cost to a good quality fitness band but does so much more. And does it well.

    Of course there are more technically complex and superior watches out there but they cost significantly more. And I can honestly say this watch does all the basics and looks good too. It is simply a subjective nonsense to describe this watch in less attractive terms when compared to most other much more expensive smartwatches. There are some ugly watches out there.

    I have found the watch to be comfortable to wear too.

    When I turned my watch on for the first time - it prompted a firmware upgrade. The faces and are customisable - perhaps they weren't before. I am not sure. I have no desire to play games on my watch. I also do not wish to dictate messages - I'd rather I received an alert and then use my phone to reply. I have never experienced sluggish behaviour. Mine works excellently.

    I've seen some complaints about dropping Bluetooth - most smartwatches require to be permanently tethered via Bluetooth to a mobile phone running a related app for full functionality. Bluetooth has limited range. This one also offers NFC for connectivity for updates etc. Bluetooth and NFC have limited range - this is the same for all smartphones. But many functions still work when too far apart from the phone - the device updates once back in range.

    If you want to have the coolest, smartest, most up to date, flashy wearable and you want your smartwatch to do absolutely everything a wearable could possibly do at that moment in time - be prepared to spend lots of money.

    If, like me, you want the a good quality watch that takes the best of basic smartwatch and health monitoring functionality and puts it together in a good quality budget package that looks great on the wrist - choose this one.

  • marufa1gis·

    I am looking for battery of alcatel one touch smart watch thanks