Very few Android tablets have launched in the past couple of years, and the main reason is the lack of apps specifically designed for Android tablets and the growth of large-screen smartphones. Due to the lack of new Android tablets, Apple iPads have taken the centre stage in the tablet segment. However, iPads are quite costly, and there is still a market for affordable tablets. Alcatel has launched the Pop 4 tablet to fill the vacuum.
The Alcatel Pop 4 costs Rs. 10,999, and comes with a keyboard dock. The tablet has a 10-inch display, an octa-core processor, stereo speakers, and cellular connectivity. Looking at its specifications, the Alcatel Pop 4 offers a lot of features of its price, but does it deliver on productivity and multimedia fronts like a tablet should? Let us find out in our review.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Build Quality
Since it is an affordable tablet, the Alcatel Pop 4 has a plastic body. It even has thick bezels around the screen, which make it look a bit old. The device, however, is solidly built and feels premium, at least for the price.
The Pop 4 comes with a QWERTY keyboard dock, which works over Bluetooth. The dock has its own battery that charges through the microUSB port located on the right side. The docking mechanism is very simple; it uses a rubberised slot that grips the tablet in its place. However, the mechanism is not trustworthy; the tablet can slip out of the dock even with a light pull.
The keyboard dock is made out of good quality plastic, and it feels sturdy. The keys on the dock have decent key travel, but they feel spongy and do not offer a sense of quality. However, for the price, I doubt you can get any better than this.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Display
The Alcatel Pop 4 features a 10-inch IPS LCD with Full HD resolution. The display does not come with any protection over it, which makes it prone to scratches. The screen is also a smudge magnet; it becomes greasy even after a little usage.
Coming to the quality of the screen, it has decent viewing angles and good contrast ratio. The resolution of the display is adequate for its size and the content is sharp. However, the display is reflective and not bright enough, so the display looks washed out under direct sunlight. That being said, the display is still better than most the other tablets in the price range.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Camera
The tablet comes with an 8-megapixel primary camera. The camera has neither autofocus, nor an LED flash. Due to the lack of autofocus, the camera can not capture macro subjects accurately. The lack of autofocus also results in poor details. I was disappointed to see that the images captured even in daylight conditions have high amounts of noise and purple fringing, which is unusual nowadays for any smartphone or a tablet.
The image quality is even worse in low-light conditions. Low-light images have an extremely high amount of noise and lens flare. The dynamic range is poor and so are the details. All these factors make the image look ugly. As harsh as it may sound, the Alcatel Pop 4’s camera has one of the worst performance I’ve ever come across in the recent years. The least Alcatel could have done is to equip the tablet with an autofocus camera.
The front-facing camera of the Alcatel Pop 4 is a 5-megapixel sensor. Even the images captured with the front-facing camera have higher noise. Moreover, the camera fails to capture enough light, so the images appear duller. The front-facing camera is suitable for video calling at best.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Performance
An octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor runs the show on the Alcatel Pop 4, which is mated to 2GB of RAM. The processing and graphics power of the Snapdragon 430 is inadequate for the Full HD resolution display. At first, I expected the device to have sluggish performance. However, thanks to Alcatel’s optimisations, the Pop 4 performs smoothly. Opening apps and switching between them is very fast, which makes the multitasking a breeze.
Gaming on the Alcatel Pop 4 is surprisingly smooth. Even graphics-intensive game titles such as the Modern Combat 4 and the NFS Most Wanted run smoothly without significant frame drops. Browsing the web on the Alcatel Pop 4 is also adequately smooth. In spite of a weak processor, the Alcatel Pop 4 manages to provide fast and smooth performance.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Software
The Alcatel Pop 4 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, which is more than two years outdated. The OS lacks many features that Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 8.0 Oreo offer. The lack of split-screen multitasking is very evident, and it is a wasted opportunity for the tablet’s large 10-inch display.
Alcatel has loaded the OS with a few apps such as the file manager, music player, video player, audio recorder, and a weather app. All these applications have an outdated design, and they do not match with the system’s theme. The OS, however, is very optimised and feels polished.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Productivity & Multimedia Experience
In my opinion, a tablet should provide a comfortable typing, web-browsing, gaming, and video-watching experience. Thanks to the large display, stereo speakers, and smooth performance, the Alcatel Pop 4 is a perfect device for multimedia consumption. However, the tablet does not hold well when it comes to productivity.
The tablet neither features any specialised software for productivity nor does it have a stylus. On top of that, the Android applications are not optimised for tablet usage. So if you are looking for a tablet that can also be used for your office work, then the Alcatel Pop 4 is not the one for you.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Battery
Powering the tablet is a 5830mAh battery. The tablet does not have fast charging support due to which it takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%. During my usage, the tablet returned 24 to 28 hours of battery backup with an average screen-on time of 5 hours. Even the battery backup is not great, but adequate for most people.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Connectivity & Audio
The Alcatel Pop 4 has cellular connectivity with voice calling function. The device supports 4G network but it lacks VoLTE so calls on networks like Jio is not possible. The Alcatel Pop 4 has only 16GB of internal memory, but there’s a microSD card slot for storage expansion.
The tablet comes with front-facing stereo speakers. Chances are that people will mostly use the tablet for media consumption, and the stereo speaker setup is perfect for such use cases; they are very loud, and sound crisp.
Alcatel Pop 4 Review: Verdict
Although the Alcatel Pop 4 comes with a keyboard dock, it is not an ideal device for productivity. However, the Alcatel Pop 4 is perfect for media consumption such as web-browsing, gaming, watching videos, and listening to music. The tablet also has smooth performance, solid build quality, and a long battery life. If you are looking for a device that provides better multimedia experience than a smartphone, the Alcatel Pop 4 suits you perfectly. I wish it had a better camera, though. Nonetheless, the tablet offers good performance for its price.
Alcatel Pop 4Rs. 10,999
- Good screen
- Fast and smooth performance
- Loud speakers
- Day-long battery life
- Good value for money
- Two-year old Android version (v6.0)
- No special productivity features in software
- No stylus
- Terrible camera