Alcatel Pixi 4 (6) Review - 6 Inch Phablet On A Budget!

From 2011 to 2015, mobile phones have had a growing trend that the bigger the screen the better it was from the previous generations. From 2015 till now, it seemed to have settled down to the sub 6 inch mark. Most manufacturers now seldomly release a phone higher than 6 inches on a budget. So we were surprised when Alcatel introduced the gigantic Pixi 4 (6).
Alcatel Pixi 4 (6) Review - Phablet On A Budget!
Alcatel Pixi 4 (6) in the flesh

Will this be right budget phablet for you? Find out in this review!

Disclaimer: This unit was provided by Alcatel Philippines for an honest review

Alcatel Pixi 4 (6) Specs

Display: 6 Inch qHD IPS 960 x 540 resolution at 184 ppi
CPU: 1.3 GHz MT8321 quad core processor
GPU: Mali 400
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 8 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 32 GB
Rear Camera: 13 MP w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8 MP w/ LED flash
Battery: 2,580 mAh
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A GPS, single micro SIM
Dimensions: 165 x 83.8 x 8.3 mm
Weight: TBC
Price: PHP 4,999

Note: We did not get the actual box of the product, but it includes the 1A charger, micro USB to USB data / charging cables, and standard earbuds with mic. We assume that the official retail package will get the same goodies.

Build Quality / Design

At the back showing the main camera, pixi logo, and speaker below
At the back showing the main camera, pixi logo, and speaker below

It's one gigantic phone with gold colored brushed aluminum back plate with a camera bump that is a little short of big and sturdy feeling frame that reassures you that it won't break so easily in case you drop it.
It's made out of all plastic material, but it isn't that flimsy and brittle!
Charging port and 3.5 mm audio jack on top
Charging port and 3.5 mm audio jack on top
The SIM slots at left
The SIM slots at left
micro SD card slot, volume rocker, and power button

In terms of design, the Pixi 4 (6) reminds us well of its brothers from the Alcatel portfolio except that it is bigger. It has fine looking paint finish, there are no sharp edges, and it isn't really that thick and heavy. We just find its black border bezels on the screen quite thick and it has a slight camera hump behind. 

You will find the micro SD card slot, the volume rocker and the power button on the right side while on the left are the two SIM card slots while the micro USB port and 3.5 mm headphone jack is on top. The buttons have a nice tactile feel and are responsive to each press.

The 3.5 mm headphone jack and the micro USB port on top while the micro SD, volume rocker and the power button are on the right.

Display Quality

There's 5 points of touch
There's 5 points of touch

The screen is a big bright qHD 6 inch IPS display! As we said earlier, it is a big fingerprint magnet and we are having a hard time getting used to it. Even though the screen is less than 720p, it wasn't immediately apparent even when the screen is far away from me which was a big surprise to us.
There's 5 points of touch!
What is apparent is the vibrant reproduction which shines with pictures of landscapes.  What bothered us was the fact that this display caused YouTube to not be able to play 720p 60 fps smoothly which can be a bother who watch videos with that setting as standard.

Battery Life

Battery test result

The Pixi 4 (6) has a 2,580 mAh non-removable battery. In real world usage, I would come home with 25% battery left. It is enough for a day’s usage but not much more. In PCMark benchmark, the phablet scored 7 hours and 22 mins.

In real life performance, it is good enough to last for a regular day of work from 7 AM to 5 PM. Given it's size, it's processor and display, it could have had a bigger and longer lasting battery. It also comes with a 1A adapter which can charge the phone in 3 hrs. 

Audio Quality

Speaker at the back
Speaker at the back

The speakers are laid out on the back of the phone which caused the sound to be muffled when laid on its back. Maybe next time they can move it to the bottom like most phones today.

The speaker's volume was average while the sound quality was a mixed bag. At the highest volume there is some noticeable distortion while the mids, lows and highs varied and it seemed that bass was the prominent sound coming out of it which could be a good thing if the user prefers it.

The sound quality from the earphones need a bit of improvement. It was muddy and the volume can get loud but is distorted. I hope they address this next time. The stock earphones however were built undesirably as it looks like the generic ones you can find anywhere. 

The microphone on the other hand is decent. I have never experienced complaints from calls I made with the TELCO or with Facebook or Viber.

Camera

The camera is small relative to the body!
The camera is small relative to the body!

The camera performed okay-ish. It’s decent for its price range. The phone is equipped with 13 megapixel rear camera with an 8 megapixel selfie camera with single flash LED. The camera tends to over-saturate photos and have less detail. Pictures taken in bright are conditions were fine.

The Camera app has HDR and Manual mode but is pretty basic with settings only for the ISO, white balance and exposure.

There is also a Face Beauty mode for selfies which smooths face blemishes. However, it is very aggressive and looks very artificial.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight shot
Daylight shot
Normal vs HDR
Normal vs HDR
Normal indoor shot
Normal indoor shot
Lowlight shot
Lowlight shot

On the selfie side, its 8 MP camera has LED flash. It features a face beauty mode, filters. Surprisingly, it has AF (auto-focus) with a decent shutter speed, but it'll still require you to have steady hands to avoid blurry shots.

With daylight, shots are okay with decent color saturation but with less than average depth rendition. With low light, it performs better than it's peers. Its not the best but it is better than no picture at all.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie test
Selfie test

For videos it can record up to to 1080p videos at the back. It's usable at in daylight at best, but expect a lot of grains and shakiness when you're not using a tripod. In front it do up to 720p videos that should be decent enough for your social media videos, but again there will be lots of noise and shakiness due to lack of stabilization.


Performance

Antutu benchmark and Geekbench scores

This phablet is not a flagship and it isn't the fastest phone on the block. It's decent but we would run into occasional hiccups and slowdowns when there are too many apps running simultaneously or when we were running chrome with a lot of tabs open. This is also a result of the 1 GB RAM.
Asphalt 8 on medium settings


Having sub-720p does have its advantages. 3D applications run better on the PIXI than 720p counterparts. Asphalt 8 ran smoothly at medium settings offline, while runs smoothly at Low when you play multiplayer. It’s probably a CPU bottleneck. Pokemon Go ran smoothly as well but the PIXI doesn't have a gyro for AR mode.
Alcatel's UI
Alcatel's UI

It is running a near stock android experience with added features and some bloatware. Pre-installed in the PIXI are Swiftkey, FB Messenger, Cleaner Master and True caller. Swiftkey cannot be uninstalled though. This is not a bad thing. We love True Caller and Swiftkey!

The PIXI also comes with an app store other than Google Play, named “Apps”. By default, this is how you update apps that are pre-installed on the Pixi 4 (6). It even lets you download minecraft pocket edition for free. This is either a hit or miss because most of the apps we use are already in the Google Play store and are protected by Google's own anti malware systems!

Alcatel did add some features over stock Android Settings. The first are gestures to quickly launch the one handed mode and the double tap to sleep and to wake which are absolutely convenient!

Phone connectivity is averagely good as well. It can normally receive proper GSM and 3G signals based on what we experienced with other devices. OTG also works fine too and you can transfer apps to micro SD card. There's just no LTE connectivity option here.

Pros - Big screen, acceptable performance, useful bloatwares, decent camera, light gaming if fine because of low resolution screen
Cons - Display isn't that sharp, 1 GB RAM is lacking, no LTE, no gyroscope

Verdict

For it's price and size, there are few internationally made phones that can match this one. If you are looking for a big size phone with decent performance all around then this may be the phone for you.

GIZ Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
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