When fine hardware meets poor design, a phone like the Alcatel 3026G is the outcome.
Alcatel have long been known for their high quality products, but whomever is responsible for some of the design decisions with this phone really needs to have a very hard look at what they’re doing.
Let’s start by understanding who the target demographic for this phone would be: it has very large buttons, because it’s aimed directly at our more elderly citizens; those who would be likely to suffer from vision and/or hearing problems. That makes a lot of sense, right? Provide them with big buttons, so that they can more easily see what buttons they’re pressing, right?
So, why make the default font on the screen quite small, and in mixed case? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!
And for those who may have hearing issues, there’s a loud profile for them to select. Sadly, if you select that profile, then, with that profile selected, there’s no way that you can select any ringtones, or other related settings. Nor if you’re at your doctor for an appointment, and you’ve selected the Meetings profile.
In fact, the only way that you can change a ringtone, is to go into the Profiles options from Settings, and choose the Normal profile. No other setting, anywhere on this phone, allows you to alter a ringtone. This is not simply unintuitive; it’s non-intuitive. I spent literally hours over the weekend trying to figure this one out.
The SIM card tray is difficult to master; it’s poorly defined, with shallow edges, and thus it’s easy to fail to properly install your SIM.
What about a manual? That would be a great idea, Alcatel; what about one?
Most phones include some form of internal database in order to maintain your contact list, and here we’re really blessed, because Alcatel, in their wisdom, have provided two of them. One for your contacts, and a second for your ten most favoured contacts.
Good design would actually dictate that there only be one such database, and the favourites would simply be a selected few from that database, nominated by flagging them in some way. But no, Alcatel have spared no expense, and given us two distinct datasets, so that if you change a contact’s details in your favourites, those changes do not reflect within the main contacts list, so you need to change those details in both places.
For incoming calls, this phone recites to the user the phone number of the calling phone. I don’t know about you, but these days I don’t know too many people’s numbers, and the recital of the number. is. very. slow. If the name is in the contact list – either of them – then why not just say the name? This recital is is also louder than the selected ringtone, drowning it out. From a logical point of view, a typical user of this phone might be puzzled about where this noise, saying a few numbers, might be coming from. The caller will have hung up before they have a chance to answer the phone.
Turning this feature off is yet another challenge for the technically competent; I would hate to not be technically adept and have to set this one up for somebody close to me.
Why, oh why, Alcatel? Good design is not rocket science.
Fortunately, these are mainly set up issues, and on the whole don’t affect the overall usage of this phone, but the poor design here really has made a bloody mess of this device.