Alcatel Pixi 3 review: Dh249 tablet ideal for those on a budget but don't expect an iPad

Alcatel’s Pixi 3 is a perfectly decent microwave … sorry, did I say microwave? I do apologise, I meant that the Pixi 3 is a perfectly decent affordable tablet, retailing from just Dh249.

Of course, the Pixi 3 isn’t a microwave. During my week of testing it, I couldn’t get it to make popcorn or reheat soup. And most microwaves don’t allow you to stream video and download apps.

But choosing an affordable Android tablet like the Pixi 3 is a pretty similar experience to buying a microwave, kettle or similar kitchen gadget.

After walking past the glitzy displays for the iPad and Galaxy Tab S Pro, the “affordable tablet” section of Sharaf DG or Lulu will present you with 20 or more basic microwaves (sorry, tablets) that all do more or less the same thing, from the likes of i.onik, Lenovo, Haier, Alcatel and Samsung, for about the same price.

Chances are you’ll make your decision based on whatever special offer the store is running, rather than on a thorough breakdown of each tablet’s specs. Just as you would a micro­wave.

That’s not to say the Pixi 3 is a boring or bad product, far from it. It’s got a plasticky but sturdy design that sits nicely in the hand, and a 7-inch display that’s not overly bright but streams The Angry Birds Movie trailer smoothly enough.

The 2MP rear camera on the entry level model isn’t anything to write home about, nor is the fairly paltry 4GB of internal storage, but this is expandable to 32GB with a microSD. And while the Dh249 model is Wi-Fi only, the upper range models will let you do voice calling as well.

Does the Alcatel Pixi 3 do a good job for a budget tablet? Very much so. Is it signifi­cantly different from the dozens of other tablets in the same price range? Not really. Is it worth buying? If you’re looking for a decent budget tablet, abso­lutely. Please let me finally reiterate that the Pixi 3 is not a microwave, and should not be used for home cooking purposes.


Should I buy a Pixi 3 or an iPad Pro?

That’s a little bit like asking whether you should buy a BMW 5 series or a Nissan Sunny. The iPad Pro is a brilliant tablet in terms of its processing power, display, audio and design. Then again the entry level starts at Dh2,299, with which you could buy nine ­basic Pixi 3 tablets, which fulfil the basic needs of tablet ­users perfectly well.

But it’s still a little bit basic. You said something about upper-range models?

That’s right. For Dh349 you’ll get the same basic Pixi 3 7-inch tablet, but with 3G voice and data capabilities and a 5MP rear camera. The top of the model has an 8-inch display, runs Windows 10 ­instead of Android, and comes with 4G capabilities as well for faster downloads on the go.

Sounds interesting. So does the Pixi 3 share any features with a common microwave oven?

Not really, no. I guess you can make the Pixi 3 go “beep beep” and of course there’s a timer function, but I couldn’t get it to defrost burgers or reheat soup. The folks at Alcatel will be glad to know that I didn’t try that hard.

And you know that I’ve just got to ask this …

The model we were given was a brilliant white. As far as I know, it doesn’t come in rose gold, rose pink, pink or any other off-red shade.

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