My review of the T-Mobile Sparq (a.k.a. Alcatel 606a). If you’re looking for a Smartphone – one that can easily access the internet, GPS, W-Fi, etc then read no further – keep searching for the right phone as this is not it. If you are like me; uses phone occasionally, texts a bit more, uses the calendar, alarm clock, timer etc, but has no need to connect to the internet unless absolutely desperate this might be the phone for you.
Up front: the cell phone works like any old bar phone. You can access the menu, make calls, and text. The phone self locks by default so no pocket dialing and you can set the time for it to lock or not at all. The center button is your select key and the up/down/right/left navigation keys surround it. Soft keys are to the left and right at the bottom of the screen. The number keys are covered in a one piece rubberized configuration – no spill hazard there!
Inside: Slide it open and you have the full QWERTY keyboard. Unlike a lot of Smartphones the keys are further apart, rubberized, and easily distinguishable even with fat fingers without nails. If you want to type a lot of numbers you just hold down the Fn key and type them continuously. Texting in this format is much easier.
Customize: You can change the wallpaper to one of several supplied or your own picture. You can change the standard 5 quick access icons with as many or few as you like – with the exception of phone calls and texts – those two are standard. But you can rid of the whole shortcut menu if you like. On the otherhand when you slide it open the 4 icons is all you get and you cannot change them: Messages, Calander, WAP (cheap version of internet), and Contacts. You can insert a Micro SD card up to 16GB.
Ringtones & volume: You can select from many ringtones for calls, texts, and alarm. Makes it nice. You can adjust the volume for the ring and while on a call you can adjust the volume by using those up/down soft keys surrounding the select key.
Cool unknown features: Why T-Mobile didn’t release the “full” version of this phone is unknown. However if you search for Alcatel 606a phones you will find video reviews and best of all the main website where you can download the computer program that enables you to upload/download all your files/pictures/music to/from the phone and even text straight from your computer. Getting it to run takes a bit of knowledge/patience but once done it’s great! Of course this phone does not come with the USB connector from T-Mobile. Just get one that’s identical to the charger’s mini USB and you’re good to go.
Camera: It’s a cell phone camera. Don’t expect a lot. Gets the job done but that’s about it. But that’s not what this phone is about. Get a separate camera. It’s like .03 megapixels. No joke.
Further unknown stuff: The silver part of the slide out keyboard is covered in that “plastic/rubber guard” stuff and can be peeled off to make it shinier. At least mine was so don’t go scratching yours up! If you have a T-Mobile plan that you like now just swap out the SIM card and this phone works the same – even MyFaves still works – just doesn’t show. I did this option. No contracts - no upgrade fees.
Cons: You cannot set a “pre-alarm” for appointments and birthdays that tells you something is coming up - as far as I can tell. There aren’t a whole lot, if any, accessories for this phone other than generic – unless you live in the UK and then it seems that this phone is much more popular. You can only get it in silver here, unlike the green, red, black, and pink versions overseas.
Summary: Excellent phone for calls, texts, calendar, and alarm use. Again - it's not a SmartPhone so don't buy it if you want to access the internet. Bottom line once purchased: read the owners manual as it will solve many "problems" people have with this phone. Seriously it's great!
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