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Hands-on with the 8-inch Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 Windows 10 Mobile tablet/phone

Over the last few years, we have seen attempts at 8-inch tablets running Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. And while there was a desire for such a device, none besides the Dell Venue 8 Pro took hold. A lot of that had to do with the OS as the presence of a Windows desktop always threw off the tablet experience.

Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile are different, however, and Alcatel OneTouch is one of the first companies to put Windows 10 Mobile on a tablet. We spent a few hours playing with the new Pixi 3 at CES 2016 and frankly, I'm stunned. This tablet was announced this morning and it is the tablet experience I think Windows users have wanted. And even better, since this has LTE 4G support you get full telephony and GPS support. That means besides using maps and messaging you can technically make calls with it (there is no earpiece, but you could use a headset or the speakerphone).

Without further ado, here is our hands-on and tour of the Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile. You don't want to miss this one!

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile

  • 8-inch IPS WXGA (1280 x 800) TFT 5 point multi-touch display
  • 209 x 124.9 x 8.3 mm
  • Three colors: white, gold and volcano black
  • Windows 10 Mobile build 10586.29 with support for direct OS updates from Microsoft
  • Micro SIM: GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS 900/2100 MHz; LTE B1/3/7/8/20
  • CPU: Quad Core 1.3 GHz Snapdragon 210 (MSM8909)
  • Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.1
  • 5MP rear camera; 2MP front-facing
  • 8GB internal storage with microSD card support
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4060 mAh battery
  • Voice call enabled, GPS
  • Micro USB connector
  • Headphone jack
  • $199 street price

Make no mistake the specs on this thing are not high-end, but that misses the point. The Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile is, for all intents and purposes, a full-fledged 8-inch phone. It's primary use, however, is a tablet with full support for all of those Windows Store apps and games, GPS mapping, Skype calls and email and the internet wherever you are in the world.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile

For those wondering about OTG support, Alcatel OneTouch did not know off-hand, but they did note the Android version of this tablet does support OTG, and we know Windows 10 Mobile does too, so… We'll make sure to follow up on that bit of info as we learn more. Stay tuned.

Experience

Picking up the Pixi 3 for the first time and seeing Windows 10 Mobile was certainly eye opening. At first, it was almost hilarious because my phone's OS was suddenly so big on this tablet. However, once I started to use it the Pixi 3 just made sense. Whether it was the on-screen controls, the familiar apps, the app list, or Cortana, I immediately wanted this on the couch, that train ride, on the airplane and more. And since you can adjust the text display size and enable 'Show more tiles' the experience was, even more, personal.

Alcatel OneTouch could have easily gimped this with no telephony support, but once you add in an LTE SIM this tablet becomes a great GPS navigation system for your car. Or perfect for Skype calls in the hotel room. Or just right for checking your email in between classes and more all on a roomy display.

I also had flashbacks to Dom Joly and Trigger Happy TV, but that's another story.

I was also surprised how well the Snapdragon 210 handled Windows 10 Mobile. Apps opened with no issues, and it felt smooth. Even better, Alcatel OneTouch confirmed that Windows 10 Mobile updates come directly from Microsoft, meaning this tablet and their next Windows 10 Mobile devices will be continuously updated. The Windows 10 Mobile experience is still in the early days, but it can only get better and this tablet, like all Windows 10 devices, will be part of the Windows as a Service (WaaS) paradigm.

Great price, but what about the U.S.?

Considering the Pixi 3 will sell for a flat price of $199 that is a pretty crazy deal. Alcatel OneTouch did announced immediate plans to release this device in the U.S., instead focusing on other global markets. But Alcatel OneTouch told me that the response has been so positive at CES that they are now re-thinking a U.S. launch.

Personally, I would love to see Microsoft and Alcatel OneTouch sell this direct through the Microsoft Store and eventually through U.S. carriers. If you are on board with Windows 10 Mobile for your phone than the Pixi 3 makes the perfect companion tablet. In fact, this is no different than the iPhone and iPad ecosystem that so many users buy into.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile

While the color scheme of Pixi 3 is more limited including white, gold and volcano black, the company is interested in possible other colors too. I told them a Windows 10 Blue or Cyan would look great, but I am interested in what you would want, so let me know in comments.

For now, the Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile is slated for an April release in Europe and Latin America. However, if they see demand, a U.S. launch could happen too, so let them know you if you want one.

Alcatel OneTouch bullish on Windows 10

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile

Finally, the other significant bit I can share is Alcatel OneTouch as a company is very excited about Windows 10 Mobile. In fact, I have now heard this bullish stance from numerous OEM partners here at CES. I am not taking the usual spiel about selling this device, but rather what is coming down the road.

Alcatel OneTouch said they will scale up Windows 10 Mobile to the high-end this year, and they are very convinced Microsoft has nailed the OS message with Windows 10. This tone differs from the one I used to hear from partners, which was a more muted 'We'll see where this goes' approach. The shift from a cautious and experimental to one of excitement is palatable here at CES. In fact, I see more doom and gloom from people here in comments than I have from manufacturers who now believe in what Microsoft is doing.

Will the market respond? I sure hope so. Using the Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile made me immediately want such a device for my own personal use. Then my mind started racing with the possibilities that manufacturers could bring to the table. Intel RealSense? Xbox gaming support? Full Continuum to scale up to a larger display? Pause and think about that folks and let your imagination run.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 with Windows 10 Mobile

Of course, until some of the real big names in hardware get on board for Mobile, the uphill climb will still be massive. But I see hope here, at least. Now we have to see the market response.

Windows Central will be sure to continuing covering this tablet and others in the coming months, but for now, we want to hear from you. Let Alcatel OneTouch know what you think of the Pixi 3, what you want to see next, and whether they should bring this to the U.S. I assure you, they'll be reading your comments, so let's have at it.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

232 Comments
  • hands on with the new mobile build no. *****.....;-)
  • Let me be very clear. Alcatel, I WANT THIS!! This is perfect for what I need. I have tried the full OS on an *inch tablet thing; sucked for me. This is the ideal size and function that I need to complement my phone. And the price is perfect for something I can just throw in my bag and forget.  For color; WHITE. I love my white 950XL.  For the I-wish-I-didn't-hear-that, did you say the microSD supports only up to 32gb? That is a downer. But, for the price, I will give them a break.  Please, please bring it to the USA. Or....... I will just get it from B&HPhotos anyway. 
  • This is true. I like it a lot. I love the idea of being able to use apps that I enjoy on my phone, also on a tablet. Netflix, games, tv, even downloading offline maps to the device! There are so many possible opportunities here.
  • The need for macro support in Excel is the only reason I'm stuck with the full OS on a tablet. If MS would offer macro support for mobile to paying subscribers of Office 365, this tablet would be perfect.
  • I know this is an entry device, but unfortunately it comes with 1.3 GHz Snapdragon 210, which is very poor performance.It would be better if it came with Atom x3 (cheaper in price but better performance) Atom x3 has performance similar than a Snapdragon 605. 
  • As Daniel said, I think if this thing gets support, other OEM's and Alcatel themselves will start thinking in terms of making entry level and flagship devices like this. It seems only natural. They just need to see that it's something people are interested in. I know this is what I've wanted for at least 3 years now. This is a good first start. A device like this has implications on the accessory market too because people are going to want some sort of convenient, yet nice way to keep this with them since it obviously won't fit in a pocket.
  • Alcatel, I NEED this!!.. Please Bring this to INDIA. It will make an awesome student device.I guarantee that you're gonna floor Galaxy Tab 4 and other voice calling tablets if you bring this to India. There's a huge market for these devices here. I have been waiting for a voice calling tablet running win10 mobile for a very loong time..This would be a day one purchase. And if you are LISTENING, I would love DUAL SIM and MORE THAN 32GB storage Support.. Nothing else.. awesome for the price..
  • Very thoughtful design. This clearly states that Alcatel has high hopes from Microsoft for Windows 10 Mobile and beyond (OS updates and versions that could revolutionize mobile industry) ;) lets just be patient.
  • Lol, who came to the the door as he announced the price?!
  • That shiit is dope. I'm getting it as long as it comes to the USA
  • Very nice but I'm still waiting for a 4:3 or 3:2 hi resolution 8in device with pen support.
  • Yes, pen support for taking notes will make the use case for me, since the 950xl really let me down when they dropped the pen support.
  • Yes, pen support and a reasonable price like they will be asking for this would convince me to buy one, guaranteed.
  • HP Envy 8 Note  8" 1920x1200 resolution Intel x5 (Cherry Trail) Active Stylus (digitizer) Optional keyboard This is the true answer to Galaxy Note 5, with a CPU that has similar performance than Samsung's flagship CPU. And best of all is it runs full Windows 10 (desktop) not Mobile version.
  • Yes I've looked that and I like it but I'd still prefer a 8in with 4:3 or 3:2 aspect ratio.
  • Battery life is where all the new 8" Windows tablets with Cherry Trail seem to be failing hard. Seems the Envy 8 Note, HP 608 and new Dell Venue 8 Pro all can't last more than 6 hrs, less than their two-year old Bay Trail predecessors. I really don't get it when in all other form factors and sizes battery life is increasing in efficiency for Windows devices and with competing Android tablets and iPads.
  • Trigger happy TV LOL!
    Two things that would have made it a perfect device for the price range, inking support for note taking + sketches with a stylus and a ir blaster.
    Ooh and cyan please!
  • Actually I like the idea.. :) Having W10m on my Yoga 2 8" would be great! Windows 10 dont really suit the device but mobile would be very nice and if they implement landscape mode then it would be killer!! (edit) To Alcetel: Just bring the IDOL 3 series (4.7&5.5 inch) to Windows 10 and is guaranted success!!
  • Yup, WM10 needs global landscape support and not just in certain places.
  • I have to admit, I've been waiting on a device like this. I've always favored the Windows Mobile experience over the Windows PC experience, so this is really exciting for me. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • For my money, the extra $130 to get the HP Envy Note is a much better deal. Full Win10 with Intel processor, 8" 1080p screen, active pen, and 4G LTE support. You can use this in the same way as the Pixi, but with more apps available and a smoother, more mature and supported OS experience.
  • If you prefer better tablet experience this one is great. I have asus windows tablet, honesty its not good as tablet. Frequent and large os update, few apps and you rarely will be using desktop app in such small screen. This is good for tablet. But if you use desktop app a lot then full windows.
    Ill probably get this one and will sell my asus transformer....
  • Missing the point - with the Envy and every other 8incher on the market you just can not phone. That is what makes this device unique. And in that price-range $130 more means a 65% higher price...
  • I don't mind HP envy price range but I do agree with you this device interests me becasue it is a phone. I would love this to have HP  envy spec with phone but mobile OS, not full OS.
  • You absolutely can use the HP Envy as a phone.  Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, etc etc etc. 4G capability keeps it connected at all times.
  • Native phone. You know that's what people mean. And for some people the more secure mobile OS is preferable to full desktop Windows. There are already 8 inch full Windows devices. This is a new type. This is the beauty of Windows over the limited device types on say Apple. This device is great. I'd like to see a higher end mobile too. Same size but better screen and cpu (not so fussed about pen)
  • the performance, battery life, and form factor of windows phone OS is much much suitable for devices like this, than full windows 10.  especially now with the push for universal windows apps from microsoft, in my opinion, microsoft should have started with this strategy from the day one, and separate windows OS and tablet/phone OS.  keep one OS for tablets and phone, and separate OS for desktops.  that is also one of the big reasons for the windows 8/8.1 disaster. now everyone is happy with windows 10 after it has started to look like windows 7 back again.
  • Nice device
  • Does this device have same bugs which we are getting in 950/XL??
  • No, it's magic too.
  • Lol:)
  • One of the best parts of this article was when you mentioned how the tone of the OEM's seemed to be changing for the better in regards to Windows Mobile. I think more people would benefit from hearing what you're hearing on the floor at CES. I would love to see you do a full-fledged article talking about the state of Windows Mobile coming out of CES from the perspective of the OEM's. For nothing else, it might help calm the fears of some of the people thinking that Windows Mobile is doomed.
  • With all respect to the CES audience which has big enthusiasm with Windows 10 Mobile, HP doesn't think that way, they released a 8" device with Windows 10 desktop (not Mobile), the HP Envy 8 Note which has a Stylus and best in class CPU for small device.  I see more chances of HP becoming popular with this device since is like the Surface Mini Microsoft didn't build and its a true competitor for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 which is very popular phablet.  Alcatel pixi 3 looks good in theory (a 8" phablet), but the HP Envy 8 Note with its LTE radio can also be used for voice calling using apps like Skype or Viber
  • But the Envy 8 isn't a phone. I could get a cheap prepaid SIM for the Alcatel tab and have full access to phone and SMS with a real phone number and not have to deal with Yet Another App.
  • HP Elite x3
  • Mixed feelings. That device could become an epic flop... Or.. It could change the Windows 10 Mobile user base for ever
  • When I first heard about this, I also had mixed feelings. Seeing it in action on the video though, whoa it could be really cool!
  • Agreed
  • This is what Microsoft needed to do from the beginning instead of the Surface RT. It made it difficult for developers to have apps for the RT and make them for mobile as well and on the desktop they were still new. This should get the OS more popular. Hopefully Microsoft is quick with updates and lots of catch up to do for API's and features Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm sure they wished they could have done it with Surface (I wish they had). Surface was a great device hobbled by no apps but totally agree this should have a much better chance on the back of the overal Windows 10 ecosystem. Also, a few more nice devices like this and it might give that little extra nudge for anyone making desktop apps to make the additional tweaks for mobile; which is great for us phone users.  I've got an x86 Pro Tablet 608 as it makes much more sense for me (due to some work applications in particular) but would happily recommend something like this to friends and family if we see an increase in Universal apps in the coming months.      
  • Very true
  • it would be awesome to have a tablet running w10m with continuum support.it would be a very productive tablet.
  • Yes! Add continuum and SOLD.
  • That would be nice, but would require a costlier chipset.
  • It can still be made cheaper than the existing devices.A phone with snapdragon 617 suppourts continuum,that wont be a very costly device.
  • Nu Ans Neo Hands On - Customizable Windows 10 Smartphone https://youtu.be/hfCbCj1XkhA
  • Yes, but if it had just come with full windows 10 instead (wich it could have done - I honestly dont think anyone who says windows doesnt work on an 8 inch device has ever actually used windows on an 8 inch device, because it works just fine for me on my Dell Venue 8, and I've never had a single issue with interacting with UI elements) you could have cut out the continuum middle man and just had thesame level of productivity right there on the device itself.
  • I think the Start Screen should be able to rotate to landscape. iPads and Android tablets have done it for a very long time!
  • The only issue i see with a rotating start screen is how to reflow the tiles. i think if they went with a more fluid start screen on mobile as there is with the desktop, that could help in that area.
  • Tablets with a 16:9 aspect ratio are more suitable for landscape usage, so I think MS should implement W10M landscape mode for the start screen as soon as possible.
  • Maybe they could allow for two start screens... One for portrait and one for landscape that could be individually optimise by the user. Automatic re-flow wouldn't be necessary. I'd go for the flexibility that would offer.
  • Landscape start screen could work by having the tiles on one half and the app list on the other.
  • There are so many ways to customize your tile layout so there is no really a simple way to do this. The simples one would probably be if names and icons just turned 90 degree clockwise and remained in the same position, but then the wide tile would look wierd. Another way which could work is to split tiles at every 3 row from top down and lay it side ways(again doesn't work at all setups) or let the user edit both startscreens by it's needs :) 
  • Just because one person does it, it doesnt become a rule that everyone must follow. Start screen looks good in portrait mode and should remain as it is. When Microsoft released Surface RT with lanscape start screen, every one complained.
  • I don't think you understand the frustrations linked to portrait only start screen. You can be using an app in landscape mode and you want to launch another. You go onto the start screen and its in portrait mode. You change the orientation to launch your app. Then you change back to landscape. Not entirely user friendly is it?
  • I'm gonna buy this. For sure! Exactly what I need.
  • Companies like notion ink and I ball are taking Windows tablets ahead in India. I personally own a 8" Windows 10 tablet that I bought for 50 dollars.
  • Which one and from where
  • U.K?   The main question: Can it be used as a phone or not?
  • In the video, he said that it probably can, but you'll need some kind of headset to make that happen.
  • 3.5mm wired or Bluetooth
    or...use it as a speaker phone
  • I hope the excitement is palpable versus palatable.
  • That's make me wonder... Can't Microsoft release an "update" for those who have a Lumia Tablet running Windows RT? Better run Windows 10 mobile than an RT, and is just one model. Fortunately I don't have one, but I'm sorry for those who are stuck with RT.
  • Microsoft should do it. Otherwise, it will be another HP Touchpad /webOS infamous scenario: Lots of users getting the tablet at a fire sale price with the hope of getting support from the manufacturer, then the whole thing was just sent to the trash.
  • People who bought at fire sale prices shouldn't expect too much support. But the people who bought the device early at full price are right to expect that they would get continued updates.
  • I have 2 RT devices... the 2520 has better specs than this thing, it's ridiculous that it "can't" be upgraded!!! 
  • They won't, they already said W10M was for 8" or less Tablets only. Maybe someone will find a way to hack it on, though. I'd try it on my 2520... Posted via the Note 4/Nexus 7 (2013)/Lumia 1020/Lumia 2520
  • +Surface 2
  • Nice device but 8gb internal is not enough
  • You an put SD card and expand it. Although would have loved to have 32GB.
  • For $200 this is great. I really hope to see these in the Microsoft store. White would be a nice option, and please tell me it supports USB OTG.
  • Windows 10 Mobile at least supports it...I hope this model is hardware ok
  • i'd definitely be interested in a higher end windows 10 mobile tablet at this size. i would think any bigger and it'd have to go with full windows 10 otherwise it'd start muddling the message that windows 10 works as a tablet as well as a desktop OS. i'd be interested in seeing a way to get xbox one gaming streaming to windows 10 mobile with support for the controller. it'd be amazing if they ever reached a point of being able to fully control the xbox one from the streaming device *plus* get it to work over the internet as opposed to on the same network. portable gaming would be changed greatly. A customized controller with a small screen built in to it. then windows 10 mobile games could consider adding xbox one controller support. it'd be a great gaming device. 
  • That would be amazing, but gaming over the internet is very hard due to latency. You could make something like Onlive, but there's no way you could use it over mobile networks, even with fast LTE.
  • If this came to the US, I would be all over it. I think Alcatel have hit the nail on the head with this one, and they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they didn't do a US release. I think the phone features on it are game changers with this form factor. Screens have been getting bigger on phones, why not take that leap? Makes perfect sense.
  • Article contradicts the video: Alcatel OneTouch did announced immediate plans to release this device in the U.S
  • Really?
  • Clearly grammatical error with mistake... "Did announced"? Lol... I'm sure he meant didn't announce. Still amazes me how often there are typos and grammatical errors in the articles.
  • Throw a better processor and camera in there and I'm sold.
    I couldn't replace my Lumia icon with it.
    Not right now, at least.
  • Thus looks great in the video. It would be nice to have sd card support for up to 128 gb or higher.i hope that OTG is indeed supported. I don't mind black or white but cyan or some other shade of blue would be a great option as well.
  • I hope so too
  • Interesting to see OEMs excited about windows 10 mobile, even though it's not even close to the stability of 8.1 I mean, the keyboard for windows 10 mobile alone is horrible. Let's not mention it's constant "resuming....." Screens.
  • I haven't seen many resuming screens on my 640 since installing 10. I agree with the keyboard being awful. The suggestion bar is too short.
  • I had more resuming screens in a day on my 920 with 8.1 than in a month of using 10 on my 640.
  • They keyboard is better than my 8.1 one. What's wrong with it in 10? Getting a lot less resuming in 10 also, although I got an upgrade.
  • Suggestions aren't as helpful as the 8.1 keyboard.
  • Must vary by phone, my keyboard suggestions seem much improved over my 8.1 920. Odd
  • I'd be all over this if it came to the US.  The idea of a blue one is also appealing.  I have a Windows tablet already, but I'd really prefer to have one that was JUST that.  I understand the Desktop on 2-in-1 capable devices and when tablets get to be above 10", but sub-10" tablets should really run Windows 10 Mobile.  Less overhead needed and I'd guess the battery life would be better. Thinking about switching to T-Mobile from Verizon and also looking at the upcoming Alcatel OneTouch handset.  I'd consider buying both and having a data plan to cover both as well.   With over 200 million on Windows 10 now and a growing ecosystem, it's just a matter of time until the Universal Apps platform really matures and the app gap shrinks massively.  I know of a few coming based on talking to customer service reps that would eliminate my personal app gap.
  • HELLO!
    ​YEAH, I'M AT CES!
    NO, IT'S RUBBISH!
    CIAO!
  • Office is read-only without subscription?
  • Unfortunately.
  • On this screen size it would allow you to edit for free. I believe the limitation on editing is for screens over 10 inches.
  • @ladydias Correct. 10.1 or something
  • What do you mean it can technically make calls? You mean like through skype, or does it also have a gsm or CDMA cellular radio in addition to the 4g LTE data?
  • It's GSM LTE
  • The ar