The Optus Sleek X was announced by Optus as its own premium branded device, to take on Telstra’s Signature range (albeit in a pre-paid format). Naturally, we were keen to see what the Optus Sleek X had to offer, as Optus are selling this as a premium device without the huge price tag, with the Sleek X priced at just $149.
Now, while the Sleek X isn’t the first device Optus has rebranded and renamed, it is, however, the first branded X device which Optus have claimed will bring premium features without the normal huge price tag.
With an all metal and glass design, the Sleek X does look good, to be sure, but looks are only one part of the bigger puzzle picture here. So can the Sleek X live up to playing with its mid range and high end siblings as my day to day everday device? We thought we should check it out and have a look. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Optus Sleek X Hardware and Build Quality
To be brutally honest, based on looks at first glance, without looking too carefully, the Optus Sleek X does very closely resemble an iPhone 4/4s — that’s what my mind went to straight away.
Of course, if you look more closely, there are some differences there, such as the front speaker grill isn’t black, but there are more significant differences — the Sleek X has a 5¨ IPS LCD display where both the iPhone 4 and 4s have a much smaller display. But that’s enough comparisons right now, we’re looking at this phone in its own right, not as an iPhone competitor
Staying at the top of the Sleek X, we have aforementioned speaker grill which is located directly in the top middle of the device, with located just to the left of the speaker grill, we have a white LED notification light. Going to the right hand side of the speaker grill, we have the 8MP front facing camera which I will go into further down in the review.
Located at the bottom front of the device we find 3 capacitive buttons which are in the following order:
- Back triangle button is located on the bottom left hand near the corner;
- The main home round button is located next to this in the bottom middle; and
- On the right hand side near the right hand corner is the opened apps square button
The MicroUSB charger port is on the base of the Sleek X, with speakers either side.
The nano SIM / Micro SD tray can be found on the left hand side, and it’s worth noting while looking at the sides that they are made not from glass, but aluminium metal, which certainly does give it that premium feel.
Atop the device is the 3.5mm audio jack, and on the right hand side are the power button and volume rocker. Flipping over to the back of the Sleek X, we find an all-glass back with the rear facing 13MP camera and white LED flashlight in the top left corner. The fingerprint sensor — rear mounted — is in the centre of the back, like the Pixel and LG G5.
Certainly, the all glass and metal construction does provide a premium feeling but it is important to note that the side of the device do feel somewhat sharp and not smooth. This is something that could have been sorted during its construction.
Furthermore the all glass and metal design also makes the device difficult to handle and very slippery especially if your hands are either wet or at least damp. This could be fixed by say a bumper or case but as the device doesn’t come with one, I would implore either Optus or Alcatel to provide a case or bumper like ZTE and Oppo have with most of their devices.
So let’s have a quick rundown on what you get for your $150 from the spec rundown sheet which include:
|Key Specifications:||Optus Sleek X|
|Release date||October 2016|
|Screen technology||IPS LCD|
|Resolution||1,280 x 720|
|Core config||4 x 1.3GHz|
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 128GB|
|Android OS||Android 6.0|
|Dimensions||141.5 x 71.2 x 7.45 mm|
|Colours||Black with Silver|
Optus Sleek X Display
The Optus Sleek X comes with a 5¨ IPS LCD display which is at first glance very smooth, bright and clear in which it offers a 1280 X 720 viewing which essentially translates to is standard digital viewing (720p viewing) with HD normal 1280 X 1080 pixels or 1080p viewing,
The screen is quite good to view or watch. It was clear and bright however, when viewing the Sleek X’s display outdoors in either a sunny or slightly shaded outdoors, the front screen was difficult to read or view. Even playing with the screen displays settings didn’t help to alleviate the problem.
Furthermore, both the rear glass and front glass display of the device do tend to also get quite smudgy and dirty with fingerprint marks and dirt quite easily you I think you will find like me during the review, that your glass cleaning cloth became your best friend.
Optus Sleek X Camera
The Sleek X comes with a reasonably impressive 13MP rear camera, paired with simple to use camera UI settings. When transferring the photos to my MacBook, I will say the 13MP photos are pretty spot on with colours just about right and bright enough to ensure there is very little to no noise.
Even using the Sleek X in low light, I noticed there wasn’t much noise which is a good thing but it can be tricky to aim and focus on something dark with very little light.
The front facing camera is a mere 5MP camera which is ok based on the selfie I took and will work for video calls but nothing to be excited about, but for those flawless selfies, it’s a great for a front facing camera.
Optus Sleek X Software
The Sleek X comes with Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) right out of the box and at the time of the review, we were not able to confirm if the Sleek X would receive an update to say Android 7.0 (Nougat) with Optus, but we will be chasing this up directly with them.
In regards to UI, I am not completely sure of the overlaying User Interface; I know it’s not vanilla Android, but it does have some similarities and does feel a little bit familiar:
That said, when you have a folder filled with your apps, say social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, etc, the folder has a little animation which you can see below.
Optus Sleek X Performance and Battery
What can I say; the performance on the Sleek X was okay but there were times where I have to it did struggle quite a bit, especially moving between apps. I would find that stuttering and in worst the case, complete freeze of the device did occur.
Playing games on the Sleek X is ok though the smaller game can make certain games I play like The Simpsons – Tapped out along with Monopoly was hard and some of the animation was buggy and can probably put down to the processor and available memory within the device.
Overall, for the price point it certainly could be worse but it isn’t. For most of the things that a smartphone like this would be used for, it was more than up to the challenge.
The Sleek X comes with a non-removable 2,460 mAh battery which was good but not great. I found that taking the Sleek X off charge say about 9-ish and with reasonable usage throughout the day led to me needing a charge about 3 or about 4 pm-ish.
Of course, everyone’s usage is different, and 2,460 mAh is squarely middle of the road in terms of battery capacity. For many, this will last the whole working day, but for more demanding users, a portable power bank or a charger at your desk at work will probably be in order.
Optus Sleek X Connectivity
The Sleek X comes with WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n which ensured when connected to my home WiFi network, connection generally remained strong with no or little drop outs.
Further,the Sleek X comes with the same turbo download technology that was and is found on Samsung devices (starting with the Galaxy S5 of course) which enables you to use your mobile data when your WiFi connection isn’t all that strong. This is certainly is a bonus feature that is worth having if you have a sizable data inclusion on your mobile service, otherwise you might be in for a bit of a surprise when your bill comes.
There is also Bluetooth 4.2 which gave good connectivity to my Bluetooth speakers and other gizmos, without draining the battery life too much.
Sadly though, the one thing I would have expected to be at least installed on a premium budget device is NFC, and it’s missing. I think this is a major issue given that again this is being aimed as a premium device but is missing the one high end premium service/feature that many would expect to find.
Optus Sleek X Sound
The Sleek X comes with the ability to make and receive HD calls thanks to Optus´ network supporting the feature. I have to say that based on the calls I made, they were very, very clear and that to me is another tick off my list. The ability to hear the other person on the other-side of the phone, and clearly, is a high priority.
In relation to the external speakers, the quality when streaming audio or movies was clear but not something I would normally do. I would normally pair my smartphone to my portable bluetooth speaker if I didn’t have my earphones close by. That said audio was clear as can be for external speakers.
Optus Sleek X Bundled Apps
The Sleek X comes with the usual minimal Google apps required on an Android device, such as:
- Google App
However, this next part is probably going to sound really snippy and that’s for a good reason: carriers and manufacturers need to stop putting apps on phones that simply aren’t needed. Whether its because of some deal, some exclusive tie-up or what have you, these apps can be readily installed from the Play Store if they’re wanted, and should be easily removed if they’re not.
Please do not put on apps that at the end of the day are just plain useless.
The included apps that I think should be permanently deleted if you can include:
- Deezer Music (Like Google Play Subscription or Spotify etc)
- WPS Office (Like Doc/windows office)
- Xender file transfer (pretty much a file transfer app service)
- Music (where to upload your music if you don’t have Google Play)
These apps honestly shouldn’t be on the device and I know it’s about giving choice to the consumer at the end of the day, but that’s just it. They should be able to choose from Google Play what apps and services they want, not what you think!
Optus Sleek X Conclusion
So despite the somewhat small imperfections the Optus Sleek X has, I would definitely say that if I had to purchase a prepaid device for either myself or a loved one like family or cousins or even friends, then yes I would certainly consider and most likely purchase a Sleek X.
Why? Simply because it has to be one of the best designed prepaid smartphone available on the prepaid market here in Australia currently, and that’s a big deal.
If Optus and Alcatel commit to bringing Android 7.0 or 7.1 (Nougat), then I would say most certainly that this device is the prepaid champion at this price.
The Optus Sleek X is available either through the Optus PrePaid website for $149 or 4 interest free repayments of $37.25 every fortnight from the day its bought online through the Optus website or you can head into your local Optus store to check it out and purchase!