On Saturday, April 21, Aldi started selling the Wolfgang AT-AS43D; the same day the aircraft was sold out. The low price of €180,- and the unmistakable specifications will undoubtedly have had something to do with this.
For example, the Wolfgang is equipped with a 4.3-inch screen, something that competitors in this price range, such as the Samsung Gio, cannot say.
In addition, the Wolfgang runs on Android 2.3 and has a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM memory, dual-sim functionality and two cameras. That's not bad for that price! The big competitor of the device is the Alactel One Touch 995, a phone with similar specifications and a similar price.
The Wolfgang AT-AS43D is produced by AT Telecom. This company imports its devices from China and then offers them cheaply on the European market. One of the spearheads of the company is dual-sim. This technology can also be found in the Wolfgang. With dual-sim it is possible to have two different SIM cards in your phone at the same time. This way you can, for example, use a subscription and prepaid next to each other,
What's with the device?
The AT-AS43D is packed in a white box. Besides the device itself, its contents consist of a MicroUSB cable; charging plug; headset; a number of guides and of course the (1500 mAh Li-ion) battery. The equipment itself looks good, but could have been more modern. Functionality was clearly chosen over form, because everything else works fine. Strikingly enough, we don't find a microSD card. The Wolfgang has only 512 MB of storage memory, which is not much for a smartphone. By the way, the memory is expandable to 32 GB.
The Wolfgang is due to the 4.3 inch screen quite large. The dimensions of the aircraft are 135.5 x 67 x 11 millimeters and the weight is 156 grams. Compared to for example the Samsung Galaxy SII, which also has a 4.3 inch screen, the Wolfgang is not only longer and thicker, but also a lot heavier. It is also noticeable that the battery cover of the AT-AS43D is made of aluminum. Together with the rather rough dimensions, this gives the device a robust character.
The front of the device is mostly covered with a 4.3 inch touchscreen. Above this are the secondary camera, a notification LED and a small logo in the form of an 'F' in mirror image (not to be confused with the Facebook logo). Underneath the screen are 4 softkeys. From left to right these are: the menu button, home button, back button and search button. Striking is that the spaces below and above the screen are quite large. Here is clearly a difference with high-end devices - where the screen covers almost the entire front - noticeable.
When we turn the Wolfgang around we find a 5 MP camera (with LED flash) and an aluminium battery cover. Under the battery cover is of course the battery, but also the SIM card slot and the 'charge' for a microSD card. The SIM cards are placed on top of each other and cannot be removed without removing the battery, the microSD card is. People with a microSIM are warned! The contact pins for the SIM card are just small hooks where your microSIM adapter can get stuck. Removal is then almost impossible, as was the case with us. Our advice: do you only have 1 SIM card? Then use the top lock.
The left side of the Wolfgang is equipped with an audiojack and microUSB connection. The volume and power buttons are located on the right side of the unit. Noteworthy is that the power button is located in the lower right corner. Usually we find it on top of the device. This is not very handy when switching the device on or off. Your thumb has to make a significant kink to be able to press the button, which reduces your grip.
The top and bottom of the Wolfgang are free of buttons or connections.
The battery in this unit has a capacity of 1500 mAh. This is slightly less than the high-end Samsung Galaxy S II (1650 mAh), which also has a 4.3-inch screen, but is nevertheless sufficient. This is because the Wolfgang will last for about a day, which means that it does not differ from other smartphones. So far nothing strange under the sun.
However, during our test period the battery did not work without a blow. After we had tested the Wolfgang for a couple of days, the aircraft suddenly ran out of power after one charge. The problem then occurred more often until we did a factory reset. Whether we had to deal with a one-time bug, a software or hardware problem we don't know. Unfortunately there is no light sensitivity sensor, so you can't opt for automatic brightness.
As far as the bell quality is concerned, we have had no problem with the Wolfgang AT-AS43D. The sound is fine and possibly adjustable in volume. During the call it is possible to mute the volume, activate the loudspeaker or put the call on hold. You can also continue to move through the menus while calling.
There are two ways to start a call. The call button takes you to the phone menu after which you can enter a number. However, it is difficult to make letter combinations with the numbers. This makes it difficult to look up contacts in your phonebook. This is a drawback. The other way to start a call is via the contacts menu. Here you can easily look up a contact and then make a call.
Because the Wolfgang has dual-sim functionality, the phone always asks which SIM card you want to use before you start a call. This works easily, but you need to remember which SIM card has which subscription. We will come back to the dual-sim function later (see 'extras').
The Wolfgang's screen is 4.3 inches in size and has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. In the price range of the Wolfgang, this is absolutely exceptional, but despite the fact that the screen is large and has a reasonable sharpness, it cannot match the screens of high-end devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S II or the iPhone. For example, the contrast on the Wolfgang is much lower and the colors are a lot less bright. However, the screen is fine for browsing, emailing and things like that. For the 180 euros that this device costs, it is actually just a top screen.
The AT-AS43D runs on Android 2.3. Unlike most other smartphones, AT does not have a shell over it. Where HTC uses Sense and Samsung Touchwiz, the Wolfgang does not have its own interface. This has the advantage that the device does not have any unnecessary apps. You can design all this yourself. On the other hand, it looks a bit boring. A disadvantage of the Wolfgang is that it has little storage memory, so you can't store many apps on it. This can be solved by buying a microSD card.
The home screen of the Wolfgang consists of 5 windows. As said, there is no skin present, so they are almost completely bare. You can fill them with widgets and apps of your choice. At the bottom of the home screen is a dock that is constantly present. The dock consists of 5 shortcuts to the most important applications. From left to right these are: phone, contacts, application menu, messages and browser. But this can be adjusted if desired. The application menu takes you directly to the menu in which all applications are displayed in a grid.
A striking detail can be found in the notification bar. Because the device has dual-sim, the accessibility and connectivity for both SIM cards is constantly displayed. As far as data connection is concerned, it is also possible to determine via the settings menu which SIM card you want to use.
By consulting the contacts menu you enter a menu with four tabs, one of which is the phonebook. The other tabs are 'phone', 'calls' (logbook) and 'favorites'. In the phonebook all contacts are arranged in alphabetical order. The menu is quite simple and therefore clear. By pressing the menu key you can easily search for the right contact.
In the phone tab, it is not possible to filter out contacts using letter combinations. This is very inconvenient. In order to search for contacts you always have to call via the phonebook. Unless of course you know everyone's number by heart.
After selecting a contact to call, the SIM card to be used must be selected. More about this under the heading 'extras'.
Receiving and sending messages is of course easy with the Wolfgang. Texting, Whatsappen and emailing do not cause any problems. Texting automatically becomes MMS when you add a photo to it. Messages are automatically arranged in conversations so that even when you type a new message, the previous messages remain visible.
Text input, on the other hand, is not quite you of it. The automatic spell checker is not as intuitive as we are used to with, for example, HTC. The phone does offer word suggestions while typing, but does not automatically correct itself. This sometimes causes annoyance during typing. You can solve this by downloading a keyboard from the Google Play Store that predicts better, such as SwiftKey X. That app costs a few euros.
The Wolfgang is equipped with all standard connectivity conveniences. The device has GPS, Bluetooth and 3G. All work without problems.
The browser of the AT-AS43D is a standard Android browser. It is fine. The device also has multitouch which makes it easy to zoom in and out on texts. In combination with the 1 GHz processor, the internet is reasonably fast.
What is an advantage is the possibility of dual-sim. When you have two data-subscriptions you can choose which one you want to surf the internet with. With a national and international subscription this can be an advantage or for example a prepaid to be able to make calls and a separate data subscription.
The Wolfgang AT-AS43D has two cameras: an ordinary 5 MP camera and a 0.3 MP front camera. Both are simply set up, but meet the requirements for simple snapshots.
The camera menu is without bells and whistles. There are two rows of buttons. The lower row consists of the camera button, a slider for the camera or video mode, and a shortcut to the gallery. The top row consists of setting buttons. Here you can switch between the normal and front camera; zoom in; set the brightness; turn the flash on or off; select the white balance (automatic, incandescent, daylight, fluorescent or cloudy) and make a number of additional settings (such as scene modes, photo quality, color effect and self-timer). Approximately the same options apply to the video. When using the secondary camera, the settings are less extensive. To be able to take photos, you do need a memory card that is not included as standard with the camera.
The photos and videos are of low quality. The contrast is low, the colors are not bright and there is a gray glow over the photos. To share on social media, the photos are good enough; however, for quality photography you need to buy a separate camera.
Because the Wofgang does not have a skin, there are relatively few programs available by default. The programs that are preprogrammed are: calendar, messages, file management, browser, calculator, camcorder, camera, contacts, e-mail, fm-radio, gallery, sound recorder, gmail, settings, clock, latitude, maps, music, navigation, places, play store, sim1-/sim2toolkit, phone, videos and search. Of course, you can always download apps from the Google Play Store.
No games are preprogrammed on the Wolfgang. These can also be downloaded from the Play Store.
As we said before, the Wolfgang AT-AS43D has dual-sim. This is a real advantage for this aircraft. It allows you to keep two subscriptions. This way you can keep different subscriptions for e.g. domestic, foreign, work, private, calling, texting, data connection and so on. You can both make and receive calls on two SIM cards on the same device.
This is not only convenient, but also works very well. Before you want to call a number, you have to choose which SIM card you want to use. Also when you are called, the number on which you will be called appears on the screen. Again, take care when using a microSIM with adapter that it does not get stuck in the phone.
At the end of this review we can only draw a positive conclusion. For 180 euros this really is a top appliance. Of course the Wolfgang can't compete with high-end devices from HTC or Samsung, but you get a 4.3 inch screen, dual-sim and good performance. The AS43D reminds us very much of the first Motorola Milestone. It had a similar screen and bare Android version. Remember that only two years ago this was a high-end model with a corresponding price tag. For those who want a cheap smartphone but don't want to spend too much money this Wolfgang is a good option.
After a while of testing, however, it became clear to us what AT Mobile has saved on. For example, the quality of the monitor and the camera is not fantastic, the device has little storage memory and the text input can also be improved. Moreover, the Wolfgang has no skin of its own. Whether you think this is a plus or a minus depends on your own preference. We found it a bit bald. Also the fact that our test device had some battery problems, doesn't testify to solidity.
It remains that this device has above all an excellent price-performance ratio. For 180 euros you can make a very good buy with this unit. Compared to competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Y or Gio, the smartphone has little more to offer than its major competitor Alcatel One Touch 995, except for the thumb-sim function.