The Good The Idol 4S Alcatel comes with features and accessories. It boasts a high level of design and construction, a great camera, an impressive display and a button called the “Boom Key”.
The Bad The arrow key needs a fix: it’s easy to accidentally activate. The fingerprint scanner is small and sometimes difficult to use.
The Bottom Line With its high quality build, good camera and free accessories in the box, the Idol 4S Alcatel is a reliable mid-range buy.
Have you never considered buying an Alcatel phone before? Unlocked Idol 4S made of metal, glass and moxie will turn off your mind to change your mind. It has a large screen and great sound quality; 16MP and 8MP front flash; a key for quick start of applications; fingerprint scanner; and a screen layout that is oriented upwards, no matter how you lift the phone. With competitive pricing and a list of impressive features, the Idol 4S persists in delivering great OnePlus 3 , phone of choice of CNET editor. (For a complete list of phone specifications, prices and comparisons below.)
It’s a very good mid-range phone, but Alcatel’s ambition is to make it a great value hit, like last year’s deal of the last century Idol 3 , is falling. The price has jumped to $ 400 (£ 385, £ 470 converted), but Alcatel includes, among other things, a screen protector and a VR headset for free. The problem is that the screen protector dims the visibility, and we just want to save a few bucks on the phone rather than drive it into a VR platform we didn’t choose. In other words, it’s a “value” we just didn’t want.
You can buy the unlocked Idol 4S directly from Alcatel’s website. It runs on a GSM network — in the US, that means you’ll have to buy a SIM card from AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless or MetroPCS.
Using the Idol 4S
Build and design: The first time someone picks up an Idol 4S, they have the same reaction: “Ohhh! That’s good.” The glass and metal body is reminiscent of the iPhone 4 / 4S feel. But much more harmonious.
Arrow key (convenience key): You can program this to open programs, such as a shortcut camera. We love it theoretically, but in practice, we kept accidentally taking photos. Either that needs some preparation, or we do.
The arrow key has another trick up its sleeve. During a phone call, press it to activate the noise-canceling mode, which improves voice quality. And get it: It works. But why is this feature not always constant? Aside from the slight vibration, there is no other indicator (on-screen) that the Noise Canceling mode is on. This caused us to press the arrow key repeatedly, unsure, on or off.
Cameras: Overall, the photos look bright, colorful and have great contrast. With good lighting, autofocus happens quickly and accurately. We noticed that the phone was lagging behind in both HDR and low light photography. The low-light photos looked soft at times, as if someone had smeared petroleum jelly over the lens.
Impressively, the Alcatel Idol 4S can shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second (frames per second). And for the phone, the video looks good. Personally, we probably still just shoot 1080p videos because there are fewer files.
A flash on an 8MP front-facing camera can be extremely useful, but time consuming. In general, we like to have it as an option. There is also an increasingly popular beauty regimen that adorns (blurs) the imperfection of your skin. Unlike the other beauty modes we’ve seen, this one has a slider that allows you to type exactly as much as a beauty maser. Here are some pictures we took with the Idol 4S.
Street shots: The Alcatel Idol 4S’ 16-megapixel camera in action
Fingerprint scanner: Located on the back under the camera lens, the fingerprint reader is small and sometimes not very scary. This helps to register several fingers, so you can drag them around your back until one picks it up. There is NFC, so you can use Android Pay for mobile payments as well.
Reverse layout design: Technically, there is an “up” and “down” orientation for any phone. If you grab the Idol 4S upside down, the optional reverse OS mode will flip the screen, allowing you to use your phone instantly. Although we noticed that if you have your fingerprint reader turned on, it is very important which way is up – since you can only unlock your phone in one orientation.
JBL headphones and JBL built-in speakers: With the built-in speakers, the sound is particularly loud and rich for the phone. This is a great add-on if you play videos and music for others. The headphones also sound good. These are not the best earbuds you can buy for your phone, but they are definitely better than most free in-phone phones.
Screen and battery: 5.5 “2.560×1,440 pixels screen – sharp and bright; especially for watching videos and photos. But battery life is just fine. Our Idol 4S video testing cycle lasted 10 hours 32 minutes.
The extras: Screen protector is a super thin piece of tempered glass; however, he collects fingerprints better than the episode “CSI: Crime Investigation.” The soft plastic case of the Incipio phone, which comes with our viewing device, makes the fingerprint reader easier. Alcatel’s home VR headset offers many experiences to get started; although we certainly do not recommend buying a VR-only phone.
With Idol 4S, it seems like Alcatel is trying very hard to give you everything you think you want. But when you compare it to other phones like the OnePlus 3, the Idol 4S just can’t beat it and the performance. It’s hard to put your finger on, but the OnePlus 3 just fits better as a phone. And for many people, it is more important than any number of accessories included.
Idol 4S vs competitors: What are the differences?
|Alcatel Idol 4S||OnePlus 3||ZTE Axon 7||Motorola Moto Z Play|
|Display size, resolution||5.5-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels AMOLED||5.5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,920X1,080 pixels|
|Pixel density||534 ppi||401ppi||538ppi||403ppi|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||153.9×75.4×6.99mm||152.7×74.7×7.35 mm||151.8x75x8.7 mm||156.4×76.4×6.99mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||5.26 oz; 149 g||5.57 oz; 158 g||6.53 oz; 185 g||5.82 oz; 165 g|
|Mobile software||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow|
|Processor||1.8GHz + 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652||2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625|
|Storage||32GB||64GB||64GB, 128GB (varies by region)||32GB|
|Expandable storage||Up to 200GB||None||Up to 128GB||Up to 2TB|
|Battery||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,510 mAh (nonremovable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Back cover||Home button||Back cover||Home button|
|Special features||Boom Key (programable key), Dual 3.6-watt JBL speakers, Quick Charge 2.0, NFC, Reversible OS, Dual-SIM option||Notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash Charging||Dual-SIM option||Moto Mods connector, NFC, Turbo Charging|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$400||$399||$400||$450|
|Price (GBP)||£385||£329||Converts to £345||£344|
|Price (AUD)||AU$470||Converts to AU$530||Converts to AU$605||AU$594|