Alcatel IDOL 4S hands-on, first impressions
Introduced last February at the 2016 Mobile World Congress, Alcatel announced its new flagship device — the IDOL 4S. As you may have noticed from its name, the company has already dropped the ONETOUCH moniker. It is also veering away from its usual budget offering and aims to target the mid-range class with this new device.
Another first for the company is the inclusion of a VR (virtual reality) headset along with the package. Join us in this hands-on article as we impart our first impressions on the device.
The IDOL 4S sports a 5.5-inch display which is pretty common for flagship handsets today. They also fitted it with a Quad HD (2560 x 1440 resolution) display which makes the images crisp and sharp for using with the VR headset. Additionally, the screen is made of AMOLED so blacks are deep and colors are well-saturated.
It has noticeable bezels but due to its 2.5D display that curves on both sides, it appears to be thinner than how it actually is. Also, it employs on-screen buttons that consist of Back, Home, and Recent Apps.
If you’re used to seeing plastic material with Alcatel’s previous smartphones, the IDOL 4S doesn’t follow this trend. It has glass reinforcement at the back which adds a premium look and feel. Just like up front, the back glass panel also curves at the sides which actually feels nice to hold. The only downside of having both glass on both sides is that its slippery and slides out of the pocket easily.
Placed at the upper middle part is the main camera with a 16-megapixel sensor, Phase Detection Auto Focus, and F/2.0 aperture. The shooter is accompanied by dual LED flashes for shooting in low light areas.
Up front is an 8-megapixel camera for selfies and video chats.
In the middle, we have a metal chassis which makes the entire handset solid. Chrome embellishments also adorn the metal piece and flows throughout the frame. Seen above is the Power/Wake button next to the SIM tray and storage expansion.
They are situated on the top left side of the handset so reaching for the Wake/Sleep button from doesn’t come naturally and requires to reposition your hand when you come from navigating the phone, for example.
The silver trims show more accents on the four corners as it widens the gap — leaving a more accessible base when it rests on the palm of the hands.
The right side is populated by the volume rocker and lined along it is what the company calls the Boom Key. It resembles Sony’s power/lock button but it serves several purposes depending on what you’re doing. For example, it improves audio quality when playing music, live streams your media when shooting a video, and even gives you an extra boost when playing a racing game. It is also programmable so you can assign specific functions depending on your liking.
Up top is a lonely 3.5mm audio jack and a pinhole for one of the microphones. Also seen here are two antenna bands leaving a gap on its metal chassis.
Down below is pretty much the same — with its micro-USB port and microphone flanked by another pair of antenna bands.
The IDOL 4S also boasts stereo speakers that fire both up front and at the back. This is to give a more immersive experience when you’re playing games with its VR headset or just hand-held. We’ve played a couple of tunes on it and we can say that they really upped the ante in this department. We will test its performance further and share our thoughts on the full review.
Being bundled with a VR headset, the package IS the headset which is pretty clever. Above is how you’ll be greeted when you remove the device out of the box. It opens up to reveal all the accessories including the phone which is already mounted to the headset, as if ready for use.
The bundle includes the VR headset, usual charging accessories, and a special JBL in-ears that’s wrapped in chrome finish. Additional ear buds are also present to fit all ear types.
Inside, the IDOL 4S features an octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage. It also has 4G connectivity, dual-SIM, and runs on Android 6.0.1 from out of the box. Battery capacity is at 3000mAh and is non-removable.
We will be subjecting this handset to our full review so stay tuned. Meanwhile, is there anything in specific you want us to try out? Maybe something with its VR? Just drop them at the comments section below.
Alcatel IDOL 4S specs:
5.5-inch AMOLED display @ 1440 x 2560, 534ppi
1.8GHz Octa-Core Qualcomm MSM8976 Snapdragon 652
32GB internal storage
expandable up to 200GB via microSD
16MP f/2.0 rear PDAF camera with dual-tone LED flash
8MP front camera with LED Flash
4G LTE, 3G HSPA+
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual-band)
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Non-removable 3000 mAh Li-Ion battery
153.9 x 75.4 x 7 mm