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Alcatel Idol 4S review

7.4/10 AVG.
RATING



7.4/10
Informr score
The Alcatel Idol 4S currently has an Informr score of 7.4 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 21 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Beautiful display
  • microSD support
  • Android Adoptable Storage
  • QuickCharge 3.0
  • Excellent speakers

What's bad

  • Half-baked VR headset
  • Price
  • Inconsistent cameras
  • Slippery back
  • Mid-tier processor will age quickly

Alcatel turned heads with the Idol 3, but many were let down but the build quality. With the Idol 4S, Alcatel is beefing up design polish while including enticing extras--namely the VR headset. But with the mid-tier market as competitive as ever, is the 4S a good value?

We’ve scoured the best review sites on the web so you don’t have to! Let’s see what they’re saying!

Looking at the phone, all reviews agreed that the 4S is a step up from the typical Alcatel build quality and design. You’ll find an aluminum chassis with glass accents and virtually zero plastic. There’s a few design points that set the phone apart--though reviews were mixed on whether this was a good thing. Phone Scoop noted, “Alcatel put the screen lock button at the top of Idol's left edge, and it annoys me just as much as it did on last year's phone.”

Other reviewers found that while the glass back looked great, it caused some issues. Android Police said, “Overall, I like the way this phone looks, though I am less of a fan of the way it feels: a bit sharp in the hand and really effing slippery.” However, the phone includes a bumper case and tempered glass screen protector to help you survive drops and slips.

Flipping around to the front of the phone, you’re greeted with a 5.5-inch AMOLED panel running at 2560-by-1440. Phone Scoop declared, “There's no question the screen is attractive. It has gobs of pixels, plenty of brightness, and good viewing angles.” A few reviewers questioned the brightness of the display, with Stuff noting, “You’ll need to step into the shade to see things properly outdoors.”

Powering the display, you’ll find an eight-core Snapdragon 652 processor. Specs-wise, this is firmly mid-tier and reviews matched. 3GB of RAM will help with multitasking. Tom’s Guide said, “The Idol 4S' Snapdragon 652 processor isn't the speediest CPU, but it was plenty fast for most activities.” Digital Trends agreed, saying, “in our time using the Idol 4S, we have not experienced any stutters, lag, or issues. Switching between apps is quick, and so is triggering applications like the camera.”

To ensure there’s room for all your apps, movies and other content, the phone offers 32GB of onboard storage. MicroSD card and Android Adoptable Storage support means you can add an additional 512GB of seamless storage.

Unforunately, if you’re looking to snap pictures often, reviews on the 16MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing lens are mixed. PC Magazine said, “Pictures I took outside during a sunny day were clear, with minimal noise and grain. But pictures taken at the same location on a cloudy day were filled with noise and grain, and were often too dark, with trees and buildings cast into shadows and the sky overexposed.” While the camera appears capable of taking great pictures, reviews indicate that getting it to do so predictably is tricky.

The 3,000mAh battery in the Idol 4S rated average by most reviewers. The Verge noted, “The battery is also able to last a full day between charges for me, and the quick charging feature lets me top up in a hurry. The quick charging feature also works with any Qualcomm-certified charger.”

One area where the phone really shined was audio. The dual front-facing speakers surprised most reviewers. Android Police said, “This is easily among the very best speaker arrays I've ever listened to on a smartphone.” Stuff agreed, saying, “You’ll be blown-away by just how loud they can go - forget pairing it to a Bluetooth speaker, you can fill a small room with sound just using the phone by itself.” Reviewers also noted that the grills on both sides of the device allow you to listen to music, or even take calls, with the phone face down.

While the phone includes a VR headset, reviews weren’t great. Most noted fit issues and the lack of focus controls led to a disorienting experience for many. In the end, most reviews agreed that if VR is your main reason to buy the phone, you might want to pass.

Overall, reviews were positive. The biggest issue brought up by most was price. The Verge summed things up well, saying, “I have a lot of good things to say about the Idol 4S: it’s well made, performs well, and doesn’t have any major flaws. But I can say that about other phones that are priced similarly, which makes it tough for the Idol 4S to separate itself, even with its included VR viewer.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.8 GHz
Screen Size
5.5"
Camera
16+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Notebookcheck

Can the Alcatel One Touch Idol 4S compete with the rivals? Not quite. The smartphone can actually justify its price with the stylish chassis, the good display, and the comprehensive accessories, but the competitors have fewer drawbacks. The Idol 4S suffers slightly from the mediocre voice quality, t...

- Andreas Osthoff, Notebookcheck
What Mobile

The Alcatel Idol 4s is a solid handset that offers good performance in a convenient package which is tailored for virtual reality. Both this and the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 are very close in terms of features… and it’s really a matter of preference0 which one you pick.

- Thomas Wellburn, What Mobile
Talk Android

I think Alcatel really missed the mark with the Idol 4S. There were a few button placement complaints, which are very minor. It had a lot going for it — the screen, the snappiness and even the software. As unfortunate as it is, the camera is really what makes or breaks a phone. If you don&rsqu...

- Brad Ward, Talk Android
Recombu

The Idol 4s faces stiff competition at the £400 price point from the likes of the Sony Xperia X, OnePlus 3 and Samsung Galaxy A5, but it’s definitely got plenty of appeal thanks to a solid pair of cameras, decent battery life and a gorgeous Quad HD screen - something most rivals can&rsqu...

- Chris Barraclough, Recombu
Gadget Review

Overall, Alcatel did an excellent job with its follow up to the successful IDOL 3 last year. The 4S’ construction is as impressive as top-end smartphones that come close to double the cost, and performance isn’t too far behind. That said, it doesn’t completely keep up, with a slowe...

- Josh Noriega, Gadget Review


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Quick view

Screen Size
5.5"

The Alcatel Idol 4S's screen size is 5.5 inches with 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.8 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 MSM8976 Octa core 1.8 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system (OS).

Camera
16+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 16+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 200 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3000mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3000 mAh battery.

Idol 4S Specs

Overview
Release date August 3, 2016
Regions available USA, Canada
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
700/2100/800/900 /1800/2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 MSM8976 Octa core 1.8 GHz
Internal Storage 32 GB
RAM 3 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.16 W/kg
Body: 1.16 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Standard Battery, Headphones, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Unknown
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 17.5 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Gold, Dark Gray, Rose Gold, Metal Silver
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.4 x 7.5 x 0.7 cm (6.1 x 3 x 0.3 in)
Weight 149 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels
Pixel density 534 pixels
Size 5.5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 200 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
16+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Geotagging, Image stabilization, ISO, Multi-shot, Self-timer, HDR, Slow motion recording
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels)
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Front camera flash
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, OGG, WAV
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Alcatel One Touch Idol 4S

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Alcatel Idol 4S Reviews
Where to buy Alcatel Idol 4S
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