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Alcatel Idol 4S review: King of the mid-range?

Nick Ross | July 15, 2016
It's better than many but with prices falling around it, how will it fare?

What really stands out is the 5.5-inch AMOLED screen. We normally only see the bright, colourful AMOLED units on much more expensive phones so this was a treat. Add to that the 1440x2560 resolution (with a high-density 534 pixels per inch) and you're looking at one of the best screens on the market. It gets very bright too.

The power button is at the top of the left side while the volume switch is at the top of the right side. Below that is something called a Boom Switch, which, "Does interesting things." It can be configured in different ways but for the main part, when the phone is off you can instantly take a picture or rapid-fire pictures depending on how long you press it. If you press it just while looking at the main screen, the background wallpaper will run through a flashy animation. It can also boost bass in music and create funky "Gen-Y" animations.

All in all, this phone handles like every other (more expensive) phone we've tested lately including the excellent Huawei P9 (whose value we were raving about just a couple of weeks back), the above-mentioned Oppo and HTC plus the Moto G4 Plus.

Battery

The 3,000mAh battery is a quite large for a phone this thin. We found it just lasted the full day in general use (the testing of all phones lately has been complicated by the battery vampire that is Pokemon Go, lately) but so long as you steer clear of that it was fine.

Camera

We were very impressed with the cameras both for stills and video. The main, 16-megapixel camera was fast and accurate in focusing, decent in low light, offered good colour accuracy and sharpness. Meanwhile, panoramas looked good and so did landscapes in general. The 8-megapixel camera on the front is also sharp and offers various degrees of "Beauty" airbrushing, if that's your thing.

Impressive detail and colour on an overcast day.
Impressive detail and colour on an overcast day.

Perhaps a little dark, but exposure can easily be changed on the fly and colours are good. 
Perhaps a little dark, but exposure can easily be changed on the fly and colours are good.

Colours are vibrant and focusing is accurate and fast.
Colours are vibrant and focusing is accurate and fast.

Low light exposure, sharpness and white balance is very good compared to many on the market.
Low light exposure, sharpness and white balance is very good compared to many on the market.

 

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