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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?

Capturing a panorama is a quick, sharp and accurate process.
Capturing a panorama is a quick, sharp and accurate process.

Landscapes were sharp and well exposed.
Landscapes were sharp and well exposed.

The selfie camera was generally bright and accurate.
The selfie camera was generally bright and accurate.

Video was also surprisingly good. 4K resolutions can be captured and quality is impressive. It's one of the fastest-focusing video cameras we've seen - others really struggle to fend off blur unless you stop and rest for a while. It's also consistent with exposure and white balance while others can vary wildly under changing conditions. However, the Electronic Image Stabilisation can't help with a wobbling image while walking around - as with most other phone cameras, it's much better when everything stays still.

Other features

Alcatel also includes a functional, light plastic case (similar to Huawei's) which protects the phone without hiding its design. It also comes in a box that converts into a VR headset! This is very comfy and works rather well (as phones go) although content is limited (or NSFW) at present, it's very nice to have and, to put things in perspective, Samsung charges $165 for its Gear VR Headset equivalent.

NFC is included and there's even a DualSIM slot (which is shared with the microSD slot). There's no fingerprint reader though. This is a shame as unlocking the screen in this way is becoming normal.


We're not 100 per cent sure what the price of this phone will be when it appears in September: negotiations with carriers are ongoing but we've been told that if no agreement can be reached then it will be sold directly at $599.

There's some interesting competition in this space, however: Huawei's excellent P9 has an RRP of $799 but can already be bought for under $600. This will likely fall further by September. Meanwhile the excellent Huawei Mate 8 can also be had for under $600 (and falling) and offers a much bigger screen, battery and other features. Oppo's flagship R9 and HTC's One X9 are still options but aren't anything special - we prefer Idol 4S. However, the Moto G4 S is still $200 cheaper and while it's not particularly exciting, it is a very-well-made Android phone that's worth considering.

Ultimately, though, this is a good-value phone from Alcatel and a great mid-range choice. Buying it depends on the price you can find for both it and its rivals, though.

Source: PC World 


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