Feb 24th, 2016

Alcatel revealed the latest phones in the Idol series this week at Mobile World Congress, and they’re giving budget contenders reason to take notice. The Alcatel Idol 4S want to be this year’s primary option for those not looking to spend much money. Honor started the trend of bringing a quality looking, feeling and performing smartphone that doesn’t break the bank, so we aren’t surprised others want to compete.

So, how are they doing it? Well, it has the winning look that’ll make your eyes drool, for starters. The Idol 4S features a metal build, with 2 glass panes bookending the chassis. There’s also a slight curve to the edges on the rear, a trait we’re sure Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7 phones inspired.

But beauty is only skin deep with these things, and an affordable smartphone can’t contend if it can’t properly run Android. Thankfully Alcatel checked themselves in this department with a savory list of specs to look forward to.

Alcatel Idol 4S Specs

  • Display: 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 652
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage w/ microSD slot
  • Camera: 16MP rear, 8MP front
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Connectivity: WiFi AC, MicroUSB 2.0, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS
  • Other Features: Boom Key, Front-facing Speakers w/ MaxxAudio WAVES technology
  • Software: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Note: Alcatel also has a lesser version of the 4S — known simply as the Idol 4 — that has identical build quality, but weaker specs. Differences include its 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2610mAh battery and 16GB of internal storage.

All of that is needed to run an impressive Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow experience. You’ll notice that “Boom Key” in the list of specs above — that thing is what Alcatel hopes you’ll see as a game changer.

Alcatel-Idol-4S-Boom-Button (1)

It’s a key that you can use inside of Alcatel’s various apps to quicky perform some key function. Here’s a quick list of what it enables:

  • Boom my camera: Instantly takes photos on standby mode pressing and holding the button puts the camera into burst mode to take photos in quick succession.
  • Boom my gallery: Artistically shuffles the photos in the gallery for instant sharing as a photo collage or a short slideshow.
  • Boom my videos: Generates immediate, surprising effects in existing videos, such as replaying the previous one second of the video three times, or changing the playback speed. When a user is recording a video, pressing the Boom Key will immediately broadcast the video live.
  • Boom my music: Conceived by ALCATEL and creatively engineered by Waves, the audio experience is automatically optimized across all media with simply one touch. The bass, loudness and clarity of the sound is enhanced, enriching the whole user experience.
  • Boom my game: Asphalt fans will love how the Boom Key amps up their race by releasing the Nitro and boosting the car speed. It also boosts the audio experience by increasing the volume and adding spatial sound reproduction.
  • Boom my view: Creates a more intense 3D effect (parallax UI effect) for the launcher and a stunning, live weather display as part of the home screen.

It sounds pretty cool, but we’d be lying if we didn’t say it felt a bit like a novelty. We’d probably be more happy with the ability to program the button to do anything you want. Another cool thing about the Idol 4S is that its shipping package will double as a VR headset, so you can take advantage of all the cool Google Cardboard content that comes out each and every day without having to shell out extra for a head unit.

alcatel idol 4s camera

All in all, it sounds like Alcatel is done taking a backseat to everyone. They’re coming out strong in 2016 with this nice duo, though we’ll have to see if their newly-tweaked brand is strong enough to get people to notice. The Idol 4 and Idol 4S will cost 279 and 449, respectively, and you can get them in Gold, Dark Grey, Rose Gold, and Metal Silver whenever they launch later this year.

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