Alcatel Idol 4S unboxing and first impressions [VIDEO]


Does anyone recall the Alcatel Idol 4S? I wouldn’t be surprised if the name doesn’t ring a bell. Alcatel unveiling the phone at Mobile World Congress back in February, but the phone will finally be making its way into customer’s hands on August 3. The phone will be given the full review treatment late next week, but I wanted to share our first impressions of the Idol 4S since Alcatel is offering a $50 discount for those who pre-order the phone before its official retail debut.

The first thing to note is that when you buy the Idol 4S, you get more than just a phone. Alcatel is bundling the phone with its VR headset, JBL headphones, a case, and tempered glass screen protector. Those who pre-order the device will pay $350, but that price jumps up to $400 on August 3. The phone itself is a big step up from the Idol 3, but that’s to be expected since it costs $150 more. The bump in price gets you a 5.5-inch QHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, 16MP camera with an f/2.0 lens, 8MP front-facing camera, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, 3,000 mAh battery, and JBL-certified stereo speakers on the front and back. 

All things considered, the Alcatel Idol 4S would be classified as a high-end device if it swapped in a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM.


The phone itself is stunning. It features a dual-chamfered aluminum frame and glass panels on the front and back. The subtle layered effect of the glass panels gives the phone a unique aesthetic. It’s as if Alcatel took design inspiration from the HTC One S and the Samsung Galaxy S6. Since the top and bottom of the phone is indistinguishable, Alcatel’s software allow you to reverse the orientation of the phone and use it upside down. It may sound like a gimmick, but the feature has already come in handy a few times in the past day.

I’ve only used the bundled VR headset for a few minutes, but the build quality is quite nice. The phone snaps in securely and the adjustable straps allowed for a snug fit for me and my daughters. The phone comes pre-installed with Alcatel’s VR Launcher and VR store which allow you to easily download and access VR content. The experience isn’t any different than what you’d get from any other $50 Google Cardboard VR headset for Android devices, but it’s nice that users will get it in the box with the phone.


Those disappointed that the HTC 10 didn’t come with front-facing stereo speakers may want to take a good look at the Alcatel Idol 4S. The phone features JBL-certified stereo speakers which deliver audio to the front and back of the phone. I still have to spend some quality time with the phone listening to music and watching a few of my favorite Netflix shows to make a final judgement on the audio quality, but I can definitely say that most people will be thoroughly impressed with the audio that this phone pumps out.

The camera appears to take decent photos. I’ve only used it to snap a dozen or so pictures so far, but there doesn’t appear to be any obvious red flags. Alcatel’s software skin on top of Android 6.0.1 is fairly light and could be confused with stock Andorid if it weren’t for Alcatel’s stock apps which feature rounded-corner icons. The notification and quick toggle panels have

Alcatel’s software skin on top of Android 6.0.1 is fairly light and could be confused with stock Andorid if it weren’t for Alcatel’s stock apps which feature rounded-corner icons. The notification and quick toggle panels have minor, but Alcatel has done a great job leaving things alone.


The only software feature that’s worth mentioning is the Boom Key feature. Alcatel claims that the Boom Key enhanced the user’s experience based on what they are doing. Pressing the Boom Key while on the home screen will show an animated weather effect. Doing so while listening to music will boost the volume and bass. It can even launch the camera and snap burst photos if pressed when the display is off. I’ll have to use it a bit more before deciding if it’s a useful feature or not.

I’ll be using the Alcatel Idol 4S as my daily driver for the next week and will share my in-depth review late next week. If there are any specific questions you have regarding the phone, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.



Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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