Alcatel, the company known for offering spectacular products at a bargain price, is kicking off this year’s MWC with two new handsets, the Idol 4 and the Idol 4S. Both the phones are in a lot of ways, successors to the Idol 3 that was introduced last year. This season, they seem to be upgrading their budget game, however at the same time, entering the mid-high-end territory with the 4S.


The Idol 4 is equipped with a 5.2” FHD (1080 x 1920) IPS panel, Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 617 Octa Core processor, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage that is expandable via a MicroSD card. On the back, there’s a 13MP camera along with an 8MP front-facing module with flash. Under the hood, it runs on a non-removable 2610 mAh battery with no word on fast charging capabilities.

Being the pricier one, the Idol 4S gets a big bump on the spec sheet with a 5.5-inches Quad HD AMOLED panel on the front, Snapdragon 652 Octa Core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card and a 3,000mAh battery pack that is non-removable. There’s a 16MP f/2.0 aperture lens on the back that is capable of capturing 2K videos at 30 fps, something completely absent from the Idol 4. Front facing setup remains the same with an 8MP shooter with flash.


Both the phones run Android Marshmallow with Alcatel’s lightweight skin on top. Despite the bargain price, Alcatel didn’t cut slacks in the design department. Showcasing a glass-sandwiched design with a metal casing around the side, they look nothing less than a high-end product.

Although, the main physical change is addition of a button on the side, “The Boom Key” as Alcatel likes to call it, that looks a lot like the power button you get on Sony’s Xperia Line. The button is completely programmable (much like we saw on Huawei’s Honor 7) and can be utilized for several purposes depending which application you’re using from launching the camera to shuffling images for creating a collage. Currently, the button only works with Alcatel’s own presets but the team is working to bring user-defined commands.


Other than offering better hardware, the Idol 4S’s packaging has an interesting story to it. It can be doubled as a basic VR headset through a few tweaks. It’s not a top-of-the-line headset but considering the price, it could become one of its core selling points. Alcatel also bundles JBL branded headphones in the box to enhance the music experience.

While both the smartphones check all the necessary aspects of the list, they lack a fingerprint scanner that is kind of becoming a norm even on budget phones which could pull off a lot of customers.


You’ll be able to get both the new products in four colors – Gold, Dark Gray, Rose Gold, and Metal Silver. Alcatel says they’ll release them in the second quarter for approximately 450 euros for the Idol 4S and the Idol 4 will be priced at 280 euros. That’s not quite a cheap price when considered Alcatel’s previous launches, but considering the hardware they’re providing this year, it is to some extent acceptable. A global launch is, however, right now a question mark. Alcatel is also simplifying the branding by dropping the “OneTouch” moniker.

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Shubham is based out of Ahmedabad, India and is studying to be a Computer Engineer, while specializing in mobile applications. He loves covering what's new in the smartphone space and aims to make it his primary profession some day.