The Alcatel Idol 4S is the company's blockbuster at this year's Mobile World Congress. The company has given the Idol 4S it's best and, as a result, the phone sports a premium build and upmarket specs.
Starting with the build quality, the Idol 4S features a metal frame and a duo of Gorilla Glass 3 sheets at the front and back. It weighs 149 grams but feels considerably lighter than the spec sheet suggests. Thanks to the metal frame, it feels like one of the most solid and well put together phones to come out of Alcatel. The dual 3.6W speakers are also a welcome feature.
The 5.5" display is of the AMOLED variety and has a QHD resolution. As you could imagine, it is very nice to look at and with a 534ppi pixel density, it's also very crisp. However, despite the oleophobic coating, the showroom demo unit couldn't handle all the fingerprints. We'd imagine that with regular useage the smudges will be far less, though.
The Idol 4S relies on a Snapdragon 652 chipset with a 1.8GHz quad-core Cortex-A72 and a quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 and 3GB of RAM. In our time with the unit, Marshmallow 6.0.1 was running very smoothly. We'd imagine that the performance will remain satisfactory even with a few dozen apps on the 32GB of internal storage. Don't worry, you can throw in a microSD card on the second SIM card slot to expand the storage further.
Whether you need it or not, the Idol 4S can be used upside down - with the UI responding accordingly - as well as back to front. This means you can virtually place a call with the back of the phone in your ear, and there won't be any problems at all. If that's not enough, rotating the phone in landscape automatically enables the phone's surround sound capabilities.
Another interesting feature of the Idol 4S is its Boom Key - a dedicated physical button on the side of the phone, which has different functionality depending on the context. For example, pressing the button while in standby mode fires up the camera and takes a quick photo; press it while in the gallery and it artistically shuffles for a slideshow. While playing music on the loudspeaker, the Boom Key amps up the bass and loudness. Lastly, pressing the button while on the homescreen shows a pleasant weather animation.
The camera setup of the Idol 4S consists of a 16MP main snapper and an 8MP front-facing shooter. The main camera has a f/2.0 aperture and can record 4K video @ 30fps. The secondary camera is coupled with an LED flash and records 1080p video.
Overall, we're quite pleased with our first encounter with the Alcatel Idol 4S. The company bundles a custom pair of JBL headphones ($40 retail value) with the phone. The package itself transforms into a pair of virtual reality goggles, which is insanely cool.