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Alcatel, the smartphone manufacturing company which has been in the smartphone segment for quite some time, has come with quite impressive phones at low prices. The smartphones from Alcatel have always been great with high specs at budget prices, but the problem has always been the bad user experience. Despite their presence since 2004, Alcatel could not achieve much success because the user experience seldom meets the expectations. But now, with Alcatel Idol 4S, things are likely to change. Alcatel seems to have dialed up the premium experience with keeping the prices low. The name might sound a little old as similarly named phones had become popular around 4 years ago, but apart from that, we think the Idol 4S is an impressive phone. One of the differentiating features of this phone is the ability to use it either way. In other words, you can pick it up from either side and use it perfectly. It was announced along with Alcatel Idol 4 in February 2016 and is expected to hit the markets in the third quarter this year. Let us see in our hands-on review what Idol 4S has to offer and what can we expect from Alcatel.
The Idol 4S was announced earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, and Alcatel seems to have given their best with this smartphone. It sports a premium build and has upmarket specifications. The smartphone features a metal frame on the sides. It is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 sheets on the front and back, both sides. The dimensions of the phone are 153.9 x 75.4 x 7 mm (6.06 x 2.97 x 0.28 in). The phone has some high-end specifications, but it only weighs 149 gm. It clearly signifies that it is a light weight phone. It might be lighter when it comes to the aspect of weight, but the metal frame lends it a solid look. There are dual 3.6W speakers as well. Four speakers are placed on the top and bottom of the phone. The speakers produce high-quality sound. The phone also has a dedicated BOOM key, which has a different functionality that depends on the context. When pressed in Standby mode, it fires up the Camera and clicks a picture. Press it in the gallery, and it will shuffle the gallery for a slideshow. If you use it while playing music, it will amp up the bass and loudness. Also, if you press it on the home screen, it shows a pleasant weather animation. All the other physical appearance is pretty much basic. There is a primary camera on the back with flash and on the front, it has a front cam for selfies. The power button is on the top right-hand corner. The phone will be available in four colours: Gold, Dark Grey, Rose Gold, and Metal Silver.
The display provided on Idol 4S is a 5.5 inch AMOLED QHD display with 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution. The pixel density of this display is 534 ppi. Although it does have an oleophobic coating, it still cannot handle all the fingerprints. We believe that after frequent usage, the smudges will be far less.
The Idol 4S runs on Snapdragon 652 chipset with a 1.8GHz quad-core Cortex-A72 and a quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A53. It is backed by 3GB of RAM and Adreno 510 GPU. The OS used on the phone is the latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, which runs smoothly. The internal storage provided is 32 GB. It can be further increased by a microSD card, which you can use in the second SIM card slot.
Idol 4S has a 16-megapixel primary camera from Sony, which gives sharp and clear images. By combining the pictures taken with this snapper with the QHD AMOLED screen, you shall witness awesome images, provided you have taken a great picture. The primary camera has a f/2.0 aperture, and it can record 4K videos at 30fps. At the front, there is an 8-megapixel selfie camera, which is coupled with an LED flash. The secondary camera records videos at 1080p. The camera app also looks good. It has several features like Geo -tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR. Overall, the camera app and picture quality look great, but there is nothing mind-blowing here. Well, there is something different. You can make this phone to meow like a cat or bleat like a sheep to get the attention of the person whose image you want to capture. Isn’t this super cool?
There are 4 speakers on the phone- Two on either ends (top and bottom). These 3.6W speakers are very good. Also, the phone comes with a pair of JBL headphones ($40 retail value). And yes, the package of the phone transforms itself into a pair of virtual goggles.
The Alcatel Idol 4S has a 3000mAh battery attached to its back, which is pretty good for a phone of this size. It would be a little difficult for this battery to power up the QHD screen, along with such specs. The Qualcomm used is also not the best one, so we can’t be marginal about the battery life. But there is Android 6 on board, so there is a big hope it might work out. Still, we cannot say anything for sure before the Idol 4S gets out in the market. However, the battery is equipped for faster charging. The company claims the phone charges up to 60% within 30 minutes with Quick Charge 2.0.
It is a dual SIM handset, and the second SIM slot also works as a microSD card slot. The smartphone supports 4G. Other connectivity options are Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/nac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, Hotspot; Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE; GPS with A-GPS, NFC and microUSB v2.0, USB Host. It also has FM Radio, RDS.
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