Alcatel Idol 4S unboxing and first impressions

The Idol 4S was unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2016 in February, and it's now ready for pre-order. It looks and feels like a high-end phone, but it isn't priced like one. The Idol 4S features a 5.5-inch QHD (2560x1440) AMOLED display, 16-megapixel camera, dual speakers, dual SIM slots, and more. It's also bundled with a VR headset.

We've been playing with the phone for a couple of days already, so make sure to watch our unboxing video with our first impressions!

More: Read our first Idol 4S hands-on from MWC 2016!

Unboxing video

So, how about that box? This isn't packaging that you'll just crumple up and throw away, it's functional! Check out the video to see how it all works.


If you needed a reminder, here's an overview of the specs you can find inside the new Idol 4S:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
OSAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Display5.5-inch QHD (2560x1440) AMOLED
ProcessorSnapdragon 652 octa-core
Battery3000 mAh
Memory3GB RAM
Storage32GB, microSD expandable
Camera16-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera
8-megapixel front-facing
ConnectivityLTE Band 2/4/5/7/12/17
UMTS 850/1700/1900/2100
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
SecurityFingerprint sensor
Dimensions153.9 x 75.4 x 6.99 mm

First look

The Alcatel Idol 4S feels very nice, with looks to match. There's glass on the front and back sides of the phone plus a full metallic frame. It's also thin at just a hair under 7 mm.

The 5.5-inch AMOLED display is sharp, vibrant, bright, and has wide viewing angles. This has dual front-facing speakers, and that's better than having one speaker or having it on the back or bottom like on other phones.

The left side has the power button, and a slot where you can insert two nano sim cards, or a combination of a nano sim card and a microSD card.

The Boom Key is a bit odd, but does what it claims.

The right side has a Boom Key, which does different kinds of things depending on where you are on the phone. For example, pressing and holding it while the phone is asleep, opens the camera and takes a burst of photos. Pressing it while watching videos improves surround sound and pressing it while listening to music boosts the volume and bass.

While recent phones have started adopting USB Type-C, the Idol 4S still uses Micro-USB which is located at the bottom of the phone. It also has a 3000 mAh battery, so we're curious how long that lasts after more testing. It also supports Quick charging.

On the back, there's a 16-megapixel camera that lacks OIS, but offers a small consolation with electronic stabilization, and dual-tone LED flash. We'll have more details in our full review, but first impressions are good. The auto focus is fast, the images look sharp, the colors look fine, and taking photos were snappy. One thing to point out here is that the camera lens stick out and that might bother some people.

Alcatel Idol 4S

Speaking of cameras, there's also an 8-megapixel front-facing camera that automatically focuses on faces. It has a built-in real-time beautification filter, which smoothens your skin. There's a slider at the bottom which adjusts the strength of the filter. The lens is very wide too, so you can fit more people in your selfies. And one more thing. This has an actual flash on top for your selfies. It's not a trick where the screen turns white briefly.

Also on the back is a fingerprint scanner for security. We didn't have any issues with it or ever felt it was slow to unlock the phone.

Inside the Idol 4S is the Snapdragon 652 processor. Combined with 3GB of RAM, we didn't notice any lags from our initial usage. We'll need to spend more time with it and report back in our full review.

Alcatel Idol 4S

The Alcatel Idol 4S runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 and the company tells us it will offer up an Android Nougat upgrade as well. The UI feels close to stock Android with pre-loaded apps such Fyuse, LittlStar, Lamper VR, and the VR Store.

More to come

Alcatel Idol 4S

Overall, we're impressed with our first look at the Alcatel Idol 4S. The hardware is beautiful, and we didn't notice any lags.The camera seems like a good performer too, especially with the fast autofocus. Again, this feels like a high-end phone, but with a more affordable price. You also get a VR goggle along with VR content bundled in already.

The Idol 4S will be available for pre-order through Alcatel's website starting July 15th for $349.99, and will start shipping in early August. Pre-orders will also include a tempered glass protector and a protective case from Incipio. Official sale starts August 3rd for $399. We'll spend more time with the phone and report back with a full review soon.

See at Alcatel

Are you interested in the Alcatel Idol 4S? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim