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Review: Alcatel Idol 4S - Unlocked

Hardware Software Wrap-Up Comments  1  

When I met with Alcatel to pick up my Idol 4S review unit, much of the discussion revolved around value. I'm not quite sure Alcatel's math adds up.

Consider: The Idol 3 cost $249 and at that price was a bargain. Few phones in that price range last year delivered such value. The Idol 4S makes a huge leap forward in terms of specs, quality, and capabilities. Moreover, the Idol 4S ships with a set of VR goggles, a pair of JBL headphones (which are crap, by the way) and a set of Incipio covers. Alcatel hopes this "package" will distract you from the 60% price increase. The Idol 4S sells for $399.

The phone by itself could easily fetch $299 and maybe even $329. It's that good. The design is attractive, the materials and build are pleasing, and the spec list performs way above its pay grade. Call quality, battery life, and data performance are average, but the screen is nice, the user interface is clean, and the speakers provide some entertainment value.

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There are a lot of other phones that cost $399 that are sold by carriers and have a good support story, like the iPhone SE. Then there are known Android champs, like the Nexus 5x or 6p. Alcatel is forgetting that people have to go out of their way to find unlocked smartphones.

I like that Alcatel is tossing in a lot of extras, but many people don't give a rat's tail about VR or lame third-party headphones or cases. In my opinion, Alcatel would do well to offer an unbundled version of the phone for a lot less than the $399 asking price.

All that said, if you're looking for a complete VR package — or possibly even a gift — the Idol 4S fits the bill.

Our Ratings

Battery Life
Hardware Usability
Hardware Quality
Interface Speed
Audio Volume

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