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Alcatel Idol 4

Colours:
default
Features:
  • Supports Indian bands
  • 16 GB + 512 GB Expandable
  • Dual SIM: Nano + Nano (Hybr...
  • No Fingerprint sensor
  • USB OTG Support
  • FM Radio

Specifications

General
Launch DateDecember 8, 2016 (Official)
BrandAlcatel
ModelIdol 4
Operating SystemAndroid v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Custom UIPrecog UI
SIM Slot(s)Dual SIM, GSM+GSM
SIM SizeSIM1: Nano
Network4G: Available (supports Indian bands)
Fingerprint Sensor
Quick Chargingyes
Design
Height147 mm
Width72.5 mm
Thickness7.1 mm
Weight135 grams
Build MaterialCase: Metal
ColoursGold, Dark Grey,Metal Silver
Display
Screen Size5.2 inches (13.21 cm)
Screen ResolutionFull HD (1080 x 1920 pixels)
Pixel Density424 ppi
Display TypeIPS LCD
Screen Protectionyes
Touch Screenyes
Screen to Body Ratio (calculated)69.78 %
Performance
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952
ProcessorOcta core (1.5 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A53 + 1.2 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A53)
Architecture64 bit
GraphicsAdreno 405
RAM3 GB
Storage
Internal Memory16 GB
Expandable Memoryyes
USB OTG Supportyes
Camera
Resolution8 MP Front Camera
Autofocusyes
Physical ApertureF2.0
Flashyes
Image Resolution4128 x 3096 Pixels
SettingsExposure compensation, ISO control
Shooting ModesContinuos Shooting, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)
Camera FeaturesWide Angle Selfie
Video Recording1920x1080 @ 30 fps
Battery
Capacity2610 mAh
TypeLi-Polymer
User Replaceable
Quick Chargingyes
Network & Connectivity
SIM SizeSIM1: Nano, SIM2: Nano (Hybrid)
Network Support4G (supports Indian bands), 3G, 2G
SIM 1
SIM 2
Wi-Fiyes
Wi-Fi FeaturesWi-Fi Direct, Mobile Hotspot
Bluetoothyes
GPSyes
NFCyes
USB ConnectivityMass storage device, USB charging, microUSB 2.0
Multimedia
FM Radioyes
Loudspeakeryes
Audio Jack3.5 mm
Special Features
Fingerprint Sensor
Other SensorsLight sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope
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Expert Review

Conclusion:
The Alcatel Idol 4 is an excellent package, it is well built, well designed, has so many interesting things like the best loudspeakers, includes a VR headset within the box. JBL earphones addition is yet another advantage. The display is beautiful with very natural colours; the camera is decent under outdoor lighting conditions. However, there are flaws like average performance, slight heating issue as well, and the battery life is also very ordinary, and there is no fingerprint sensor as well which might be a deal breaker if that is in your requirements. Sure, the idol 4 has a lot going on for it, but at Rs. 17,000 it is a tough bet to recommend. The after sale support and service is something that needs to considered as Alcatel is a pretty small company in India. So you can still consider the idol 4 if you are okay with the flaws mentioned above, but if you are not, there are alternatives like the Moto G5s Plus, Mi A1, Honor 9i in the market with the latest hardware.
Introduction:

Alcatel has been around in India for quite some time, and the brand has several phones under its sleeve as well. Not just stopping with smartphones, the brand has also launched smartwatches and other products for kids as well. But the smartphone segment has always been the primary focus for Alcatel. The Idol series especially has a global reach for Alcatel and the company taking advantage of the popularity, has launched few smartphones in the same series. One among them is the Alcatel Idol 4 which right from the looks, packaging, and the hardware itself is a special phone with a lot of interesting things. In our today’s review, we shall find answers as to how good the phone is or is it limited just to the looks. Let’s get started. 

The Alcatel Idol 4 sports a 5.2-inches Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS LTPS display with Precog UI (Touchless control), Live UI, Parallax UI. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC clocked at 1.7GHz Octa-Core processor with Adreno 405 GPU. There is 3GB RAM and 16GB internal storage that is further expandable up to 512GB via microSD. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. 

In the camera department, there is a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone LED Flash, f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, EIS and an 8-megapixel front camera with LED flash. The device features Dual stereo speakers (2 x 3.6W), Smart PA (Power Amplifier) TFA9890, BOOM Key Experience Booster, FM Radio. Connectivity features include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with A-GPS, NFC, and USB OTG. There is 2610mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 support on board.

Design & Display:

Design of the Alcatel Idol 4 has to be the biggest plus point for the device. It's an all metal glass unibody design that looks stunning, and it is undoubtedly the best-looking smartphone at this price. The dual colour tone pops out and brings in a feel that makes you feel like you are holding a premium device that costs more than what you paid. The gold frame running around the corners is metal, and it blends well with the shiny glass back. At 5.2-inches size, it is comfortable to hold in one hand and easily fits in your pockets as well. Though the design and build quality is top notch, there is a downside to it, the back panel being a glass is prone to scratches and the glass back certainly has a risk of breaking if you are not careful enough. However, the company has included a transparent back case which should just work fine in preventing scratches. 

Moving to placements, the front houses an 8MP selfie camera, LED flash, usual set of sensors, main earpiece, and speaker grill right above the display. Down below the screen, there is nothing as the capacitive buttons are placed within the screen. There is another speaker grill present on the screen. The Volume rockers and a special dedicated button, SIM tray are placed on the right side, and the left houses the power button. The 3.5mm audio jack and the secondary microphone is present on the top. The microUSB port along with the primary microphone is placed on the bottom. The rear houses a 13MP primary camera, LED flash, Alcatel branding. Overall, the build quality and the design are top notch. 

The Alcatel Idol 4 sports a 5.2-inches Full HD (1920 X 1080) IPS LTPS display with no protected glass on top. The display has to be yet another plus point on the Alcatel idol 4. Colour reproduction is great, and the viewing angles are top notch. We didn’t face any colour shift or yellowish tint even while using the device even in extreme angles. The content that you watch on the phone is extremely good, and you will instantly start liking the display for its deep and vivid colors. The screen quality used is also good, and the touch response is smooth with no delay in responding. 

The brightness levels are good; we didn’t face any issues accessing the display outdoors or even under direct sunlight.  We liked watching movies, playing games on the idol 4 mainly because of its punchy colors. The company is also including a screen protector within the box, and it helps in preventing scratches, but it can’t survive more than two drops. We really didn’t find an issue with the display, and it is beautiful in every which way.  Had it came with Corning Gorilla Glass or any alternative glass, it would have been a better addition. Overall, the display is great and nothing major to complain.

Performance:

The Alcatel idol 4 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC clocked at 1.7GHz Octa-Core processor with Adreno 405 GPU and 3GB RAM. Snapdragon 617 has a bad reputation for heating even with mixed performance. Much like many other Snapdragon 617 powered phones, the Alcatel Idol 4 also suffers from sluggish performance on heavy and continuous usage. Apps open fast and are quick to load as well, but the problem starts when you are using the device continuously. The interface is smooth, animations also render fast with no frame drops, but resource intensive apps like Facebook, photo editing apps fail to put up a smooth show. Also, the biggest issue with the idol 4 is that it gets warm on the rear near the camera, but the good thing is that the rear side is glass, so the heating is limited. 

Moving to gaming, the device was able to handle casual to average games with proper graphics and frame rates. We played a range of games like Mario Run, Leo’s Fortune, Mortal Kombat, Need for Speed, Asphalt 8. Though the moderate games ran fine, games like Asphalt 8, Need for Speed, were laggy and there were constant frame drops as well. Gaming and the gameplay experience was poor which was expected from the Snapdragon 617 and Adreno 405 GPU. For a device priced at Rs. 16,999, there is the Fingerprint sensor that is missing which is the biggest deal breaker because it has become a norm these days. Overall, the performance is not very impressive, just gets the basics right.

Cameras:

The Alcatel idol 4 features a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and an 8MP front camera with LED flash. The camera performance in well-lit and outdoor conditions is great with vibrant colours and details. We didn’t notice any noise or dull moments as well. There is autofocus support, focusing and the shutter speed is fast, you can drag the autofocus to fix the focus lock exactly where you needed it. The camera app is simple, and it is feature rich as well. It has support for modes like HDR, panorama, Pro mode, filters and more. The toggles to switch are also present right in front, so you don’t need to tinker with the settings menu to change them. 

Indoor shots with good lighting are again fine with slightly overexposed colours, but they are still acceptable to us. Under low lighting conditions though, the camera fails merely, focusing for some reason becomes buggy, and it fails to fix the focus where we need it to be. The output is blurry and noisy with washed out colours. Being an upper mid-range phone, there are better alternatives like the Moto G5s Plus, Honor 9i that perform better in low-light especially. 

The front 8MP does an excellent job, it is a wide-angle lens, so the selfies were great, and it was able to capture more details as well. It has an LED flash as well, so the low-light selfie captures were great too. The rear camera can record 1080p videos, and the quality of good lighting and outdoors is great but a bit shaky. Overall, the camera does a fine job in good lighting conditions but disappoints to a certain extent in low and artificial lighting.

Battery:

The device packs a 2610mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0. The battery life for normal to casual usage is good, and it can last till the end of the day when used for basic functions like taking calls, sending text messages, checking social media updates, browsing. Being a low-capacity battery for today’s norms, the battery can’t and won’t last more than a day even with very light usage. On heavy usage, we got a screen-on-time of little over 3 hours at most which aren't something exceptional when you compare with today's phones like the Moto G5s Plus or Mi A1. 

Thankfully it does support the fast charge, so we were able to charge the device fairly quickly than with the normal charger. It took close to 2 hours of time for the device to charge entirely from 1 to 100%. As we said, if you are a heavy user, the battery will die out fast, and you might need to charge it before the day ends again. The device has a hybrid arrangement, so, we used it with just single SIM installed, so the battery life will be a little less when you use dual SIMs. Overall, the battery life is strictly average even for casual to moderate user, but thankfully it does have fast charge support.

Audio & Video:

The company has talked a lot about the audio department, it indeed comes with JBL headphones within the box and also has support for MAXX Audio. The loudspeakers are present on the front and are one of the loudest we have ever seen on a smartphone at this and most flagships price range as well. The sound quality is fantastic; it is loud, it is sharp and is also very clear. The company has done a terrific job with the audio department, and the bundled earphones were very great as well. The JBL in-ear style earphones are a perfect fit. We never missed a call or were disappointed with the quality of the audio as well. The default music player was able to play every format of songs. 

In the video department, this is where things get better. The company has bundled the box with a VR headset, in fact, the device is packed in the VR box. VR is a virtual reality that produces content in 360-degree format and also comes closer to the eyes gives us the live experience. This indeed is a great inclusion and a cost-cutting for the customer. The device was able to play 1080p videos both stored and streaming ones. We installed MX player and had a great experience watching normal and VR videos. Overall, the multimedia department is yet another advantage.

Software & Ui:

The Alcatel idol 4 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box with the interface that is close to stock Android. The interface might be stock, but the icons are company default, and they look refreshing from the traditional stock icons. Interesting U.I enhancements like automatically changing the interface from top to bottom and bottom to top when you hold the phone in reverse are present. This is a nifty little feature to have. There is an app drawer, and all the icons are placed vertically in alphabetical order. There are tons of preloaded applications that come apart from the Google native applications. Though few of the apps are not removable, few can be uninstalled without rooting as well. There is gestures support like double tap to wake, etc. that come in handy once you start using the device. 

There is 3GB of RAM out of which around 1.8GB is free when just default apps are running in the background. The multitasking is smooth and is also responsive, thanks to the stock Android interface. The system animations and transitions even load perfectly fine. Overall, the software department of the Alcatel idol 4 is good, though it would have been better if the bloatware apps are less in number.

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