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Alcatel is a fairly old name on the mobile market, and yet not one that most of us flock to. They’re best known for low-budget devices, but can be sadly overlooked. And with devices such as the Idol 4, this really is sad, because Alcatel has somehow managed to put high-end specs into a budget phone. That has to be a win for the consumer, right?
Why should you want this phone? Let’s try octo core processing and tonnes of RAM, awesome cameras, even an HD screen. Oh, and Alcatel have ensured that the Idol 4 is VR compatible too. The real question is why wouldn’t you want this phone? The Alcatel Idol 4 has to be one of the best budgets buys around.
The Alcatel Idol 4 is a full glass and metal build, so it’s both robust and light. The metal rim extends slightly above the glass plates, and both front and back panels are full glass. It feels (and looks) premium, its thin edges and sharp corners making this look like far more of a high end phone than its price would suggest.
It does have sleek, futuristic good looks, but there are some excellent specs here too. You’re getting octo core processing with plenty of RAM, an HD screen, fantastic cameras, and VR compatibility as well. All far more than we’d expect to see for a phone that goes for around £200 or so.
It’s tough to fault the Idol 4. It has everything we’d expect to see in a budget phone, and then so, so much more. For budget shoppers, and bargain shoppers, the Alcatel Idol 4 has to be one of the best buys out there.
Let’s start off with performance specs, and this is the one area in which budget phone shoppers can’t afford to compromise. Fortunately, you won’t need to. The Alcatel Idol 4 features octo core processing power (made up of a quad-core 1.7 GHz unit and a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor), alongside 3 GB of RAM. Together, these two things make the Idol 4 fast, responsive, and an excellent multi-tasker.
This is an Android device. And you’ll be running Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, with an update to 7.0 Nougat coming soon. Android is a firm favourite when it comes to operating systems, due to its intuitive interface and customisation options. And with the new update, you’ll get some new tricks as well as added stability.
What can we say about performance here? It really is excellent, far better than we expect to see at this price point. Even the more demanding phone user will find that the Idol 4 is more than capable of handling anything you throw at it.
So if there are no compromises with performance, what about sacrifices in the display? Nope, not here. You’re getting a solid 5.2-inch screen, which should be more than enough room to type on comfortably. One-handed use isn’t incredibly easy, though the Idol 4 is still small enough to slide into your pocket with ease.
Resolution wise you’re looking at HD. You’re getting 1080 x 1920 pixels, so that’s around 424 PPI. That means crisp, clear image quality. It’s an LCD screen, so colour reproduction is good, with great brightness and solid blacks. Then throw in IPS for excellent viewing angles, just to make up the whole package.
In short, this is one of the best budget displays we’ve seen. No, it’s no 4K screen, but then what do you expect on a budget phone? This is, however, a very, very good display indeed, and one that is a pleasure to look at.
Still waiting for that compromise? You won’t find it with the cameras (spoiler: you’re probably not going to find any compromises even at this price). The front cam is a full 8 MP device, which is more than good enough for video calls and selfies (better than we expect to see on a budget phone, certainly).
At the rear, there’s a 13 MP cam, with f/2.0 aperture (for good low light pics), as well as dual LED flash. And then there’s phase detection autofocus, touch focus, face detection, HDR, geo-tagging, panorama modes, and everything else you’d expect to find.
Basically, these are upper-end cameras, particularly considering that dual flash. You’ll be getting great shots, and even serious photographers will be impressed with these camera specs!
Surely this budget handset doesn’t have extras to offer as well? But yes, yes it does, and some good ones too. Firstly, there’s stereo sound with dual front mounted speakers at the top and bottom of the phone courtesy of JBL.
And then there’s VR. Alcatel are marketing this as a Virtual Reality capable phone, so you won’t be missing out on the coolest new mobile trend. The Idol 4 also offers fast charging ability, with Quick Charge 2.0 giving you a full 60% charge in just thirty minutes.
|Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Dimensions||147 x 72.5 x 7.1 mm (5.79 x 2.85 x 0.28 in)|
|Weight||135 g (4.76 oz)|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) - 6055K, 6055I|
|Type||LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||5.2 inches (~69.9% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels (~424 ppi pixel density)|
|Multitouch||Yes, up to 10 fingers|
|OS||Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8952 Snapdragon 617|
|CPU||Octa-core (4x1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x1.2 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)|
|Internal||16 GB, 2 GB RAM - 6055Y, 6055K|
|16 GB, 3 GB RAM - 6055B, 6055H, 6055I|
|Primary Camera||13 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Features||Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR|
|Secondary Camera||8 MP, 1080p, LED flash|
|Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
|- Hi-Fi audio|
|- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||v4.2, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS|
|Radio||FM radio, RDS|
|USB||microUSB v2.0, USB Host|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|Messaging||SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM|
|- Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)|
|- MP3/AAC+/WAV/WMA player|
|- XviD/MP4/H.265 player|
|- Document viewer|
|- Photo/video editor|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 2610 mAh battery|
|Stand-by||Up to 520 h (2G) / Up to 520 h (3G)|
|Talk time||Up to 15 h (2G) / Up to 15 h (3G)|
If you’re looking for a budget phone, though to be fair an upper-end budget phone, then the Alcatel Idol 4 is a fantastic choice. It gets great performance, has a great screen, great cameras, and some neat extras too. You won’t find any compromises here; this is a stunning device, and one that even demanding customers will love.
When it comes to connectivity, you’re getting 4G, 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth. Internally there are only 16 GB of memory, which isn’t too much. Not to worry, though, since there’s an SD card slot so you can add up to 256 GB of storage if you like.
Right, any complaints here? Not really. The battery is only 2610 mAh, which is a little weak for a phone with this display size, but with quick charging on board, this doesn’t matter as much as you’d think. On the whole, we don’t have any complaints. This is simply a fantastic budget handset, with some very, very impressive specs. If you’re looking for a great phone on a budget, then you just have to check out the Alcatel Idol 4!
by Dan Forster, Mobile Phone Expert
Dan is our mobile phone review expert helping customers make better buying decisions. With a passion for technology and taking things apart Dan single-handedly reviews all the phones listed on the TigerMobiles.com website.