Alcatel idol 4s with windows 10

Обзор Alcatel IDOL 4S с Windows 10 на борту

Microsoft может отказаться от бренда Lumia очень скоро, по словам людей, со знанием дела, но согласно отчетности компании, Редмонд планирует работать с партнерами по созданию телефонов Windows, чтобы расширить экосистему Windows 10.

Одной из компаний, подхвативших мобильное направление Microsoft является Alcatel, она ранее выпустила IDOL 4S с поддержкой Windows 10, также став первой компанией запустившей её с гарнитурой VR.

На первый взгляд, Alcatel IDOL 4S кажется самым красивым Windows Phone на сегодняшний день с поддержкой Windows 10. Устройство является гладким и суперпривлекательным, сделан телефон из стекла на передней и задней части, это придает ему очень изысканный вид, такого вы не найдете больше нигде в линейке Windows. К примеру в Lumia 950 XL, многие жаловались на качество сборки и ощущения перебора с пластмассой, и это при создании такого высококачественного устройства.

Alcatel IDOL 4S оснащен процессором Snapdragon 820 и оснащен 4 GB оперативной памяти, но можно было ожидать, что этот пункт будет немного более мощным. Как правило, такие телефоны очень отзывчивы, но я обнаружил, что это будет особенно медленно работать в случае разблокировки с помощью сканера отпечатков пальцев. Потому что считыватель отпечатков пальцев размещен на задней панели, и это для меня не самое удобное положение, но это лишь вопрос времени, чтобы привыкнуть к такому положению вещей.

И если говорить о других функциях, Alcatel IDOL 4S поставляется с отдельной кнопкой камеры, которая размещается там, где вы не ожидали, и многие путают её с кнопкой блокировки. Это, безусловно, займет некоторое время, чтобы привыкнуть к смене фишек, и это расстраивает на первый взгляд, особенно потому, что нет никаких вариантов менять это технически.

Камера хороша, но не самый лучший вариант, и срок службы батареи, кажется, не превышает пороговое значение в один день, явно что большинство пользователей ищут для покупки не такой смартфон в эти дни.

Телефон приятно использовать и он аккуратно чувствуется в руке, хотя из-за стеклянного покрытия скользкий, особенно при использовании в перчатках, когда на улице холодно, а большинство людей используют его на открытом воздухе именно в перчатках. С другой стороны, есть режим усиления для в Windows 10 Mobile, что делает его более отзывчивым в касании перчаткой.

В общем и целом, Alcatel IDOL 4S, без сомнения, стоит попробовать, по крайней мере, на первый взгляд. Сейчас мы работаем над углубленным обзором, поэтому зайдите в ближайшее время, чтобы увидеть, что изменилось.

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Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 review: a great option at an incredible price

In late 2016, there are not a lot of choices if you want a high-end phone running Windows 10 Mobile. The year-old Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL can still be found even at bargain prices, and the pricey HP Elite x3 is likely out of reach for many.

Enter the Alcatel Idol 4S launching today on T-Mobile and you have a refreshingly great looking and feature packed phone at a competitive price. Plus hey, there’s VR.

What makes the Idol 4S so good for Windows 10 Mobile? Let’s find out.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Specs

Category Features
CPU Snapdragon 820 | Quad Core CPU @2.15 GHz
Display 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED
Dragontrail 2.5D Glass
Memory 64GB ROM
4GB RAM
microSD
Camera 21 MP rear camera
8 MP front-facing camera
Battery 3,000 mAh
Quick Charge 3.0
420Hrs Standby
15Hrs Talk
Continuum Yes
VR Yes
Windows Hello Yes (Fingerprint)
Audio Dual speakers with Hi-Fi surround sound
Dimensions 153.9 x 75.4 x 6.99 mm
Weight 152g
HD Voice Yes
VoLTE Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Calling 1.0
Bluetooth BT 4.1
A2DP, OPP, HFP, AVRCP, PBAP

In the box

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Hardware

The Idol 4S with Windows 10 Mobile is a different beast than the mid-ranger Android version launched in July. The processor has been bumped to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (up from a Snapdragon 652). The internal storage jumps from 32 to 64GB, and there is an additional 1GB of RAM bringing the total to 4GB (although only 3.5GB is available due to the 32-bit OS). Even the camera gets a megapixel jump from 16 to 21.

Nonetheless, there are a few downgrades too. The display drops from QHD (2560 x 1440) to FHD (1920 x 1080), and the phone oddly loses NFC, which means there’s no chance for Microsoft Wallet and Tap to Pay.

The Idol 4S with Windows 10 Mobile is a different and better beast than the Android phone that shares its name

The display is not a big deal as Windows 10 Mobile looks just fine at Full HD, and the AMOLED display and Dragontrail glass combo look great. The loss of NFC and lack of Tap to Pay option, however, is a bit of a letdown.

The Idol 4S has a shared tray for the nano-SIM and microSD card. T-Mobile says it can take a 32GB card and Alcatel’s notes say it can take 128GB, but thanks to the SDXC standard the actual limit is 2TB. Since there are no such cards, you can at least drop in a newer 200GB microSD card for all your music, photos, and apps and use all that storage.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Design

Normally, I’m leery of well-priced but high-end phones from companies outside of the traditional Samsung/LG/HTC camp (even more since I found Alcatel’s cheaper OneTouch Fierce XL a bit underwhelming).

I’m happy to report that Alcatel nailed the Idol 4S’s design. The phone is all glass and metal (yes, it has a glass back), but there’s a reason why such models have entered the mobile market. They feel premium, and the Idol 4S is just that: first class.

I would caution, however, if you are prone to drops you should put a case on it as this phone will not take to hard floors or pavement very well at all.

Alcatel nailed the Idol 4S’s design

At just 6.99mm thin the phone feels outstanding to hold while not veering into the too slippery realm of Samsung devices. Nothing about the Idol 4S feels cheap. No detail is missing, including the little exclamation point and grooves on the dedicated camera key. Sure, that camera key (the recycled ‘Boom Key’ from the Android variant) is placed in the middle of the side, but this is not concerning.

The black and gold color scheme – reminiscent of HP’s recent Spectre series – is modern, but not flamboyant; elegant, not gaudy.

The Idol 4S features metal volume control (right side) and power buttons (upper left). The placement is unique, but I had no trouble adapting. It’s certainly better than the Lumia 950 XL’s odd setup. The buttons have adequate travel and tactile feel with no wiggle.

Between the weight (152g), thinness, and materials, Alcatel has easily created the best-looking Windows 10 Mobile phone to date. The only thing that may bother some people is the protruding camera housing. Personally, I’m fine with it.

Haptic feedback and vibration alerts fall on the soft and weak side. If you want loud and powerful, go for the Elite x3, which is like an electric razor whenever a notification comes in/

Finally, there’s a white LED in the front that serves as a charging indicator and nothing more. It’s a satisfactory addition letting you know the phone is charging.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Display

The Alcatel Idol 4S features an ample 5.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) AMOLED display. Instead of Gorilla Glass, Alcatel has opted for Dragontrail, manufactured by Asahi Glass in Japan. Dragontrail features the usual ‘high strength versus thinness’ display tech with effective scratch resistance.

I like 5.5-inch screens. While the Elite x3 is arguably too big at 6-inches, the Idol 4S hits the sweet spot. It’s big enough to enjoy when in use, but small enough to slip into your front pocket.

It’s also oleophobic, or at least seems that way. Glass is glass, so you’ll still need to wipe it down occasionally, but it feels just like the Galaxy S7’s also-excellent display.

The Idol 4S’s HD display is bright, vibrant, and looks good at all angles.

While a step down from the QHD Android version, Windows 10 Mobile looks excellent in Full HD. Because of the lower resolution, the Idol 4S gets improved battery life. It’s a small tradeoff, but I think Alcatel chose wisely in this case. 1920×1080 at 5.5 inches is still a more-than-acceptable 400ppi.

I have no complaints about the Idol 4’s display. It’s bright, vibrant, and looks good at all angles. It’s also smooth to the touch with no perceptible lags. Even brightness auto-adjustment is perfect. It gets dim at night and bright during the day all at the right levels.

Finally, Alcatel included the option for double-tap to wake and super-sensitive touch aka ‘glove mode.’ The latter lets you use the display while wearing gloves and is the same tech found in older Lumias.

The only thing missing is the Nokia Glance ‘always on’ screen from older Lumias. That’s not Alcatel’s fault; the technology likely belongs to Microsoft or Nokia. While it would have been awesome to have, unfortunately, that is something you must forgo here.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Audio

Featuring dual 1.2W speakers and «Hi-Fi Audio» the Idol 4S has the best audio in any recent Windows phone, bar none.

The speakers are placed at the top and bottom of the device and are forward facing. Nonetheless, there have some cutouts in the rear as well letting the sound «leak» just in case you are not facing the screen. The top speaker also acts as the earpiece for phone calls.

The Idol 4S can get very loud without distortion. It’s quite impressive.

When holding the Idol 4S horizontally and watching video e.g. YouTube, you get a stereo-like effect. While the HP Elite x3 also features dual front-facing speakers, the sound quality is markedly better with Idol 4S — another mark towards being a more consumer-friendly media device.

Due to the speaker placement, there is little chance you will obstruct them when holding the device either vertically (like a rear-placed speaker) or horizontally when playing a video game.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Battery

The Idol 4S is powered by an ample 3000 mAh non-removable battery. While significantly smaller than the Elite x3’s massive 4150 mAh cell, the Idol 4S also has a smaller and lower-resolution display that will demand less juice.

Combined with the improved battery savviness of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and you have a winning combination of an all-day battery as well as low-heat output. In many ways, it feels like the Elite x3’s battery longevity and it can easily push 13 hours with moderate usage.

Standby time is also outstanding. We used the phone all day for this review’s video shoot. I left it off the charger, and the next morning it was still humming at 65% after a full day of regular use — email, music streaming, hopping between Wi-Fi and LTE, etc.

Next to the Elite x3, the Idol 4S gets the second-longest battery life among all Windows phones.

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 is also on board, letting you power the phone quickly using the included wall charger and USB Type-C cable. Alcatel claims the Idol 4S can recharge fully in 100 minutes, and that seems accurate from my usage. Unfortunately, there is no Qi or PMA wireless charging technology.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Cameras

Cameras on Windows phones are tricky — the bar was set so high by previous flagship Lumias. Nonetheless, the recent contributions by HP and now Alcatel signal that that gulf between Microsoft/Nokia phones and Microsoft OEM partners is not as drastic as it used to be.

The Idol 4S features a 21 MP rear camera with a Sony sensor and Phase Detection Autofocus. There is also a dual tone flash. It’s a decent camera delivering middle of the road photos. During daytime and outdoor shots most people will be quite happy with the results. In low-light and nighttime, you will struggle. The Dual Tone flash is OK producing some decently balanced images although the throw is minimal. Off the cuff, the Elite x3 is slightly better with brighter and sharper images.

The dedicated side camera button is a treat to finally have on a non-Lumia device. The Android version of this phone allows the button to be customized for different functions, but on the Idol 4S with Windows 10 it is just for launching the camera and snapping the shutter. Regardless, it’s great to have it here, and I have no criticisms.

Turning to the front and the Idol 4S has a better-than-average 8MP camera producing images at 2448×3264 resolution. The camera shoots wider than the Elite x3, making it adequate for social shots and selfies. The Idol 4S though also has a neat trick with a small LED torch for the front camera. Although it can work in dark settings, it works even better as a fill flash to remove shadows. It’s a decent twist and well worth having.

For the average consumer, the camera is likely good enough. But it won’t convince Lumia fans.

For the average consumer, the camera is likely good enough. However, due to the current low market share of Windows 10 Mobile the Idol 4S appeals naturally to fans and diehard users of Microsoft’s OS. Those people are accustomed to having some of the best imaging around, and the Idol 4S is a good upgrade from the current Lumia line except for imaging where it falls short.

While I think the rear shooter is okay for regular users, it will be hard to convince Lumia fans otherwise. That’s a shame for what is otherwise a fantastic phone. I think it’s okay to put some of the blame at Microsoft’s feet for not giving OEM partners more tools to customize and improve the camera using the SDK.

Camera Samples

The Idol 4S has some soft focusing and a very sensitive spot metering system. Photos fall into the ‘OK’ category, but nothing more.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Virtual Reality

One of the trademark features of the Idol 4S with Windows 10 is Virtual Reality. In fact, in the box, the phone comes with a very nice VR headset to use with the phone. The headset is great quality, comfortable to wear, and has no light leakage.

Personally, I’m not a fan of phone VR. It’s a neat intro to the emerging technology, but even on my Galaxy S7, which has a superior VR experience, I have never used it more than twice. To be clear, that is my personal bias and does not represent everyone.

Having said that, the Idol 4S does a decent job with VR and the headset. You drop the phone into the front of the wearable, and it goes into «VR mode» through the VR Launcher. From there you can use things like the two included VR games, VR Store, VR Gallery and more. You can navigate by tilting your head and hitting the two buttons on the bottom front of the headset.

The Windows Store is sparse for VR games, but besides the two included ones (Zombie VR and Captain Fellcraft VR) there are an additional seven titles like Roller Coaster Ride VR and FireWorks VR that can be downloaded. The Zombie game made me a bit queasy due to the motion. You aim using your head and your gun auto-fires. It was clever and mildly amusing. Fellcraft lets you navigate your character through a cave-like experience and was a little more fun.

While Windows 10 Mobile lacks an official YouTube app, Tube360 is pre-installed, letting you browse and watch 360-degree videos on YouTube with ease.

Get the Idol 4S because it’s a good phone — VR’s neat, but not a strong selling point

One issue with the VR experience (besides the lack of content) is the Full HD display now becomes a bit problematic. You can see pixels on the screen that’s barely more than an inch from your eyeballs and blown up further by the headset’s lenses. It’s not disastrous, but there’s a reason why many VR-ready phones are QHD and not just FHD.

Buy the Idol 4S because it’s a good phone that gives a peek into the world of VR. Do not expect, however, to be using virtual reality as a daily thing. I consider VR here to be a bonus and more a novelty, but my colleague Richard Devine was more confident in his time with the phone and VR headset.

Kudos, though, to Alcatel for trying something new. They built up the experience as much as they could.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Fingerprint Reader

Like the HP Elite x3, the Idol 4S makes use of a rear fingerprint reader to turn on and log into the phone. The sensor is smaller than the Elite x3’s, and it lacks the distinctive ridge, which makes it a little harder to feel when you’re reaching for it — after all, it’s on the back of the phone where you’re not looking.

Nonetheless, the sensor worked well. Unlike the Elite x3 and the Lumia 950, however, there is no iris scanner.

Due to its smaller size the area of your finger that it can read is also more limited, so placement can be finicky. It’s a nice addition to have, and when combined with double-tap to wake and double-tap to sleep (on the navigation bar) you get an awesome finger-friendly combo.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Continuum

The Idol 4S is Continuum-enabled, although Alcatel is not promoting that feature too much. After all, this is consumer phone and not geared towards business. There’s no included dock with the phone or Alcatel-branded one available, so you’ll need to pick one up from Microsoft if you want a desktop-like experience.

Running a Snapdragon 820 and with 3.5GB of available RAM, the Idol 4S performs just as well as HP’s Elite x3. In fact, there is no discernible difference between the two. You’ll still run into the same Continuum limitations like being unable to run apps side by side, but that will be addressed with the Windows 10 Creator’s Update early next year.

Overall, Continuum on the Idol 4S is as good as it gets, but for consumers, it is still a novelty until Microsoft improves its capabilities.

Small point of interest: I wrote most of this review using Continuum, and it worked great.

Should you buy the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10?

The Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 is a fine phone, physically, but a huge part of the experience comes down to the second half of the name: with Windows 10. There’s no denying that the current situation with Windows 10 Mobile: it’s in a barely-registering distant third place behind Android and iPhone, and the Windows Store still is struggling to fill the app needs of customers as comprehensively as Android and iOS.

Nonetheless, Microsoft is actively pushing OS updates every few weeks. As we wrote this review, Windows 10 Mobile build 14393.448 was released, which the Idol 4S promptly received with no carrier interference. That’s normal for these phones and a markedly better experience over Android.

A huge part of the experience comes down to the second half of the name: with Windows 10

Personally, I use Windows 10 Mobile every day. Not because it’s my job (it’s not) and it’s not because I don’t have other phones (I have an iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy S7), but because I prefer it. Sure, I don’t have Snapchat, but is that really such a loss?

Pick something that you like and want. Windows 10 Mobile is here to stay, regardless of what tech media may say.

I mention all that because the Idol 4S is honestly one of the best Windows 10 Mobile devices to date. The camera is not the greatest, but other than that it’s a fantastic phone. Reception is strong, the display is gorgeous, battery life is outstanding, and the phone is just stunning.

If you’re in the US, consider getting a no-contract prepaid SIM and trying out the service. From there, you can decide to get the Idol 4S.

See the Idol 4S at T-Mobile

Do you have questions or want to talk about the Alcatel Idol 4S? Jump into our dedicated forums for the Idol 4S today and get started!

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Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Review

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

Quick Take

Even with its underwhelming VR, the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 is a good option at a great price. It’s best for Windows 10 Mobile devotees however, as it doesn’t offer enough to sway Android and iOS users to the Windows platform.

The Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 arrives just in time for Windows phone fans. Before it, there were only three decent hardware options: the year-old Lumia 950 XL, and the expensive HP Elite X3.

The Idol 4S has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB RAM. That power and memory combo rivals the high-end Android handsets from earlier in the year, like the excellent Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.

We took an Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 review unit for a spin. Find out what else there’s to know about this T-Mobile-exclusive Windows 10 phone.

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Build & Design

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 all-glass back

This Windows 10 mobile device looks and feels great. The Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 has a 5.5-inch display with a black glass back panel and faint-gold metal strip running along the sides. Both glass panels are slightly tempered, and Idol 4S is almost entirely symmetrical outside of the camera bump, and buttons along the edges.

The front panel is buttonless, sporting the 5.5-inch display and appropriately-sized bezels, 8-megapixel front-facing camera and sensors, and two front-facing speakers.

The rear panel also sports two speakers, along with the 21-megapixel back camera, flash, fingerprint sensor, and Alcatel branding.

The 3.5mm audio port and pin-hole mic sit on the top, between two antenna stripes, while the USB Type-C connector and another pin-hole mic sit on the bottom, also between two antenna stripes.

The left side houses the power button, and the SIM/microSD card tray (pin release), and the right houses the single-piece volume rocker as well as a quick-launch camera button.

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 camera quick-launch button

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 power button

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 3.5mm audio port

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 USB Type-C

The Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 has a Dragontrail glass display, which is similar to Gorilla Glass. However, you’ll still want to invest in a case. A few drops can crack and shatter the rear glass panel, and it’s a fingerprint magnet besides.

It’s comfortable to hold and use. Everything is where it should be. We appreciate the quick-launch camera button, which can open and snap pics from a locked screen — it saves time, and fumbling through a lock screen and touchscreen can often result in missing the perfect pic. The camera bump is a bit much, but that’s a minor quibble.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 camera bump

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Display

The Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which results in about 400 pixels per inch.

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 5.5-inch AMOLED display

Viewed head on, it’s a fine display with the typical AMOLED attributes: deep blacks and saturated colors. Those go well with the colorful Windows 10 tile-based interface. But it also suffers from some of the same issues that affect the AMOLED panels found on cheaper and older devices. Whites are off, with warmer tones dominating straight ahead, and colder tones appearing at angles.

The display is not very bright, though it’s not a problem. AMOLED’s contrast helps visibility in direct sunlight. You can see the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 display outdoors as fine as any other smartphone.

All told, it’s a good display competing in a market with excellent and amazing displays

The speakers are also very good. In fact, they are some of the best we’ve tested in recent years. They emit robust sound, and are loud enough to fill a room, with only limited distortion at the extremes.

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Performance

With a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset (2.15 GHz) and 4GB RAM, the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 rivals the early 2016 flagships on paper. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have the same specs, for example.

It’s tough to draw any conclusions based on direct comparisons with those Android-based smartphones, given this Alcatel Idol 4S runs Windows 10. The cross platform AnTuTu benchmark puts it slightly behind both the S7 edge and more powerful Google Pixel XL with its Snapdragon 821. A closer look at the benchmark reveals our Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 review unit struggled during the 3D portion of the test (primarily used for gaming), but performed comparably in the UX (for data processing and overall user experience), CPU (for complex apps and multitasking), and RAM (system speed). That’s not bad, considering those phones cost hundreds more.

AnTuTu is a cross platform benchmark that measures overall system performance. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu 3D is a cross platform benchmark that measures graphical performance. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu CPU is a cross platform benchmark that measures complex app and multitasking performance. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu RAM is a cross platform benchmark that measures system speed. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu UX is a cross platform benchmark that measures user experience. Higher score is better.

And that measures up to what we experienced using it. The Windows 10 smartphone ran smooth, and easily handled all the apps we threw at it, even in Continuum mode on a larger display. It also ran demanding 3D games like Modern Combat 5 well enough that they were playable, but they were slightly janky compared against the same games running on the Android smartphones.

The phone ships 64GB internal storage, with microSD expansions support. Our Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 review unit came with about 53GB free out of the box. It does not support NFC.

The fingerprint sensor proved fast and reliable in testing. It’s not as good as Huawei’s though, which remains the mobile industry standard.

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Software Features

True to its name, the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 runs the mobile version of Windows 10. Unfortunately, it’s pretty close to dead as an OS can be, given its poor market penetration. This manifests itself with apps, or more specifically, the app gap.

Windows 10 Mobile app gap

You won’t find any of Google’s apps in the Windows Store. So that means no Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, or Google Photos. HBO Go, Pinterest, and Snapchat are all missing as well, just to name a few. You can also bet that any new or innovative apps and games probably won’t be coming to Windows before Android or iOS, if at all.

Granted, there are workarounds and third-party apps to partially fill the gap, but the situation is bad. Microsoft is pushing its universal Windows platform for apps running across Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Xbox, and more, so there’s some hope it’ll get better. Just don’t hold your breath.

Beyond apps, Windows 10 Mobile is a really good operating system, and we can see why users stick with it. It’s intuitive and looks great on small displays. Cortana is legit, and Continuum is one of our favorite mobile features.

We tested Continuum using a Huawei MateDock and cheap HDTV, as well as the Connect app on various Windows 10 Anniversary Update PCs. Continuum worked as advertised, essentially resurrecting Windows RT, running ARM-based Windows 10 on the big screen. Even though Microsoft has a few kinks to work out (display scaling issues, too many unsupported apps), it’s easy to see the potential. Office apps run great, as does the Edge browser. That’s about 90% of what we’d use it for anyway.

The Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 is also the only Windows 10 smartphone to ship with a VR viewer. In reality, the viewer is just plastic, padding, and lenses, similar to the new Google Daydream View. It’s comfortable enough, and that’s all we can specifically say about it.

That’s because like the Pixel smartphone, or the Samsung phones and the Gear VR, the Idol 4S does the heavy lifting for the VR effect. It ships with a few VR apps, with a few more available for download. They are all very underwhelming and buggy. Oculus this isn’t. In fact, it’s a step below early Google Cardboard efforts.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 VR viewer

Still, it’s hard to fault Alcatel for including it with the Idol 4S. If you’re going to buy a Windows 10 mobile device, might as well get the one with VR support, even if it’s kinda lousy, right? It’s not like it takes anything away from the overall smartphone experience.

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Battery

This Windows 10 smartphone as a 3000mAh battery, which should easily provide all day battery life. Our Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 review unit lasted exactly 9 hours streaming video over Wi-Fi with the display brightness set to max. This is near the minimum you’ll get out of the device on a single charge. Anything more than 8 hours is good, with the best phones achieving upwards of 20 hours.

The device features Quick Charge, and we were able to snag 26% battery from a dead device after charging for 15 minutes. Most smartphones with this feature can hit 40%.

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Camera

Twenty-one megapixels is a lot, but it’s not the only spec that matters. Aperture and pixel size also count toward picture quality, and here the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 suffers.

Alcatel didn’t publish the pixel sizes, though the general tradeoff suggests more pixels means smaller pixels. Smaller pixels have less surface area, and absorb less light than larger pixels. This negatively affects low-light performance.

In the tradeoff between more pixels and larger pixels, we generally prefer larger pixels.

The smartphone takes photos at f/2.2, which is a smaller aperture than even most mid-range smartphones. Read our Pixel XL review on how this and pixel size matter specifically, but the end result is the Alcatel Idol 4S takes lousy low-light photographs.

See the comparison against the Galaxy S7 edge, which is the reigning low-light champ.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 low-light photo

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge low-light photo

Both photos were taken at the same time. In fact, it was very hard to take the picture with our Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 review unit because the display appeared near pitch black. We even took a screenshot of this effect. There’s a dog lying in there somewhere:

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10, taking pic in low light

In order to see anything in low-light through the display, you have to use the focus light. It’s very limiting.

In standard lighting, the Alcatel Idol 4S fares better. Photos are acceptable to halfway decent. We expected sharper photos, and colors are on the drab side compared against similar smartphones in its class however.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 sample photo

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 sample photo

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Value

Of course, the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 is T-Mobile exclusive, while the others are GSM unlocked. We can’t confirm it, but the Idol 4S has the specs to potentially connect to AT&T for a slower connection (the Idol 4S doesn’t support AT&T’s main LTE band).

Alcatel Idol 4s with Windows 10 Review Conclusion

It has a great design, quality build, smooth performance, and decent battery life. Its speakers impress, while the display is good enough. Those are six good reasons to recommend the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 over the rest of Windows phone competition. Its low price is the seventh.

It’s all relative, of course. We can’t recommend it beyond Windows 10 devotees. There’s no reason to switch from Android or iOS for this phone. Its camera is mediocre, and the VR is underwhelming. Perhaps more important, there’s no reason to jump into Windows 10 Mobile right now anyway, even with Continuum’s potential. The Windows app gap is all too limiting.

Pros:

Cons:

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