Today at MWC Alcatel unveiled the first phones in their new Idol 4 line. The Alcatel Idol 4 and 4S are successors to last year's Idol 3, and they come with some interesting new additions, including packaging that doubles as a VR headset of sorts to use with the phone. Naturally, both phones also feature some spec bumps and size changes from the 4.7" and 5.5" Idol 3 smartphones. You can see all the known specifications for the Idol 4 and 4S in the chart below.

  Alcatel Idol 4 Alcatel Idol 4S
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
8 x Cortex A53
Qualcomm Snapdragon 652
4 x 1.8GHz Cortex A72
4 x 1.4 GHz Cortex A53
GPU Adreno 405 @ 550MHz Adreno 510 @ 550MHz
NAND 16GB NAND + MicroSD 32GB NAND + MicroSD
Display 5.2" 1920x1080 IPS LCD 5.5" 2560x1440 AMOLED
Thickness / Mass 8.2mm / 142g
Camera 13MP Rear-facing
8MP Front-facing
16MP Rear-facing
8MP Front-facing
Battery 2610mAh 3000mAh
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Other Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.2, NFC, Micro-USB 2.0

On paper, both phones look like they'll be quite good if Alcatel is able to keep pricing within a reasonable range. If I were to make a guess, I would say that both phones are going to come in above the $250 price of the Idol 3, and the Idol 4S looks like it's really aimed at the higher mid range or even the pure high end market rather than the mid range. The Idol 4S is definitely the more interesting of the two, with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 652 SoC sporting four Cortex A72 cores in addition to four Cortex A53 cores, and being built on a 28nm HPm process rather than 28nm LP which has been used for most of Qualcomm's previous 400 and 600 series parts after the move to standard ARM cores.

Both phones have what look to be quite good displays, at least on paper. The Idol 4S is again the more interesting of the two, with a 5.5" 2560x1440 AMOLED display. It'll be interesting to see whether the display is properly calibrated like other recent AMOLED devices.

Beyond the display and SoC, both phones are very similar. The Idol 4S does take the rear camera from 13MP to 16MP, and it has a larger battery simply because it's a larger phone, but most everything else remains the same between the two. Something to note is that they're both launching with Android Marshmallow, which is greatly appreciated in a time where many phones somehow still launch with a version of Android that is around a year old.

In addition to being fairly good phones as far as specs on paper go, the Idol 4 and Idol 4S have one other interesting feature. Rather than being packaged in your standard cardboard box with some manuals and a charger, the phones come in a special case that is also a VR headset. Much like Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard, you mount your phone inside and can use it for VR. The case looks to be much sturdier than something like Google Cardboard as well, and I'm definitely interested in giving it a try.

Source: Alcatel via Engadget

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  • jjj - Sunday, February 21, 2016 - link

    With every increase of res there are lots of people saying it's not needed.But yes , if they stop the specs train, sales would be hurt and some are doing that this year,they'll get burned. As for non-Pentile OLED, highly doubt it. They sell 2 subpixels as a pixel now, going RGB would mean they have to advertise the real resolution and they won't do that unless forced to by regulators.
  • Murloc - Sunday, February 21, 2016 - link

    exotic stuff aside, phones are battery limited, and you also have the issues that developers want their games to work on 99% of phones. So if people stop buying pricey phones because midrange is good enough, you won't be able to make use of the higher end GPUs.
  • jjj - Sunday, February 21, 2016 - link

    GPU's won't be enough even in PC for decades and the smartphone will be long dead before that.
    There is a long long way to go to photo-realism and resolutions won't stand still. Anyone staying 1440p flat this year will get burned, you get that in 200$ phones already. Then foldable will bring even more pixels.
  • name99 - Sunday, February 21, 2016 - link

    People have been saying this ("Apple will be forced to charge less") for years now. I guess at SOME point it will become true...
    People aren't buying iPhones for their specs now; so it seems unlikely that they're going to buy them based on specs in the future.

    Saying that phones are fast enough is ridiculous; it's like you've never used a phone.
    If I have to wait for ANYTHING on a phone it's not fast enough. That's what fast means. On my iPhone 6 I have to wait, for example, on launching an app, or on fingerprinting into the phone. The 6s has both far faster, but app-launching is still noticeable.

    And so: What could be added to the 7, the 7S, the 8?
    Fingerprinting is OK, but prevents fluid interaction with the app suggestions and notifications on the lock-screen. Could fingerprint detection be built into the screen itself? Or use the front-facing camera instead?
    Stylus support for phones would also be useful --- means we now need that 240Hz pressure sampling screen. And even on an iPad Pro there is *slight* (but visible) lag in drawing very fast with the stylus. Obviously that has to go; and it has to go even when the stylus is configured as an extremely fancy pen that isn't just "drawing" pixels like ink but is modifying the pre-existing pixels in some way (like transforming wherever you draw to look like watercolor).
    A large part of what you're paying for in a more expensive phone is a better battery, and that won't change for quite a few years.
    Wireless charging done right (ie identical charger across all Apple devices, ideally without having to place the device EXACTLY on the charger, ideally one charger able to charge multiple devices simultaneously) is coming.
    Flash is going to be replaced by NVM of some form, like 3D XPoint, which requires both CPU and OS changes for optimal utilization, but promises dramatically faster interaction with files.
    Better camera (3D? infrared? variable focal plane?)
    Soft radio (so able to adapt to various specs around the world, and future specs)

    I think I've described enough there to keep Apple busy for at least three more years --- with, of course, the mid-range trailing those improvements by a few years.
  • cyberfrost - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    Gigaset bought Siemens mobile division in 2008 I guess. They are in wireless handsets but not sure about their presence in cellphones
  • Lolimaster - Saturday, February 20, 2016 - link

    652 is a real winner.
  • Lolimaster - Saturday, February 20, 2016 - link

    Although I would like something like 2xA72 @2.3Ghz and 4xA53 @1.5Ghz
  • Murloc - Sunday, February 21, 2016 - link

    poor man's VR

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