The Alcatel Idol 4S will be available for pre-order in the U.S. on July 15 at 8:00 am PT/11:00 am ET. Pricing will be set at $349.99, which will get you the Idol 4S, the packaging that doubles as a virtual reality headset, a 2.5D tempered glass screen protector, JBL headphones, and an Incipio case. Units are expected to begin shipping in early August. The Idol 4S will officially launch on August 3, at which point the price will go up to $399.99.
As for what kind of specs your $349.99 will get you, the Idol 4S has a respectable feature set. The front of the phone is home to a 5.5-inch 2560×1440 AMOLED display, 8-megapixel camera with wide-angle lens, and a pair of speakers. Around back there’s a 16-megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens, f/2.0 aperture, and dual-tone flash, and beneath that camera there’s a fingerprint reader.
Inside the Idol 4S’s glass and metal body is a Snapdragon 652 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, NFC, dual SIM support, and a microSD slot. A 3000mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 support is powering the whole package, and on the software side there’s Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Alcatel says that an update to Android Nougat is planned.
Finally, the Idol 4S has a Boom Key on its side that offers different features for different situations. For example, you can press and hold it while the phone is locked to launch straight into the camera, or you can press it while listening to music to give yourself a volume boost. You can also assign any app to the Boom Key to quickly launch it.
Finally, when it comes to cellular connectivity, Alcatel says that the Idol 4S supports LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, and 17, but the spec list also mentions that there’s “no CA.” Support for VoLTE is included, while VoWiFi is listed as “optional.” I’ve reached out to Alcatel to ask specifically about the Idol 4S’s support for T-Mobile VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling and will update you when I hear back.
So there’s the Idol 4S. As with other devices in the affordable flagship category, there are some trade-offs here, but the Idol 4S does look like a nice upgrade over last year’s Idol 3. The packaging that doubles as a VR viewer is a nice touch, letting you dive right in to VR, and the included accessory bundle means that you can protect your Idol 4S right away, too.