Head to head: Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro vs OnePlus 7 Pro

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It's a fair cop, AAWP phone feature comparisons are starting to be a little artificial, in that they're not direct 'on sale' competitors. But a great many AAWP readers will still be mulling over where to 'jump' when the time comes. From a Lumia 950 or, as here, from an Alcatel IDOL 4S or 4 Pro, for example. Here's my blow by blow, head to head with the top end OnePlus 7 Pro, I'll follow up with an imaging equivalent in a few days.

IDOL 4 Pro vs OnePlus 7 Pro

As usual, I've shaded in green an obvious 'win' for either device, I honestly have no idea which way this one's going to go (as I start to compile the feature)... Any row where a winner would be totally subjective is left uncoloured. Or, where both devices are utterly excellent but in different ways, I've given both a 'green'(!)

  Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro OnePlus 7 Pro
Date first available August 2017 May 2019
Current price, availability No longer available officially, see clearance bins around the world, or second hand. Suggested price £150-£200 £799, SIM-free, from OnePlus, inc VAT, for the 256GB/12GB version here (a £699 version with less storage and RAM is also available)
Dimensions, form factor, weight, design

154 x 75 x 7mm, aluminium frame with toughened glass front and back, 152g

163 x 76 x 9mm, aluminium chassis, toughened glass front and back, 206g, larger and heavier

Durability No specific durability metrics, plus the dual sided glass design means a case is a must. If water gets in then you're pretty much out of luck. Sadly.
No specific durability metrics, so again a case is a must - and a TPU case is included in the box, a nice touch.
Operating system, interface Windows 10 Mobile (now running Fall Creators Update), (dismissable) virtual controls
Android 9.0, virtual controls, on-screen or via swipe gestures (choice of three systems)
Display  Samsung-made 5.5" AMOLED 1080p panel, Dragontrail Glass, excellent colour balance, contrast and viewing angles. Screen area is approximately 84 cm2

6.67" AMOLED 1440p screen, Gorilla Glass 5, great contrast and viewing angles again. Screens are getting so good these days. Screen claims to go up to 90Hz refresh rate, though see in the comments below - there's no real world benefit. Screen area is approximately 109cm2

Connectivity LTE, Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, integral wifi tethering, Bluetooth 4.1, Continuum connectivity to use external displays as secondary screen, independent of the phone display. Note that - perhaps significantly - there's no NFC! LTE, NFC (all uses), Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, integral wifi tethering, Bluetooth 5.0 (all uses). 
Processor, performance Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB RAM (of which 3.5GB are used directly), the fastest Windows phone I've tested so far, despite the lack of TLC from Microsoft or Alcatel in terms of tuning Snapdragon 855 with 12GB RAM. BLAZING fast at everything
Capacity 64GB, expandable via microSD to 256GB or for card swapping 256GB internal storage (in the variant being considered), no expansion
Imaging (stills)

21MP f/2.2 1/2.4" BSI sensor, dual LED flash, HDR shots, PDAF, very decent shots in most light conditions, but capture is relatively slow and it all falls down in really low light, as you'd expect (with no OIS). See my review part 2.

8MP front camera

Cameras: 48 MP, f/1.6, 1/2", PDAF/Laser AF, OIS
8 MP, f/2.4, (3x telephoto), PDAF/Laser AF, OIS
16 MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide)

Excellent results and a flexible system, though see my upcoming pitch on AAWP against the Lumia 950 XL, it should be a good fight!

8MP front camera, f/2.4

Imaging (video) 4K, optionally digitally stabilised (EIS), with 'Best photo' 8MP grabbing built-in, plus high amplitude stereo audio recording. See my review part 3. Up to 4K video capture, with good stereo audio capture. Oddly, even at 1080p, I couldn't see any evidence at all of digital stabilisation, not a setting to enable this, so all footage is very jerky. Then the Settings themselves disappear until after you've restarted the phone, so OnePlus's camera app is very definitely not bug free at the moment.
Music and Multimedia Terrific front-facing 3.6W stereo speakers, arguably the best in the current smartphone world - in any ecosystem. 3.5mm headphone jack, driven by a power amp and pro-quality DAC. No 3.5mm headphone jack, nor a dongle in the box, so it's assumed you'll be all in on Bluetooth. A generic Type C DAC/dongle will work if you have one, of course. There are stereo speakers, in a sense, with the earpiece putting out some decent top end and decent volume and fidelity from a bottom firing 'right' speaker. In a blind test, discounting stereo, the speakers sound great, but the genuine stereo from the Alcatel (plus the pro DAC) still wins out here.
Navigation  Windows 10 Maps is comprehensive, has a degree of live traffic awareness (see the latest workaround), Includes full offline maps with automatic updates. 

Google Maps is now the gold standard in phone navigation, tied in with many other Google services and offering true real time navigation around traffic issues.

Cortana/Voice Cortana is now mature and well integrated, and with a surprising degree of 'assistance'. Google Assistant is baked in and works well (activated from the lockscreen or via voice), though not leagues ahead of Siri or Cortana for real world queries and tasks.
Battery, life  Sealed 3000mAh battery, just about gets through a day even with Windows 10 Mobile(!), plus USB Type C fast charging (up to 2A) and compatibility with Qualcomm's Quickcharge 3.0 (up to 18W). No Qi wireless charging. Sealed 4000mAh battery, easily gets through a day. Charging is up to 30W through the USB Type C port if you use the 'Warp Charge' charger supplied, else typically at up to 2A at 5V (i.e. 10W) from a no-name charger. No Qi wireless charging.
Cloud aids Windows Photos runs at full resolution and quality, and syncs across all signed-in devices, subject to your OneDrive tariff, should you have thousands of images in the system. Plus Windows 10 backs all your media, application data and settings to a separate backup folder system, tariff-free on OneDrive. Google Photos, once installed, does a great job of organising photos and syncing them across all signed-in phones and tablets, albeit at 'reduced' quality (re-compression server-side).
File compatibility As with all Windows phones, plugging into a Windows PC gives full drag and drop to the phone's user file system. Plugging into a Mac sadly isn't possible anymore. Plugging into a PC gives immediate MTP file access, plus this works well on a Mac with Google's Android File Transfer utility, for drag and drop of all user files.
Biometrics  The fingerprint sensor is slower than most in the industry, and it's not clear why! Plus the 'Hello' animation takes a second. On the positive side, it's a lot faster than PIN entry or iris recognition. On the (other) negative side, there's no Microsoft Wallet/Pay. Or NFC. So that side of things is a no go. The fingerprint sensor is under the screen and works surprisingly well, certainly better than the half-assed capacitive implementation on the Alcatel. So - ironically - the best of the optical in-screens is better than the worst of the capacitive! Works well with Android Pay.
Applications and ecosystem  Windows 10 Mobile now has just about every mainstream app covered, aside from Snapchat and Tinder. And anything to do with Google services! Most things can be done via Edge, though 'not quite' as slickly as with dedicated applications. The might of Google and Android's app ecosystem - everything is available and almost always in first party form. 
Upgrades and future

Windows 10 Mobile will be updated until the end of 2019, of course, as part of the global Windows 10 ecosystem and the regular patching and fixing process. Production devices can expect updates every month. The future (2020-) is looking a bit bleak though.

OnePlus keeps its phones updated for roughly two years from first availability, so we're talking mid 2021.

IDOL 4 Pro vs OnePlus 7 Pro


Adding up the green 'wins' gives a resounding 7-2 score in favour of the much newer device, of course, though the IDOL 4 Pro still holds up well in many ways, for a phone which started life in 2016 (in the USA). The big question is, of course, whether I'd recommend the OnePlus 7 Pro as an upgrade from an Alcatel or top end Lumia - and the answer is a resounding yes. There are bugs in OnePlus's Android implementation still, but system updates are coming thick and fast and I'm sure issues will get sorted out. The OnePlus uses 'Oxygen OS', a lightly skinned Android 9/Pie, and is quick to pick up as a new user. Moreover the camera system looks very flexible (article incoming) and there's loads to like in terms of multimedia.

Comments welcome - maybe you've tried a OnePlus 7 Pro yourself? Does it beat out the Pixels and Galaxy phones for an ex-Windows user?