Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 reviews

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Given that the Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 is currently only available on T-Mobile in the USA, there's precisely zero chance that I'll get to review it in person - so we might as well take some comfort from the USA-based Windows Central site, which just published its full review. Ditto MSPowerUser, also with a writer in the States.

From the WC review:

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....

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....

...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. The only caveat – besides the mediocre camera and no NFC – would be that this phone is SIM locked to T-Mobile in the US. That's a shame for people who are stuck on other carriers. 


  • Beautiful design
  • Great battery life
  • Modern, high-end specs
  • Affordable price
  • Vivid display
  • WiFi Calling (T-Mobile)


  • Mediocre camera
  • No NFC or Tap to Pay
  • Only on T-Mobile in the US (for now)
  • VR is more of a novelty

Which sounds about right, I'd have picked out that lack of NFC too and I can't believe how many manufacturers worldwide skimp on putting in an NFC aerial for the sake of a few cents on the Bill of Materials. NFC's useful for accessories but potentially downright essential for payments, in the fullness of time - and we have to start somewhere, the iOS and Android worlds have had NFC and payments for years now.

That the camera is average was no surprise, since we're all used to cutting edge imaging on the Lumia 950 range (which are now much cheaper than they were at launch), but I was surprised at the whole 'VR' emphasis, given the 1080p display included. This is fine for every day use but hopeless when you're seeing at 2" via some magnifying lenses and trying to 'believe' what you're seeing. Maybe the VR thing was simply handed over from the Android version as a 'well, this comes with it anyway, so you might as well take it' approach?

On the subject of the Idol 4S with Windows 10 being sold elsewhere, Daniel had this to say:

Alcatel and Microsoft are silent on the issue of the Idol 4S going SIM unlocked or being sold elsewhere. I sure hope they do, because while T-Mobile is a great carrier, I think this phone deserves a large audience even if it's just the diehards. At $469 and with included VR the Idol 4S is a very welcome addition to the small Windows 10 Mobile family.

Agreed. I'd like to see this SIM-free at £300 or so in the UK or Europe - I'd buy one, even if I'd not really use the VR headset...!

Then there's Andrew Bennett's review at MSPU:

I have absolutely no idea why a phone with this much of a focus on photography has a camera this weak and I’m genuinely let down by it. The camera button design’s a great idea, and I do hope that if (or when) Alcatel makes another Windows Phone (with a better camera) it will end up staying around. We’ll take a deeper look at the camera, and compare it with some other phones in the near future, so please keep an eye out for that.


All in all, the Alcatel Idol 4S is the superphone Windows Phone fans have wanted for a while. It does not appear to be aimed at businesses and comes at an excellent price for consumers. For under $500 you have a phone with the performance of a far more expensive device, and it’s a diamond in the rough.

Alcatel seemed to be testing the waters by selling a Windows 10 version of a phone that already has an Android version, and I hope they keep it up. From the design to the performance to the absolutely beautiful display (and the operating system, too!), the Idol 4S is a winner.

I do agree overall, having played with the Alcatel IDOL 4 hardware before. And, having seen how much the Elite X3 camera has been improved over the last few months, maybe there's hope for the IDOL 4S's, even if it doesn't approach the quality from the Lumia range.

Source / Credit: Windows Central