Last updated on September 26th, 2023 at 11:05 pm
The #BloggerLife’s made me a phone guy, blessed with brand partners inviting me to keep up with the latest devices! One of these is Alcatel, North America’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer, which recently celebrated the Canadian launch of Alcatel Idol 4!
At $300, the Idol 4‘s for those wanting premium smartphone features without the premium smartphone prices. (Remember when you could buy a new iPhone without the four-digit sticker shock???)
The Idol’s come a long way, learning from past mistakes to become a stronger competitor in the smartphone market. We get sharper cameras, faster speeds and features galore with every new phone, but where’s the device for people who want one that works? I’ve blogged a long time, and I can tell you—most people don’t want to dig through dozens of menus to find the feature they want!
So, with booming bass, solid design, and a Boom key to enhance how you smartphone, let’s take a good look at the Alcatel Idol 4!
If a phone isn’t tough enough, it won’t stand a chance against me. On any given day, I’ll:
- Have tunes on heavy rotation through Apple Music (because no one can ever have too much “24K Magic”)
- Play the Candy Crush Saga to keep my spot in the top 6 of my 1800+ Facebook friends
- Play the Candy Crush Soda Saga when levels get too frustrating in the regular Saga
- Raid away with my Town Hall Level 9 in Clash of Clans—that is, when we’re not knee-deep in war
- Try my hand at Clash Royale, but I often feel like throwing my phone across the room when suckered by a sweet attack
- Catch a few local Pokémon in Pokémon Go
- Take countless photos of my kids, blogger swag, events, lunch, and city life at its finest…
- Edit said photos in Snapseed because few photo editors can touch it
- Keep in touch with my people via SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Google Hangouts
- Check-in to as many places as possible on Swarm
- Keep on top of my social media accounts with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Keep my Snapchat streaks alive
- Sometimes, even take a call or two!
I treat my phones like miniature computers, pushing them to their limits to see just how much they can take!
But full disclosure—I’m reviewing the Lenovo Moto Z right now, too, so with a current-generation premium smartphone already in my pocket, I might not represent the target market for the Idol 4. But don’t underestimate the Idol 4—with plenty of unique features, it’d be foolish not to give it a fair test spin.
And test it I did.
The Alcatel Idol 4 || The Design.
For the Idol 4, Alcatel combined an all-glass body with a full metal frame, and a 5.2″ full HD screen’s for brilliance even under direct sunlight!
As with previous Idol versions, it’s no tank—my son managed to drop it and it scuffed a bit on its corner. So if you’re rocking one, get a case—it’ll easily take battle damage.
The Alcatel Idol 4 || The Camera.
With a 13 MP camera on its rear and a wide-angle 8 MP camera on its front, the Idol 4’s looking to build legitimacy in what its lenses can capture.
It promises a lot:
- manual, panoramic and HDR modes;
- both a front-facing flash and a dual-tone rear flash; and
- other tricks keeping it relevant for those wanting bigger, better and brighter
I couldn’t get the “interactive 360° photos” or the instant video streaming to work, but I played with the Idol 4’s camera enough to get a feel for it. It’s a tad grainier than what I get with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the LG G4, but doesn’t take bad pictures if you have enough light.
You can see some example shots below:
Its Micro-Video mode also has a near little trick—if you press the Boom key after recording a clip, you can jazz it up with some special effects! It takes practice to get the timing down right, but you can see a bit of the ridiculous my family and I got up to below:
The Alcatel Idol 4 || The Sound.
If dual 3.6-watt multidirectional speakers aren’t enough, the Idol 4’s Waves MaxxAudio interface gives you the most from your music with more customizability than most smartphones. OneTouch Music’s mixer is also nifty, letting you play DJ with the music on your phone, but it doesn’t do much if you stream music like me.
Also, for fossils like me (please refer to my post on turning 33), the 3.5″ headphone jack and built-in FM radio let me get tunes when data isn’t an option.
Funny enough, Alcatel buried my favourite feature in a sub-menu—the Samplebox, a beat machine for the budding DJ at work! It has an Experimental Hip-Hop preset by default, but the free downloads offer others from crunk to trap and Christmas. With a beat machine in such a small package, I can see myself goofing off with the Idol 4 for a good while.
The Alcatel Idol 4 || The Boom Key.
Though my anal retentiveness won’t let me write “boom-ify” in good conscience, the Boom key’s has us rethink how we interact with our phones!
Alcatel starts with some options on how you’d like to use the Boom key. Aside from being an easy way to turn your screen on, you can simply set it to open your favourite application or take a screenshot.
But if you do want to see how Alcatel wants to augment your experience, take a look at the list of Boom effects below:
- Boom my camera: Takes photos on standby mode; pressing and holding the button puts the camera into burst mode.
- Boom my gallery: Randomly shuffles gallery photos for instant sharing as a photo collage or a short slideshow.
- Boom my videos: Generates special effects in existing videos. When a user is recording a video, pressing the Boom Key will immediately broadcast the video live1.
- Boom my view: Creates a more intense 3D effect (parallax UI effect) for the launcher and a stunning live weather display as part of the home screen.
Alcatel put work into a smartphone offering a budget price without a budget feel—because smartphones don’t pay the bills! (Unless they do, in which case you probably have a completely different view on this post—but hey; them’s the breaks!)
The Alcatel Idol 4 || The Budget Smartphone Without the Budget Feel.
It might not be the shiniest or fastest phone on the market, but with the Samplebox alone, the Idol 4’s gonna be a phone I keep around for fun! (And that’s from someone who has access to both Adobe Audition CC and Adobe Logic Pro, two audio applications costing hundreds of dollars ????)
So, if you’re looking for a 4K display, waterproof body, or any of the features from the brands looking to lead the pack in 2016, the Idol 4 is not for you. But if you want a phone that does things a little differently—one you can genuinely have fun with… give the Alcatel Idol 4 a try!
If anything, maybe you can make me some hot beats with that Samplebox so I can drop some flows, right?
Until the next,
1 Couldn’t actually get this feature to work, but interested in someone proving me wrong!
Disclaimer: Alcatel provided a complimentary Idol 4 for review so I could write this post. You can buy your own for $300 outright, or on subsidy for $150 with a one-year contract, or $0 with a 2-year.