Alcatel takes on Samsung with the VR-ready Idol 4 and 4S

Flagship smartphones come packaged with their own VR goggles

Alcatel is putting virtual reality in the palm of your hands with its new flagship Idol 4 smartphone series.

Launched today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ahead of the much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S7, the Idol 4 and Idol 4S handsets feature some top of the range specs and come with a compatible VR headset.

While pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S7 are rumoured to include a Gear VR, the Idol 4 and 4S' packaging actually works as a pair of VR goggles. These can then be used with Alcatel’s Onetouch VR Hub app to access a selection of virtual reality content and apps like Google Cardboard and Littlstar.


Naturally, these phones’ screens have been designed with VR in mind. The 5.5-inch Idol 4S features a QHD AMOLED display with a 1440 x 2560 resolution, while the smaller 5.2in Idol 4 has a Full HD model with a 1080 x 1920 resolution.

Both phones are powered by variants of the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, paired with 3GB RAM for speedy multitasking. If you do pick up an Idol for its VR capabilities, you'll want to go for the 4S with its 3000 mAh battery, as the 4 has a slightly smaller 2610 mAh capacity.

As well as offering more time for gaming, the Idol 4S also comes with a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and an 8MP camera on its front for all your selfie needs. In comparison, the Idol 4 has a 13MP camera on its backside and the same front-facing snapper. Storage-wise, the Idol 4S features 32GB to use up as you please and the 4 has 16GB.


Boom! Shake the room

Despite these differences, both smartphones share a similar lightweight design with speakers placed on both the front and the rear of the handsets to allow for better sound. The phones also run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and can handle microSD cards up to 512GB. 

More catchingly, they also share a Boom Key that allows users to quickly enable extra features, like burst photography and video broadcasting. Placed on the side of the Idol 4 and 4S, this widget is pretty much identical to the Sony Xperia Z3's power button.

Smitten by either Idol? You'll be able to buy the Idol 4 for €299 (RM1400) and the Idol 4S for €449 (RM2100) from May onwards.

For all the latest announcements from Mobile World Congress, including our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5 and all the latest smartphones, be sure to bookmark our MWC 2016 news hub.