Alcatel’s New Windows Phone Provides Continuum and VR Experiences

Posted on November 1, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 29 Comments

Alcatel's New Windows Phone Provides Continuum and VR Experiences

Alcatel announced today that its new flagship Windows phone, the IDOL 4S, will ship exclusively on T-Mobile in the U.S. next week, on November 10. The IDOL 4S features Windows 10 Mobile, of course, but it also includes support for Continuum and, get this, a bundled virtual reality headset.


“The IDOL 4S with Windows 10 Mobile is the device Windows Mobile fans and enterprise smartphone users have been waiting for,” an Alcatel representative told me. “Featuring flagship specs and performance, including support for innovative Windows 10 Mobile experiences like Continuum, the IDOL 4S with Windows 10 puts PC-like productivity right in your pocket.”

As you’ll see in a moment, the IDOL 4S is a high-end handset, but the most interesting bit, perhaps, is the inclusion of the IDOL 4S VR Goggles, a virtual reality headset which, as Alcatel notes, brings a VR experience to Windows 10 Mobile for the first time.


Beyond this unexpected new capability, the IDOL 4S is very much a high-end smartphone, with a 2.15 GHz Snapdragon 820 processor with Adreno 530 GPU, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage with microSD expansion, and a large 5.5-inch AMOLED 1080p screen. The rear-facing camera, at 21 MP and featuring a Sony IMX230 sensor, is potentially interesting, and there’s a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader on the back of the device.


From a fit and finish perspective, the IDOL 4S features an all-glass body and what Alcatel calls a halo gold metallic frame for a premium look and feel.

The Alcatel IDOL 4S will set you back $470, which is a lot more reasonable than most premium smartphones, especially when you consider that the VR Goggles are included.

You can find out more about the IDOL 4S on the Alcatel web site. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it’s a great looking phone. And for whatever it’s worth, there is an Android version as well.


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  1. 5 | Reply
    Vuppe Alpha Member #1076 - 2 months ago

    Wait. What? Where's the bashing, Paul? No calling out Alcatel for making a Windows phone? No snarky comments about sales volume projections? Strange.

  2. 4 | Reply
    Siv Alpha Member #451 - 2 months ago

    Hurrah some new Windows 10 mobile devices!

  3. 3 | Reply
    IanYates82 Alpha Member #1573 - 2 months ago

    If the android bridge was still a thing then this would be a genuinely useful  device. Continuum with apps,plus horsepower and a decent camera.

    It's not for me, nor for many anymore, but it's a good consumer alternative to the hp phone for the fans . 

    Really curious what sort of vr stuff you can do with it in win 10 versus the android version. 

    Paul, are you planning on getting your hands on both variants? A comparison review and article woild be a useful for many here and I'd find it interesting . Thanks

    1. 1 | Reply
      prettyconfusd Alpha Member #1780 - 2 months ago
      In reply to IanYates82:

      Agreed - it's a real shame they ditched the Android bridge - having their own Android app store ala Amazon would have been a useful idea - and potentially allowed them to keep what market share they had during their transition rather than allow it to fall through the floor.

      It wasn't going to be a magic bullet - but it would have been a useful risk to take. I mean, everyone's still ignoring W10M anyway so why not give it a shot and see what happens...

  4. 2 | Reply
    EnterMegatron99 Alpha Member #189 - 2 months ago

    Well, I'm buying it.  Looks like a great phone.  

  5. 1 | Reply
    dcdevito Alpha Member #220 - 2 months ago

    I wonder what the VR experience is exactly....???

  6. 0 | Reply
    gsmith-plm Alpha Member #1599 - 2 months ago

    Given that there seems to be no clear path forward for Win10 Mobile, this may be too little too late.  The concept of a phone that can be docked to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse is good.  But it still does not address the issue of the two giant Gorillas (Apple and Android) sitting in the corner laughing that they have more 50 times more apps than Microsoft does.

  7. 0 | Reply
    toshdellapenna Alpha Member #562 - 2 months ago

    The only thing holding me back from this device is the screen size, it's too small for me. That and tmo exclusivity. I'm honestly surprised this isn't an at&t exclusive.

  8. 0 | Reply
    kjb434 Alpha Member #889 - 2 months ago

    This looks like a good contender to replace my Lumia 1520 if it ever craps out.  The only restriction is if it doesn't have all the ATT radios (such as ATT's LTE bands).

    You can buy it from T-mobile without service.  And Expansys USA should get their hands on some.

  9. 0 | Reply
    ponsaelius Alpha Member #1328 - 2 months ago

    Very smart. Looks nice. I wonder if this is the counterpoint to the Lumia firesale. Now Microsoft is out of consumer phones the OEMs feel they can step up to grab that 0.7% market share!



  10. 0 | Reply
    prettyconfusd Alpha Member #1780 - 2 months ago

    It's a really good looking phone - a shame there's no international release even rumoured, let alone confirmed. I'm intrigued at the VR angle also - are Alcatel going this alone or is Microsoft in on this as part of their new VR/AR push over the next year?

    A shame the screen is "only" 1080p, but everything else makes this sound like a pretty capable device. Still, I'm sticking with my 950 for a while longer - no idea what the Surface team will show off next year - or what HP will release as an update to the x3 so figure it's worth waiting to see what happens before figuring out my next move.

    I really fancy picking up a cheap VR container for my phones though - anyone recommend any good apps for Windows 10 Mobile?

  11. 0 | Reply
    Chris_Kez Alpha Member #320 - 2 months ago

    Looks good.  One small nitpick would be the lack of NFC to support the new Microsoft Wallet.  Yeah, QHD would be nice- especially for use with the VR headset- but I'll look on the upside and note that FHD will mean better battery life.

  12. 0 | Reply
    Awhispersecho Alpha Member #1649 - 2 months ago

    it's a shame it's T-Mobile only. Still some users that could use another option on other carriers.

  13. -2 | Reply
    red.radar Alpha Member #2526 - 2 months ago

    Only reason those kids are smiling is because they got paid to hold that phone. 


    Want to check out a windows phone .....


    look well give you 20 bucks each.


    Hey look this thing says Iphone 7+ in jet black with 256g storage is finally in stock at that local apple store.  


    Thanks for the phone bud!

    1. 0 | Reply
      mlwarren0 Alpha Member #2231 - 2 months ago
      In reply to red.radar:

      They are not actually looking at a phone.  That looks like a PlayStation portable.