While you may not know it, Alcatel is the 3rd largest mobile handset manufacturer in Australia by volume. So why aren’t they making the news like Apple, Samsung and the other ‘premium’ mobile phone manufacturers? As Alcatel Australia’s VP and Managing Director, Sam Skontos puts it, “…we want the 12 to 14 year olds. We want the 55 year olds. We want the parents whose kids break their phones every week…”.

In other words, Alcatel is not pretending to be an Apple or Samsung, and is very successful making low and mid-price devices that are sold through retailers and in telco bundles. However, just because Alcatel isn’t selling phones in the $1000 range, this doesn’t mean a big compromise, and you get a lot more than might expect for your money.

We have our hands on the Idol 4S, which is $599 for an outright purchase. This is Alcatel’s upper end model, and it comes with premium features that you’d expect to see on the latest and most expensive phones.

IDOL4_BOOMKEY

The sleek Idol 4S with ‘Boom’ multifunction key

To start with, the Idol 4S is a has a long list of features including:[list][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]5.5 inch 2160 x 1440 (2K) AMOLED display[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]’Boom’ button for quick photos, starting a livestream, checking the weather and more[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]Glass front and back with a sturdy metal frame[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]4 premium colour options including gold, rose gold, grey and silver[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]Ultra-fast 0.1 second to focus 16MP rear camera and 8MP front selfie camera [/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]Two 3.6 watt speakers including a JBL Hi-Fi headset[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]Reversible design – pick it up in any direction and the user interface always rights itself [/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]Octa-core CPU (4×1.8 GHz + 4×1.4 GHz) Snapdragon 652 with Android Marshmallow 6.0[/item][/list]

The Idol 4S also has another trick up its sleeve, it comes with very clever packaging that doubles as a comfortable and immersive VR headset. This means that you, or your kids, can enjoy amazing virtual reality experiences right out of the box. A screen protector is also included so you don’t need to buy one as an after-purchase. So for an outright price of just $599, the Idol 4 offers a crazy amount of value, but for a lot less than the premium models.

Next up is the plucky Pop 4, which is Alcatel’s latest model for the entry-level price bracket. Despite its low price of $119 as part of an Optus pre-paid bundle, it’s a very capable, slim and attractive phone with plenty of options and capabilities to keep most of us happy.

The $119 Alcatel POP 4

The $119 Alcatel POP 4

Features include:[list][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]5 inch 1280 x 720 colour display[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]Optus 4G LTE mobile connectivity[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]Customisable case colours as well as leather and wood finishes[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]8MP rear facing camera and 5MP front facing camera with wide angle selfie lens[/item][item icon=”fa-chevron-circle-right” ]1.1GHz quad core processor and Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system[/item][/list]

The Pop 4 is a great choice for parents who want to give their kids a phone, but don’t want to worry about the high cost of replacing it if they loose it, break it or it gets stolen.  It’s also perfect for handing to parents and even grand parents so they can stay in touch.

We’ll be running both the Idol 4 and Pop 4 through their paces this month, so keep an eye out for our full reviews coming soon.