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Our hands-on look at the Alcatel Idol 4 and why it will take on the big brands

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Tech Guide took a look at Alcatel’s new Idol 4 and Idol 4S smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona which are set to give expensive big brand smartphones a serious run for their money.

And customers who buy the device will be holding a virtual reality headset without even knowing it – the packaging the Idol 4 and Idol 4S comes in is actually the VR headset.

With a new name – the brand is now just Alcatel, not Alcatel OneTouch – it’s an exciting new dawn for the company which has made a habit or providing value for money with impressive devices that are packed with features.

And with the pre-paid market is on the rise and SIM only plans booming, the Alcatel Idol 4 and Idol 4S will find lots of fans.

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In terms of design, features, build quality and premium feel, the Alcatel Idol 4 devices can stand virtually toe to toe with products that will be more than twice as expensive and still hold their own.

Made of glass and metal, the Idol 4 (5.2-inch screen) and the larger Idol 4S (5.5-inch) are thin and light and sit well in your hand.

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Their Super AMOLED displays also hit you between the eyes and your content, apps and web pages are bright and clear.

An impressive new feature of the Idol is the Boom key – a larger circular key located along the right edge.

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The best way to describe its functionality is to say that it enhances whatever feature you happen to be using.

You can take photos from the lock screen, adjust the sound quality of your music, access your gallery photos in random order and generate effects in your videos.

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On the audio side there are front-facing JBL speakers onboard top and bottom which can automatically adjust to the left and right speakers depending in how the device is positioned or being held.

The screen will also always right itself no matter how you pull it out of your bag or your pocket so there’s no such thing as upside down.

Speed wise, the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are not as fast as the top end phones but it still holds its own and you can still get to your apps, content and navigate the device in a flash.

Users will also find a microSD card slot to expand the onboard 32GB memory.

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On the camera side the main rear camera of the Idol 4 has a resolution of 13-megapixels, the Idol 4S has a 16-megapixel camera and they both have an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

We’re expecting this to hit the Australian market in mid-year with an expected price tag of between $400 and $500.

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The Alcatel Idol box is also a VR headset

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We’re expecting Alcatel’s Idol 4 and Idol 4S will be among the best value devices on the market.

* Stephen Fenech travelled to Barcelona as a guest of Samsung