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Flagship Alcatels bring the boom key

Alcatel's flagship Idol 4S and smaller Idol 4 pair slick looks with a customisable button found on the side of the phones called the "boom key".

Andrew Lanxon
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy | Team leadership | Audience engagement | Tips and FAQs | iPhone | Samsung | Android | iOS
Andrew Lanxon
Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

This here is Alcatel's brand new flagship smartphone, the Idol 4S.

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2 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

As well as some surprisingly slick style, this phone packs a 5.5-inch display with a 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution, an octa-core processor -- and some sneaky tricks up its sleeve.

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3 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

It's on the side of the phone that things get interesting. You'll find a silver button, called the "boom key", which can be programmed to do what you want.

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4 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

You can set the key to launch the camera, to take photos, or to launch a pre-set app.

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5 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

Set it to launch Instagram in an instant if you want to make sure you can post images of your food before it goes cold.

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6 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

The North American version of the 4S gets a fingerprint scanner on the back.

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7 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

It's made from glass and metal, which gives it a classy look not far removed from Samsung's Galaxy S6.

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8 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

The phone uses a Micro-USB port for charging.

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9 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

There's also a 16-megapixel camera.

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10 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

Grab the phone any which way and the screens will flip around so both ways are "up".

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11 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

There are identical speaker grilles on the bottom and top.

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12 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

Alcatel's sub-brand "Idol" is prominent on the back.

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13 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's running the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow software.

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14 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The boom key is not the lock screen button!

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15 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In the settings, you can turn on the reversible OS.

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16 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There's an 8-megapixel camera on the front, as well as a pair of front-firing stereo speakers.

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17 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Idol comes with a virtual reality viewer in the box. Slot your phone inside and hold it up to your face like Luke here and you can watch VR-specific videos, including those cool 360-degree videos that keep cropping up on Facebook and YouTube.

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18 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The power button is on the left-hand edge, along with a microSD card slot.

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19 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The camera interface is simple and straightforward to use.

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20 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

We like the metal edge to the phone.

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21 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Idol 4S has a smaller sibling, the Idol 4, which we first saw at Mobile World Congress in February. It has a smaller 5.2-inch display with a full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) resolution.

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22 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It, too, has the same front-facing speakers as the 4S.

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23 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And a glossy back, complete with infuriating ugly sticker.

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24 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The camera is 12 megapixels, but the front camera remains at 8 megapixels.

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25 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Both phones have Micro-USB ports on the bottom, rather than the new USB Type-C.

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26 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

At 7mm (0.28 inches) thick, both phones are very slender.

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27 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Idol 4 has the same boom key to quickly open your choice of app.

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28 of 29 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You too could look this cool. Check out more about the phone in our hands-on preview.

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29 of 29 Josh Miller/CNET

Alcatel's name is printed prominently on the back.

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