The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Looks like speculation that Alcatel's Idol 4S running Windows 10 Mobile going carrier-unlocked (GSM) after a T-Mobile exclusivity ended were true. As spotted on MSPU Microsoft has begun to make the rather powerful – and impressive – Windows 10 Mobile phone available for purchase in the US through their store.

Asking price is still the same $470, which includes the VR goggle package and 21MP rear camera.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CPUSnapdragon 820 | Quad Core CPU @2.15 GHz
Display5.5-inch FHD AMOLED
Dragontrail 2.5D Glass
Memory64GB ROM
Camera21 MP rear camera
8 MP front-facing camera
Battery3,000 mAh
Quick Charge 3.0
420Hrs Standby
15Hrs Talk
Windows HelloYes (Fingerprint)
AudioDual speakers with Hi-Fi surround sound
Dimensions153.9 x 75.4 x 6.99 mm
HD VoiceYes
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Calling 1.0
BluetoothBT 4.1

The rest of the specifications and color ('Halo Gold') are all the same as well. In fact, it's likely the same device as our review unit, which was unlocked as well and worked brilliantly on AT&T with no issue.

Microsoft notes that the unlocked version should work on AT&T, T-Mobile, H20, Straight Talk, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, and select prepaid carriers.

Supporting Continuum, VR, and a handy fingerprint reader the Idol 4S is also one of the slimmest and nicest looking Windows phones we have seen.

In my full review of the Idol 4S, I had nothing but outstanding things to say about the hardware, design, execution, and price. While the Windows 10 Mobile ecosystem and app situation are well known and the Idol 4s's camera pales to a high-end Lumia, it is still the best option for the Microsoft fan who see little value in going to iOS and Android.

See the IDOL 4S at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

It's unclear if the Idol 4S will go on sale internationally, but we'll keep an eye out for any signs of more general availability. Let us know in comments if you plan to get one or jump into our IDOL 4S forums for more discussion!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • One step closer to international availability! (I hope)
  • This! Some moron smashed the screen on my XL yesterday, so I'm suddenly in acute need of a new phone a bit sooner than planned... I'm afraid this might be the moment I jump ship to Android, at least until MS get around to releasing a Surface Phone.
  • Haha same situation here, exact same!!!
  • Don't be scared... the grass is greener ;)
  • Yea but there is a problem with the grass being greener. It looks great from the fence but as soon as you jump you real it's so green because of all the horseshit!
  • When my L950 contract runs out, I am probably going to wind up going iPhone because I want a small device and I hate Google (thus, the SE is very tempting). That said, if you have nothing particularly against Google, I can assure you that the Android grass is greener.  I do have an Android device (PRIV) right now.  Download the Microsoft Applications app, which will show you everything they make for the platform, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Then, download the awesome Arrow launcher (a MS product), set Cortana to be your circle-button long press, set OneDrive to be your camera backup, and you have a More-Tightly-Integrated-With-MS-Than-Windows-Phone Android experience. And you have a much more customizable, much less buggy, platform, and all the apps you can eat (including browsers that actually work!).
  • The grass is greener on the other side....but somebody still has to mow it!
  • So true
  • I think you mistakenly posted in the wrong forum. This is what you are looking for: :)
  • This!!
  • how the heck did it screen get smashed? he should pay something on it
  • There is no good reason to go to Android.
  • Check the Play store.  There are literally millions.
  • I did jump the ship... Thou I was always using 3 phones main Lumia 950 S7 edge and iPhone 5..
    Now I sold s7 edge and got Axon 7 6gb ram version sold Lumia 950 as I have Lumia 1020 lying around and also brought blu life one x2 as 2nd phone 64gb with 4gb ram... Soo far Iam sorted.. Will wait for s8 and Nokia flagship to get launched then will decide which to buy... As for windows hope surface phone is great and something out of the box for me to start using windows mobile as my main device
  • One step closer to flushing out Ultratech!
  • ...any clues, living in England, as i do.
  • Nope. The usual tactic has been used, of pushing Windows phones in the US where no-one buys them and forgetting where all their customers live. And people wonder why they don't sell...
  • Thanks. Looks like a top phone too. I've no interest in apple or android. Cheers, drew.
  • So, why do you have a German soldier as an avatar?
  • Exactly this. There was a time when the UK had like 15% windows phone market share and the HTC One M8 Windows was a Verizon exclusive and Verizon has nothing but contempt for the platform., and always has. When the iPhone first gen came out Verizon pushed a flip phone with an mp3 player instead of the Samsung Omnia which was better and cheaper than the iPhone one... Why pick a phone to a market that is solely in love with whyPhone and Google way to monitor everything you do and sell it to marketers and the governments of the world for a prophet
  • Especially in Canada, I hope.
  • Dual or single SIM?
  • Probably single sim.
  • Single SIM.
  • Those specs look good.
  • Those specs look amazing. If I weren't holding out (holding hope) for Panos Panay's Surface Phone, I'd be ordering one right away.
  • It is an amazing phone. Build quality is fantastic. It's nicer than any Lumia I ever had (and I liked my Lumias a lot).
  • So true
  • why worry about dead lion when there's strong wolf around.
  • Some of us still like Windows 10 Mobile and it serves our purpose. They day it stops being useful, will be the day I and those that still use W10M will decide which OS to move to next. Until then...
  • I have the T-Mobile one and love it. It's a beautiful device. When ever the Surface Phone finally shows up, I'll probably get that, but waiting out souly for the Surface Phone seems to be a waste as it'll most likely be a while.
  • It really is an awesome device. I have been using one for a couple months now, and I don't really notice any kind of lag on my phone at all. It performs great and has outstanding battery life (I don't worry on the rare occasion I forget to charge my phone overnight), and it also can double up as something I can use for work in a pinch due to Continuum. Only real flaw is the fingerprint sensor, which can be a bit hit or miss. I love mine though and I highly recommend it.
  • I unfortunately sent mine back today and went back to my 950. The phone is beautiful and thin. The screen looks great even at 1080. Front flash was a nice touch. In the end however I wasn't able to justify the purchase because the main camera is one of the worst ever on the WP8 and up devices. If cameras are not important this phone has everything going for it. BTW, not really impressed with the VR thing.
  • One thought : They unlocked it because of the high demand!
    Great news by the way!!!
  • But windows phone is dead.  Nobody wants it.  /s
  • Sweet, this is awesome! Hopefully more will buy!
  • Specs look good, love my HP Elite X3 though :)
  • I agree. HP rocks. 😀
  • Same! Love my HP Elite X3 as well, but since I'm on T-Mobile and a Jump customer I bought one of these Alcatel Idol's as my backup phone.
  • What's a jump customer ? Is that with T-Mobile or?
  • Yes, basically It's premium handset insurance and backup bundled with phone upgrades. You pay the phone halfway down and you are eligible for an upgrade where no money changes hands, you just continue the monthly payments for the particular handset you are getting.
  • If only that Elite were .5 inches smaller.
  • I love the size, and probably alone in this but I could see going .5 inches bigger lol .
  • I thought my HP Elite was gargantuan when I first got it, never had a phone that big, but I gotta say I don't think I'd like to go smaller again. That screen real estate is nice, very nice, and reading text on that screen is awesome!
  • The vr only works with the phone? Or can be used for computer gaming too?
  • Phone only. And although it's a respectable toss-in, someone really into VR shouldn't buy this phone for that.
  • And if you aren't into VR you should be able to remove the VR apps.  
  • I guess, but they don't bother me.
  • This phone is gorgeous. This is what the 950 should have looked like.
  • I love the 950! Looks are fine.
  • Especially with the Mozo Leather Cover!
  • I have the 950 and I think it looks and feels cheap. Performs relatively well, but the casing isn't anything special.
  • I felt the device was lacking in aesthetics as well. However, when my Mozo back (black leather silver trim) came in, the phone looked awesome.
  • mozo fixes that
  • It's better looking in person than it is in pics. I can't put a case on mine because I can't bring myself to cover up gorgeousness.
  • Incipio clear case
  • Ghosttech has a case for that. I have one on my 950XL and it still shows off the design of the phone.
  • Right!  When I went to TMo and held on and felt this phone I couldn't believe how nice it looked and felt.  For all those who a talking about the Mozo on the 950 I had a 950 and even with the Mozo casing it is no Idol.  It just isn't.  Go visit your local TMo store and check one out.  Sure the 950 may be more polished but esthetically, no comparison.  None.
  • This phone has a very feminine look. I somewhat am turned off by it.
  • Would you be more turned on by it if it had a beard? Or unnecessary ruggedness?!
  • this lol
  • he just might haha
  • LMAO!
  • I would love but I spent my extra cash on a nintendo switch pre order...lumia 950 xl you will be with me a little longer.
  • This is awesome news for MS. Another phone finally in store. Now we need the WB phone and then the Surface. Most likely in that order.
    Even though I've got the HP, and LOVE IT! This would be my next choice. Think this is a step very close to international availability. Australia!
  • The Wharton Brooks phone is vaporware, you ain't seeing it any time soon LOL
  • So the camera on this is worse than the AT&T 950?  
  • Yep
  • Nearly all are...
  • It has improved on the latest inder build.
  • worse but not terrible.
  • If you consider the 950 one of the best cameras out there, then this is one is not one of the best. Not one of the worst either.
  • I wonder if there will be the capability to delete some of the VR apps if you don't want them. That would be nice. A very nice and well made device for sure. I liked it a lot but decided to stay with my 950 for various reasons. Anyone who gets this I think will love it. As far as power goes, this is a truly high powered device without the high price tag of the HP X3. Finally a device worthy to take the mantle of the now dead Lumia line.
    Can only hope to have more models come from Alcatel this year.
  • Nope, as of right now you can't uninstall them which sucks.
  • Which VR apps (and content) are actually available?
  • I'll put up a pic of what I have on Disqus
  • I wonder if you can uninstall the VR apps on the unlocked version because according to Alcatel, T-Mobile was the reason you couldn't uninstall them which I find hard to believe.
  • You've got 64GB of storage and a microSD card slot. The few apps you can't uninstall aren't killing it ;-)
  • This!
    Hey, I'm a this man today.
  • same thing i'm wondering, i mean you got all that storage and worrying about vr apps.
  • Not worrying, just thinking up an excuse not to buy ;-)
  • The only things keeping me from buying this to replace the 950 is that the camera is not as good and there's no wireless charging.
  • Then stay with the 950
  • I've been asking this question since it came out. The official word is, it has to be T-Mobile that initiates the ability to remove the VR Apps. Hopefully T-Mobile is looking and listening, but I doubt it since they believe its the major selling point of the phone. I really cant stand the VR Apps, they clutter up an otherwise great phone.
  • This was asked when it launched on T-Mobile. The VR Apps take up very little space. It's not like they're going to slow down or clog up the phone.
  • What are the chances that MS does a little advertising to get the word out and help out a partner?
  • None... Sadly
  • I would say: zero to none. T-mobile did nothing to promote it.
  • The week this launched I stopped into a T-Mobile store to see it. They had a display set up (in the worst location available) with the phone and all the accessories bolted to the wall/shelf and although the charger was plugged into the phone, it had no power connected so the phone wouldn't turn on!! Sales guy said "it's just a Windows phone" & referring to the continuum dock "you can use that to hook it up to a computer" I turned around and walked out. So frustrating!
  • As the headline says-"quietly" lol
  • Lol
  • If I'm not mistaken didn't the snapdragon 820 have overheating issues and other problems?
  • Haven't heard anything of that nature going on with this phone. I think you are mistaken. Also apparently the battery life of this phone is pretty good, which is nice!
  • I think that was the 810.  I haven't heard of overheating with the 820.
  • Absolutely no overheating. It's fast and fluid.
  • None whatsoever. Snapdragon 810 (the one in the Lumia 950 XL) was the apparent dog. 820 is sublime. Fast and much better on battery life.
  • it had overheating issues, not with this phone though
  • Thats nonsense, the phone has no issues overheating, you're thinking of the SD810.
  • But not Verizon. >:-(
  • There will never be another Windows phone on Verizon
  • There will never be another me on Verizon.
  • Poor Verizon
  • Bring the to Australia now, I want something to replace my broken 950 and we have no windows phones to select from here now, except for the Elite X3 which is far too expensive.
  • I bought a brand new Lumia 930 off flea bay Aus for $200, loving it
  • Is that near Chesapeake bay? /s
  • It's a nickname for eBay, I think
  • Couldn't you have gotten a 950 for a little bit more?
  • The 930/Icon was an awesome phone when I had it, just your basic white and black color is all we had though.
  • And New Zealand!
  • Who can get me one? I am serious, i live in the netherlands
  • PM me if you are serious.  
  • Looks better than most Windows Phones that I have seen in the past...Though I have never heard of it until now. Microsoft might want to actually advertise Windows 10 phones as someone may then want to check them out!
  • Advertise????? Never happen.
  • So if I live in Europe I can only get ONE WM flagship, which is horrendously expensive and has a poor camera? MS seems to suffer from split personality disorder. On one hand the Insider programme still rolls on, on the other hand no marketing, no new devices, and the app gap is more like a canyon these days (do any devs update their apps apart from MS? Yes, Netflix, I'm looking at you - still waiting for offline mode). Everyone here is waiting for the Surface Phone, which is like waiting for the coming of our lord and saviour, The Pink Fluffy Unicorn. Even if it comes it will be too late. Oh, and WC, sort out your app, since it's the least reliable app on my phone.
  • Buy one for Nadella.
  • Does he even know about this phone? I don't think so
  • Of course he does! He has the android version ; ]
  • Haha haha, sadly probably true.
  • Hopefully we see it in Canada soon
  • I would like to see this in store!
  • Anyone know about finger prints? Is it only work to unlock phone? What about apps? Is it the same as iOS and android? On iOS when I log in I just need to use my finger print to log in.
  • It works with Windows Hello and any app that supports Windows Hello. Single touch, wakes the phone and unlocks it. I use it to log in to Enpass every day.
  • Love fingerprint scanner.
  • I'll like to ask if the Idol 4s have glance screen?Glance is important to me to view weather and notifications.
  • No, it doesn't
  • Which weather app works with Glance?
  • Um, the link does not work... please fix.  I cannot see the IDOL on the Microsoft store :-(
  • Just tried it, link working fine here.
  • Works fine for me also.
  • Why is this article not showing under the phone tab in the WC app?
  • How about the camera of this phone? Compared to the other 20mp cameras out there?
  • It's an okay camera; don't expect to be blown away by it. Mine did this weird thing where, if you tried to tap to focus (in either photo or video mode), it would instantly adjust the exposure as you move the camera around. This was worse in video mode where you simply wanted to focus.
  • How fast does it snap the photos?
  • When outdoors in very good light, it's about average. When using adjustments or in low-light areas, it can take several seconds. The camera isn't really impressive overall IMO.
  • That is a bummer.  I think I am going to wait and see what Cerulean comes with or maybe what comes out of MWC 2017 (maybe HP's next) before jumping at trying to buy this.  Thanks for your input.
  • Here's my full review if you're interested:
  • The speakers are super nice, I love the stereo sound. The phone is fast and no overheating. Camera has improved. Very nice experience with this phone. No nfc , camera is a little down grade but ok, no glance. Other than that this is a high end super phone imho.
  • No NFC? Seriously?
  • Might be an issue in the U.S. but since there's no tap to pay elsewhere on Windows 10 it's not as big a deal if it launches internationally.
  • I use mine to connect to head phones and Bluetooth speakers
  • Why don't you just use Bluetooth to connect to Bluetooth speakers?
  • Really great looking Phone from Specs/Design aspect... If it comes to Europe i would buy it to have Something Smaller than my x3 with Similar Specs.
  • Not in Canada? Bin waiting for this phone to offer my father. I think for his basic use of phone it would be perfect for him + continuum.
  • Should be no reason why it doesn't come!  Hope to be able to see this in store soon!
  • I read it was released in Canada, but is like almost 200 dollars that true?
  • When in India??
  • Never.....
  • Honest, not as snarky as it sounds, question: Microsoft really expects this phone to move with that price? I mean, if selling 100 or 200 phones is considered a success then I guess this phone will be a hit, otherwise i cannot fathom how a WM10 device can be offered for anything more than 200 bucks in this day and age, regardless of specs.
  • You get what you pay for, you cant be serious to expect a modern phone to go for 200 dollars simply because it runs WM is laughable. If you want a cheaper Windows phone, there's the Lumia 650/640. You can also find the Lumia 950/XL for around 200 dollars on Ebay. Might I also suggest the slew of cheap Android phones as well for 200 dollars.
  • You can buy a similar Android for $200-$300. Windows phones need to be cheaper as the hardware is degraded by the software.
  • No, you can't. What Android with an 820 processor and quality materials like this phone (not to mention that it wouldn' have Continuum) sells for $200-$300?
  • Finding an SD820 phone for under $300 is tough right now but the Lenovo ZUK Z2 is $275 and looks quite nice. There are quite a few 808 and 810 phones available in the$200-$300 range and $300-$350 will get you a really nice SD820 phone including the OP3, Axon 7 and Mate 8. An SD820 Windows phone really needs to be under $300 if it wants to compete with these devices. Continuum isn't unique. Any Android phone can power external monitors and be controlled by keyboard and mouse. You would even have superior apps and be able to split screen them on Android. There are also plenty of remote desktop and x86 virtualization apps. Laptop docks are also available and the free form desktop UI can be enabled on Nougat devices.
  • That's a decent price. Oneplus 3t is for about 440$ in Sweden (taxes included)
  • Nokias mistake was creating a phone that spoke to cheap low end users and gaining their market share that way. The problem is that cheap value phones are bought by people wanting to save money and surely not spend in the app store. Premium users will always spend more and put more effort into their ecosystem as they have already invested heavily in the phone. Apple shows this best with its lower market share than android which is littered with cheap phones. Making windows mobile the Cheap OS will do more harm than good. This is worth it. You don't like the OS buy another phone.
  • That was the only way Nokia could get sales. They would have loved to move more L1020 and L920s, but they just were not selling well. Only the L520 sold well. Without the L520, they would have had no market share at all.
  • The "quietly" part is what's concerning to me. They should be promoting the crap out of this phone -- good hardware at a good price. Sure, it could hurt their Lumia sales, but this would help the platform as a whole I think. Also, the T-Mobile version is down to $432.
  • Except... the software. Maybe after creators update. Consider that windows 10 will be getting another UI rehash. Does that mean all devs have to resubmit their apps with new project Neon requirements and re-do all the UI for their app? Why do you think devs are not moving in on windows 10. Too many changes are occurring at this point due to its unfinished state.
  • I think it being in an unfinished state is why I couldn't stand W10M on my IDOL 4S. It was extremely buggy and sluggish where a high-end phone simply shouldn't.
  • The platform is dead. Microsoft isn't going to push it because it isn't going to be around much longer. As soon as WOA is ready, they will completely kill development. They have basically stopped new features already. They didn't even mention Windows Mobile during the announcement of the Creator's Update. The writing is on the wall and for some reason this website refuses to call Microsoft out. Again.
  • Agreed
  • Wait... "hurt their Lumia sales" there are no more Lumias for sale. This is it until you hit the $700 range. Unless you can find a Jade Primo.
    Yes it needs to be promoted. But how? Buy this phone because we're almost finished with the software. You'll be ready.
    Don't get me wrong. I have this phone. I love this phone. But.. we still don't know what the future is. We don't know when Microsoft will decide to emphasize Mobile.
  • I've had the tmobile variant for a few months now. Upgraded from the 1520. The 4S is a beautiful device and works beautifully. Even my brother who is a die hard Apple fan was impressed.
  • I'm travelling to the US today from South America and I was really expecting this! Most definitely I'll buy one!
  • If it is sold unlocked, can I still import it?
  • sure but you'll need to make sure it supports the right frequencies you need for best experience.
  • So how much is this phone, in the US?
  • I'm home now and can see the graphics in this article. (I couldn't at work.) So now I see what the cost of the IDOL 4S is.
  • Don't forget the student discount on this.
  • Way too expensive for a not so famous brand. I got my Lumia 735 in exchange for my Lumia 720 under a scheme offered by local Nokia care back in 2015, and it never ceases to impress me every single day !
  • Look into Alcatel as company. Been around and dought they'll be going away any time soon.
  • Alcatel and TCL, you're going to be hearing a lot more about them this year.
  • Alcatel has been producing phones for decades: for line lines, then cellular. Then the French sold their mobile phones unit to China's TCL, which is a very big household electric and electronics manufacturer. (I think one of the largest flat TV producers). So there you have it, Alcatel for many years, and hopefully producing many Windows Mobile phones...
  • This is great phone.  If I never had a Lumia with a PureView camera I would get this in a heartbeat.
  • Interesting for the audio reproduction, but for the camera, better have a Lumia 950 XL, a lot cheaper too.
    However, it is becoming likely that I am going to have an Android in between.
  • This phone has the specs I want on a Lumia phone. My mom switched from an iPhone 3G to a Lumia 920 years ago and loves it. However, she is ready for an upgrade. Other than the screen being bigger than she'd like, this is the phone I'm waiting for Microsoft to make, but I know they won't.
  • Why wait. It's here now in a quality device. I liked all of my Lumias, but I love this phone.
  • History of third party Windows mobile devices show that long term support isn't there. I'd prefer to recommend a device to my mom that can be relied on.
  • I guess T-Mobile will make their next comeback bargain/flash sale soon?
  • The only follow up T-Mobile usually has for Windows Phones sales has always been "discontinued". Let's hope that's not the case here.
  • Ordered mine today. I have an Alcatel idol 3 pro love the phone not an Android fan. Looking forward to getting my hands on this phone. Camera is not a real big deal for me so a average or ab​ove average camera is OK with me. I use the the speaker phone quite often and after using the idol 3 Pro with those great speakers it's hard to go back. I tried the 950XL and sent it back. Sure great camera poor speaker quality and poor battery life.
  • Oh, you'll be happy with the speakers.
  • Anyone know if it's able to join insiders program? Also is it in the Microsoft Recovery Tool app?
  • Phone looks and performs great. Had to send mine back today and go back to the 950. I just can't deal with the main camera, giving up too much to leave the 950.
  • @Steadydon Camera was too much to overcome for me. Sounds like its going to be great for you. Possibly the smoothest experience on WM10 yet and the sound is loud and crisp. The resolution is only 1080p but the display still looks great. The ffc flash is nice to have. BTW, I switched back to a 1520 today while I await an unlock code from ATT for the 950. Fifteen minutes after dropping the Idol off at UPS I dropped and shattered the 1520.......
  • Wait, they sell IT $470 but the 950xl cost more?
  • Waiting for the surface phone means waiting at least another year or two I think. I want to get this now and get another phone in a couple years like always. I don't need the latest and greatest. I need something that works well for me, and Android does not work well for me and Apple would need to pay me a six figure salary just to use their dribble