Why you shouldn't buy the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro with Windows 10 Mobile

In just two weeks time, what may be the last ever Windows 10 Mobile device to go on sale will be launching in several European countries.

The Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, launched late last year in the United States, is finally making its way to other parts of the world. But in 2017, should you even consider buying a new Windows phone handset? The answer is a resounding no.

Windows 10 Mobile is in a bizarre place right now, its Insider Program is a sad state of affairs, and support for the platform from developers and indeed Microsoft itself is nothing short of a joke. The entire platforms mantra has transitioned from being a platform for fans to a platform on life support for HP and its Elite x3 in the enterprise market.

There's zero consumer focus with Windows 10 Mobile in 2017, and the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is just that, a smartphone for consumers. It's not an enterprise device like the Elite x3; it's for people like you and me, who buy smartphones with the intent to use them every day for communicating with friends, taking photos, watching YouTube videos, and staying informed. For most people, Windows 10 Mobile is dead.

Buying a new Windows 10 Mobile handset in 2017 is a risky purchase because we simply don't know how much longer this platform has before Microsoft ups and abandons it altogether, as it did with Windows RT and Windows Phone 7 before it. I'm betting Windows 10 Mobile has no more than a year before Microsoft leaves it in the dust for whatever it has planned next.

Microsoft is, in fact, working on yet another attempt at Windows on phones, but in its inability to actually communicate with fans, Microsoft won't say if existing handsets will be supported when its next attempt is finally ready. If history is to repeat itself, the answer is no; they won't be supported. Of course, Microsoft may surprise us, but we've got no reason to believe that will be the case.

The question is simple: Will existing Windows phones like the HP Elite x3 and Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro be upgradable to Microsoft's next version of Windows on phones? If the answer is yes, then recommending the IDOL 4 Pro would be easy, but Microsoft won't say if this will be the case. Since Windows 10 Mobile isn't even getting an actual full Fall Creators Update release, I wouldn't bet on it.

So, no, don't buy the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro. Until Microsoft can clearly and coherently outline its plans for Windows 10 on phones, recommending a Windows phone to anyone in 2017 would be unreasonable and unfair. It's a shame, too, because the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is a great phone on its own, but with Windows 10 Mobile's future so uncertain, it just isn't a phone that can be recommended to anyone.

If there's anyone out there who should buy this phone, its Windows phone fans who refuse to give up on the platform. If you're a Windows phone user in need of a new phone and have no plans on switching to another platform, then the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is a great buy. But for everyone else, steer way clear.

See Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

221 Comments
  • Until Microsoft announces anything concrete on their mobile strategy and plans I would not buy any phone that runs Windows Mobile.  
  • If your a super fan I don't think what their strategy is matters so much.
  • Fan but, Microsoft didn't care us. So good bye 🙋
  • If you are a super fan, a better Microsoft experience is had on Android and iOS. You can expect support on those platforms.
  • But it's not Windows. It looks and feels nothing like Windows....just sayin. Even being a fan im thinking of getting a android or iPhone as a secondary device. But the look and feel of Windows on my 950xl will keep me here till the bitter end.
  • Windows Mobile doesn't look or feel like Windows either. It feels the exact opposite of Windows. Locked down, limiting and poorly supported isn't what Windows feels like to me. Android is much more similar to Windows then Windows Mobile.
  • I don't understand the downvoting. Windows Mobile doesn't feel like Windows at all! It's like your weird cousin you rather avoid. If Ms gave WM the same love they gave to their Surface line, things would be so different. Both Android and iOS have their issues (I have tons of weird issues with Android and iOS is so amazingly locked-down that I actually ditched it for a cheap Nokia 5 Android phone), but it has the apps (sadly). I just hope they get their act together and make something thats a little more sustainable in the future. I don't like being on Android, but I don't like being on a platform that I can't use because it lacks the apps I need for my job. People actualy laughed in my face when I pulled out my Elite x3...
  • Nice people to laugh at you for your choice of phones. Sorry to hear that. I personally don't care what others think about my choice in phones.
  • Your so wrong, perhaps it would be a good idea for you to try it out yourself. Microsoft, for a long time have been putting all their efforts into android, the experience is much better, is constantly updated and indeed better rendered on Android devices regardless of spec.
  • Was this directed at me?
  • Outlook on iOS only just got the ability to push contacts from the app to the built in contact list - Some of the integration on iPhone is AWFUL. I would just use the Apple equivalents on iPhone a lot of the time.
  • You're off your rocker. You definitely do NOT get a better Microsoft experience in Android and it is no where close to being more like Windows than Windows 10 on mobile. If all your services are with Microsoft the lack of integration on Android makes the whole experience pretty annoying. Outlook is nowhere as good as it is on Windows. After using Android for the past 8 months the only advantage is the available apps, as a business phone it pales in comparison in terms of productivity IF you're tied to the Microsoft ecosystem.
  • OneDrive on iOS can't even continually sync in the background, Outlook has more features in iOS but much worse integration - It's almost walled off from the rest of the phone, maintains contacts separately etc.
  • I have a backup Android device for my Lumia 1520. I use it for Messenger phone calls. That's it. Windows Phone RULES!!! 
  • Said almost no one, ever.
  • So many haters, no wonder why no one has hope, not everyone has killed off winmo
  • Schadenfreude makes wonderful lube... 😅
  • they are mighty cheap tho
  • I would still buy it if I had the money. I love windows 10 OS.
  • Unless we, including the writer, know for sure that the rumored W10 mobile device is indeed coming within a year, I would NOT to advise any existing W10M users NOT to consider either HP x3 or Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro for upgrade.  Even the new mobile device is actually coming, it could be extremely expensive or lack of adeguate phone features initially.  x3 would be my backup phone in case my L950XL fails, as long as HP sells it.
  • Wether it comes or not, W10M will still get minimal support from developers and Microsoft themselves. It sounds like it might get a couple new enterprise features in the Feature2 update, but after that don't expect any support at all.
  • Alcatel should have brought the device to Europe since launch. It would have sold better than the almost non existent X3, given the VR headset and acceptable price
  • Harsh but true. Good that WC says it in the clear.
  • This article is true - a 100% true...
    .
    So it'll be interesting how the known Windows Insider Engineers comment about this (in a conversation) - especially Brandon LeBlanc. The guy Mobile fans have started hating. 😶
    .
    Edit - On further thought, there is nearly zero chance of him tweeting about this. They don't care.
  • Or he has been ordered to say nothing.
  • Only as a recplacement! But good on Alcatel for putting one out there - it is a good looking phone! MS is really doing so poorly on communicating.  Not a good way to build company loyalty for consumers and business.
  • OK - something I can agree on.  In the US on Verizon - there is a zero-balance for Windows 10 Mobile #Insiders.  The 735 is an underpowered and under-batteried daily driver - all-day battery if not used for anything 'fun'...  If you replace the battery on a dieing Nokia iCon (you get your W10M device - with No #Insider builds).... 
    Asside from the HP, and the very few customers that its carriers reach - no W10M future in the US, either. #JimItIsDead
  • Agree with the article: Stay away......🕚😉😭
  • Can actually be applied to all windows phones right now
  • Can be applied to consumer and corporate phones alike, including the HP. Seriously, if Microsoft thinks they can get by doing "mobile" only for the enterprise it will go nowhere. Today's enterprise has invested too much infrastructure on their own iOS devices and BYOD.
  • .
  • My only ray of hope.... or at least wishful thinking.... Considering I own one of these (4S T-Mobile) is that Alcatel /TCL knows something we don't. Could it be that the X3 and 4s will miraculously survive into the next generation of "Windows on something Mobile"? If they don't, why in all good conscious would they expand the release of this thing?
  • "If they don't, why in all good conscious would they expand the release of this thing?" Probably because almost all of its costs are already sunk and this is one way they can try to recuperate some of them. I know I'd buy it, if it only worked on Verizon.
  • I own one t-mobile branded one too, but, everyone believes the next play is Windows 10S on ARM...that requires an SD835.  ie.  This phone is dead.
  • To be available as a replacement for a broken phone, or to add to a fleet of business phones. 950 and 950XL are no longer available.  HP E3 is more expensive. Having the Idol 4pro available as a mid tier reasonably priced replacement phone is good (even ethical). I see no way that any existing phone will be fully upgraded top what ever MS releases next. I wish MS would just say this. It would increase their credibility.   
  • Beh depressing for someone w
    ho bought a lumia 950 10 days ago because he got bored of android and missed Windows phone
  • Doesn't sound depressing that you got a new phone. How do you like the 950?
  • I loved the phone, but I had issues with the Camera. yasserm777, do you have any issues with the camera? My screen would look wobbly when zooming in taking photos 
  • I occasionally have that issue, especially if I switch between photo and video modes. Hence, I've decided not to use the zoom at all.
  • You are right zooming makes photos blurry i don't know why plus processing photos take a while
  • that's why I went right back to my Lumi 1520. Camera is amazing
  • I like it great screen and performance Windows 10 mobile is way better than a year ago when i left but my main problem. Is with battery life the phone overheats too much i can't have a full day charge even with moderate use enabling battery saver restricting background tasks...
  • Still using the 950.  Heating problem seems much less of a problem.  No reason to zoom to take a picture.  Just take the picture and then zoom.  I dont see how the Windows 10 mobile will die.  They may not add any features, but I would assume as Wondows 10 imporves the code for windows 10 mobile improves as well.  I thought that was the whole reason to go to Windows 10.  One OS for PC, xbox, mobile, etc...   Of course not sure how the ARM processor works.  But if Windows 10 will sit on an ARM device, why wouldn't work in my 950?  Underpowered?
  • I'm curious why despite mentioning the HP, the title and strong words to NOT buy focus on the Alcatel. If the point is to tell people to not buy Windows phones, HP in the title would draw more readers since its more well known.
  • The Elite x3 isn't new. A new Windows phone is coming to Europe, called the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro. That's why.
  • I think the focus on the Alcatel, as the opening paragraphs point out, is because the Alcatel is just recently being released in other regions. This presents the device in markets it was not previously available in to customers who may have been able to easily purchase it before. So thought eh content discusses other points, the focus is on the Alcatel for those reasons.😉
  • The focus ought to have been on the stunning and unreferenced statement that mobile won't be getting the autumn creators update. This is the first I've heard of that, which is odd considering much of the first CU was delayed until the autumn update as well as all the promised Continuum updates. I've done an initial search for some statement from MS to back up this claim but I can find nothing so far. Personally, I think that's what should have been the headline.
  • That's been known for a very long time. Platform is dead son, time to move on.
  • 'Windows 10 Mobile isn't even getting an actual Fall Creators Update release...' Huh? When was this announced? Much of the first CU was put off for the autumn CU release on phones, and there's still the promised updates for Continuum that we're delayed until the autumn CU. I've not seen an announcement going back on that plan. This is the biggest news in this article. Please include a source for statements like this! I'm now off for a search for this statement from MS, a link would have helped. Heck, such a statement deserves an article all to itself.
  • You may possibly be the only one on this site that does not know. I'd look for the articles to help you catch up, but they passed so long ago.
  • Nah, that was the branching of the OS. No mention that the new Mobile branch won't get the changes that we're delayed until the autumn update that I can see.
  • Windows Mobile was cut from RS3 builds months ago and they now say there is no plan to merge them. Feature 2 seems to be the end of the road.
  • I know about the Feature 2 spur. When did they state plans to merge have been cancelled though? That is news to me. Link?
  • http://winaero.com/blog/windows-10-mobile-feature2/ I found that with a quick Google search. Microsoft had confirmed it during a recent podcast. I think Donna also recently tweeted about it.
  • That is indeed sad news. I had not seen this statement. Really disappointed in MS now. I think I'll move to an 8 inch tablet with LTE when one finally goes on sale in the UK. Until then, I'll use my 950 XL to provide internet for my current 8 inch tablet. I'm just about ready to give up on smart phones. If MS truly dump its customer base yet again there's no point in getting whatever else they come up with to reboot. We all know how it will play out because we've seen it all before time and again. It is unfortunate that MS waited until they'd sold all their 950 stock before telling us. Very nice of you Nadella. Extremely sharp practice.
  • The only LTE tablets I know of that can make calls are running Android...You can't send SMS messages either from a Windows 10 PC tablet with LTE so that would need to be a new class of device or involve big OS changes if you want that to run Windows - Will probably happen but you are probably better off keeping your 950XL through 2018 and see what happens. That's what I'm going to do - Phones are boring as **** right now no matter which OS you talk about
  • I hate to break it to you, but none of that is coming to existing phones. Microsoft pulled development away from the rest of Windows with RS3 (Fall Creators Update). Microsoft will release an update, and will probably call it the Fall Creators Update, but as I said, it will not be the full Fall Creators Update.
  • Ah, in the article you stated 'actual' fall creators update rather than 'full'. I know about the branching of Windows to separate Mobile (though last I heard that's temporary) but I still expect the changes that have been delayed to make the new branch. I've seen no statement going back on that yet. Is there such?
  • Typically in development when branches are split thats what happens, delayed features are given once the branches are remerged. Indeed thats what MSFT told us officially when the split happened - that feature2 was because of ongoing work on one core, and would be temporary. Which given andromeda, windows on arm, windows s, and the new console UI, makes sense. 
  • Brandon has said a few times they won't be adding features they consider consumer focussed. Such as Night Light - He said nobodies eyes are going to melt if it doesn't get added so it's not that important. They keep saying they are doing some "Enterprise Work" and have mentioned HP a few times but I don't know why anybody would choose to standardise on a W10M device in enterpise at this point anyway - HP should really pull the Elite X3 if you think about it, not sure how their salespeople could push it to Enterprise at this point
  • There is no such official statement. Windows insiders, who are according to leblanc specifically NOT privvy to anything long term beyond their work, have said there is no current plan to remerge. The upshot of that is, win10m probably wont get FCU features. There is however no offiicial word on next year, or whether the many promised features (timeline, continuum etc) have been cancelled. THAT is all speculation. 
  • What phones will be available next year though that are still within support? As soon as a device is out of support they can drop it from production updates, they can drop a device from insider builds at their discretion. As soon as the existing phones reach EOL there won't be anything to push updates to
  • So true and quite a sad situation. It could be that Microsoft want to keep everything a secret so eventually they come out with this killer product or..... they want to be able to kill it off on the quiet.
    My last 950 had zero support from B2X and I'd not recommend this platform to anyone in it's current state.
  • Capitan obvious to the rescue!
  • Sad how Microsoft handled WM in all honesty I didn't really want to leave the platform but there's no choice buying a Windows phone these days seems like a waste even if Microsoft were to say something like they will still support Windows it seem like a waste there's like zero interest in Windows mobile in all honesty I believe Microsoft should just admit defeat, fork Android and develop a new branch they already have a bunch of developer options to create windows and Android application side by side in visual studio. Nobody is going to come to Windows when there's no apps no matter how much people say it's a great OS they can skin android and eventually develop it along into a completely different flavour but as of now there's no point buying a phone with no apps Idc what people ay about apps aren't the future well the future is still a few years off Microsoft needs to worry about now and the future
  • There I a reason why we use periods in sentences, it makes text legible.
  • Its simple i should not buy it because its a windows phone
  • In other news, water is wet
  • Microsoft should release a statement whether they are going to support this platform or abandon it.
  • They won't do that. Their silence is almost proof they aren't supporting it much longer. Announcing they are killing it will not look good and will probably negatively effect their stock price. They won't do that, they have no good reason to.
  • A lack of evidence is never evidence. 
  • Indeed, this is the sad story of windows phones and their users. We are an endangered species after all...
  • I think the decision to buy the Idol or another Windows phone comes down to the buyer's needs and having realistic expectations.  I bought the Idol 4s Pro a couple months ago in the US through T-Mobile to replace a Lumia 640 that was having issues.  I looked at various Android options, but stayed with Windows because 1) I like the OS; 2) my work Exchange account doesn't play nice with Android; 3) the Idol was a great deal for how well it's equipped.  I follow Win phone news closely, and I knew when I bought it that it likely wouldn't get much (if any) feature updates beyond the CU. As long as MS continues to provide security updates and bug fixes, I'll use the Idol until it breaks down. I'm a little concerned about developers abandoning key apps, but I already access some apps through the web browser anyway, and I figure I'll be doing that more frequently, especially once MS releases a new Surface mobile device NOT running WM.  The Idol works for me, and may work for others, as long as they realize they're purchasing a phone with an OS that will be largely abandoned in the next 1-2 years.
  • Keep the flame (we can't well call it a *fire*) alive!
  • Probably a few girls here that don't have snapcrap, so they say "abandon ship". I have all of the apps I need to make my life better. Apps that are missing I normally deal with by using mobile sites. 
  • You might want to look into feature phones, they likely have all the apps you'd need too and can be significantly less expensive.
  • They really don't, unless you count tethering and add a tablet. Have you SEEN the web browsers on feature phones? If you consider them fine, you have very simple needs indeed.
  • I have seen the web browser on feature phones....it's called EDGE.   
  • @Adams (Familiy?) Haha, Nice try. Try again.
  • Really?  there is nothing but the browser and ****** continuum on windows moible deivces.   Apps are NON EXISTANT.  All you can do is make calls, text,  and use the web browser...again,  as I said many times i am not talking about snapchat or pokemon go,  I am talking about usefull ADULT apps.  
  • I have roughly 100 apps on my windows 10 phone. This is absolute nonsense. 
  • Agreed. I have well over 100 "useful adult apps" on my Lumia 950XL.
  • My phone is full of UWP apps too. I think by 'ADULT apps' he's talking about accessing specialist gentlemen's media that may not be a priority for everyone?
  • Huh, guess you guys are right.  It's a vibrant app store with no deficiencies. If there's no app gap, must be that the platform is just substandard then & that's why no one uses it & it died.
  • Lol...wow...bitter? Never said it had every app or every app you might "need" or want. I'm just saying I have all the apps I need and want and that plenty of the app in the store are in fact great, useful apps.
  • If you have 100+ useful app on that windows phone I'm guessing 73 of them are different calculators you downloaded. But whatever, if you like using it, enjoy it while it lasts.
  • Calculators?lol.. Hardly. Only need one calculator and that's the Microsoft one.
    I do and I will...Thank you! Pretty sure it will last quite a while.
  • No.  I am talking about Banking, travel, and payment apps as examples.  Banking apps are non existant or just web wrappers,  ALL travel apps for hotels, car rentals etc are just web wrappers, I cannot get square payment apps or Paypal payment app on windows phone....Open your eyes.  Apps are not apps on windows 10 moible,  they are web wrappers...there is a HUGE difference in the quality and useability of apps.  
  • Ok, both Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest are native apps. I use London Travel for underground and Oyster (native UWP). I use UK Trains for my live train feeds. I have British Airways apps for flights. I use Waze for sat nav \ driving or I could use Maps. I use Pingit for PAYM mobile payments. I use a local car parking app ( Windows 8) for parking. I don't have every motel \ hotel app as frankly, I don't need them. Do I want to use my phone to open my hotel room door? No. We have contactless cards in UK so don't need phone payment systems. Certainly, I have what I need.
  • Royal bank of Canada does not have deposit functions and is just a webrapper...as are westjet and air canada.  On IOS i use my apple watch to board flights,  just by scanning my watch, keeps me up to date on times and delays...the windows app just gotos the website to book flights...there is NO comparison.  My Hilton app, for hotels,  lets me unlock my room,  any other place in the hotel I would need my key for....same with Shereton SPG app.  On windows mobile...just another web wrapper to book a room...again,  no comparison.  Windows mobile is like a mobile phone OS from 10 years ago when all you did was basically play a few games and text.  IOS and Android are far more advanced for real mobile useage now.....MS dropped the ball in a HUGE way.  
  • Not sure what you are saying. Last time I stayed at a Hilton, I went to the front desk to check in. It was empty. Everyone using their phone to check in? I chatted to the desk guy and walked away with free room upgrade and breakfast. I do use the British Airways app on my Win mobile to chuck in, Book flights and it stores my boarding passes. Think of how much you spent in your iPhone. Think of how much I spent on my 950 XL then wonder why my camera is still better, I have more storage for movies via SD card, I have a better screen FHD AMOLED and I'll be thinking of you tapping your phone against you hotel door lock, after arriving late because Air Canada lost your luggage and I'll be relaxing in the executive lounge after a free upgrade because I bothered to speak to someone. :-)
  • Reading the comments here compared to previous articles like this warms my heart. Seems W10M users are finally coming around to the truth their platform is facing. The denial is finally fading 👍🏻
  • Are you calling it denial because we're still using the OS?  Why do I need to "jump ship" when my L950 is still working fine?  Most of us already know the state in which Windows Mobile is in.
  • Wow, why don't you tell us how you really feel Zac. Good PSA article though. I will not be buying another Windows phone again until MS builds up a reliable reputation of supporting the platform. What good is any innovation if it's just abandoned and left to shrivel on it's own.
  • 500 EUR phone that doesn't support Facebook.
  • as far as I know, I've always been using Facebook on my Windows 10 Mobile. Just looked in the store and it is still a listed app... Don't know where you get your info from...
  • From the fact that the app is ultra slow, outdated and never getting updated.
  • You just described the entirety of the W10M experience...
  • It is understandable for "indie" devs to abandon the platform but it isn't for a multi billion dollar company like facebook.
  • I just got a 950 and love the voice to text for all fields. Phone works great and have no regrets at all.
  • Thanks for an honest article Zack.
  • "Windows 10 Mobile is in a bizarre place right now, its Insider Program is a sad state of affairs, and support for the platform from developers and indeed Microsoft itself is nothing short of a joke." Zac, I am proud of you
  • Why buy windows phone all apps games gone from store
  • Not everyone buys phones for the games.  Or apps for that matter.
  • There's loads of games in store that are true UWP. Loads of apps too. More than amazon app store, and no one is shoing people aware from amazon products. 
  • If only i could post a full stitched together screen shot of my entire apps list.
  • Great article, true and to the point. Its a pity MS has the communicating skills of a rock, otherwise making choices would be a lot easier.
  • I had my previous Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM stolen in mid-June and I bought a Microsoft Lumia 650 in it's place: 1GB RAM, 16 GB storage, 8/5 MP cameras, versus the 512MB RAM, 8GB storage and 5 MP camera (no front-facing). In spite of the relative newness of Windows 10 Mobile (650) compared to the not-supported Windows Phone 8.1 (on my old 630), I still praise the relative stability and maturity of Windows Phone 8.1. Windows 10 Mobile is not much faster on 1GB than Phone 8.1 on 512 MB (with half the storage). My friends tried to convince me to move to Android. I could get phones with Android 7.0, 16MP cameras (both front- and rear-facing), good screens, and so on, but I'm used to and appreciate the Windows platform and design language. Microsoft makes it difficult to *love* their attempts at a mobile platform. Too many changes and too little commitment. They have *not* carried the fans along and they seem to think those who are most committed will automatically return when they release whatever magic device they plan to launch. Depending on how Microsoft handles the next few months (especially in communication), this may be my last 'phone' powered by a Microsoft OS. They have it all to lose (or gain) for themselves. The consumer market is not the same as enterprise. Until they learn this, they are doomed to fail.
  • I can't resist, but how do you double the price of a Lumia 630? Put it in a case!
  • That's cold bro.
  • I feel so sad for a company like Alcatel and HP.
    Microsoft's inability to communicate is just stunning.
  • The only thing that keeps me on Windows Mobile is Continuum. I use it at work and it's so much better than lugging a laptop around. Once that's gone, so am I ☹
  • I am happy with mine but there is no support. Camera is slow and not very good, and no firmware has or will be coming to the device.
  • I am so glad this article did not hold any punches.  I know this site is a Microsoft centered site, as such, there's a bit of sway and bias which irked me a little as things got worse and worse with Mobile.  I really appreciate this piece calling it for what it is...an uncertain time for Windows Mobile to say the least.
  • I'm just sitting back and waiting for the prices to fall on all the Lumia 950xl so I can snatch it up for cheap. I need a good one for nostalgia purposes much like my Lumia 750. I'll look back at it in a fews years and be like, "Remember when...". Which reminds me, I need to check Ebay.
  • Memberberries.
  • cant microsoft just fork android and also add windows mobile features ?  Blackberry did this and it worked great for them.  they use android with blackberry's security features.  Amazon al