In February, Alcatel announced the IDOL 4 Pro, its new Windows 10 Mobile flagship. Four months later, the device is now available to pre-order from a retailer in Europe; but it's nowhere near as new as the company would like you to believe. In fact, Alcatel has simply given a new name - and an insanely high price tag - to a phone that it launched in the United States last year, and which it's still selling there for a fraction of its European price.
Alcatel originally launched the handset in the United States last November as the IDOL 4S with Windows 10, where it was exclusively sold by T-Mobile, priced at $469. Nine weeks later, the carrier cut its price by 8%. One month after that, it slashed the phone's price by another 33%, reducing it to $288. Two months later, T-Mo ditched the device from its range.
The unlocked model is still available to buy in the US, sold on Amazon by TCL - Alcatel's parent company - for under $275, which includes a virtual reality headset. And yet, Alcatel announced in February that the IDOL 4 Pro would be priced in Europe at €599 (around $680). Even taking into account the fact that the European price includes taxes, while the US price does not, it's clear that Alcatel is still charging at least twice as much in Europe for the same device.
If that wasn't enough, European buyers - while still paying considerably more for the phone - won't get the virtual reality headset that ships with it in the US.
Alcatel said in February that the IDOL 4 Pro would launch across Europe by June. However, so far, it appears that the handset is only available to pre-order from a single German retailer, Cyberport, where it's priced at €607. There's not even any mention of the IDOL 4 Pro on Alcatel's Germany website - or on its global website either, which only lists Android and Firefox OS (!!) phones.
The IDOL 4 Pro's specs are identical to those of the IDOL 4S with Windows 10, including:
- 5.5-inch AMOLED display with Full HD (1920x1080px) resolution and Asahi Dragontrail Glass
- Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage (plus microSD card support up to 128GB)
- 21MP rear camera with Sony IMX230 sensor, HDR support, 4K video recording at 30fps, and dual-LED flash
- 8MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens, 1080p video at 30fps, and LED flash
- 4G LTE connectivity
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.1
- USB Type-C connector with Quick Charge support
- Windows 10 Mobile Continuum support
- Fingerprint sensor
- 3000mAh battery
- 6.9mm thick
If you're thinking of buying the IDOL 4 Pro, make sure you read our review of the IDOL 4S with Windows 10 before you do so.
It's also worth bearing in mind that third-party app support for Windows 10 Mobile is still extremely weak. Companies such as Delta Air Lines, Shazam, Zendesk, The Wall Street Journal, EE, and Spotify have all ended their support for the platform in recent months. Some companies that have recently added their software to the Windows Store have done so by converting their existing desktop apps, which only support Windows 10 PCs. Spotify is one such example; despite 'returning' to the Windows Store, its newly-added app isn't supported on Windows 10 Mobile.
On top of that, questions remain unanswered about the future of Windows 10 Mobile, since Microsoft split its development away from that of the 'main' Windows 10 development branch for PCs and other devices. Despite numerous features being added to Windows 10 previews for PCs in the last few weeks, not a single feature has been added to Windows 10 Mobile over the last couple of months.
These uncertainties surrounding app support, and the future of the OS, will surely make the IDOL 4 Pro a tough sell - and at around €600, it's hard to imagine the device selling in significant numbers.