Alcatel Idol 5S

6.8/10 AVG.
RATING



6.8/10
Informr score
The Alcatel Idol 5S currently has an Informr score of 6.8 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 5 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

A phone is only useful if you can use it. If you don’t mind charging in the middle of your day, or don’t use your phone heavily, the phone offers a level of polish that is hard to find in the budget market. However, for many, the short battery life makes the Idol 5S a pass. 

What's good

  • Attractive, sturdy design
  • Bright, detailed display
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Front-facing stereo speakers
  • Decent camera
  • Near-stock Android experience

What's bad

  • Weak battery
  • No rapid charging
  • Slippery finish
  • No NFC

Typically, when a manufacturer releases a new phone, you can count on upgrades to the previous model. The Idol 5S is a weird exception to this rule. Apart from software, many of the features are a downgrade from the Idol 4S.

However, with that comes a reduced cost—especially if you spring for the Amazon-sponsored model. So, with the price drop, is the 5S still an attractive option?

Looking at the phone, you’d never guess it was a budget option. The metal frame and glass back look expensive. There’s also a fingerprint sensor on the rear and two front-facing speakers. You’ll also find USB Type-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Grip and smudging issues aside, reviewers all loved the design and materials used for the Idol 5S. The curved edges made it comfortable in the hand while the fingerprint scanner’s accuracy and placement made it simple to use. However, there’s no NFC support, so you can’t use it to make mobile payments.

Around front, you’ll find a 5.2-inch 1080p LCD panel. While a step down from the panel on the 4S, the screen offers plenty of detail for the size and enough brightness to stand up to direct sunlight while you’re on the go. Color reproduction was hit-or-miss in reviews. Fortunately, you’ll find settings to tune the colors to your preferences.

While slightly slower than the processor in the 4S, the 2Ghz octa-core Snapdragon 625 used in the 5S offers enough punch to perform basic tasks and gaming with ease. There’s also 3GB of RAM to help speed up response times and smooth out multitasking. Reviewers had no issues with delays or stuttering during normal use. However, some noted issues with VR content.

The phone includes a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing lens. In good lighting, the cameras appear to take detailed shots with plenty of contrast. While reviewers noted that color was often muted, many still found the images acceptable for the price of the phone. As with most budget phones, it struggles as lights dim. However, you’ll find a wealth of camera features to help make the most of the low-light shots if you’re feeling adventurous.

Shipping with Android 7.1 Nougat, there is no confirmation if the phone will receive additional updates. However, apart from adding gesture support and other minor features, Alcatel left the software stock and didn’t fill the phone with pre-installed apps and bloat.

With 32GB of internal storage and microSD support for cards up to 512GB, there’s little worry about running out of space. There are also dual front-facing speakers to help you get the most out of your media and games.

While the previous downgrades worked to cut cost without impacting the experience, reviewers all agreed that cutting the battery to 2,620mAh was a mistake. Most reviewers could last a full day with light usage. However, moderate usage might leave you searching for a charger. Heavy usage is out of the question unless you have access to a charger throughout the day.

To further complicate matters, though the phone uses USB Type-C, there’s no support for any of the many rapid charging protocols. So you’ll want to plug in every night to avoid surprises.

Overall, reviewers were cautious to recommend the Idol 5S. CNet sums up concerns well, saying, “The Alcatel Idol 5S is a good phone, but its Achilles' heel is its mediocre battery. While it's a deal breaker for me personally, it may not be for others.” Android Authority is less critical, saying, “... the Alcatel Idol 5S is a gorgeous looking phone with a price point that makes it feel like you’re getting something far more premium.” 


Operating system
Android
Processor
2 GHz
Screen Size
5.2"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Cnet

The Alcatel Idol 5S is a good phone, but its Achilles' heel is its mediocre battery. While it's a deal breaker for me personally, it may not be for others. If you can get past charging it more frequently, it is otherwise a wonderful phone for the price.

- Patrick Holland, Cnet
Digital Trends

The Idol 5S offers a lot of phone for a very reasonable price.

- Adam Ismail, Digital Trends
Android Authority

At the end of the day, the Alcatel Idol 5s is a gorgeous looking phone with a price point that makes it feel like you’re getting something far more premium. Still, it would’ve been even better if they managed to keep the specs on par to its predecessor – while still coming in at a...

- John Velasco, Android Authority
PC Magazine

The Alcatel Idol 5S offers a nice design and solid performance for an attractive price that's subsidized by Amazon Prime ads, but it falls a bit short of similarly priced alternatives.

- Ajay Kumar, PC Magazine
Tom's Guide

The Alcatel's Idol 5S style, bright display and sweet sound bring it so close to being a great value, but weak battery life holds it back.

- Sam Rutherford, Tom's Guide


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Alcatel released the Idol 5S on July 10, 2017.


The Idol 5S price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare Alcatel Idol 5S prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Alcatel Idol 5S user manual here.


Alcatel backs up the Idol 5S with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Idol 5S has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Alcatel support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Alcatel's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
5.2"

The Alcatel Idol 5S's screen size is 5.2 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
2 GHz

There is a Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625 Octa core 2 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 7.1 Nougat operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 512 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
2620mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2620 mAh battery. Alcatel's performance ratings are 1200 minutes.

Idol 5S Specs

Overview
Release date July 10, 2017
Regions available USA
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/1700/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /850/1800/2600/2500 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 7.1 Nougat

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625 Octa core 2 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 32 GB
RAM 3 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.61 W/kg
Body: 1.32 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Data Cable
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2620 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 320 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 459 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1200 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 31.8 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Crystal Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.9 x 7.1 x 0.7 cm (5.9 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
Weight 149 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 424 pixels
Size 5.2 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating Yes
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Dragontrail glass, 2.5D glass
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 512 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 2
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Geotagging, Image stabilization, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, Phase detection, Slow motion recording
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Front camera flash
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, MIDI, MP3, OGG, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments
Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
Alcatel Idol 5S Reviews
Where to buy Alcatel Idol 5S
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Critic Reviews


Cnet

Slick budget phone with a crummy battery

from Cnet

The Alcatel Idol 5S is a good phone, but its Achilles' heel is its mediocre battery. While it's a deal breaker for me personally, it may not be for others. If you can get past charging it more frequently, it is otherwise a wonderful phone for the price.

Read full review

The Alcatel Idol 5S is a good phone, but its Achilles' heel is its mediocre battery. While it's a deal breaker for me personally, it may not be for others. If you can get past charging it more frequently, it is otherwise a wonderful phone for the price.

Read full review

Less

Digital Trends

Gives buyers a lot for their buck

from Digital Trends

The Alcatel Idol 5S is a jack of all trades that doesn’t necessarily outperform its rivals, but nevertheless offers a lot of phone for a reasonable price. Sadly, the budget market is extremely competitive and there are better options to choose.

Read full review

The Alcatel Idol 5S is a jack of all trades that doesn’t necessarily outperform its rivals, but nevertheless offers a lot of phone for a reasonable price. Sadly, the budget market is extremely competitive and there are better options to choose.

Read full review

Less

Android Authority

A gorgeous looking phone with a compelling price point

from Android Authority

At the end of the day, the Alcatel Idol 5s is a gorgeous looking phone with a price point that makes it feel like you’re getting something far more premium. Still, it would’ve been even better if they managed to keep the specs on par to its predecessor – while still coming in at a moderate price level.

Read full review

At the end of the day, the Alcatel Idol 5s is a gorgeous looking phone with a price point that makes it feel like you’re getting something far more premium. Still, it would’ve been even better if they managed to keep the specs on par to its predecessor – while still coming in at a moderate price level.

Read full review

Less

PC Magazine

Aa solid unlocked phone that offers good overall performance

from PC Magazine

The Alcatel Idol 5S offers a nice design and solid performance for an attractive price that's subsidized by Amazon Prime ads, but it falls a bit short of similarly priced alternatives.

Read full review

The Alcatel Idol 5S offers a nice design and solid performance for an attractive price that's subsidized by Amazon Prime ads, but it falls a bit short of similarly priced alternatives.

Read full review

Less

Tom's Guide

A stunner with one spoiler

from Tom's Guide

There’s a lot to recommend Alcatel’s Idol 5S, from its brilliant screen to its stylish design. But this budget phone’s subpar battery life doesn’t even come close to what the less expensive Moto G5 Plus offers.

Read full review

There’s a lot to recommend Alcatel’s Idol 5S, from its brilliant screen to its stylish design. But this budget phone’s subpar battery life doesn’t even come close to what the less expensive Moto G5 Plus offers.

Read full review

Less



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