Today may be ground zero for MWC’s biggest smartphone launches, but yesterday we saw Alcatel (with its new name) get an early start on the new-phone announcements, sharing word of its long-awaited Idol 4 and Idol 4S. With the Idol 3 emerging as one of last year’s surprise favorites – especially when we take into account the value afforded by its low price tag – we’ve been hugely anxious to see what Alcatel had planned for its follow-up. This weekend at MWC in Barcelona we’re getting the chance to find out for ourselves, as we go hands on with Alcatel’s new Idol 4 hardware.

The new Idol phones are feeling the pressures of the market, stepping things up both in terms of premium design and sheer size – no 4.7-inch option this time around. And while Alcatel doesn’t neglect these handsets in the feature department, we almost worry that there’s too much going on: a lot of nice features, from that hardware Boom Key to the VR-viewer box that comes with the Idol 4S, but not one single stand-out capability that Alcatel can focus on for its marketing.

Then again, maybe that won’t end up holding the Idol 4 and Idol 4S back, and we’ll see customers embrace these devices as more than just the sum of their parts. Take a look for yourself below:

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