New smartphone’s packaging doubles as VR viewer

You might not have heard of Alcatel, but it’s just come up with a genuinely interesting idea for the launch of its new smartphone.

The Alcatel Idol 4S looks to be a fairly ordinary-looking upper-mid-range Android smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer. What sets the Idol 4S apart from the crowd is its packaging.

As VentureBeat notes, it comes in a hard plastic box that doubles as a Google Cardboard-compliant VR viewer. The phone slots back into this re-assembled packaging, and you have yourself an instant VR experience, all for less than $400 (£277).

Aside from this stand-out feature, the Alcatel Idol 4S looks to be a very capable – if deeply unspectacular – smartphone. It comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 652 CPU, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (plus microSD expansion), and a 16-megapixel camera.

One other feature that you don’t get on many non-Sony-branded smartphones these days – a dedicated key for launching the camera from sleep.

From the looks of the image above, there’ll be more than a hint of the Samsung Galaxy S6 to the Idol 4S’s design.

Related: Best cheap smartphones

There’ll also be an Alcatel Idol 4 offered, with a smaller 4.7-inch display, a lesser Snapdragon 617 CPU, and 2GB of RAM. It’ll cost around $250 (£173).

Both phones are expected to hit the market in May.

Next, take a look at our Samsung VR hands-on video:

Why we’re different

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend. We use industry standard tests to evaluate products in order to assess them properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. Trusted Reviews may get a commission if you buy through our links. Tell us what you think.