Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2 Review
Here in the US, Alcatel is starting to create a name for itself as a low-cost Android manufacturer which really slashes price tags to the limits. With the release of their OneTouch Fierce 2, a sequel to their last year's T-Mobile model, the company has packed a quad-core processor and Android 4.4 into a 5-inch screen device. Of course, there’s some trade-offs like its image quality suffers and data speeds fall far below the the 4G (but not LTE) average. The low-resolution display doesn't really help matters either.
For just $126 off contract or $5.25 per month on a 2 year plan, the T-Mobile sequel is one of the lowest-cost Android smart phones that you can buy with the carrier, topped (or perhaps bottomed out?) by the even more basic Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2. However, it may worth ballooning your budget so you can buy a more reliable Motorola Moto G (both the $180 model and this summer's $220 LTE version) or the Samsung Galaxy Avant ($230). Design wise, it’s tall and heavy just like its predecessor with rounded corners and a glossy black face. It has deep navy backing which adds a touch of character, with a matte finish to ward off smudges and scratches. It has a 5-inch screen that slightly recesses from the frame which makes the handset attractive enough. However, this device is a bit heavy weighing 5.3-ounces (149 grams). It’s easy to hold and comfortable to hold though. It has a volume rocker hehe right spine which sits atop the power/lock button. The phone's bottom-right corner has both the Micro-USB charging port and an indentation for prying off its back cover, which allows access to the microSD card slot beneath. You can plug in the standard headset jack up on top and glance into the front-facing VGA camera (0.3-megapixel) above its display.
On the back, there’s the 5-megapixel camera and flash reside in the center. It has dimensions of 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.39-inch (141 x 71.9 x 9.9 mm) which is why it’s difficult for those with smaller hands to operate the device one-handed, but those who are used to phones of this size will find that it fits pockets and purses about as well as other devices. The screen quality is on the lower end as it only has a 960x540 pixel-resolution display that yields a pixel density of 220ppi, for those who keep count. Just below its display are the customary capacitive buttons which take you back and home (or launch Google Now). Interestingly, the One Touch Fierce 2 hasn't adopted the new button for recent windows. Instead, its menu button acts as your shortcut to widgets and wallpaper. The device runs on 4.4.2 KitKat OS without custom UIs but there's still some of the handset-maker's mark, like on the lock screen for instance, but extras are minimal. It has SwiftKey that’s preloaded by default, though you can always change this in the settings. Just like other Android smart phones, it has the Google's usual apps and services. It comes with a few goodies as well including Adobe Reader and compass and flashlight apps. There's a note-taking app, Lookout security, and you'll also be able to tune into an FM radio.
T-Mobile has pre-loaded the device with their own apps which serve as portals to some of the carrier's services, like visual voicemail and T-Mobile TV. Camera of the One Touch Fierce 2 is not that good. Colors are a little more blued and it does not have that crisp, sharp focus making it so underwhelming. In fact, the image quality is poorer than on rival smart phones. Video quality is also on the poor side. Subjects being videotaped sounded quiet. Data speeds is not stellar as well. Yeah the device phone supports HSPA+ "4G" but not LTE. In other words, theoretical highs of 20Mbps downlink and 5.66Mbps uplink. In a few locations, I got the expected speeds, which works out to about 12 or 13Mbps down on Speedtest.net. Otherwise, results were consistently, alarmingly low: 2 or 3Mbps down. Internal performance seems ok and was acceptable. Its 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor sounds fancy, but it's easy to a delayed response when navigating around. Results of the Quadrant diagnostic test came in at 8,529 (on par with the 2014 Motorola Moto G and Samsung Galaxy Avant). Ditto, Linpack multithread tests for all three, which came in at the low 210 mark. Storage space is very limited as its 4GB limit will fill up quickly, but you can expand up to 32GB more through a microSD card. The Fierce 2 has 1GB of RAM. The Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2’s 2,000mAh battery was not great as it’s only rated for up to 6 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby time.
Unless the price tag is your utmost consideration, skip the OneTouch Fierce 2. Yes, you'll need almost twice as much money for the better-performing device, but it's worth the investment for a smart phone that's going to last you a year or more.