Is the 521 alright for a dumb phone that can sometimes do things I might need in a pinch?
The alcatel fierce has one of the worst capacitive touch displays I've used in recent memory, second to that of the alcatel evolve. The proximity/light sensor doesn't work that good, sometimes you're in the middle of a call and want to activate the speakerphone, but the screen won't turn on because the dumb sensor isn't sensitive enough to know that your face is not there anymore. The quad core processor does fine for handling most tasks, and one gig of ram makes a difference when compared to other android phones; battery life of this phone is bad bad bad!. It barely makes through a day of very moderate use.
I'd put general software performance ...