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Hands-On: Alcatel Fierce 2 and Evolve 2

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Sep 9, 2014, 5:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Sep 9, 2014, 7:46 PM

Alcatel scored a win with T-Mobile, which has agreed to sell the OneTouch Fierce 2 and OneTouch Evolve 2. These low-cost handsets redefine value with their solid build quality and eye-popping price points.

Alcatel announced the Fierce 2 and Evolve 2 for T-Mobile several weeks ago, and we finally had a chance to sit down with them this week in Las Vegas. These two entry-level handsets are an incredible value and offer a lot for the dollar. Here are our initial impressions.

Fierce 2

The Fierce 2 is the larger of the two phones. It also has a slightly better build quality and is more attractive than its smaller brother. The overall design is simple and conservative. One might almost mistake it for a Samsung Galaxy SIII from a distance - especially with the chrome strip highlighting the earpiece speaker.

The Fierce 2 uses plastics throughout its construction. The materials feel good, I like the smooth curves and rounded edges. The Fierce 2 feels really good in the hand, that's for sure. Despite the 5-inch display, it is relatively compact. The manufacturing quality is praise-worthy; nothing about this inexpensive handset feels cheap or shoddy.

The screen's qHD resolution is decent, but obviously not the best available. Alcatel is making a value play here, and keeping the resolution relatively low helps keep the costs in line. It is definitely bright and colorful, I just wish there are a few more pixels.

There are three capacitive buttons on the front for controlling the user interface. They worked well. The screen lock and volume toggle are both on the right edge of the phone. They have excellent profiles, making them a cinch to find. Travel and feedback of these buttons was very good. The USB port is on the bottom and the headphone jack is on the top.

The rear shell is removable, as is the battery underneath. The cover pries off easily.

Alcatel keeps its UI very simple. In fact, it's nearly stock Android 4.4 KitKat, which should please a number of people who prefer Google's UI to skins such as Sense or TouchWiz.

The OneTouch Fierce will be available for $126 out the door, which is an incredibly low price point given the features.

Fierce 2  

Evolve 2

The Evolve 2 steps the design, quality, and specs down a bit. The screen is small, the design chubbier, and the overall appeal is reserved for those looking for the cheapest-possible smartphone.

Thanks to the 4-inch screen, the Evolve 2 is compact. It has slightly squarer shoulders, and is significantly thicker than the Fierce 2. The back panel is curved rounded aggressively to help it sit deep in the palm. It has the same chrome band spanning the earpiece speaker as the F2, and the same three-button array below the WVGA display.

The material sand build quality are decent, but not the greatest. I can't say I expect much better from an $80 handset, through. The plastics are smooth and relatively strong, though I thought the seams around the edges were a little uneven.

Anyone used to looking at 1080p HD screens is going to be disappointed with the 854 x 480-pixel screen on the Evolve 2, but Alcatel isn't shooting for experience smartphone owners. It believes first-timers, possibly young kids, will be picking up the Evolve 2 thanks to its low price.

The volume toggle is on the right edge and it has a great profile. The same goes for the screen lock button on top. The USB port is on the bottom, and the headphone jack is on top. The rear shell pops off rather easily.

The Evolve 2 is a solid little chunker of a phone that will be perfect for noobs and budget-conscious shoppers.

Evolve 2  

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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