Big phone with a small experience

Alcatel's newest budget phone, the OneTouch Fierce 2, comes to T-Mobile for $126 dollars, or a mere $5.25 a month. It's got a 5-inch screen, a hefty size and feel (though the construction feels as cheap as it is), and even runs 4.4.2 Kit Kat. But can this phone compete with the new 5-inch Moto G, which is only 50 bucks more?

Let's take a look.

The OneTouch Fierce 2 tries to tick a lot of boxes for a phone this low-priced, with a large screen, quad-core processor, and a 2000mAh battery. Trouble is, all of these specs have a nice big but right after them. It's a 5-inch screen, but it's a two-point TFT touch panel — as in it only registers two touches at once; most phones today make you run out of fingers first — with only 960x540 resolution. And that TFT panel means the viewing angles are poor, especially for videos. It has a quad-core processor, but it's a low-speed 1.2GHz processor, and there's only 1 GB of RAM. The internal storage is 4GB, but half of that's the Android image, so that microSD slot will be needed and used almost immediately. It has a 2000 mAh battery, but that 5-inch screen will suck the life out of it quickly, so keep a charger handy.

That hand haunts me... also, WHITE!

Like most manufacturers Alcatel has its own (admittedly light) skin over Android, the OneTouch UI, which reminds me of TouchWiz back during the Gingerbread era. It feels dated, it feels choppy, and the settings menu is white. White. This is especially painful with this TFT screen, which has residual images if you go from one of these white settings menus to a dark screen, such as the notification shade. The OneTouch Launcher itself can be replaced, and very quickly was, but the settings menu hardly ever changes, and while the layout remains the same, that white and that messed up Accessibility hand will haunt me for a few minutes, since it essentially burns into the screen for a spell.

Wifi-calling. Woo hoo!

The OneTouch Fierce 2 is feature-rich enough to satisfy most of the budget users that will pick it up, sporting an FM radio to help users avoid the data that music streaming eats up — though T-Mobile is beginning to exempt several popular services. There's also a bevy of T-Mobile apps, and included with it all is Wi-Fi calling, which is a wonderful little tool if you live or work deep in large concrete buildings, under steel roofs, or in a cave.

It may not be quite as nice as fast, or as functional as the new Moto G, but its only about 70 percent of the new Moto G's $179 price. It is, however, almost the exact price of the Moto E, and if you're willing to take a smaller screen with almost the exact same resolution, 20mAh less battery and no Wi-Fi calling, you'll find the E a smaller, zipper phone. If Wi-Fi calling is that important, then the OneTouch Fierce 2 is worthy of it's price point, if only just.