AT&T Avail 2 Review

3

Introduction


Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when a smartphone company sees itself in a bind, especially when its reputation in the high-end segment is rather lacking in the US, it's only fitting to focus the attention on the prepaid market. ZTE is quite simply one of those companies, despite the push it has made with some of its more spec heavy smartphones, it's still not enough to get ahead of the game. Enter the AT&T Avail 2, a no frills $79.99 outright Android smartphone that’s lined up ready for AT&T's prepaid portfolio. It’s dirt cheap no doubt, so we’re curious if it’ll at least give us something decent to use day in, day out.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Documentation

Design


Nope! You're not going to find anything swell with the design of the AT&T Avail 2, since it's the poster child of conventional smartphone designs – if there is really such a thing! Indeed, we appreciate that it's super compact and lightweight when compared to the greats of today, but regardless of that, it just comes off cheap due to its flimsy plastics and questionable construction. The rear might have a faux pas leather finish, but as a whole, its design is pretty much forgettable.

Much like all other basic smartphones, all the bare essentials are found with this – like its trio of capacitive Android buttons, earpiece, LED notification light, light/proximity sensor, microphone, 3.5mm headset jack, power button, volume control, and microUSB port.

Checking out the rear, it features a paltry 2-megapixel fixed focus camera and two notches that hide away its internal speaker. Sorry folks, there isn't a front-facing camera with this, which limits its overall functionality over other smartphones. Prying off the rear casing, we're granted access to its 1500 mAh battery, full sized SIM slot, and microSD card slot.



AT&T Avail 2
Dimensions

4.6 x 2.44 x 0.45 inches

117 x 62 x 11 mm

Weight

4.4 oz (125 g)

Alcatel OneTouch Fierce
Dimensions

5.13 x 2.64 x 0.35 inches

130.3 x 67 x 8.99 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

LG Optimus F3
Dimensions

4.57 x 2.44 x 0.4 inches

116 x 62 x 10 mm

Weight

4 oz (113 g)

Samsung Galaxy Exhibit
Dimensions

4.78 x 2.46 x 0.42 inches

121 x 62 x 11 mm

Weight

4.27 oz (121 g)

AT&T Avail 2
Dimensions

4.6 x 2.44 x 0.45 inches

117 x 62 x 11 mm

Weight

4.4 oz (125 g)

Alcatel OneTouch Fierce
Dimensions

5.13 x 2.64 x 0.35 inches

130.3 x 67 x 8.99 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

LG Optimus F3
Dimensions

4.57 x 2.44 x 0.4 inches

116 x 62 x 10 mm

Weight

4 oz (113 g)

Samsung Galaxy Exhibit
Dimensions

4.78 x 2.46 x 0.42 inches

121 x 62 x 11 mm

Weight

4.27 oz (121 g)

Compare these and other phones using our Size Comparison tool.



Display


Cringe worthy to say the least, the AT&T Avail 2 is packing along a 3.5-inch 320 x 480 TFT display, which fails to impress us in any way. For starters, detail isn't one of its strong points, as its 165 ppi pixel density count delivers garbled looking visuals. Secondly, the display is so bad that it distorts at all angles except when it's viewed head on – giving it an extremely washed out look. Meticulously looking at it more, the display has a noticeable cooler look, which makes the color white appear a bit blue in tone. And finally, the surface of the touchscreen feels more like brittle plastic, which seems to be a magnet for finger prints and it's super prone to scratches as well. Overall, it's pretty pathetic! But did we really expect anything else out of it?

AT&T Avail 2 360-Degrees View





Interface and Functionality


Nowhere close to having the extravagant set of features found with rival Android experiences, the custom one here running on top of Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean on the Avail 2 still boasts all the foundational elements of Android – like its rich personalization and deep integration with Google's various services. In its attempt to mix it up beyond the usual stock appearance, ZTE has changed up the lock screen by offering us the ability to select what apps we can access from it. At the end of the day, it simply goes to show that little time or investment has been applied to liven up the experience over other offerings.

Taking into factor that we're dealing with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean here, it means that Google Now is available with the Avail 2. Aside from that, all of the core organizer apps have the usual set of functionality we're familiar with on other smartphones.

Regarded as below average in this day and age, the 3.5-inch size of the Avail 2's display makes it tough to type out messages with few mistakes using the on-screen keyboard. Not only is the layout cramped, but it's sometimes unresponsive as well.

Processor and Memory


Armed with nothing more than an aged single-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor with an equally pitiful 512MB of RAM, the Avail 2 crawls with its performance – to the extent that basic operations are affected adversely! For example, you'd think that most handsets would be quick about getting to the homescreen when its home button is pressed, but with this, it surely likes to take its time. Painfully slow here folks!

Even though we're constrained by its 2.25GB of internal storage out of the box, it's something that's easily fixed thanks to its microSD card slot.

QuadrantHigher is better
AT&T Avail 21857
Alcatel OneTouch Fierce4890
AnTuTuHigher is better
AT&T Avail 23856
Alcatel OneTouch Fierce13774
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen(fps)Higher is better
AT&T Avail 23.6
Alcatel OneTouch Fierce14
Vellamo MetalHigher is better
AT&T Avail 2264
Alcatel OneTouch Fierce461
Vellamo HTML 5Higher is better
AT&T Avail 2903
Alcatel OneTouch Fierce1500

Internet and Connectivity


MOST smartphones are able to handle surfing the web with ease, but unfortunately, that's not the case here with the Avail 2. Instead, it crawls trying to load up complex web sites with its HSPA data connection. Furthermore, its sluggish performance combined with its low quality display makes it nearly impossible to accept.

Part of the GSM family, it’s enabled for global travel with few worries about compatibility with other networks. Not surprisingly, it’s armed with only the bare set of connectivity features – such as aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi



Camera


It’s nothing extravagant, but the camera app on the Avail 2 features a few shooting modes and manual controls to keep some photogs fairly preoccupied.

Yuck! You can forget about trying to somehow accept the photo quality of the Avail 2’s 2-megapixel camera, simply because it’s so darn appalling. Crazy to imagine, especially with shots taken under good lighting conditions, but its overall quality is marred by some noticeable presence of noise – and it doesn’t help that its details are flat, and that colors appear washed out! Needless to say, things don’t get any better under lower lighting, so it’s best to think twice about taking a shot with this.


Equally as laughable is the handset’s dated VGA video recording quality. Honestly, it’s been a long while since we’ve reviewed something with such a low-res capture, so we’re not entirely shocked by the results. No surprised here folks, it’s just downright scary, as it boasts several unpleasant qualities – like weak details, heavy artifacting, and sharp sounding audio recording.

Video Thumbnail


Multimedia


We really appreciate that ZTE is kind enough to provide us with a refreshing music player, which is a good alternative to the usual Google Play Music that’s also preloaded, but there’s just a lot of crackling produced by its internal speaker.

Proving to us already that it’s no speed demon with its performance, the video watching experience is undoubtedly a test in itself as well. Sure, it can play low-res videos perfectly fine, but 720p and 1080p videos are taxing – to the point that it stutters tremendously with its playback. And oh yeah, it doesn’t help either when its display isn’t the most ideal thing.



Call Quality


As if things couldn’t get any worse, but they do with the AT&T Avail 2. Call quality is tarnished by the muddy voices on both ends of the line, as well as the crackling tones heard through the speakerphone.

Battery


Actually, we’re somewhat impressed that it’s able to provide us with one day’s worth of juice with our normal usage from its 1500 mAh battery. Considering that its CPU is probably working at all time to keep up with all the processes, we’re surprised it doesn’t drain the battery quickly from its precious charge.

Conclusion


One person’s crap can sometimes be someone’s treasure. That’s normally the case, as consumers have different needs, so depending on what they’re after, even the crummiest of phones can prove to be extremely useful to them. What we have here, though, is a $79.99 outright priced prepaid Android smartphone that begs to be purchased – merely for the throwaway price point. However, the Avail 2 is the kind of phone that’ll test your patience, mainly because everything about it so dreadful. From its super dated specs, to its pitifully slow performance, you might seriously end up finding this phone “accidentally” slipping from your hand at some point

Software version of reviewed unit:
Android version: 4.1.2
Build number: JZ054K
Kernel version: 3.4.0-g0cb1bbe


Video Thumbnail



Pros

  • It’s dirt cheap

Cons

  • Really sluggish performance
  • Outdated specs
  • Low quality display
  • Takes grainy photos

PhoneArena Rating:

3.0

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