Alcatel One Touch Fire Review
Interface and functionality
While Firefox OS is a totally new operating system, its user interface does seem quite familiar. We see that the OS has borrowed a number of features found on other mobile operating systems, such as the slide-down notification panel with quick toggles à la Android, and the iOS-like arrangement of applications on the home screens. To tell you the truth, we grew comfortable with Firefox OS rather quickly as there wasn't anything drastically different about it. The platform's only peculiarity is that one of the home screens is dedicated to discovering new apps. It has a quick search bar and a list of app categories, aiding the user with finding applications they might find useful.
Unfortunately, we don't see Firefox OS as a platform that has been thoroughly polished prior to its release, and it appears especially problematic on weak hardware like the one in the Alcatel One Touch Fire. In fact, we encountered a number of bugs that often required us to reboot the phone in order to restore its working state. Sometimes the phone would just reboot on its own after us trying to launch an app, or just hang for a long time.
The problems with Firefox OS don't end here, however, and it's really the smaller things that really ruined the experience for us. For example, UI elements can be tiny at times, even though there's enough real estate for a more spacious design. Moreover, the existence of a dedicated homescreen page reserved solely to display the date and time appears redundant, especially since you have a system-wide status bar with the clock. Speaking of redundancies, unlike other OSes, Firefox has a two-click unlock, which again, while not a big deal, serves to annoy the user.
Now that we've gotten a bit more specific, it's probably also worth noting that core apps like the dialer, messaging, contacts and e-mail are all pretty standard and are an adequate implementation of basic, but essential functionality. In case you travel often, you should probably keep in mind that Firefox OS uses HERE Maps, a great alternative to Google Maps, though the One Touch Fire simply takes too long to render map data, not to mention that the GPS had difficulty locating us, and would often times simply refuse to work
Before we wrap this up, it's also important to note that while you can technically side-load some Android apps, in the case of the Alcatel One Touch Fire that would equal an exercise in futility – the device unfortunately has trouble running even some of the built-in apps, so a big chunk of the already extremely limited selection of apps on the Firefox Marketplace will prove too heavy for this device
Processor and memory
We've been pretty tough on the hardware on the Alcatel One Touch Fire, and here's why: it's got a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon S1 chip by Qualcomm and a measly 256MB of RAM. Now, considering the very budget friendly price point on the phone, we might have given the One Touch Fire a pass regardless of the underwhelming specs. Unfortunately, however, using this phone is an absolutely frustrating experience, since it lags constantly even when executing the most basic of tasks. Gaming is simply out of the question, unless you're looking for some Solitaire or Sudoku action – that, it can handle.
In terms of storage, you've got 512MB to play with, though only 160MB of those are available for app installs. Thankfully, Alcatel has included a free 2GB microSD card in the box where you can store media content such as photos, music and videos (but no apps).
Internet and connectivity
Since Firefox OS is made by the same company that brought us the wonderful Firefox web browser, one might assume that the Alcatel One Touch Fire handles web pages well. Sadly, that isn't quite the case. The Firefox browser pre-installed on this handset loads pages pretty slow – PhoneArena.com takes over a minute to fully render, not to mention that it crashes every now and then after loading for a while. Seeing as the browser works great on other platforms, we're more inclined to believe that, once again, it's the weak hardware that's at fault here.