We can't help but feel that the makers of Alcatel One Touch 332 hid under a rock while making this phone because by the time they came out and sent it out to the world, other mobile phone manufacturers are already light years ahead of them, even the most basic ones.
Needless to say it is a very basic handset, which has an average-looking 4K-colour screen. Compare this to most mobile phones manufactured today that come with 65K colour screens and you can begin to see the plainness of this handset.
Alcatel's One Touch 332 came out in 2003 but only dropped into our labs at the end of 2004, which leaves it behind for around one year compared to other very basic handsets. Its metallic-blue and silver casing gives it a bright and fun mobile phone look except that the 96 x 65 pixel, four-line screen is far too small.
The keypad is easy enough to use but we found the main problem to be on the navigation key. The navigation key only goes up and down; users can't use it to go left or right. The clear button is located on the left side of the navigation key while the right button is a shared answer/hang up button.
Shortcuts are also available on this phone. Up for text messaging and down for the directory -- very simple indeed.
It weighs 77 grams which makes it feel like it's as light as a feather and as plastic as a toy mobile phone.
Press the OK button, which is the centre of the two-way navigation key, and it takes you to the main page. The main page has Menu at the bottom of the screen and Services on top.
The Services section contains your connection to WAP news, weather, horoscope and the likes. For a basic phone, it actually has a very good mobile phone content range.
The Menu section consists of the directory, messages, setup, game, events, and calculator.
Unless you read the manual, you will find it very confusing to create entries for the phone's 250 directory storage capacity. Also, do no expect to be able to store your contact's e-mail address, home address, notes, URL etc. Basic is the theme here.
We found it very strange to have to type 159 in order to unlock the phone's keypad, which automatically locks after a couple of seconds.
As for SMS, there is multi-tap text input or T9 (dictionary mode), but like the rest of the features, it is not blatantly obvious unless you read the manual (to shift to T9, press the # button).
The ring tones, although nothing fancy, are amusing. Our top five most favourite ring tones for the Alcatel One Touch 332 are Laughter, Police, Cucaracha, Turkish March and the best one of them all, the Wedding March.
Unfortunately there is no camera on the handset.
The limited functions of this basic phone simply work. Phone calls were clear and text messages were received. Although very slow, users can get content available from their mobile providers using the phone. It also has a timer that tells you how long you've spent trying to get ring tones, wallpapers or the news you want. Alcatel claims the battery life is 6 hours talk time but it basically depends on the usage, like other mobile phones.
Users today have raised their standards on mobile phones so much it's hard to think where the Alcatel One Touch 332 will fit in -- perhaps for teenagers or first-phone buyers. Even other phones released in 2003 have much more to offer than the 332. Hopefully, it finds a niche market for itself. Or else, Alcatel designers have to come up with a more feature-packed phone to compete in the mobile phone arena.