Made by Huawei, the T-Mobile Pulse fits nicely in the hand thanks to its rounded edges, and the attractive touch-screen dominates the front.
There are a few usability issues, such as a lack of prompts when opening applications and turning on features such as GPS and Bluetooth was a longwinded process, and ultimately a tad frustrating.
The T-Mobile Pulse is a basic Android phone, and as such the feature set is not as competent as those found on HTC models. However, with the help of the Android Marketplace, you can spruce it up to a more acceptable level.
The touch-screen is nice and responsive, and GPS is excellent, securing a fix in less than a second.
Battery performance was very good.
It may not have the wow factor of other high-end HTC Android models, but this is an worthy handset that fits its low price tag accordingly.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:56:18 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Excellent web and GPS, good touch-screen, available on prepay.
Lack of preloaded extras, sluggish keyboard.
Feeling left out of the Android gang but can’t afford to splash out? The T-Mobile Pulse could be right up your street… T-Mobile’s Pulse is an Android phone with none of the trimmings and we’ve got to say, it feels quite naked. While the handset offers up a top-notch web experience with a great touch-screen and full HTML browser, the rest of its software is lacking – no Facebook syncing, no social network integration, sluggish on-screen keyboards. But it is the first Android phone to be available on prepay, and for a smartphone on a budget, it’s pretty impressive.
The Pulse is a Huawei build with rounded edges, a smooth, glossy body and a nice, big screen at 3.5 inches. It’s no design revolution but it does feel great in the hand, especially in landscape orientation as an internet tablet. Four buttons and a trackball sit beneath the screen, with power button, microSD slot, camera button and volume control lining the sides. The capacitive touch-screen is very responsive with zero lag, and as with all Android devices, a simple press and hold displays menu options.
The menus are intuitively structured with three home screens fully customisable with widgets, apps and live folders. Unlike the HTC Android phones however, there are only Android programs, no preloaded Huawei or T-Mobile extras. In fact, therein lies our main issue with the phone – there’s no interface that harnesses the power of the Android operating system (OS), or even adds to it. Though you can sync contacts with an online service called MyCommunity (apparently it’s unavailable until November), you’re not able to do it with popular sites such as Facebook. Usability is also lacking in places – launch the browser without an internet connection and it doesn’t prompt you to turn on Wi-Fi, load a sat-nav app and it won’t prompt you to turn on GPS, whereas Android devices such as the HTC Hero will. Nor is there a quick way to turn on Wi-Fi, GPS or Bluetooth without going into the Settings menu (or downloading Battery Widget from the Android Marketplace, as we ended up doing).
Despite an excellent touch-screen and on-point autocorrect, lags in the keyboard meant this wouldn’t be our top choice for an email device. There’s a small but annoying glitch too – there’s no spacebar in the number mode of the QWERTY keyboards, so you’ll have to press the back key to get to alphabet mode, then spacebar. Push-email is a given, with Gmail and and RoadSync client that syncs with Microsoft Exchange for push-email on work accounts. Email setup is a two-step process where the phone automatically searches and downloads server settings. However, the email interface isn’t the most intuitive we’ve tried and many features, such as the fact you can scroll between three different keyboards, aren’t immediately obvious.But it is a great browsing phone thanks to that tablet feel and a full HTML browser that handles non-mobile sites as well as mobile-optimised ones. It’s easy to hit the link you want, and as in the T-Mobile G1, you can zoom either by using zoom keys, or, very effectively, going into full page view, and moving a little magnifying box around. The hard back key takes you back, where all the pages in your history are viewable as a scrollable carousel.
Excellent GPS here – we got a perfectly accurate fix in under a second. No Street View on Google Maps though, just standard Satellite, Map and Terrain views. Google Maps is of its typical excellence and intuitive use, and so are other GPS apps like the augmented reality browser, Layar.
This is barebones Android compared to the HTC devices that have so far been released, but thanks to the OS, it’s still an excellent phone. You can almost fully kit it out with social network apps and helpful widgets from the Android Marketplace, and for a prepay phone at that price, T-Mobile/Huawei have done a great job.