We still think the iPhone OS is the slickest in the business so if you want a big touchscreen phone and you can afford the outlay, we reckon that's the device to get. However, very close behind the iPhone OS is Google's Android operating system and it has one big advantage over Apple's efforts; phones running Android can be had for considerably less money than the iPhone. This is no better demonstrated than by the phone I'm looking at today, the T-mobile Pulse, available for just £180 on PAYG.
I must admit, I was apprehensive when I first took this phone out of the box. For T-Mobile to make a smartphone so cheap it seemed impossible for it not to have cut some essential corners. However, nothing could have been further from the truth.
For a start this is a very nice looking device with its simplistic glossy black lines and sparkly grey mottled back, though of course all that gloss will attract many a fingerprint. Being entirely plastic it lacks the solid feel that the top end Blackberrys, the iPhone, or the Nokia E71 have but it certainly doesn't feel like it will fall apart too easily. It has dimensions of 115 x 62 x 13mm and weighs 130g.
In particular, we're really glad to see a tough smooth touchscreen that integrates seamlessly with the rest of the phone's fascia. Sadly it's plastic making it more scratch prone than glass fronted rivals (of which there are few, it must be noted). It uses capacitive touch-sensing technology but it isn't the best we've ever encountered and can feel a little unresponsive at times.
The display is an iPhone-equalling 3.5in LCD with a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels, which in fact betters the iPhone's for viewing angles. It's bright, sharp, and has strong vivid colours, though they're not as vivid as AMOLED screens (that arguably look too saturated). With regards the resolution, we initially thought this was a little low as we're so used to seeing 480 x 800 pixel screens nowadays but, as the iPhone proved, resolution isn't the most important thing; it's how you use it, and with Android at the helm we never once found cause to bemoan a lack of resolution. The web browser has a superb zoom function, all the icons and fonts are nicely smoothed off and, well, we simply had no cause for concern.