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T-Mobile Pulse - T-Mobile Pulse

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Below the screen sit four buttons and a roller ball. This is one area where Android phones still lag behind the iPhone as the latter has managed to get all the same functionality out of a single button and touchscreen. However, we're glad to see that the separate back and home buttons of the HTC Hero have been integrated into one and the search button has been dropped completely. That said, the Menu and Home/Back buttons are somewhat wobbly, which is disappointing. We do quite like the roller ball, though, as it comes in very useful when editing text, but they can get gunked up and wear out over time.

We were particularly pleased to find a microSD slot on the left edge of the Pulse. Supporting cards up to 16GB, this gives you the option to turn the handset into a fully-fledged portable media player but without the upfront cost of buying a phone with lots of inbuilt memory (a 2GB card comes in the box). The ease with which you can get files to and from the phone is of course a big boon as well. We also like how Android defaults to using the memory card for photos and videos taken with the camera.

Also on the left edge is the power/lock button where we found it a little difficult to reach when operating the phone one-handed. On the right are volume controls and the camera button. It's up top, though, that things really start getting interesting.

Under a flap sit the Micro-USB data and charging socket and headset socket. Now, for a start, we're in two minds over the flap as we can appreciate it keeps grime out but it doesn't half get in the way if you regularly use your phone to listen to music. The other issue is that the headset socket is a 3-contact 2.5mm one that requires the use of an included adapter to plug in a conventional set of 3.5mm headphones. Thankfully the adapter is a simple 3in long inline cable that you could easily just keep hanging from the end of your headphones for storage. Sound quality from it is also superb. It is missing a microphone, though, so can't be used as a proper headset adapter (we currently have no word on whether a full headset will be included with the phone).

Being a lower cost smartphone, we were initially happy to see that the Pulse had a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus. However, it quickly became evident that it wasn't up to much. Not helped by the lack of flash, indoor shots or poorly lit ones were very difficult to capture without blur. Well lit shots were passable but the focussing never really seemed to get it quite right. There's also noticeable vignetting in all the shots. Particularly due to this last point, we did wonder whether our sample wasn't working correctly. Feedback from any users would be welcome. On a more positive note, video quality was quite acceptable for candid clips. The framerate is good enough to capture motion and there's enough resolution to pick out details. There is also a forward-facing camera for video-calling.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


October 5, 2009, 11:33 am

So its not a camera or an MP3 player? Big deal! Now if T-Mobile's website worked so I could buy the damn thing...


October 5, 2009, 4:50 pm

Is the screen really resistive? I was under the impression it was capacitive?


October 5, 2009, 5:32 pm

A call on the phone to T-Mobile's sales line has proved equally fruitless so far.


October 5, 2009, 5:46 pm

Ive just been told that the pulse is only on sale in store. They will not be selling it online for the foreseable future??


October 5, 2009, 7:33 pm

It's on the web site, I suppose there are stock issues or something at the moment.

The only reason I can think for overlooking this would be the lack of a compass. Android's a great platform for AR apps right now.

James Reckitt

October 5, 2009, 9:40 pm

At this price point, if you're after an Android device, it's perfect. The feature set beats that of similarly priced competitors (it's usually GPS OR 3G at this price point) which makes it ultimately attractive.

The lack of compass shouldn't deter anyone, in my opinion. We all know to expect a half-baked sat-nav system when it's situated in a device to be used primarily as a phone. (Not to mention the data charges on PAYG!) That's what you have a separate sat-nav unit for anyway!

The only thing stopping me from going out to buy one now is the fact that's it's only on T-Mobile: they're not exactly praised for their marvellous coverage where I live! Unlike Vodafone on the other hand, who are fantastic (because of their excellent freedom packs as well as the coverage!). I think if Vodafone brought out something similar with an inclusive data package to cover the inevitable 3G addiction caused by such a device, they'd be onto a winner. Until then, I'll save for the Blackberry Storm, thanks!


October 6, 2009, 4:39 pm

Like I say, the main reason to have a compass on a phone isn't sat-nav, it's augmented reality. Android's the go-to platform for AR right now and this is the first Android handset that won't support it.


October 6, 2009, 10:58 pm

I think this is amaing for the price. It really doesn't skimp on any important features. My Hero has a compass and aside from trying it out for 10 mins when I got the phone I haven't touched it. Not really interested in AR. Downloaded Layar off the market but haven't looked at it yet. Be interesting to see how it compares to the HTC Tattoo.


October 6, 2009, 11:34 pm

T-Mobile Pulse availability on PAYG, Anna at online help answers me as follows:

GarethTS: There was a Buy Now link briefly on your site for the T-Mobile Pulse on PAYG that did not work.

Anna: It is temporarily discontinued on PAYG, and we do not know when and if it is going to be released on PAYG.

GarethTS: Oh that is interesting news!!


October 9, 2009, 6:56 pm

Engadget's just put up their review, and they say the handset's capacitive and has a compass. You might want to check into those two things. Also their camera's no better than yours, which is a shame, but I'm totally getting one if Engadget's right about the screen and compass.

Daniel Gerson

October 12, 2009, 2:51 pm

I agree with Sockatume. TR really needs to address the compass and capacitive thing in more detail. Paul from Engadget has stood by his statements in his comments on his article citing the TR review. @Edward, please can you clear up this confusion as it does make a difference. Paul said that the Compass app worked as advertised... what were your findings?


October 22, 2009, 3:36 pm

I've doubled checked with T-Mobile and can confirm this has a resistive screen.

It's also now available on PAYG.

Phuc Te

October 25, 2009, 6:51 pm

I own an i phone and now this phone which was just in stock at the time in the bullring , b'ham. and I can confirm it does have a capacitive screen because it does not respond to the DS styles and i fact it also does have a compass because i tried out a a compass app and AR works just fine. Sound quantity is excellent even though u have to use the adapter beats my iphone how ever, just remember android is not as polished as the iPhone.

Phuc Te

October 26, 2009, 1:08 am

O and if anyone is going to by this phone remember to get and install the HTC keyboard :)

You thank me later.. :P


November 9, 2009, 3:39 am

I was quite keen on getting one of these but now I am not so sure because I can't help wondering if the phones sent out for review are representative of the machines on sale in the shops. When reviewers cannot agree on the specification it makes you wonder if the pre-production models sent out are fully representative. Has T-mobile asked the manufacturer to drop the capacitive screen to save money after some devices were sent out for review? After all,the firm cannot make up its mind whether they are PAYG or not. And there is such a big question mark hanging over the quality of the camera you can't help wondering if it will even still be working in a few months' time or if this indicates that the manfacturer has extremely poor quality control and the handsets could vary wildly from one set of serial numbers to the next.


November 9, 2009, 2:00 pm

There's no question about the spec: the author of the Engadget review bought a retail Pulse out of his own pocket to confirm, and it's got a compass and a capacitive screen and so on. Trusted Reviews are simply not correct, regardless of what their T-Mo rep told them, and a few seconds prodding with a cocktail stick would easily have confirmed or denied it. Anyone other than Ed at TR want to check and weigh in?

Ben 3

November 9, 2009, 8:39 pm

I got mine at the weekend and it definately does have a compass and a capacitive touchscreen.

Strangely - even though it has got the front facing camera - I've not been able to find any way to do a video call!

Phuc Te

November 14, 2009, 1:51 am

"Strangely - even though it has got the front facing camera - I've not been able to find any way to do a video call!"

Yeah me found that too... however u can use it to take pictures of yourself and videos:P

TF pls update your review as it is mis-leading!!


November 15, 2009, 9:08 pm

As the other users said this phone has a capacitive touch screen. The info on here is wrong.

stephen von leuchtenberg

December 23, 2009, 4:27 am

ok had this phone for 4 weeks so far .....and then the bad news the battery died after week one , so ok thay changed that week 2 and i cant use the key bord to type so went to the shop and had it re-booted and lost all my apps thanks .... week 3 wnnt very well but guess what i just lost the key bord and 150 tells me all they can do is take in to a shop and have it looked at thanks .................not so when i asked why i was never offered insurance for this phone thay tell me that when you up grade over the phone they don offer you it thanks .................not x2

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