Beneath the slide-off plastic back panel sits the 1500mAh battery. It’s a healthy size for this type of phone and we found it translated to a comfortable three days of light usage. T-Mobile quotes figures of 30 hours standby and 210 minutes of talk time.
As inferred by the front-facing camera, this is a 3G phone that supports HSDPA. Wi-Fi is also on hand to save you time and money when at home or in other networked areas. GPS is also onboard, though there’s no digital compass to tell you which way you’re pointing.
So, the hardware isn’t perfect but neither does it have any fundamental problems. The key to this phone, though, is that it marries a competent and well thought out set of hardware features with the second best touch-oriented phone operating system currently available.
In fact, T-Mobile (or the actual manufacturers Huawei) has heavily tweaked Android to give it a more polished look. This mainly consists of redesigned icons and menus and we think the overall affect is one of a classier-looking, less toy-like, interface. The desktop/home screen has also been extended to a 3 x 2 grid of panels, up from the standard 3 x 1 configuration. More panels can be added as well so you can have hundreds of shortcuts and widgets scattered all over the phone if you so wish. Other new additions include the ‘wildcard’ widgets. These essentially repeat the same functionality of the inbuilt widgets but with larger icons and live content. There are wildcards for calendar, email, music, notepad, pictures, and videos.
Aside from these changes, the Android OS is the same one we’ve come to know and love in devices like the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Hero. In particular, the web browser is superb, being at least an equal to that of the iPhone, while access to hundreds of apps at the Android Market will mean you can make the Pulse do just about anything. Useful inbuilt additions include an Office document viewer and YouTube app. The onscreen keyboard also works well, though the resistive screen and lack of multitouch put it behind top-end rivals.
The T-Mobile Pulse is one of the most exciting handsets to come through our office in quite some time. Yes, it lacks the glamour of the iPhone, has a poor camera and slightly peculiar headphone setup, and falls behind many premium phones for build quality, but with Wi-Fi, 3G, a microSD slot, and a large high-quality screen, it has all the essentials for a modern smartphone. Add in the superb user experience brought about by Google’s Android operating system and a very competitive price of £180 Pay-As-You-Go and we can see many people snapping one of these up.
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