I got my phone stolen recently, and seeing that I was one of these foolish people who didn’t have insurance (always get insurance), my choices were fairly open as to what handset I’d pick up next. I still stand by my last post on the G2, and I have really come to love Android as an OS over the past few months, so I plumped for the T-Mobile Pulse as a replacement.
The Pulse is T-Mobile’s first pay-as-you-go Android handset, and it comes at a shade under £140 – very reasonable for a smartphone. It is manufactured by Huawei, who seem to have even less problems white-labeling it than HTC – their brand name isn’t anywhere to be seen as the phone starts up. The handset itself is bigger than the G2, and is more generically iPhone-shaped rather than sporting anything such as the G2’s distinctive ‘lip’ design. The handset is made out of plastic, so while it is pretty tough, it couldn’t attract fingerprints any better if it was its mission in life.
The Pulse has a large colour screen, which makes for decent web browsing, and has the same Android features that make the OS great – syncing with Google contacts and calendar (wonderful when your phone’s been stolen) and the vast majority of apps will still work, including of course the pre-installed Google suite. Add to that WiFi and GPS, and you are more than good to go in pretty much any situation.
That said, there are some negatives with the Pulse. It can be slow when loading apps or processing anything remotely heavy, and the battery life is as shockingly bad as you would expect from a full colour touchscreen handset with the internet/GPS always on. The screen itself is unresponsive around the edges, and data input (despite the nice vibration you get when you press a key) is painful – a problem that’s endemic with any touchscreen I’ve used. Leading on from this, TouchPal keypad crashes and remains crashed once it stores a certain amount of predictive text words – a Godsend in some ways because I hate the thing.
Another annoyance is the headphone jack – not only is it at the top of the phone, but its 25mm instead of the standard 35mm. T-Mobile supplies you with an adapter, but it’s really not ideal, especially when playing media (video or music) on the Pulse is quite easy. The camera is also a bit rubbish – very blurry shots and no flash.
None of the above gripes really matter all that much in the grander scheme of things, as a budget level smartphone the Pulse looks good, runs Android well and does a more than admirable job for the price point.