The Googlephone for everyone?
Review There haven’t been that many Android smartphones in the UK yet, but T-Mobile is already looking to capitalise on the burgeoning demand Google's operating system by releasing the Pulse, the first pay-as-you-go Android handset.
T-Mobile's Pulse: Android goes PAYG
Running Android 1.5 - aka Cupcake - the Pulse is the lowest-priced Android smartphone we’ve seen, arriving at £180 on pay as you go, or nothing at all on some T-Mobile monthly contract deals.
Relatively cheap it may be, but it’s far from a basic technology-taster device. The Pulse is equipped with HSDPA 3G and Wi-Fi, plus Assisted GPS location-finding technology and a fine collection of standard apps and third-party software pre-loaded.
Produced by Chinese mobile maker Huawei, best known in the UK for mobile internet dongles, the Pulse is a large handset, but its 116 x 62.5 x 13.6 mm, 130g bodywork doesn’t feel particularly chunky thanks to some tidily rounded edges.
The design is classic post-iPhone minimalism, all glossy black plastic around a 3.5in, 320 x 480 display which offers the same resolution as other Android phones do but is physically larger. It's a capacitive touchscreen rather than a simple resistive one, and while it doesn’t have iPhone-style multi-touch abilities, it's more responsive than many touchphones we’ve tested.
There’s a low-res videocall camera above the display - under the screen is a control panel centred on a typical Android trackball for a belt-and-braces alternative to touch scrolling and selection. The trackball is also used to zoom in and out of the multi-page home screen so you can get an overview and navigate more easily around the many shortcuts and onscreen widgets than can be dotted around the screen.
Shiny, stylish design
Tap the Menu button and up pops a panel of options for whichever function, application or settings menu you’re in. Give it a longer press and you'll get the Pulse's virtual Qwerty keyboard.
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