The T-Mobile Pulse Mini budget Android phone was one of the stars of the show at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. Its specs may not have wowed, but its pricetag certainly did: at under £100 on Pay As You Go, it’s the cheapest Google phone yet.
Have T-Mobile and Huawei cut corners to get the cost down though? We grabbed one for an unboxing, so read on for the photos and our first impressions to find out.
We were the first to bring you news and hands on photos of the T-Mobile Pulse Mini last month, and now we’ve got a final retail unit to play with too. As you can see from the photos, nothing has changed from the prototypes we tested in Spain, and the stylus (Unusual for an Android phone) has made the cut too.
We like the build of the T-Mobile Pulse Mini: the case is smooth, the touch sensitive buttons below the screen are surprisingly responsive, and the 3.5mm headphone socket is well placed. Android itself boots quickly and navigation and web browsing are both snappy.
Unfortunately the T-Mobile Pulse Mini is let down by a lack of GPS (Even INQ is cramming it into its cheap handsets now) for Google Maps guidance, and a shocking keyboard. Though the T-Mobile Pulse Mini comes with a stylus that slides out from the back of the case, it didn’t produce much better efforts than our fingers.
The problem is that the on-screen keyboard doesn’t allow you to scroll through keys by sliding as most smartphone software boards will: once you’ve tapped a character you’re locked on it, and you’ll have to press delete to get rid of it. And needless to say, pressing delete is just as tricky.
T-Mobile Pulse Mini: Android with a stylus!
The T-Mobile Pulse Mini’s saving grace though should be Android 2.1 when the update rolls around towards the end of April: it’ll provide faster browsing, multiple Gmail account support and a new look UI. We weren’t able to try it out sadly, but Android 2.1 on HTC’s phones looks promising indeed so we hope the T-Mobile Pulse Mini will be able to claim some of that sass too.
As low end Android phones go though, we’d pick the HTC Tattoo over the T-Mobile Pulse Mini thanks to its surprisingly workable resistive touchscreen typing. But it’s not a case of apples with apples: bizarrely, you still can’t get the HTC Tattoo on Pay As You Go, and the other is of course network locked.
We will say though that the T-Mobile Pulse Mini is a massive improvement over T-Mobile’s previous own brand touchscreen phones like the Vairy Touch. Forget them, and if you simply must have a smartphone for peanuts, go with the T-Mobile Pulse Mini instead.
Out April | £99.99 | T-Mobile