T-Mobile Prism review

T-Mobile's Prism looks downright unappealing by the light of the carrier's new subsidy-free pricing

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The T-Mobile Prism isn't exactly intended for archiving life's most precious moments, with a single 3.2MP rear-facing camera capable of producing 2048 x 1536 pixel images. The carrier claims there are enough pixels to make prints or even enlargements from, but is the picture quality up to the task?

In our tests, indoor and outdoor images were soft and a bit on the grainy side, with JPEG compression readily apparent. The Prism has no LED flash, so you'll need a good deal of available light to make any use of it indoors.

The other problem is the incredibly slow shutter – it takes more than full second for an image to be captured, which was enough time for us to completely miss subjects moving too quickly through the frame. The camera also lacks auto-focus, so sharp results were frequently hit or miss.

Although photos taken in bright sunlight had a distinct lack of color saturation, those taken in lower light fared much better in our tests. Regardless, just about every image we shot lacked detail, and were heavy on noise.

Sample images

T Mobile Prism

T Mobile Prism

T Mobile Prism

T Mobile Prism

The Prism also shoots video, but the results are even less impressive than still images. Videos are shot in standard-definition, 800 x 480 resolution, with frame rates that varied wildly depending on the scene. One such video reported 11.28 fps on the low end, with another nearly 19 fps on the high end - far below smooth motion capture rates from higher-end smartphones capable of true 24 or 30 frames per second.

We had equally poor luck trying to play existing MP4 files on the handset, which cannot exceed the same 800 x 480 resolution - and even then, the processor struggled to play them back at standard frame rates.