The T-Mobile Pulse may initially grab attention as a relatively affordable pay-as-you-go Android smartphone, but there's far more to this handset than just an attractive price tag.
Its touchscreen display is responsive and works smoothly, and the device supplements a full complement of Android standard features and functionality with a smattering of decent third party applications.
There are a few compromises that could put off some buyers, but the flexibility to customise the software and add more apps – combined with some finely integrated out-of-the-box apps – makes this an attractive option for would-be Android users on a limited budget.
We like the Android platform, and while this phone doesn't go far in re-skinning the standard look, it offers some great features and customisation options, from the home screen canvas to applications themselves. It has a very intuitive, easy-to-operate user interface, and the screen is swiftly responsive to finger action.
High-speed HSPA mobile data connectivity and Wi-Fi provide a fast route for the Pulse's online applications, and the software inside delivers a pleasingly smooth browsing and online experience that's well integrated into the handset's UI.
A-GPS works neatly with Google Maps too, and offers the flexibility of adding a sat nav software upgrade.
Although we'd have preferred to see a standard 3.5mm socket on the phone's bodywork, an adaptor in-box is a welcome second-best. The tune player software does a decent job in delivering a good audio performance.
The Pulse might have offered more in terms of battery life, although we did put it through its paces with some heavyweight usage during our tests.
The camera was a big disappointment though, with a lacklustre overall performance and some poor shots in marginally subdued lighting conditions. Digital artefacts were also present in some shots. Video shooting, too, was mediocre.
We had some issues with the headphone adaptor when using our review samples' music player that we'll be checking on a full on-sale model.
More onboard storage would have been welcome, although the Pulse does offer MicroSD expansion, with cards up to 16GB supported and a 2GB card supplied.
It may be the most affordable Android-powered smartphone yet, but the T-Mobile Pulse delivers more than just a taster of the platform.
Its smooth, responsive touchscreen performance, combined with an intuitive and versatile user interface and a fine set of well integrated out-of-the-box applications and features, provides a highly attractive, very usable smartphone package that's great value for money.