T-Mobile pulse mini
The T-Mobile Pulse Mini is chock-full of the latest technology, and all for under £100, which should put some of the more expensive smartphones to shame.

The phone is small, light and cheap - but that doesn't always equate into the best experience for a handset.

We liked

We enjoyed the T-Mobile Pulse Mini - when it worked correctly.

The sheer amount of home screens is dizzying. While it's easy to get lost on where you've put widgets and icons, we're all for choice and this certainly offers it.

The specs are high end, and simple things like being able to add in live wallpapers make it a really cool phone if you're struggling for cash.

While it's not necessarily to do with the hardware, we're impressed that T-Mobile is offering 6 months' free internet with the phone, meaning you can get the best experience from Android and the App Market.

Push email is a nice touch too, and while it can be erratic it is certainly comprehensive. The same goes for the documents viewer - something that more phones should add in, especially given the higher costs.

We disliked

It's hard to know where to start - there's a lot wrong with the Pulse Mini. While it can hide behind the budget tag for so long, the general day-to-day use borders on the abysmal at times.

If you download a task manager, you can minimise the effect somewhat, as multiple applications slow the Pulse Mini right down, to the point of intense frustration.

But like with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, you shouldn't have to do that with a phone, it should just work right out the box as it's supposed to.

The screen is terrible too - while we understand the cost benefit, it's unresponsive, inaccurate and had weird 'noise lines' that roll up the screen at all times, which makes it look low quality.

Taking an age to come out of sleep mode means you're constantly wondering if it's frozen, and zooming out to see all the home screens at once is poor too.

The internet browser, music quality and camera are also all below par, although we can slightly forgive this given the budget tag - if anything the Pulse Mini is guilty of doing too much in one place.

The on-screen keyboard is awful too; not only do we hate using a stylus, but it's too slow to be speedy when texting, which most of the Pulse Mini's demographic will be keen to do we'd imagine.

Verdict

This phone had so, so much potential when we saw the spec list in Barcelona - it was going to be a triumph for the budget world.

But the best way we can describe it is like going out to buy a Ferrari and seeing one on sale for £200.

On the outside, it looks like a brilliant supercar, until you realise it's made out of plastic and has a lawnmower engine instead. Yes, it's cheap, but you'd rather have a lesser car that worked as you'd want it to.

This isn't a case of being a smartphone snob either - we love budget phones, like the Nokia 5530 for instance - a great example of budget and functionality.

But the Pulse Mini is a victim of its own ambition; the amount of times we were massively impressed with the stuff it can do were hugely outweighed by the times we wanted to throw it out of the nearest window.

We'd advise you save up a little more cash and look at some other phones, rather than being drawn in by its budget tag.