T-Mobile Prism review

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

T-Mobile Prism

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The T-Mobile Prism includes a removable 1400mAh Li-ion battery tucked underneath the gray plastic back, which slides off with relative ease. The carrier promises battery standby just shy of 17 days and talk time up to six and a half hours, but our own tests shaved about 40 minutes off that estimate.

T-Mobile Prism

The Prism includes built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, and the handset is capable of being used as a mobile hotspot in addition to the aforementioned Wi-Fi Calling. Unfortunately, the Prism is only equipped to access T-Mobile's EDGE or 3G networks, so fast 4G data speeds are off the table.

In our part of the country, T-Mobile 3G produced speeds less than 4Mbps down and a consistently poky 0.34Mbps up – definitely no speed demon, but just enough juice for occasional hotspot use, especially now that the carrier includes 500MB of data with all new plans.

We had no problem connecting to our MacBook Pro via USB 2.0 to offload photos and videos, and Bluetooth 2.1 is also built-in for connectivity to headsets, speaker docks and other accessories.

Storage and apps

Our biggest lament with the T-Mobile Prism is storage, or rather lack thereof. It's a good thing the carrier includes a 2GB micro-SD card, because the internal storage is extremely limited, with less than 20MB available to users.

T-Mobile Prism

As a result, we were forced to uninstall updates to some of the pre-installed apps just to install the requisite screenshot and benchmark apps needed for this review. Thankfully, photos, videos and supported apps can reside on up to 32GB of micro-SD storage, should you need the breathing room.

The operating system included with the Prism may be dated, but Android users still get all the Google basics, including FM Radio, Maps, Search and Navigation (complete with free turn-by-turn navigation) as well as Facebook pre-installed.

There's also a generous helping of T-Mobile bloatware installed, split evenly between useful (Visual Voicemail, My Account) and not so much. You'll need a subscription to enjoy services like T-Mobile TV or Name ID, which identifies incoming calls for "only" $3.99 per month; there's also a bundled app for 411 information, but each call costs $1.99, which is hardly a bargain.

While the carrier includes a hub called Game Base, the Prism is ill equipped to play most mobile games. The handset scored an unimpressive 2945 using the AnTuTu Benchmark app, which barely ranks the Prism at half a star. Powered by a Qualcomm MSM7627 processor clocked at a mere 600MHz, gamers are likely to find themselves thoroughly frustrated by all but the most basic titles - assuming they can install many of them to begin with.