The T-Mobile Pulse also handles the workhorse stuff like calling commendably well, with a straightforward voice calling setup. As well as all the phonebook shortcuts you can pepper around the home screen, and photo calling lists you can zap up and flick through, simple calling is delivered in a simple non-tricksy way.
Press the green Call button, and it brings up the dialpad, with lovely large buttons and no-fuss layout. From here, you can tap in a new number, pull up your list of contacts or check out your recent call log for numbers.
Additionally, you can tap a dialpad shortcut icon on the screen, but either way it's easy to use.
We found call quality on our review sample to be clear and perfectly acceptable, even in areas where T-Mobile coverage was marginal. We had no problems in hanging on to calls, and audio quality was pretty good too.
There are no issues with accidentally pressing the touchscreen mid-call, as it automatically locks while you are connected. You can still drag up a dialpad if needed, or unlock if you need to view other functions mid-call.
There are extensive options to add more details to contacts and to manage them, with a clear, easily workable phonebook feature.
Messaging is well catered for on the Pulse, with a neatly integrated set of messaging options. Text messaging, email and instant messaging are handled on this device. Although there's no physical keyboard, there are multiple soft keyboard options available for inputting text.
Initially when composing a messaging – or imputing text in any other feature context – a standard Android QWERTY keyboard pops up on screen, in either portrait or more spacious landscape modes, depending how you're holding the phone.
Even in tighter portrait mode, the characters are accurate and typing is relatively error free. With the full width in portrait mode, it's a good touchscreen typing experience.
In addition to the standard Android QWERTY option, you can choose an alternative TouchPal input method.
In TouchPal mode, as well as getting QWERTY input, by pressing and dragging the keyboard sideways you can get other alternative keyboard input options – a mobile phone-like numberpad (which is usable but a bit squashed for the screen size), and a semi-QWERTY option, with two letters per character in BlackBerry Pearl style – something that can take a little getting used to.
Each of the text input options can be used with or without predictive text (with word completion) to chivvy you along. In non-predictive mode, you can press and drag down on a QWERTY letter to use the alternative character on the key, which is useful once you get used to it. You can also cut and paste selected text.
A stock Android Google Mail application is pre-loaded onto the handset, enabling you to view your email inbox, send email and manage your account from the handset. It's extremely well integrated into the phone's UI, as you might expect from Google's Android UI.
The Google Mail interface looks consistent with the online version, with clear controls and an intuitive way of getting round. Setting up is simple, as it is effectively done once you first initiate the phone with Google account details. It really is a breeze to use, and anyone who's used Google Mail should feel very comfortable working it.
As well as Google Mail, additional email accounts can be set up and used on the handset. Another application handles other POP3/IMAP4 web-based email or other email accounts, with the set-up procedure for web mail simply a matter of tapping in email address and password; settings are then automatically loaded up in seconds.
The email is also very straightforward to operate, and works well, albeit with a more functional user interface and with more limited options than the integrated Google Mail setup.
A Google Talk application for instant messaging and VoIP is also included as part of the standard Google Android messaging software package.