Not Really a Blog

January 9, 2010

My personal review of T-Mobile’s Pulse

Filed under: review — Tags: , , — jesus @ 02:38

Last month I bought a T-Mobile’s Pulse running Android by a bit more than £80, quite a bargain, considering that it’s a Pay as You Go phone. Not that I wanted to use it as my main personal phone, but because I wanted a second phone where to receive crap sms from work, and also because I wanted to play with the Android platform. So, I’ve used it for a month, and I’m not happy. I promise I googled before hand to read a few reviews and in most of them they talk about it in good terms. I have a different opinion.

It makes me wonder if this is just me who thinks this phone is particularly shit in general or if it’s just the model I’ve got (and, of course, if these reviews are paid anyway). This phone is based on a Huawei handset. You can go to any of the links above to read about the specs. So…

Things I do not like about it

  • It’s very slow and unresponsive. Both the touch screen and the physical buttons. Sometimes it’s actually unbelievable that you have to swipe your finger a few times just to get it. I wonder if it’s the screen or it’s just that the phone can’t cope with it?
  • Applications crash continually (Yeah, I know, it’s not a problem with android per se, but even the Servo Search included with the phone is all the time resurrecting.
  • It has not much memory. Phone becomes sluggish.
  • Battery life is awful. I mean, I thought that iPhones had it bad, but how worse can it be if you have a full battery and it runs out in 6 hours. Seriously.
  • Battery charging is comical. It comes with a USB cable which you connect to either the mains or a computer. It takes hours to no end (and I mean 4, 5, 6 hours, etc). Why?
  • More stuff, but I’ll keep my mouth shut not to be too picky.

Things I do like about it

  • I like the operating system. Seriously. I like that it’s open, based on Linux and highly customizable. Not only that, I like the aspect, widgets and general feeling (if only it were faster)
  • I like the community around it and all the apps (Android Market as opposed to iPhone Store).
  • You can hack it (yeah, iPhone’s too)
  • I like the way you can have different, say, SMS applications and choose the one you prefer to do all the notifications, readings, etc. This is clearly something you cannot do with an iPhone.
  • I love the browser and the google apps within it. Really nice.

And I could go on. General feeling is that I wouldn’t like it to be my main phone. And there are a ton of things I haven’t tested. Almost no phone calls, no music, no camera. You tell me.

So, if you are thinking of buying this phone, please, think it twice and look for someone who has it and use it and ask his opinion about it. I’m not sure this is a general problem with Pulses or my particular model, thus this piece of warning. Go and do your research. And, I refuse to believe that Android sucks, I think there are wonderful phones out there with Android, running newer versions and generally using better hardware. Dunno, I have tried a HTC Hero and seems a lot better. But so far, no way this is comparable to an iPhone.

Nexus One? I’d love to try one, so if you spare one, send it in my direction ;)

Have a T-Mobile Pulse? You happy with it? Let me know how, please.


  1. I’m very, very happy with the phone.

    First of all, responsiveness: This might sound like a stupid question, but have you removed the screen protector that is on the phone out-of-the-box? I have no issues with responsiveness of the phone with it off.
    Second of all, I would recommend that you install the android 1.5 vanilla cupcake firmware. It doesn’t have any of the T-mobile crap and is unbelievable responsive.

    Battery life – I was totally disappointed with this at first as well (gutted in fact), but since puttin on the vanilla cupcake firmware, I get very decent battery life out of it. I did a test the other day and on 2g, the phone was going for more than 72 hours. I am currently doing a test on 3g, but it seems much improved compared to the T-mobile firmware.

    Battery charging – gotta agree with you here, but I’m wondering if it’s not more of a general issue with micro usb charging in general.

    For more info on installing cupcake android go to the Pulse forum on (i’m a member there).

    Comment by Lutin — January 9, 2010 @ 14:53

    • Um, thanks for your comments. I think I’m going to go and remove all this T-mobile shit and see if that help matters. Is my next step here as I’ve run out of ideas (and I’ve applied the modified kernel from as well).

      Regarding the responsiveness, it’s usually okay when I reboot the phone and then it gets worse and worse. I wonder if it’s got to do with the operating system running out of memory and then GC kicking in and slowing things down. Dunno.

      If you say you get all that many hours out of it, surely there’s room for my phone to improve so I’m going to be installing the vanilla cupcake firmware soon and see how it goes as it’s totally unusable (and unacceptable) that it runs out of battery in a few hours.

      Thanks again for your suggestions, will update this post and/or add a new entry with my findings :)

      Comment by jroncero — January 9, 2010 @ 16:41

  2. I too got the cheap deal and after thinking it was a pile of crap (in comparison to my iPod touch) I have warmed to it. It is best to remove the cover then get cheap ones (6 for £2) off eBay. These are hard to fit, but scratches are a bigger turnoff.

    Battery life is bad, and it is a slippy phone too (gonna buy cover for it). However, this is an ultra cheap smart phone, much cheaper than a contract iPhone. The screen is big, but without the pinch type stuff on iPhones/itouches. It allows me Internet access on the go, and some of the apps are okay (though Android Market is smaller). The screen is nowhere near as sharp as an iPhone. I also got it unlocked via well known forum ( though tmobile do cheapest deal it seems anyway).

    So – I don’t use it for home browsing, more for email/ facebook/ eBay on the move. Once I see a better alternative on six months time I can sell it and move on easily. Try doing that on 24 month old iphone contract.

    So, tmobile pulse is a good phone if you can get it cheap and you know it is not an iPhone. It can do almost everything an iPhone can, but in a more plastic, down Market way.

    Comment by Gaz — January 30, 2010 @ 14:04

  3. You need a mobile that can handle the Android OS to see it at its best. I have just got a Nexus S which is powerful enough to work very well. Before that I had a HTC Magic which was fine at first, but the android 2.2 update completly made it unusable. Still I liked Android and have stuck with it.

    Someone at work (an iPhone user) has just bought a cheap android handset to play with just like you did. It was pretty cheap and quite unusual, it has a pull out aerial which is quite comical!

    Comment by Mr Mobile — July 29, 2011 @ 11:10

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