To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

T-Mobile Pulse review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £180
with £23 per-month, 18-month contract; £176 inc VAT Pre-pay

A decent screen and camera, and a more customisable version of Android, but the highlights are the pay-as-you-go tariff and reasonable price.


Android 1.5, 3.5in 320×480 display

T-Mobile’s Android-based Pulse is one of only two phones here that you can buy on a pay-as-you-go tariff.

It costs £176, and you can pay £1 per day or £5 per month for unlimited internet access (which is subject to a fair-use policy). If you top up by £10 each month, you’ll also get free text messages.

The phone itself is fairly bulky and, considering the size of the screen, the resolution is quite low. The Palm Pre’s screen has the same 320×480 resolution but is only 3.1in compared with the Pulse’s 3?in display. It’s bright and clear, however, and fine for browsing the web or watching movies. Image quality from the camera is average. There’s no flash, but it’s acceptable for taking quick snaps to share on the web.

The rounded case has a glossy carbon fibre-effect finish that picks up greasy fingerprints. The ports and buttons around the edge are unobtrusive and include a memory card slot, dedicated power and camera buttons and USB and headphone ports. The latter is a 2.5mm jack, but T-Mobile includes a short adaptor cable. Battery life isn’t great, but it’s better than that of other Android phones.

T-Mobile’s installation of Android is fairly simple, with none of the sophisticated merging and importing functions of HTC’s Hero. However, it’s not a standard setup either; T-Mobile has extended the home screen to allow more customisable areas, with widgets and larger ‘widcards’, which can show dynamic content. A customisable favourite contacts screen is also available from an icon bar on the home screen. Office viewing and synchronisation apps from Dataviz are installed, and these can be upgraded to allow document editing too.

The Pulse is a bit of a hodge-podge of free and trial software, but at least T-Mobile has gone to some effort to make it more interesting than the standard Android OS. It may not have the polish of more expensive models, but for the price – and on a pay-as-you-go tariff – it’s a bargain, and wins our Budget Buy award.


Price £180
Rating *****
Award Budget Buy


Main display size 3.5in
Native resolution 320×480
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 3.2-megapixel
Video recording format 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 128MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 2048MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Size 116x63x14mm
Weight 135g


Operating system Android 1.5
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, AAC+, WAV
Video playback formats MPEG4, H.264, H.263
FM Radio no
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories data cable, charger
Talk time 4.5 hours
Standby time 12.5 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 15h 44m

Buying Information

Price on contract Free on £23-per-month, 18-month contract
Prepay price £180
SIM-free supplier N/A
Contract/prepay supplier

Read more