T-Mobile's newly unveiled Pulse handset is the carrier's third Android device, but the first on a pay-as-you-go tariff and designed to appeal to a broader market.
I had a very brief hands-on with the Pulse at T-Mobile's London launch event, and was impressed with the smoothness of the gesture-based user interface.
However, another journalist at the same event criticised the Pulse's resistive touch screen for not being quite as responsive as the capacitive design used on Apple's iPhone.
The 3.5in screen is certainly a decent size, and T-Mobile even suggested that this would allow the Pulse to replace an in-car satellite navigation device when used with the built-in TeleNav software.
T-Mobile's Canvas home screen provides a desktop area larger than can fit onto the physical display, and you can move around with the flick of a finger to pan or scroll the display.
Canvas also lets you customise this home screen by dragging in the icons you most often access from the application menu to create a shortcut, similar to the way you would on a Windows PC.
The handset itself is about the same size and weight as the iPhone, but unlike Apple's device has the standard green and red call / hangup buttons as well as a miniature trackball bracketed by menu / back keys for those who don't like using the touch screen for everything.
An on-screen keyboard pops up whenever you need to key in text, such as when composing an email, and T-Mobile offers a choice of full Qwerty or a layout similar to RIM's SureType. Its predictive text input algorithm also offers a choice of words you can tap to select.
The device we saw was a pre-production unit, and so there were one or two quirks. The screen did not automatically change orientation when we twisted it round as it is supposed to, for example.
However, in the brief time available we found the device seemed to deliver a reasonable experience when accessing the web. We especially liked how easy it was to browse Android Market for available applications, one feature that has driven uptake of Apple's rival iPhone.
The Pulse certainly ticks all the right boxes at first glance; HSPA support, Wi-Fi, GPS (with a trial version of the TeleNav navigation software), touch-screen and a decent-looking user interface.
A full review of the T-Mobile Pulse will appear on V3.co.uk, just as soon as we can get hold of one for long enough.
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