The Pulse is good-looking phone with a big (3.5-inch) display – the biggest Android screen so far – and good for watching video and surfing the net. The Pulse is also keenly priced, just £179.99 on pay-as-you-go even though it has a top-of-the-range capacitive touchscreen.
What we like
The Pulse is slim and sleek with a pleasingly discreet style despite the size, though it certainly feels big in the hand – try it first to see if it suits you. The specialised skin, called Canvas, has improved icons (the clock is much niftier than basic Android) and extra home screens – six instead of Android’s three and you can add more. The processor is speedy enough to make the phone quickly responsive and there’s a decent range of attractive wallpaper options.
Android itself is a great system which is effective, attractive and enjoyable to use. The thousands of applications ready to be downloaded add to Android’s success, including augmented reality apps such as Google Sky Maps which is free. Battery life is good, an achievement with such a big screen to light up.
What we don’t like
The screen’s resolution isn’t quite as eye-catching as some phones, perhaps exacerbated by the bigger display size. And although Google is central to Android, there’s no dedicated Search button here so you need the Search box which appears on one home screen. Although the phone is thicker than the Samsung Galaxy, the Pulse doesn’t make room for a full-sized headphone socket, so you’ll need the supplied adaptor for your favourite headphones.
And though the touchscreen is responsive, some elements aren’t as good, the flick of a finger to disable the screen lock isn’t as intuitive as it should be. Also disappointing is the camera, at 3.2 megapixels it matches the iPhone but sadly also matches the lack of flash.
This is a smart phone so surfing the internet is a given, but be warned that the purchase price doesn’t include data traffic, you’ll need to buy a Web n Walk add-on for that.
The arrival of a budget smart phone with a capacitive touchscreen is hugely to be welcomed and the Pulse is a cool-looking handset with a lot going for it. The Canvas interface isn’t as classy as HTC’s rival overlay but works fine. Not an iPhone killer, but a good phone at a great price.