Editors' note: This review has been updated with in-store pricing.
The T-Mobile Comet is a rebranded version of the Huawei Ideos, which is a low-cost Android phone. It certainly is budget-friendly; the entry-level smartphone is $9.99 with a two-year contract (alternatively, you can get it as a prepaid option for $200) and offers some nice features, such as Android 2.2, a compact design, and excellent call quality. However, it also suffers from a smaller display and sluggish performance, and our review units had a design malfunction. We'd suggest spending just $20 more for the LG Optimus T, which offers better hardware and additional features, for free with contract.
At just 4.09 inches tall by 2.16 inches wide by 0.54 inch thick and 3.6 ounces, the T-Mobile Comet is quite the petite handset. It's certainly easy to travel with, and the curved edges and rounded corners make it comfortable to hold, but we have some concerns about the overall build quality. It's not so much the durability, as the handset feels quite solid, but the plastic piece covering the navigation control area started peeling off almost immediately. It could be an isolated situation, but we received two review units and it happened on both. In one instance, simply pressing down on the plastic cover fixed the problem, but in the second instance, the left corner kept popping back up, which only got worse as more dust and debris collected on the adhesive strip.
The Comet features a 2.8-inch WVGA (320x240) capacitive touch screen. In an affordable, entry-level device, the lower-resolution display is to be expected, and we found the screen to be sufficiently bright and clear. It's also quite responsive, as it registered all our touches and smoothly scrolled through lists and menus. However, there is no multitouch support, and the display's smaller size definitely hampers the Web browsing and multimedia experience. It also makes for a cramped onscreen keyboard, but the inclusion of Swype alleviates the problem, as it's easier to swipe from key to key than to peck at the small buttons.
Below the screen, you get touch-sensitive keys for the back, menu, home, and search shortcuts, and beneath those are talk and end keys and a navigational D-pad. Note that the outer silver ring is used as the directional keypad, while the big black button in the center is the select key. With the touch screen, we didn't find much need to use the D-pad, but it does come in handy when trying to click on links within a Web page.
There's a volume rocker on the left side, and a power button and 3.5-millimeter headphone jack on top of the device. The camera is located on the back, while the microSD expansion slot is behind the battery.
The T-Mobile Comet comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a 2GB microSD card, and reference material.
The T-Mobile Comet ships running Android 2.2, which is great since some of the higher-end smartphones aren't even running Froyo yet. With it, the smartphone offers such features as voice dialing over Bluetooth and the ability to save apps to an SD card. The OS also technically supports Flash 10.1 Player, but due to hardware limitations, the Comet does not. You still get all the standard Google services, however, and fortunately T-Mobile doesn't bog the phone down too much with unwanted services.