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T-Mobile Pulse Mini review: T-Mobile Pulse Mini

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The Good Runs Android 2.1; small dimensions; offers 15 home screens so you can go widget-crazy.

The Bad Resistive touchscreen makes typing difficult; processor struggles to meet the demands of Android 2.1; disappointing camera.

The Bottom Line The T-Mobile Pulse Mini is an affordable and decent alternative to high-end smart phones running Google's mobile operating system. Just don't expect premier-league performance.

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6.5 Overall

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T-Mobile and Huawei have already proven that you can get a decent Android smart phone on a pay as you go deal, with 2009's cheap and cheerful Pulse. The two companies are back for a second bite of the cherry with that handset's diminutive sequel, the T-Mobile Pulse Mini.

The Mini is available for £100 on a pay as you go deal, making it one of the cheapest Android handsets currently available.

Update, 13 April 2011: This phone is now available for just £20 on pay as you go.

The same, but different

The Mini looks like a smaller, more compact edition of the original Pulse, with a similarly rounded body and glossy plastic exterior. Alas, it also has the same low-budget feel. As well as sharing many similarities with its predecessor, the Mini also bears more than a passing resemblance to HTC's Tattoo, another Android handset aimed at those on a budget.

The Mini features a few widgets that look new, but many of them are just replications of the standard Android versions.

Corners have to be cut to sell a smart phone at this price. The Mini's tiny, 71mm (2.8-inch) touchscreen is of the resistive variety and requires the application of a certain amount of pressure to register an input. The bundled stylus makes typing more bearable but, with so much of Google's operating system revolving around finger-friendly gestures, the Mini's screen feels rather archaic. Needless to say, it lacks support for multi-touch gestures, so you can't pinch your fingers together to zoom into a map, for example.

Android underdog

Despite the Mini's humble aspirations, it comes loaded with Android 2.1. While this isn't the latest iteration of the OS, it means that the handset benefits from cool features such as the free Google Maps Navigation sat-nav software, Voice Search and animated live wallpapers.

In a bid to make the phone more appealing, T-Mobile has included a raft of improvements over the stock 2.1 software. The number of home screens, for example, has been boosted from the default five to an astonishing 15, which is even more than HTC's famous Sense interface offers.

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