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T-Mobile Tap review: T-Mobile Tap

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The Good The T-Mobile Tap has a comfortable and lightweight design, a music player, a 2-megapixel camera, an FM radio, and GPS. It has good call quality as well.

The Bad The T-Mobile Tap's small screen size results in a cramped virtual keyboard and a difficult browsing experience. The Web browser feels a little primitive as well.

The Bottom Line If you can get past the limitations of the screen size, the T-Mobile Tap is a decent midrange touch-screen phone.

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7.0 Overall

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Editors' note: The T-Mobile Tap is also known as the Huawei U7519.

Chinese phone maker Huawei is relatively unknown in the U.S. market. Up until recently, its only U.S. phones have been basic handsets, like the Huawei M328 from MetroPCS. That has changed with the T-Mobile Tap, which marks the company's first feature-rich touch-screen handset with a major U.S. cell phone carrier. The T-Mobile Tap is available for $79.99 with a two-year contract and $179.99 without.

The T-Mobile Tap has a similar look and feel to the HTC Touch. Measuring 4.2 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick, the Tap has curved corners, rounded edges, and a soft-touch exterior. This gives it a nice comfortable feel in the hand, and at 3.7 ounces, it won't weigh you down. Like the Touch, it is also one of the more petite touch-screen handsets we've ever used.

The T-Mobile Tap is curvaceous and has a small touch screen.

One of the reasons the Tap is so small is due to its 2.8-inch display, which is smaller than the 3.0-inch displays on comparable touch-screen phones like the Samsung Mythic and the LG Chocolate Touch. Despite its size, however, the screen has 262,000-color support and 240x320-pixel resolution, which results in crisp and vibrant graphics. You can adjust the brightness, the backlight time, and the greeting message.

The touch screen on the Tap is quite responsive, though you need to press the screen a little hard at times. It has haptic feedback, and you can change the intensity of the vibrations. You also can improve the precision of your finger taps by going through the calibration wizard. Along the left side of the Tap's home screen is a widget tray very similar to the TouchWiz interface commonly found on Samsung phones. You can show or hide it, and you can drag and drop shortcut icons to and from the home screen. Some of the more notable widgets on the Tap include shortcuts to Google Maps and GPS with TeleNav.

Also on the home screen are four shortcut icons along the bottom. They correspond to the phone dialer, the contacts list, the Web browser, and the main menu. There's also a speaker icon on the top right of the home screen that lead to a list of different sound profiles. The phone dialer has a roomy number keypad, with a large area for the dialed digits. It has a handy backspace key, and quick access to the contacts list and the call log.

The T-Mobile Tap has a virtual QWERTY keyboard.

As for text messages, you can either enter text via an alphanumeric T9-capable keypad, or via a full virtual QWERTY keyboard. Thanks to the Tap's internal accelerometer, the keyboard is automatically revealed when you rotate the phone while in text input mode. The keyboard feels cramped due to the small screen size. The Tap supports auto word completion in either English or Spanish.

Beneath the display are three physical controls, which are the Talk key, a square navigation toggle with a middle selection key, and the End key. The toggle seems a little redundant since you can just use your fingertips to navigate, but it's a nice option to have anyway. On the right spine are the volume rocker, the screen lock key, and the camera key. The power button and headset/charger jack are on the top. On the back is the camera lens next to the external speaker. The microSD card slot is located behind the battery cover.

The T-Mobile Tap has a 1,000-entry phonebook with room in each entry for four numbers, an e-mail address, a nickname, a company name, a job title, a street address, a web address, birthday, anniversary, and information notes. You can add the contacts to caller groups; pair them with a photo for caller ID, or any of 27 polyphonic ringtones. You can also use voice recordings or your own MP3 files as ringtones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a reminder feature, a memo pad, an alarm clock, a calculator, a unit converter, a world clock, a stopwatch, and a timer.

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