Thursday, 4 July 2013

T-Mobile Beat review!


   The T-Mobile Beat arrives in a relatively plain box; there's certainly nothing too fancy here. Instead, you're greeted by T-Mobile's famous hot pink colour and some pleasant pictures of people milling around in the parks, naturally they all have their phones out too!


   The Beat and the manufacturer, who is ZTE, have obviously taken a page out of Blackberry's book with this device, as you can see to the right.. The similarities might end with the touchscreen
and physical qwerty keyboard, but some of my family members were offended when they saw what they thought was a Blackberry in a decidedly Android household.

   As you would expect with this sort of budget device there isn't too much beyond the black plastic which curves around the device, except for the occasional glints of chrome-style plastic on the right hand side of the device, which are the unlock button and the volume rocker.

  There is one other thing which we're not big fans of is the location of the microUSB charging port at the top of the device. It just makes everything a bit uncomfortable if you're trying to text while the device is on charge!


   Usually with modern devices this is the first thing which we look at when judging a phone, but with this device it's a little different. The screen on offer here is a small 2.4" screen with a resolution of 320 x 240p. If this was a smartphone we would instantly dismiss this as screen because it's also resistive, but in this instance the screen is actually perfectly respectable, especially when you consider the whole thing costs £15, we weren't even expecting a touchscreen, so this one is a bonus!

   There's really not that much to say about the screen other than you get the satisfying click when you've managed to select the thing on screen which you were aiming for, which we almost miss in modern capacitive screens.


   As with all feature phones there aren't too many hold ups here and we would even go as far as saying performance is good when scrolling through contacts and opening up messages. We did however, notice a notable lag when typing on the keys quickly and typically we would have to wait for the text to catch up before we could hit send.

   The software did puzzle us slightly because it is remarkably similar to Android in its implementation and we would not be surprised if ZTE were conducting an experiment and somehow managed to strip Android back to such an extent that no apps were supported any more and the OS flew on the weakest of modern phone hardware. That would be our guess as to what we have here.

   Talking of apps Twitter, Windows Live (unsupported now), Facebook and a browser are all pre-installed on the phone, but we've been unable to locate any Java apps which were compatible with the phone, so we think that's what you'll be stuck with, but again the price is so low, it's hard to expect any more!


   Whilst using feature phones you'll be amazed at the battery life you can get out of them. The thing is though there's a few reasons why they last so long. The first is that they're not checking for email all the time, although the Beat can handle that. The second is that there typically isn't support
for 3G mobile networks, and it's true to say that the Beat only has 2G connectivity and lastly, the lack of apps means that you won't pull your phone out to play Angry Birds on the train.

   That being said if you text a fair bit, you can set the T-Mobile Beat's screen to full brightness and expect to get about three days of battery life if you're a big texter and a fair bit more if you aren't and we can't wait until smartphones can give us similar performance.


   There's only one camera on this little phone and it's a 3.2MP rear-facing shooter. There's no flash, there's just the basic app and the photos will only be taken if you've inserted an SD card into the phone. That might be a pain for some people, but if you need to take a picture of something in a hurry or in an emergency this will do the job, but otherwise we'd suggest using a little point and shoot instead of the camera on here, because you won't want to look over your holiday snaps if you take them all on this phone!


   We're not used to reviewing this sort of phone here, but if you need a back up phone, or you want to take something which won't break on a camping trip, you won't find too much which is better value for money.

   We're not sure we'd give this to a young child to play with because it won't stand up to the sort of beating which they would put it through, but even if it does break, there's not too much value there and they might even like that this thing looks like a Blackberry!

   Rating:  7/10! For a feature phone at this price, you can't really go wrong!


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