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Frankly stated, the T-Mobile Tap is among the worst phones I have ever had the displeasure of using. There really is little positive to say about this device and, while I can’t say I’m truthfully surprised, I was hoping to come up with at least one thing that I actually liked about this phone. All I can think of is the form factor. What appears at first glance to be a copycat of the Samsung Highlight actually comes off being exactly that.
The hardware itself is really nothing more than any other middle-of-the-road touchscreen device these days. With send/end keys and a four-way directional pad, the phone functions just as one might expect. The disappointment starts with the screen. At 2.8 inches with a resolution of 240 x 320, there just isn’t anything exciting about this screen. Say what you want about the Samsung Behold 2, but few phones have “popped” out at me as the AMOLED screen did on that device.
The Tap takes me down memory lane of the phones I owned two years ago, minus the touchscreen. Aside from the screen, physically the phone feels quite nice in the hand. With no flex, it actually seems quite solid feeling. While I wouldn’t place money upon its hardware if dropped from the second story of a house, I didn’t get the impression it would fall apart in my pocket either. What really started to bug me was just how hard I had to press to get any selection to register on the resistive screen. Forget about texting on this phone, it’ll make you want to scream.
My attempts to recalibrate the screen to see if that helped failed 7 times in a row before I was able to achieve the full calibration sequence. Afterwards, no noticeable changes were present and it was just as disappointing as before I entered the Olympic event of screen calibration. Texting, inputting phone numbers and contact names all proved challenging along with frequent misspellings, wrong key errors and the aggravation continued. I had to put it down and come back a little later because I was just annoyed with how long it took me to input my own name into the address book. I could go on, but I think you get the idea…I didn’t have an easy time with the screen.
As for the software, if you have played with at least one Samsung TouchWiz device, you’ve already nailed down the interface here. It appears to be almost an exact copy without actually being a copy, all the way down to pulling out the menu with an arrow on the side. The rest of the menu is pretty straight forward, though slim on options. You get the usual fare of T-mobile options these days with onboard Telenav, though Google Maps was also included. Other than that, expect a calculator, alarm, calendar and a clock.
As for the onboard 2 mega-pixel camera, fuggedaboutit. It’s not awful but it’s no substitute for a pocket cam. With indoor shots, I’m pretty sure each photo had either a random purple or green fringe border. Outdoor shots weren’t all that bad if taken in direct sunlight with an object that wasn’t more than 10-15 feet away, but, with that scenario, it would be almost impossible to take a bad picture. If taking pictures isn’t your thing, then you have nothing to worry about here. If you want to have a camera with you to capture Bigfoot or a UFO, you’d want to look elsewhere.
As for other important features, the browser on the Tap was a pretty big disappointment. While one would suspect that those looking to purchase the device would not really be interested in heavy browsing, stay away if you have any interest in it at all. Slow load up times, combined with the already mentioned disappointingly unresponsive touchscreen, were just more causes for aggravation with this device. Don’t’ even think about loading page you need to scroll down to view, it would take a lifetime to scroll and hit the bottom of the page.
As for phone calls, I admittedly only made a few calls with this device because I couldn’t wait to put it down but they weren’t half bad. While the speakerphone left something to be desired, none of my callers complained or were unable to hear me. Battery life was good as it took a full 7 days to wear down the battery on this phone in standby mode as I just left the phone sitting on my desk longing for attention.
In conclusion, if this is what Huawei is bringing to the table, they need to step up their game Michael Jordan style. All in all, I just can’t recommend this phone, not for your little sister getting her first phone or for your grandmother who needs a prepaid. Operating the touchscreen takes the skill of a trained Olympian and if you want a stylish but small touchscreen phone, T-Mobile has plenty of other, recommended choices. This is a “do not buy” in my opinion and that’s that.