T-Mobile Tap Reviewed, Forgotten

2009-11-03 10.36.36

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.

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  • Mark

    “forgotten”? LOL!

    • King beast31

      i personally like this phone…it down right gets the job done for me…i am curently using the G1 but my screen is cracked…its a good phone for the money..i dont believe nothing you people are talking about. you r just over reacting just a little dont you think???

  • I totaly agree with you on this one david, the tap sucks and in a way so does the highlight, big time waste of a touchscreen, theres hardly a menu and i basically got bored with it within 20 seconds of using it. but i cant totally knock it, It does have that tmo logo on it.

    • sorandkairi

      Really u cant “knock it” because of that?! I didnt see a “lol” but i know ur joking, right?

  • JethroGibbs

    It is what it is. An entry level, low priced touch screen. You want cool, go for something else. You want convenience of a touch screen in the form the Ford Escort of phones….the tap has you covered.

    • sorandkairi

      LOL, nicely put.

    • David

      That’s my point though, it isn’t “convenient” in any sense of the word. I if I want aggravation of a Ford Escort…THEN the Tap has me covered.

  • can someone please explain to me why does t-mobile always takes out phones like this? verizon, at&t and sprint also get some sucky phones but never as lame as the one t-mobile gets.. why is that??

    • sorandkairi

      As taylor says…cheap!!!

    • Dalton

      Nice username.

  • At least it is cheap.

  • Dominick

    Phone is awesome if your blind. Lol. what is tmobile thinking?

  • Jeff

    This phone should be called “my 1st touchscreen”. I wouldn’t give up my G1 for it but my daughter loves it. I’m guessing smaller fingers make a big difference. You did fail to touch on one key plus – the data plan is $10 a month while other touchscreens are $25 or $30. I’ve actually been impressed with how fast the browser loads on her phone. The phone is fairly cheap so comparing it to the Behold is quite unfair, comparing it to similar priced phones it would probably come out looking better.

  • :)

    I think its a great idea for people who want a touch screen phone and they can’t afford the behold 2 or any other phone. thats why they have tap.. I know thats nothing special. every simple phone has the same aplications as the tap does. bt i belive u are wrong about the recalibrate the screen 7times. i used one before,The 1st time i used the recalibrate i got it. maybe your fingers are fat or something but the phone is really good for people that can’t afford a better phone..

  • niididy

    I played with the phone at the T Mobile store and boy, what crap! Couldn’t agree more, David. Phones like these can become one of the reasons of a carriers downfall. What were you thinking, T Mobile??

  • It is a 3G phone with GPS, and a radio. I think those features alone make it reasonably good phone for what you pay. You can add Java apps to it, and this means you can replace the poor default browser with the much better Opera mini. You can also get a decent Twitter client via the free Snaptu application.

    The camera is as bad as every other 2 megapixel cell phone camera that I’ve seen, which also makes it as good as every other 2 megapixel cell phone camera that I’ve seen.

    The comparison with the Highlight is fair, as they are very similar phones. Except that the Tap does have a D-pad making navigation very easy on many menus, and even a better replacement than using your finger on a web browser. It also uses a standard USB charging port rather than a proprietary cable.

    Given that I can use this phone as a bluetooth modem for my Mac, I think that this phone is good value for what it is. The overriding weaknesses are text entry and limited email/address book functionality.

  • shariq

    The tap isn’t as bad as you guys seem to present it in this “review”. It gives the customers an option to have a touchscreen phone without taking the mandatory data plan that accompanies phones like the MyTouch and all other data devices. Plus its got GPS, 3G, email, a radio, can open docs and much more. David is a iphone fanboy and is bouch to shun phones without the “must-have” capacitance touch screen. Additionally, I work for tmo and I’ve sold a ton of these to customers to customers and have only gotten one return because the guy thought it was not as good as the iphone. Its not a freakin iphone, its a regular phone with a several nice features. Get over it!

    • David

      First of all, I’m hardly an iPhone fanboy, love the phone? Yes. Bow to the phone? No. I didn’t like the Tap, not at all and I’m free to present that to the readers and having spoken with numerous folks at other sites, my opinion is shared considering the viability of this device. Whether or not it sells isn’t really relevant to the article, I don’t believe it should but if it does I still think it sucks.

      • niididy

        AMEN, David!!!!! It sux, period. What are people thinking????

  • TehAndroid

    While the Tap isn’t going to compete with the Cliq or the myTouch in specs, it doesn’t have to. It is a really popular phone. I sell so many of these to customers, we can keep them in stock. Full price its cheaper than the Cliq on a discount. Has gps and can use google maps. Can use opera mini as well which makes it a very power yet inexpensive device. Say what you will but Tmobile has a nice little phone here and I recommend getting it as n entry level device (kids, grandparents, mid range users). If you are are power user then look at a different phone the Tap isn’t intended for you.

  • andrew

    how come it looks like touch wiz

  • eli_the_great89

    This device is horrible. My sister bought this phone since her gravity was a little jinky.
    She returned it within the 14 days since the phone was extremely laggy and horrible.

    I’m quiet sick of manufacturers making touch-screen phones after another with “resistive” touchscreens.
    I know Apple has a certain patent with their whole “multi-touch” capabilities, but its quiet rediculous at how people continue to buy these half ass touch screen phones.
    Ok fine don’t input multi touch but at least place a capactive touchscreen for easier navigation and better functionality.
    But I guess its cheaper for the manufacturer to make the phones, and cheaper for the mobile carrier to buy them and resell them at a higher price. Pathetic if you ask me.

    Sadly this is just another kiddish phone amongst others that t-mobile has brought forth to it’s costumers.

    • krasticx

      Well, long (and I mean long) finger nails are currently an in thing for women. And women who “have” to have long finger nails hate capacitive touch screens cause their nails don’t work on them and it makes them hard to use the phone. What I fail to understand is why they come backing bitching about their phones screen not working after 6 months of purchasing a resistive touch screen and using long finger nails on them…even after I educated them on how it destroys their phone Screen.

  • Frank

    Wow. You must be on crack! It seems that this phone never had a chance and your expectations may have been as high as the MyTouch. For less than $180 (retail) you get a decent looking touch screen device that you can download JAVA apps to it (i.e. Google Maps with real-time GPS, traffic, streetview, directions; Facebook etc.) I can assure you that you will not be able to find another phone at this price point to offer you so much with unlimited web for only $10/mo. I am not a rep from Huawei and hve owned a 8220, 8900, Behold, MyTouch, and now a CLIQ. All i am trying to say is that this is the “Best Bang for the Buck” in the US right now.

    • David

      There is NO WAY this is the best bang for your buck right now in the United States, there are 14 other phones that one should purchase before picking this up.

  • Frank

    14??? just give me ONE phone that retails under $200 and can give you unlimited web for $10/mo. and give u live GPS, traffic, and directions???

    • cheap

      frank, I can give you two phones. The sony ericsson tm506 and equinox both have GPS, traffic, and directions with $10/month unlimited web. They both retail for less than $200 too.

  • ashley

    @cheap – the browser on the tap is far better than the tm506 and the equinox and neither of those are a touch screen.

    The Tap is one of the best selling touch screen phones for T-Mobile right now. It should not be compared to higher end touch screen phones because it is definitely a touch screen phone on a budget and appeals to the customer who is looking for a touch screen starter phone who doesn’t use the web and text a lot.

    I am a manager for T-Mo and have seen us sell through these many times with very few returns and most returns were cancelling for reasons other than the device. Currently I can’t keep them in stock in the blue color and luckily I have more of the berry in stock because they are in high demand. It definitely isn’t my choice over our touch screen devices like the cliq, TP2, myTouch, G1, Behold2, etc. however who am I to deny customers who like it and don’t return it from purchasing a phone that fits their needs???

    Most of us that post on these sites want more from our phones. Some people see this device as a value as it fits their needs and gets them into a touchscreen device which is what they want.

  • krasticx

    As a T-Mobile employee, within 3 weeks the top of the touch screen was peeling off…another issue I have…I can physically feel the screen bending inwards as I press on the phone. I have sold only 3 or 4 but only after I have warned my customer how much a piece of sh*t they are purchasing and its not my fault when they have to pay 300 dollars for a decent phone.

  • Robert

    I sorta feel bad for David. I’ve ragged on him for being a total shill to T-Mobile and making everything sound overly wonderful and here he goes and gives his honest opinion about a piece of crap phone and he ends up getting ragged on by hyper-sensitive ’employees’ that think this is the best thing since sliced bread.

    This is why I don’t talk to employees or ask their advice anymore when it comes to phones… most of them don’t have a clue and just flat out lie to sell a product anyway.

    The Tap is a joke of a phone. It’s a cheap child’s toy that’s made for 10 year olds that their parents don’t want to spend money on a real phone for – and in that regard it does what it’s supposed to do. Which is basically nothing.

    It’s much like just about every other single phone that T-Mobile has acquired over the past few years while AT$T and Sprint and Verizon have gone out and acquired phones that people have wanted.

    Yes… again yes all carriers have ‘entry-level’ phones but T-Mobile has FAR FAR FAR more than their fair share while having very few actual phones that ‘people crave’ compared to other carriers.

    You were spot on here, David.

    Sorry for the backlash from some poor ‘hurt’ T-Mo reps for bashing their phone and company for offering it.

  • Taylor

    omgg!! my brother got this phone and the mem card didnt even go in rite! but its cheap nn hes not really good at cell phones.. i told him he should of got a comeback xP

  • rolltide4ever

    I had the tap and returned in within my buyers remorse period. The rep had to use a stylus to calibrate it instead of her finger at the tmobile store where I bought it to calibrate it. That should have been my first warning. The best part of the device was the instant weather. Although within two days it could not accept or receive data for an entire evening and tech support could not understand why. There wasnt enough information for them to solve it. I later found out from a friend who has this phone that this HTC phone and others often have trouble with data outages that arent the network but the hardware/software. I ended up getting the Sony Ericcson equinox instead. Much better choice.

  • Tennisguy

    Whenever I sell this phone I use the awesome line of “well the tap rhymes with crap, so do you really want this phone?”

  • beastly

    It’s a cute phone for cheap. Personally, I think the Equinox or the Gravity 2 is a better longterm investment in a working phone, but if you want a cute touchscreen phone for your 13-year-old daughter, and don’t want to shell out $300 on the better-made Highlight, the Tap may work for you.

    Truth is, I think a lot of people shop for phones the way they shop for shoes. For myself, I need something that looks professional when I’m meeting with clients, performs basic functions well, and will last a long time. A 13-year-old girl spending her babysitting money may care more about color, style, and price. Ease of navigation and email functionality in a phone may matter as much to her as comfort and durability in a pair of shoes.

  • My 13 year old sister has had the phone for about 2 weeks and loves it. I’ve used the G1, the Mytouch, and now The click, and they don’t compare. But when your 13 and it’s your first touchscreen phones, it’s amazing. So i think it’s a great starter phone anyway you look at it.

  • watbetch

    There is supposed to be a screen protector on all of them sold and that could be blocking functionality a bit.

  • David

    This phone is what it is…a low-end touch screen. It attracts price sensitive consumers. It sells quite a bit. As a tech savvy person, now way on God’s green earth would I ever purchase the phone. But I’m amazed at people who don’t want to spend money but want to feel like they’re up with the times get excited over this phone. Overall, not bad.

  • mike

    who ever did this review isa fool the touch screen is way easy to use the battery life is amazing the camera is perfect indoors it serves its purpose it was made for ppl who cant afford those dumb 200 dollar phones such as behold 2 or google phones and still hvae to pay another bajillion dollars for internet and email that is slower then this phones web i would recomend this phone

  • misfitpierce

    I tried this device at tmobile store and it was awful. I will not say its not a great starter phone or cheap alternative phone for some but to compare it to the highlight or any samsung touch screen is not accurate or fair technically. I own the highlight and do not get lag like on this device. Highlight touch is also never missed a beat for me where as this tap had me almost pounding the screen for results sometimes.

  • the tap is a huge rip off. my sister is tryin 2 get it but im tellin her dat it’ll just b a waste of money .im a t-mobile customer and if t-mobile wants more sales 4 all their smart fones…they need 2 drop their prices like at&t and vzw and sprint.

  • Jonstonson

    There’s plenty of complaints about the T-Mobile Tap but remember that the tap is a $180 phone and therefore it shouldn’t be judged in the same caliber as a Behold/MyTouch/Samsung highlight.

  • mbear

    Every carrier has top-end phones, every carrier has bottom-end, ahem, “budget” phones. If you want a touch-screen phone on the cheap then the Tap is fine, and the $10/month data plan is a good deal for Google Maps, the occasional look-up, getting scores, or weather, or whatever.

    If you’ve got a bigger budget, or more online needs, then yeah, get a better phone. Otherwise not bad bang for the buck.

    As to T-Mo having the bestest phones or the worstest, most folks agree T-Mobile has a strong lineup at the moment. Remember the goal isn’t the kewlest choices but solid devices that meet the needs of the most customers, at the right prices, and T-Mo seems to be doing well on that basis.

  • Anna

    I am currently in my 14 day trial period with the Tap. I do not have “longgggg” fingernails but I do have some and I couldn’t type worth a crap on the MyTouch which is the phone I originally wanted-putting the flat of my finger on the keyboard hits two letters at once and I do not have big fingers. Several people have mentioned downloading the HTC keyboard for it,it’s bigger and more responsive but I have searched and haven’t found a post anywhere where a girl with medium nails could now text on it successfully. Anyone? Does the new keyboard help? I would go with the mytouch instead of the Tap if I could just get an answer that the downloaded keyboard works well for most girls. The Tap obviously has one feature i like-I can type with fingernails no problem.

  • bobbymaas

    i have this phone and i love it you dont have to say all of the negative stuff. it is a good phone at a cheap price. and the camera takes really great pictures if you know how to use it. and the screen works just fine.

  • viviana

    i wanna get this phone tomorrow bt alot of ppl are against it and with it… so idk if i should buy it or not!!!! helpp

  • Janny

    I guess I’m an idiot…..I love this phone. It has been one of the nicest touch screen phones I’ve had. I had to get rid of it because it didn’t not pair with my bluetooth in my car. I blame that on Huawei or whatever forein name they are called. And the second? T-Mobile. I have been with them for years. But they never cease to amaze me on their lack of customer service. Had me on the phone for over an hour and a half with this phone, told me they opened a trouble ticket, called back 2 weeks later and this guy NEVER did a f’n thing! No notes, no ticket..NOTHING. I’m beginning to hate T-mobile more and more and not the phone. They better start getting with the program. The CUSTOMER rules the company. WE can make them or break them. I was so P.O.’d at them for just this phone…..

  • Heloise

    Well I agree it is an entry level touch phone but after one month of owning my TAP, I am very pleased with it, I don’t care for big bulky phones or too many icons on the screen so I appreciate its simplicity. Had no problem calibrating the touch screen. Had the phone less than an hour when I pulled a bulky item out of my bag and the phone didn’t just fall on the floor – it went flying across the room first before bouncing on the floor, I could not believe it still worked!!!! Slender, solid and simple, just what I was looking for! Unlike other reviewers, my experience with T-Mobile has been- the best customer service (which is why I have been with them for 14 yrs – tries AT&T and came back to TMo) the best plans and the worst phones but the TAP is changing my opinion. It does everything I need a phone to do, for everything else there’s a laptop.

  • stephen

    I bought this phone for my friend back in December. I don’t recomend this phone to anyone over 30. The Tap is a piece of crap.

  • Mackenzie

    I left my cell outside in the rain and i loved it! I just got the tmobile tap and i totally wanted the samsung highlight! This phone sucks….the screen is way to small and there is no key board! im so angry right now!

  • Seabee

    For the cheap cost of my month to month plan and the inexpensive cost of the tap I got at costco I could not ask for a better phone or plan!!! The Tap works great for me.. I have none of the problems that I have read through the months of messages here… Maybe I am just lucky and have a Great Tap ! All I Can Say Is That I Am Happy With It !!! Have A Great Day All !!!

  • Melissa

    I’ve been using the phone for a couple of weeks now. I don’t have a complaint about texting on it. Works just fine for me.

    I don’t have a data plan on it. I was hoping that I could enter my at-home wireless user/password to browse on the phone like an iphone to save on getting a data plan. They told me at the store that it was possible, but I have yet to figure that out. I miss my old iphone! Camera is crappy. Getting annoyed that I need a data plan to send pics online.

    Overall, I don’t mind hitting the phone harder than I would on a more responsive touchscreen. I prefer a bit of heft to it. The address book layout is awkward, but so far I haven’t had any problems.

    I wish there was an autocorrect for texting, but oh well. This is a budget phone.

    I have noticed that talking on this phone is terrible. Other people have commented that my conversation can be heard because the sound comes out of the back. I don’t have it on speaker phone.

  • ClifP

    i have this phone and i absolutly love it!!!! the touch screen is way better than most and the camera never leaves random markes :) although i see what you mean about it very much being a copy i dont have any problem awith it maybe yours was just messed up :)

  • Aimeeramirez2237

    I have this phone as well and I love it evrything works great on it but tmobile is to expensive

  • Aimeeramirez2237

    I have the tap now and im selling it only because I switched phone companys it was a great phone for me everything worked well on it the texting and camera worked great

  • Agienger

    I have had this phone for a year. Replaced it 3 times so far. Camera is awful it doesn’t zoom like most others do. Texting is difficult. Its fine if you have nails and can push, but does not work well with just the pad of your finger. It is the worst phone I have ever had. I was at the Tmobile store last week and even he said they were a ‘piece.’

  • Olivia!(:

    So this is a positive message ! i currently have this phone and i lovee it! its easy to text it just takes practice and yess their is a zoom on the camera and this is a phone i would recommind for a 8-12 year old child!