Published on Jun 5, 2012
Credit: Josh Miller/CNET
The good: T-Mobile Prism has a competitive price, decent call quality, and solid data speeds.
The bad: The Prism's camera quality is poor, the screen has a low resolution, and its processor is sluggish.
The bottom line: If you're looking for your first 3G smartphone, the T-Mobile Prism will deliver basic calling, texting, and Web-browsing requirements all for $20. Just don't expect blazing speeds or great photos.
The T-Mobile Prism is powered by a 600MHz Qualcomm processor, which doesn't make it fast by any means. It carried out basic tasks like changing the device from portrait to landscape mode or entering text in a reasonable amount of time.
Yet, other actions such as opening the camera app or waking the display dragged on a few seconds more than they should. Also, when I scrolled up and down a picture of Kim Kardashian on the Web browser, the lagging refresh rate made it appear that she had four eyes instead of two. Unfortunately, this feature did not double the amount of brain she usually works with.
The handset runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and is stocked with the standard lineup of Google apps. These include: Gmail, Search, Latitude, Maps with Navigation, Play, Talk, and YouTube.
It also has a slew T-Mobile specific apps, like the hotline (and for some reason, horoscope giving) app, 411 & More; Access T-Mobile, which gives you info about your phone and data plan; a gaming portal called Game Base; More for Me, which scouts local deals based on your interests; T-Mobile Mall, which lets you download ringtones, MP3s, and apps; a trial subscription to the caller ID service, Name ID; T-Mobile visual voice mail, and lastly, a 30-day trial to T-Mobile TV. This is a service where you can stream live TV from channels like Fox News and ESPN, and download shows like the ever-so gripping "Dance Moms Miami."
Additional features include a Web browser, a clock with alarm functions, a calculator, a calendar, a second e-mail app, an FM radio, a music player, a news and weather app, a notepad, a voice dialer, and voice search. In addition, the handset's capable of making and receiving calls and messages over a Wi-Fi network.
The 3.2-megapixel camera features only a handful of photo options. Along with geo-tagging, a 2.8x digital zoom, and five white balance choices (auto, incandescent, daylight, fluorescent, and cloudy), it also has three picture qualities (superfine, fine, and normal), five color effects (none, mono, sepia, negative, and aqua), and five picture sizes ranging from 3-megapixels to QVGA.
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