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T-Mobile Tap Review

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For anyone that’s played around with one of Samsung’s TouchWiz devices, you’ll instantly recognize the commonalities that the Tap’s interface utilizes. On a sour note, it’s nowhere on the same level that TouchWiz offers in looks and depth. It attempts to emulate Samsung’s venerable interface with its own panel of widgets on the left side of the home screen. Some are of course more useful than others – there’s a good majority that are just shortcut icons to launch the application. There’s also a row of four icons on the bottom portion of the screen that acts as a general bridge to common functions. There are some slight hints of slowdown experienced on the phone – transition effects that are used extensively when navigating on the phone looked slow to execute. It’s a nice start for Huawei, but it fails to really achieve captivating us with its boring looking interface.

Home screen - T-Mobile Tap Review
T-Mobile Tap Review
Main menu - T-Mobile Tap Review

Home screen

 

Main menu



Composing a text message can be either a swift or excruciating experience depending on what method you use. We actually preferred using the traditional portrait keypad with T9 on; which allowed us to send messages with less hiccups. When turning the phone to its side to display the on-screen QWERTY keyboard, we found it unusable when attempting to speed type a message – we made too many mispresses and would best describe it as unresponsive.

For its IM client, the T-Mobile Tap features Nimbuzz that will get you into popular ones like Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, and MSN Messenger. It even provides you access to other messaging clients on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. The downside to it is that you’ll need to create a new account with Nimbuzz to gain access to any of the specific providers mentioned.

On-screen QWERTY keyboard - T-Mobile Tap Review

On-screen QWERTY keyboard

The IM client of the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review
The IM client of the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review

The IM client of the T-Mobile Tap



The email client sports automatic configuration for the popular services, but if your provider is not in the list, it will ask specific mail server addresses in order to be loaded on the Tap. Once completely set up, we noticed it displays all your mail folders like you would see them on a computer. We liked how simple the interface is laid out that enables users to quickly organize their messages.

Email client - T-Mobile Tap Review
Email client - T-Mobile Tap Review

Email client



If you’re looking for third party applications on the T-Mobile Tap straight out of the box, you’d better look elsewhere because there are slim pickings. TeleNav GPS is offered and does everything we’ve seen it perform on other handsets – so it’ll be your guide during road trips. There’s even Google Maps for an alternative location based application at your finger tips. Other than that, there are other tools at your disposal like the calendar, memo, alarm, calculator, converter, world time, FM radio, stopwatch, and timer.

Telenav - T-Mobile Tap Review

Telenav

Google maps - T-Mobile Tap Review
Google maps - T-Mobile Tap Review
Google maps - T-Mobile Tap Review

Google maps


Organizer functions - T-Mobile Tap Review
Organizer functions - T-Mobile Tap Review
Organizer functions - T-Mobile Tap Review
Organizer functions - T-Mobile Tap Review
Organizer functions - T-Mobile Tap Review

Organizer functions



Camera interface - T-Mobile Tap Review
Camera interface - T-Mobile Tap Review

Camera interface

After taking photos with the 2-megapixel camera on the Tap, we were horrified that they looked extremely poor on the phone. After viewing them on a computer, we noticed that they lacked sharp details and produced neutral color tones. Outdoor shots in bright lighting conditions produced the best quality while indoor photos had a darker tone to them. The camera taking interface is extensive with two rows of icons on-screen – it offers a ton of options to modify from scene modes to white balance. It’s not to say that photo quality from the Tap isn’t bad, but it would make do for most people.



Samples shot with the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review
Samples shot with the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review
Samples shot with the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review
Samples shot with the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review

Samples shot with the T-Mobile Tap


Strong light - Indoor samples - T-Mobile Tap Review
Medium light - Indoor samples - T-Mobile Tap Review
Low light - Indoor samples - T-Mobile Tap Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light

Indoor samples



With a maximum shooting resolution of 320 x 240, videos on the T-Mobile Tap are best reserved for quick sharing via MMS. Right off the bat we noticed at how extremely pixelated captured video looked with some noticeable frame skipping during recording. Sound from the produced video also didn’t fare too well – it was muffled sounding with a prominent static noise and we had difficulty comprehending words. Yeah, we’d gather that video recording on the Tap should be just reserved for those quirky moments you don’t want to remember.

After being exposed to a lackluster looking interface on the phone, we were expecting the same with the music player. To our surprise, it looked more up-to-date than anything else with its visual equalizer running as a song is played. Other than missing the ability to display an album cover, we found the music player simple and easy to use. Even when the speaker phone’s volume was placed at its maximum, it didn’t produce any crackling.

Touchscreen handsets tend to be more suitable for viewing videos, but the T-Mobile Tap was plagued by choppy playback to prevent it from being a decent experience. After playing two movie trailers coded in MPEG-4 at 320 x 240 and H.264 at 320 x 136, there was some substantial slowdown during certain intervals. Luckily we had no problems with sound from the videos – tones were distinct and audible with no hint of crackling.

Video playback - T-Mobile Tap Review
Video playback - T-Mobile Tap Review

Video playback

Music player - T-Mobile Tap Review
Music player - T-Mobile Tap Review

Music player



There is roughly 156MB of shared memory available if you plan on saving media directly on the device. To support that, it can accept microSD cards up to 16GB in capacity.

Taking the handset to other countries for voice calls won't be an issue with it's quad-band GSM capability (850/900/18000/1900 Mhz). For data use, the dual-band UMTS support (1700/2100 Mhz) is sufficient enough to get good connections on T-Mobile’s AWS band.

When some basic phones are packed with more than half-way browsers like Opera Mini, we are baffled with the regression of the browsing experience on the Tap. Our site took over 2 minutes to completely load up – with the phone constantly refreshing the screen to render everything correctly. Once fully loaded, we found the scrolling experience unresponsive; requiring numerous swipes of the finger to get where you want to be. Zooming in and out can be accomplished by pressing the magnifying icon which then gives you a bar to move to a specific level. With the nightmarish experience, we were dismayed at how poorly the web browser performed – it’s downright appalling for a touchscreen phone.

The browser of the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review
The browser of the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review
The browser of the T-Mobile Tap - T-Mobile Tap Review

The browser of the T-Mobile Tap




4 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. remixfa (Posts: 14148; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


The taps are flying off the shelf, actually. Im a bit suprized myself. But at $180 full retail or $9 a month on the EMP plans, its a cheap "cool" phone for the tweens that are dying for a touchscreen. Its a decent phone. Its not great, but its not crap either. Its perfect for the segment its ment for.. tweens n teens or people that want something more fun to play with but not tied to an internet plan. And its 3g internet for the 9.99 internet plan.

posted on 17 Nov 2010, 17:41

2. v (unregistered)


the tap sukz b cuz it will not read the sd card

posted on 17 Jun 2012, 01:19

3. 1DFan101 (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Jun 2012)


This phone has a lot of problems!

posted on 09 Feb 2013, 17:31

4. saint_satin_stain (Posts: 10; Member since: 09 Dec 2012)


I have a Tap, but now have a smart phone. "Its not great, but its not crap either." I ignored the camera while I was active with it. You can do email, though not as great as many smart phones; surfing not so great either, but hey. I like fact it has real radio FM tuner, music player, so you can listen to music only using battery. The alarms sound even when it's turned off. I have kept my old phones, even back to the old heavy stubby Ericsson from phone ancient days. I sometimes carry my Tap for its music player and its FM radio. The radio is good. T-Mobile should keep the Tap for those who just want to make call, maybe download email. If they lost the camera, folk who just want a phone wouldn't mind. The Tap aint crap unless you judge it by the best smart phones. My smart phone does not have a real radio; it has the streamers we call radios. They're software. If I accidentally turn it off, no alarms on my smart phone. I say, as suggested before, judge it by a different standard. It has good sound. Say it's a good phone for folk who mostly use a phone for original purpose. I had no problems with it, but I'm smarter than the phone.

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Display2.8 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (143 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Size4.20 x 2.20 x 0.50 inches
(107 x 56 x 13 mm)
3.70 oz  (105 g)
Battery1150 mAh, 5 hours talk time

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