AT&T Impulse 4G Review

Introduction and Design

Even now, buying a “4G” enabled AT&T smartphone still requires you to fork over some serious cash flow, but as we continue to become inundated by them, it’s only inevitable to find them increasingly on the affordable side. Plus, when you’re Chinese manufacturer Huawei, you know it’s going to be close to dirt-cheap. Well people, we’re finally at that level as the Huawei manufactured AT&T Impulse 4G is taking off sporting a tempting on-contract price of only $29.99. Indeed it’s lovely, we’re curious to see if it can find that perfect balance to commit itself as a decent performing smartphone.

The package contains:

  • AT&T Impulse 4G
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide


Essentially an exact facsimile to the Huawei IDEOS X5, the Impulse 4G is a surprisingly decent looking handset that’s far better in build and construction over other wonky Huawei devices we’ve checked out. Sporting a clean look with its soft touch exterior, its neutral design approach and balanced weight enables it to blend in with the crowd – albeit, it’s not something that stands out. Nevertheless, we’re content with its overall appearance since it doesn’t come off as a cheap feeling device, which is generally something we find a lot of in its price category.

You can compare the AT&T Impulse 4G with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

For the price, it’s definitely sweet to find it flaunting a 3.8” WVGA (480 x 800) LCD display, which is able to deliver plenty of crisp looking details. Additionally, its cooler looking color production manages to give it a good pop, but it’s still far from producing the luscious tones exhibited by AMOLED  panels. However, you’ll literally need to look at it straight on since its poor viewing angles tend to fade things on-screen. And yeah, we find ourselves constantly shielding it away from the gaze of the sun.

Even though there is a sufficient amount of space separating its capacitive Android buttons and bottom edge, we’re still constantly finding ourselves accidentally pressing them. Who knows why, but it seems more susceptible when we’re flicking our finger against the lower portion of the display.

Sadly, we’re not a fan of its flat looking power button, but luckily its volume rocker is raised a bit more to offer us a distinctive feel. Much like other handsets, it features a 3.5mm headset jack and microUSB port for charging and data connectivity.

Jutting out a tad bit from the surrounding area, we find its 5-megapixel auto-focus camera in the rear –  with its LED flash and speakerphone grill nearby. Meanwhile, sliding off its soft touch coated back cover, we’re given access to its 1,500 mAh battery, microSD card slot, and SIM card slot.

Interface and Functionality:

Much like the Huawei IDEOS X5, the Impulse 4G is powered by none other than an 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7230 processor. Sure it’s able to execute most basic tasks with minimal effort, but there’s some evidence of strain with other things that are processor intensive – such as navigating around its homescreen with a live wallpaper activated. Of course, it can be perceived to be an eyesore for some people, however, we’re at least glad to see that things don’t come to a crawling stop with its operation. Far from being the peppiest thing on the block, its performance is tolerable enough to accept.

It’s hard to say why things happen the way they do, but we’re dumbfounded by the Impulse 4G’s choice of packing the older build of Android 2.2 Froyo at this point – as opposed to Gingerbread. Some will surely complain about it, while others will simply accept it for what it is, but it’s anyone’s guess when or whether we’ll see it get upgraded. Nevertheless, it still boasts all the enjoyable personalization aspects that Android has to offer.

Regretfully, the typing experience is seemingly challenging at times with its cramped layout and unresponsiveness. Making matters worse, we’re essentially limited in speed seeing that we’re constantly making mistakes with our input in portrait. Obviously, the issue is alleviated with the landscape option, but we’re still rather cautious with our movement.

Moving on to email, there’s nothing new in this category since it follows accordingly to all other Android devices before it. In terms of its set up, it’s always a breeze with generic accounts since it simply requires our email address and password to activate properly.

Recommended Stories

As we stated already, there aren’t that many preloaded apps on board with the handset, but there are still a few sprinkled in. Specifically, they include AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, Documents To Go, Layar, myAT&T, and YPmobile.

Camera :

Photo buffs beware, you’re not going to expect much from the handset’s 5-megapixel camera because its results are exceptionally uninviting to the eye. All in all, shots are muddy and grainy in appearance, which doesn’t help its already bland looking color production. Even worse, its LED flash casts a bluish hue to indoor shots that are already distorted by a lot of digital noise.

Faring poorly with still image capture, we’re not all that surprised to see more of the same with its 720p video recording. Clearly compromising details with its indistinct visuals, it’s almost unfathomable to think for a second that it’s shooting in “high-definition.” In addition, audio recording is completely muffled in tone. Despite those problems knocking at the door, the only bright spot that we see is its smooth 28 frames per second capture rate.

Huawei Impulse 4G Sample Video:


Finding the stock Android music player, it’s not trying to be extravagant with its presentation, but instead, it’s simply functional in playing some catchy tunes. Taking us by surprise, the handset’s speaker is able to emit some powerful tones that can knock the socks off our feet – but at its loudest, there’s some hint of strain with its output.

When trying to watch videos on the Impulse 4G, you’ll want to load ones that are in lower quality since it falters in playing our movie trailer that’s encoded in MPEG-4 800 x 480 resolution. During its playback, it’s plagued by a lot of slowdown and lag.

Preloaded with a 2GB microSD card, it’s undoubtedly a nice thing to find with a handset that’s priced affordably. Still, if that’s simply inadequate for your needs, it can always be replaced with cards up to 32GB in capacity.

Internet and Connectivity:

In our experience with other “4G” branded AT&T smartphones, we’re not all that convinced by their speeds – and the same can be said about the Impulse 4G. In fact, speeds are more in line to what we find with other 3G enabled smartphones with the carrier. Turning our attention to its web browsing performance, we find it actually more than acceptable – even though its operation can be jerky at times. Still, it’s great seeing Flash support on board to give us that desktop-like experience.

Naturally, this GSM flavored smartphone will operate on just about any network around the world. Meanwhile, its so-called HSPA+ connection is able to get us maximum real-life download an upload speeds of 3.5Mbit/s and 1.5Mbit/s respectively. On top of that, it offers other standard connectivity features like aGPS, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot functionality.


Producing some very weak tones through its earpiece, it’s blatantly difficult to comprehend phone calls, but it doesn’t help when voices sound hollow in tone. Moreover, our callers say that our voice is choppy sounding on their end of the line. And even though we’re greeted with strong tones with its speakerphone, we’re not too thrilled with the choppy voices heard through it.

Fortunately, the handset is able to keep a solid signal to the network during our testing in high coverage areas within the greater Philadelphia region – plus, it didn’t drop any of our phone calls.

Using the handset extensively, we’re glad to see it able to provide us a solid one-day of usage on a single charge, which is more than enough to get most people through a rigorous work shift.


Power users will undoubtedly keep their distance, but for anyone who wants a decent Android powered smartphone without the hefty price point, you’ll be glad to check out the value conscious AT&T Impulse 4G. Sure it might be rough around the edges in some categories and doesn’t offer astounding specs, but it’s almost hard to not like the $30 cost it’s sporting out of the gate since it’s undeniably tempting. For Huawei, it’s seemingly a win for them since they’re able to establish themselves respectably on AT&T’s lineup with their balanced offering. Is it cheap? Of course, but at least it sprinkles a dash of solidness so that it doesn’t embody those cheapo qualities.

Android Version: 2.2.2
Build Number: U8800V100R001USAc07B630
Kernel Version:

AT&T Impulse 4G Video Review:


  • Affordable price
  • Solid construction
  • Detailed display


  • Poor screen viewing angles
  • Poor call sound quality
  • Shoots ugly looking photos & videos

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

2 Reviews

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless