/// T-Mobile’s $20 Prism Sacrifices Speed, But Not Call Quality

May 28, 2012  |  All Things Digital

For the first time, the majority of adult mobile-phone subscribers in the U.S. are now using smartphones, according to a recent report from Nielsen. But smartphone ownership dominates by just a slim margin, which means a lot of people are still using regular old cellphones. Some people may not feel the need to run lots of apps or to be connected to email all the time, while others may not be able to afford high-end smartphones, which can cost hundreds of dollars — not including the monthly data plans. Stripped-down, inexpensive smartphones — known as “budget phones” — do a lot of the same things that fancier smartphones do, but make some sacrifices that impact performance. I’ve been testing one such smartphone: T-Mobile’s Prism phone, which is aimed at first-time smartphone buyers and costs just $20 for contract customers after a $50 mail-in rebate. The Prism is made by Huawei, and was introduced in early May. It’s currently available through T-Mobile’s retail stores and Web site, as well as through Walmart and Best Buy stores. It runs Android’s Gingerbread operating system, which isn’t the newest flavor of Android. [ See post to watch video ] After five days of testing the Prism, I found it to be a pretty decent phone with good call quality, a device that first-time smartphone buyers would probably find easy to use. But it runs on T-Mobile’s slower 3G speeds, Web browsing was slow, and its build felt cheaper than some other budget phones. Also, it’s really not meant for heavy media consumption, so consumers with an inclination toward that will want to steer clear of this phone. For two-year contract customers, T-Mobile has Value Plans and Classic Plans that offer up to 10 gigabytes of data service per month for around $65 dollars.

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T-Mobile’s $20 Prism Sacrifices Speed, But Not Call Quality

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