At an on-contract price of just $29.99, AT&T may have just found the solution to providing 4G capabilities for a very affordable price in a time when getting a 4G phone still hits you hard in the pocket with the AT&T Impulse 4G. Although AT&T might owe it to a certain Chinese manufacturer called Huawei for the low price, we still have to the small task of determining if this phone is a good performer in the 4G phone category.

One look at the AT&T Impulse 4G and you might have it mistaken for the Huawei IDEOS X5 because in all fairness they look almost identical. However, on closer inspection it’s a pleasant surprise that the phone has got a much better build thus giving a much better feel in the hand compared to other Huawei phones. The soft touch exterior together with its neutral design approach keeps it well away from being tagged as a cheap phone. Measuring in at 4.72 x 2.56 x 0.46 it is a tat bit larger than the likes of LG Phoenix and HTC Freestyle but given the fact that it is 4G capable, I guess it’s worth carrying that load in your pocket. At the price AT&T is offering the AT&T Impulse for, we are made happy once again since it comes with a 3.8 inch WVGA LCD display. The capacitive Android buttons are found below the screen. Albeit there being enough room between the screen and the buttons, they are times when we still press them by accident. On the top we find a flat power button together with the standard audio jack. The flat power button blends in too well with the phone that it is sometimes hard to press. However, there are no such problems with the volume rocker found on the left of the phone as it is raised to an ideal level. Meanwhile, on the bottom of the phone is the microUSB port for charging and data connectivity purposes. On the back is the 5MP auto-focus camera that we will look into in detail later together with the LED flash and the speakerphone grill.

The similarity of this phone to the Huawei IDEOS X5 goes beyond the design as we see with the CPU here. Both the phones sport the same 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7230 processor. With this processor the phone was capable of doing all the basic tasks with ease but when it came to other tasks like getting around the homescreen which at the same time had a live wallpaper, the AT&T Impulse 4G showed it couldn’t handle them that well.

Although the AT&T Impulse 4G has impressed in some aspects so far, some may start to take a step back when they realize this phone comes with the Anrdroid v2.2 Froyo instead of the latest version of Android. For those who don’t see this as too much of a problem, we are here to inform you that it still provides the usual personalization you get with Android. Moving on to the typing experience on the phone, the layout was a bit cramped making typing a tough task at times. Piling on to that are the unresponsive keys which results in much lower typing speeds. The email is not something new when compared to what we have seen on other Android phones. Nevertheless we will still mention how it is easy to set up with generic accounts as it only asks for our email address as well as password to activate. Depending on the user, it might be good or bad news that the AT&T Impulse 4G doesn’t come with very many preloaded apps. However, there are still a few in there like the AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap , Documents To Go, Layar, AT&T Navigator as well as YPmobile and myAT&T.

It’s not a 4 inch screen, but for the price that AT&T is offering the AT&T Impulse 4G, we think it’s a bargain to have a 3.8 inch WVGA LCD screen on this phone. The screen is capable of providing cooler looking color production and at the same time some pretty good detail. However, it is miles apart from the likes of AMOLED panels. The viewing angles are also poor as you can’t see much if you are not looking at it straight on. As almost every other phone, we need to block the sun with our hands to make out stuff on the screen under sunlight.

So a 5MP camera with LED flash seems like a pretty good deal on the AT&T Impulse 4G. However, the camera isn’t up to par with most of the 5MP cameras other smartphones are offering. The shots are mostly muddy and grainy and the bad color production makes things worse. If that wasn’t enough, the LED flash was another problem as it resulted in bluish hue to shots taken indoors. Albeit offering 720p video recording capabilities, we did not expect much after the disappointment we had seen in the still image capture department. Details are not clear and the audio recording was also bad but one plus was probably the fact that the 28 frames per second capture rate was smooth.

As has been the case with other AT&T 4G smartphones, the speeds the carrier provides have yet again failed to convince us that you can achieve 4G speeds with the AT&T Impulse 4G. What we find here is that the speeds are in the 3G region. Meanwhile in the web browsing section, it’s quite decent. There is support for Flash too. The phone is on the GSM network meaning you can use it anywhere on the planet. Other features include Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, Wi-Fi, aGPS and mobile hotspot functionality.

Moving on to the performance of the AT&T Impulse 4G we found it difficult to understand what our friends are saying as the tones heard on the earpiece were weak. On the other end, there was complains that we sounded choppy. The speakerphone was loud but the voices ended up being choppy here too. Signal strength on this phone will not be a problem as it had good signal mostly. You can get a away with a whole day of heavy usage on a single charge which was great.


Pros and Cons
AT&T Impulse 4G comes at a very affordable price on contract for a 4G phone. It is also well constructed with detailed display.

Screen viewing angles were appalling and call quality on the AT&T Impulse 4G also needs working. The camera is definitely not a highlight on this phone either.

The AT&T Impulse isn’t the 4G solution power users will be looking for but those hunting for an affordable priced phone that’s able to give you more than average, than this phone might be the one for you.

Close Menu