Some time ago, Pantech made the decision to scale back and focus solely on “Quick Messaging Devices.” In a world that’s full of smartphones from a number of manufacturers, the decision seems to have been a good one. Every Pantech device I’ve worked with has been solid in more ways than one, and is proof that focusing research and development in one specific area is a good way of doing business. That being said, there’s quite a few featurephones out there – is the Pursuit the one for you?
Design & Features
The Pursuit ships with the battery, AC adapter, and instruction manuals. Measuring in at 3.68 inches tall by 2.52 inches wide by 0.47 inch thick, and weighing 4.6 ounces, it’s small enough to stow in a bag, pocket, or cup holder. The 2.8-inch touchscreen is on the pixelated side, but offers 262,144 colors and 240 x 320 pixels. While it may seem a bit small compared to the 4.3-inch behemoths out there, it’s perfect for this type of device (and keeps the Pursuit compact).
The left side of the device houses the volume rocker and microSD slot, while the charging port, shortcut key, power/lock button and camera button can be found on the right side of the device. The camera and speaker are both located on the back of the device, while three touch sensitive buttons – send, back, and end – are located on the front, beneath the display. The camera has a green ring around it (on the green version). Though the plastic body isn’t anything to write home about, I was pleased with the build quality. In working with the hinge and keyboard, the device seems to be manufactured well.
Usability & Performance
WIth the funky colors, cute wallpaper, and wide design, it’s clear that the Pursuit is targeted at a younger demographic. Keeping that in mind, the Pursuit would make a perfect cell phone for youngsters, or a good backup phone for the regular texter. Despite being a compact device, the built-in QWERTY keyboard is surprisingly roomy and fantastic for typing out long messages. With four rows, I love that it offers dedicated space for the space bar and associated symbols. There’s no lag in the menu, making it very easy to pound out long text messages and e-mails.
The Pursuit offers the familiar AT&T user interface with three home screens, and three menu pages. For a featurephone, the Pursuit offers a number of personalization options, such as home screen widgets, background wallpaper, and ringtones. Included in the software are the typical AT&T programs – AT&T Navigator, YP Mobile, AT&T Mall, Mobile E-Mail, Mobile Video, and more. In a nice twist, the Pursuit offers WHERE, Facebook, and MySpace, apps that are typically found on smartphones. From gas prices, to Starbucks locations, to keeping in touch with friends, you’re connected.
The phone offers a basic 2.0-megapixel camera, and in testing, images were relatively decent, provided the lighting was right. Editing options include special-effect modes, color effects, white balance, geotagging, self-timer, and various shutter sounds. The video camera shoots in two resolutions (one for MMS, one for storage), and provides a decent picture quality as well. It’s no major camcorder by any means, but it works for occasional videos.
The Pursuit was tested in the Charlotte metro area, and call quality was good across the board. In many instances throughout testing, I had 1-2 bars of service, but calls were crystal clear. Callers had no problem hearing me, and call quality was clear on my end. When testing the Pursuit in an AT&T fringe area in Northeast Charlotte, I was able to hear the other caller, despite some occasional choppiness. Speakerphone worked well, and I was able to pair two Bluetooth headsets to the device without issue.
The phone offers 3G connectivity, and combined with AT&T’s att.net browser, internet related tasks worked without a hitch. CNN’s mobile page loaded in about 11 seconds, and PhoneDog’s mobile page loaded in about 19 seconds. On the battery front, the Pursuit sports a 1000mAh battery with a rated talk time of 5 hours, and roughly 15 days of standby time. With moderate use including calling, text messaging, browsing the internet, and using the included apps, I was able to make it about a day and a half before the device powered down. With light use, I was able to make it well over two days before it needed juice.
The Pursuit is another well-made “Quick Messaging Device” from Pantech. Between apps like WHERE and customization options like the ability to add widgets, the phone offers a number of customization features that distinguish it from other phones. It’s a low-end device, but it offers enough spice to make it worthy of consideration. The Pantech Pursuit is available in blue and green at AT&T retail locations for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.