The Pantech Pocket is an odd phone. Contrary to its name, the bulky frame will only fit in massive pants. You may think you want it -- after all, you get 4G at a good price. But I'm warning you: keep the Pocket out of your pocket.
The odd-bird quality is immediately clear in its square shape: it is 4.5-inches tall but over 3-inches wide, so it's difficult to hold comfortably. I thought it looked downright bizarre. But it's coated with rubberized thermoplastic so it can withstand tumbles. You'll drop it, so I guess it's good to know it can take a beating.
The 4-inch screen, which dominates the wide front, doesn't lay flush -- it's cradled by thermoplastic, so if you drop the phone, it'll land on the edges of the body and not the display. The 800-by-600 resolution produces detailed images, without jaggedness or obvious pixilation, and color saturation, though not as vibrant as AMOLED competitors, was still true-to-life. Meanwhile, the 4:3 aspect ratio plays movies and video in proportion, but it can stretch the view on some apps. For most, there's no problem, but it's something to keep in mind. The extra width also makes typing easier on the virtual keyboard.
Sadly, the 5-megapixel camera doesn't take photos worthy to show. There are a few issues, starting with the missing LED flash. Pictures in low light turn out fuzzy and dark -- unless you have the illuminating halo of a 13th century fresco of a saint, you won't be able to take pictures when the sun's not shining. In addition, the auto-focus is so laggy it's utterly useless -- unless you have the hand steadiness of a vascular neurosurgeon, you won't get a clear shot. You get the point.
Oh, the four-second shutter lag ruins your chance for spontaneous shots. There are no filters or settings, either. And to top it off, the camera records 720p video at a meager 2,000 kilobit-per-second bit rate, so clips look as pixelated as the still photos. There's no front-facing lens either, so no video chat too. Yes, it's a budget phone, but this is one of the worst cameras out there -- it's just shockingly bad. But luckily, the software isn't as wretched -- it's just mediocre.
The Pocket runs Gingerbread, which is fine, but Pantech made matters worse by adding an annoying skin over it. It's like a less functional version of Samsung's TouchWiz UI, which is pretty bad to begin with. You can't customize the homescreen or themes. Basically, you're limited to the five pre-set themes -- Work, Active, Social, Play and Favorite -- and stuck with a bunch of un-installable preloaded apps, courtesy of AT&T.
You can only change the background on the 4-by-4 app grid, but choose the standard black -- any other one slows down the performance. I wished there was a camera shortcut on the homescreen, it's not a big deal since the lens is so bad. But there is one nice thing: Pantech included PC Suite, so you can connect from a computer by USB or Wi-Fi.
A 1-gigahertz single-core processor is responsible for the horrible lag -- it stutters and freezes and generally performs like it's slightly water damaged. You get a pre-installed 2-gigabyte microSD card, which is convenient, and if you want, you can buy cards up to 32-gigabyte in size. If there's a silver lining, it's the 1,680 mAh battery -- it lasts about six hours on steady use and over a day on average standby.
The Pocket is cheap, but I don't recommend it. The funky-in-a-bad-way design, unconventional aspect ratio and muddled software show it's better to stick with the standard. If you want a budget device, I'd go with the Breakout instead. ♦
It was nearly free with my last upgrade and that's why I went with it. Now I know why they were practically giving them away, no one would actually BUY one one these hunks of junk.
It takes a FULL 3-4 minutes to boot up. And you must reboot it frequently because it randomly just freezes up on you. The camera is horrible, it takes awful pictures and it takes about 5 seconds to take a pic. It's too bulky to be convenient and you need 2 hands to answer a call. You have to hold the phone with one hand and swipe with the other to take a call. You can't do it one-handed because the phone is too wide. I could talk all day about what garbage this phone is and I would never get another one.Was this review helpful to you?
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