Pantech Swift Review: Cheap Now, But Expensive Later
The Pantech Swift is one of the better feature phones. But unless you just call and text, go for a smartphone -- AT&T will nickel and dimed you on add-ons until you "swift"-ly run out of money. Even the best feature phone can't hold a candle to some of the worst smartphones.
The Swift is cute. The rounded shape and lavender touches give it a softer, bubbly look -- ideal if you're a teenage girl. At about a half-inch thick, it's fairly compact, but the six-plus ounces will give you a bit of a workout to lug around. But don't be fooled: looks better than it performs, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a teen that'll willingly carry it around.
The 2.8-inch screen is rather irritating -- it's not very sensitive, so you'll have to press hard, and the size is too small for gaming, Web browsing and pretty much anything aside from texting. The 320-by-240 pixel resolution, meanwhile, is okay for messaging, but even then, text looks jagged. But one good thing: the screen is angled, so it's easier to see in direct sunlight.
The slide-out four-row keyboard is definitely one of the highlights. I found the plastic buttons well-spaced and responsive, and easy to type on, but it's not attractive. The keys are a little too flat for my liking -- typing without looking is a bit harder than using domed buttons -- but it works. I kind of wished there was automatic spellcheck -- it's missing -- so type accurately, or you'll look like you lost every childhood Spelling Bee.
The 2-megapixel camera is shoddy, to say the least, and the lens seemed permanently stuck in "grainy and out-of-focus" mode -- at least that's how all the photos look. There's no flash, either, and the shutter speed also seemed stuck on "elderly woman shuffling painfully slowly across the street" mode. If you're trying to take an impromptu photo, you'll likely miss it. You get a timer and brightness and white balance controls, but trying to fix these photos is like trying to put out a fire with a thimble of water. Frankly, the awful camera is only suitable when you forget the point-and-shoot.
Since the Swift is a feature phone, Pantech didn't bother with an operating system, so you're left with basic -- but very serviceable -- proprietary software. I thought the three home screens weren't half-bad -- you can customize the simple and streamline interface. And, in particular, I love the message threading, which groups texts into a convenient conversation-style layout -- it's easy to read. It comes with a basic Opera browser, which means you'll get crow's feet from squinting while browsing WAP and HTML pages. But a word of warning: again, expect to pay $10 to $15 a month for data. At those prices, just get a smartphone. The Swift isn't exactly super-cheap with a two-year contract -- you can pick up an iPhone 3GS for around the same price. And, of course, you'll get apps.
There are two big problems: one, it's not swift at all. The name is misleading because the 600-megahertz chip is slow as molasses and makes everything take twice the time to load. When you open programs, you'll think the phone froze, but don't despair -- it's just moving at a sleeping snail's speed. The other issue is that it's a huge rip-off. AT&T charges insulting pricing for games -- if you download Frogger, for example, you'll pay $7 a month. A month -- for just one game. Outrageous. If you want to use the GPS, that's another $10 a month. Just turn everything off. In addition, there's no Wi-Fi, so you'll have to, conveniently, download apps over 3G. You won't have the treasure trove known as the Android Market, but there are about a thousand others that can put a dent in your bank account.
If you don't listen and still download programs, you'll have a measly 180-megabytes of storage plus a microSD slot for up to 32-gigabytes. Why you would buy an extra card? I don't know. I guess you could store MP3s for the music player, which is surprisingly good -- but it won't be for your photos. Meanwhile, one of the benefits of a no-feature phone is a long batter life. And the 1,000 mAh battery is amazing. You'll get around five hours of talk time, and if you use it infrequently, you'll last just short of a week on standby. Outstanding when you think how smartphones barely last a day.
If you plan to call and text, the Swift will do -- especially if you're averse to data plans. It's a decent for messaging, if you can deal with slows functions. And call performance is good, even though the speakerphone is tinny. But if you're even remotely considering a smartphone, just get one. You'll end up saving money in the long run. For a cheap option, take a look at the Burst -- not only will you get an operating system, but also 4G and a better display. ♦
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TFT (Accelerometer / Proximity Sensor)
February 06, 2013
its the most retarded phone i have ever had
absolutly nothing is good about this phone besides the color of it I love purple.
the phone constantly loses service in places where other phones from the company does not. sometimes it doest even show that I have messages for thee hours after a person sends them. I am very unhappy with this AT&T phone and I have never droped it I turn it off when I go to bed so thats not the problem. if I was you I would save yourself the trouble and get a Verizon phone or a smart phone from at&t.Was this review helpful to you?
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
May 09, 2013
Not the Replacement Phone I was Hoping For
The color -- I love purple also!
This is a replacement phone for my Samsung Mythic which died after being dunked in a cup of coffee. It was covered by insurance but AT&T doesn't offer this Samsung model anymore so they replaced it with the Pantech Swift that they described as an "upgrade". Yeah, right! I got the Samsung because it took great pictures and it had a touch screen keyboard. This Pantech doesn't have a flash on the camera and the keyboard is a little slide out with tiny little buttons that I have a hard time using. I've only had it a few days now and just don't think I'm going to be very happy with it but we'll see.Was this review helpful to you?
0 out of 0 people found this review helpful.
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