Top critical review
94 people found this helpful
Dissatisfied after a year
on October 25, 2011
ORIGINAL REVIEW (see updates below):
This is the second Pantech phone I've had. The first one was functional and reliable, and so I didn't hesitate (much) to try this smartphone. I liked the features, and I got it during Amazon's 1c sale, so you can't beat the price (unless you can get it free). I've had it for a week.
I was upgrading from the Motorola Droid (circa 2009), which I loved. This time I opted for a phone without a physical keyboard because I'd been using Swype, which comes pre-installed on the Breakout. Because I was familiar with Android v2, the Breakout seems updated yet familiar. Some of the keys (back, home, menu) are in a different order on the Breakout, which takes some getting used to. There are seven "pages" where you can put shortcuts or widgets vs. five on the Droid. That makes organization a little more important, otherwise I'll be swiping the screen to hunt for the shortcut I want.
The pros include:
Swype (don't have to install the Beta)
mini USB input jack has a cover
power/wake button is conveniently located on the side
camera resolution is decent
voice quality is good
has voice control function that actually recognizes names in my contacts list
Speakerphone isn't very loud or clear
Battery life is disappointing, even with screen brightness turned down
Useless, unwanted apps (such as Lets Golf 2) can't be uninstalled
User guide is weak
I installed Advanced Task Killer, and after killing all apps except ATK, the following apps are restarted automatically:
My Verizon Mobile
Some of these apps are essential and I'd always want them to start up. But some aren't. I don't use Blockbuster and don't want it on my phone, but there it is, sucking down my battery life. Slacker is a personal radio, for which I don't even have an account. When you start up VZ Navigator, you see a warning:
"This application requires data usage for download and use which will be billed to your account according to your plan, feature or bundle."
Even if I decline, the app runs whether I want it or not.
City ID displays the city & state of an incoming call. Nice if you get a lot of calls from unknown callers, but I only give my cell number to family and friends.
The Breakout's not blowing me away with its awesomeness, but I'm happy with it despite these annoyances.
Edited to add:
4G range is wider than expected. The Verizon coverage map says that I'm 10+ miles outside the 4G zone, but when I'm at the dog park in the middle of town (trees around but no buildings), I get 4G. At home, only 3G as expected.
11/4/11 update: When I said the battery life is disappointing, I wasn't kidding. I charge the phone overnight and unplug it around 8am. If I don't charge it during the day, I hit 10% battery by about 8pm. This is with some light texting and maybe a call or two. It has shut off on me before 9pm due to low battery. I have the screen timeout set to 15 seconds and tried setting the screen brightness to Auto or about 1/4, but that made little difference. :/
12/26/11 update: I frequently get errors on the Pantech home page if I try to open an application too quickly after unlocking the phone. It's one of those errors that gives me the choice of waiting or force-closing the Home application. It's rather annoying. The phone is also sometimes very slow to respond to commands. I've discovered a trick to extending the battery life is to use a wallpaper other than the animated default image that comes with the phone, and turn animations off. It means not using some of the built-in features, which somewhat defeats the purpose of having a cool smartphone, but it's less frustrating than running out of juice at 6pm.
Conclusion: I might go back to using my old Droid until I'm eligible for a new phone (almost 2 years!). I definitely WON'T be buying another Pantech. I'm lowering my review from 4 stars to 3.
9/18/12 update: I'd lost the phone for several months and didn't miss it. When I found it again, I took it to Verizon to reactivate it and ask what they can do about the horrible battery life. The lady suggested I get a larger capacity (2300 mAh) battery (PN: VZW18995BATX) for $49. I figured that it was worth a try. So far, this battery is holding plenty of juice and hasn't gotten below 50% during a single day. It does make the phone thicker (it comes with its own back to accommodate its larger size), but it has eliminated my largest complaint about the phone. I'm not changing my star rating because it's an add-on, but if you've been frustrated with the battery life, it's worth considering.
2/6/13 update: I went to the Verizon store to see if one of their sales people could help configure my phone to use less power and put more apps on the SIM card rather than the core memory. She tried everything I tried and gave up. The problem is that with only 1GB RAM, there's not much room for add-on apps, many of which do not provide the option of running from the card. I ended up closing my account & taking the hit on the early termination fee in order to get a decent phone. The frustrations were too high with this Pantech.
I absolutely cannot recommend this phone for anyone who wants a *smart phone* to run add-on apps with. If you only want the basic functions and apps that come with the phone, you might not become as dissatisfied as I did. I could not find instructions for rooting it in order to remove the useless apps taking up all the storage space.