Pantech Crossover Reviewed - Pantech's Entry Into Android for the U.S.
The Pantech Crossover is Pantech's first Android powered smartphone to enter the U.S. market. While Pantech has created powerful and creative smartphones in Korea with Android, the Crossover has more humble beginnings with AT&T. Does the Crossover cross over well to the U.S. or does it fall flat?
Crossing Over to the U.S. With Android
In its home country of South Korea, Pantech has released impressive, powerful smartphones, but in the U.S. it seems they've toned it down quite a bit. The Pantech Crossover is their first entrance into the U.S. market with Android. They've had a working relationship with AT&T through the C300 and Duo, and the Crossover is taking advantage of this previous relationship. The Pantech Crossover is aiming towards the entry level market with its price of $70 with a 2 year contract and seems to be an attempt at capturing the U.S. market and spreading the name.
Pantech Crossover Specifications:
- Dimensions: 4.45 x 2.28 x 0.56 inches (113 x 58 x 14 mm)
- Weight: 5.15 oz (146 g)
- Display: 3.1 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display, 320 x 480 pixels
- Memory: 512 MB expandable up to 32 GB via MicroSD slot
- OS: Android OS 2.2
- Processor: 600 MHz ARM
- Camera: 3 megapixel camera
- Connectivity: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 / UMTS 850, 1900, 2100
- Data: EDGE
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1
- GPS: GPS with A-GPS
- Battery: Li-Ion 1500 mAh
Design and Display
The Pantech Crossover takes a slightly different approach from other Android powered smartphones. While it is still a candy bar design, with a 3.1 inch display dominating the front of the phone, it strays away from the usual sleek and sexy look found on other smartphones. Instead, the Pantech Crossover goes for the more rugged look, with rough, jagged edges taking place of the smooth rounded surfaces found on other phones such as the Samsung Captivate. Underneath the 3.1 inch display or better yet, surrounding the bottom border edge are the Android shortcuts for back, menu, home and search. The back and search shortcuts are elevated above the other two and border the bottom edge of the phone nicely.
Along the left edge of the phone resides the volume rocker. Opposite resides the charging port and a dedicated camera button. The power / lock button is in an interesting position, along the upper right hand slanted corner, which makes absolute sense. The index finger naturally resides there when holding the phone. The upper left hand slanted corner has a feature function button, which leads to a shortcut menu of sorts.
The 3.1 inch display is decent, though, when compared with higher resolution smartphones or those with qHD or a Super AMOLED display it loses the battle instantly. But for a cheaper priced smartphone, the display is decent enough to use. Overall the Pantech Crossover has a different design that distinguishes it from others and a decent display.
The Pantech Crossover comes equipped with a 600 MHz ARM processor, which is on par with other entry level Android powered devices. Preloaded on the device is a copy of Android 2.2, which runs fairly smoothly. Most daily tasks run well, but when multiple applications begin running or more intensive applications are loaded, the Crossover begins to freeze. In some instances, a forced reboot was needed as the Crossover stopped responding entirely. Otherwise, the performance is very similar to the LG Optimus T (or S, C, M, U, V), another entry level Android powered smartphone.
The call quality is decent, though there was a bit of static here and there occasionally. Outgoing calls came out a bit robotic while incoming calls seemed to bring in the outside noise along with the caller. There were also occasional dropped calls, but it may have been AT&T's network, not the phone itself. The data also experienced some intermittent interruptions here and there, but once again, the root cause could either be the network or the phone.
The battery on the Pantech Crossover was decent. The battery comes in at 1500 mAh, which is actually on par with many higher end smartphones. The phone was able to last 10 to 12 hours on one charge with moderate usage, including calling, texting and browsing.
The Pantech Crossover has a very familiar interface thanks to the fact that it runs Android. The touch-screen interface means it's easy to use and work with, and ultimately easy to master and customize. While the smaller screen does make the whole experience a tiny bit cramped, the overall feel of the touch screen is decent. In addition to the touch screen, the Crossover also holds a full physical, slide out, QWERTY keyboard underneath the display.
A slide out, physical QWERTY keyboard can be a hit or miss with smartphones and at times, it can be a polarizing addition. In the case of the Pantech Crossover, the QWERTY keyboard hurts the phone. The keys are designed well and the slight elevation makes the pressing of keys easy, however, the placement of the keys leaves a lot to be desired. To include the directional pad, the third row of keys had to be shifted left. In addition, the comma is not found next to the 'm' key but rather one space across due to the up directional arrow. Another missing part of the keyboard is the lack of specialized keys. The shortcuts for '.com' or a question mark for instance do not exist on the keyboard.
The Crossover also comes with a customized version of Android. The main change that is easily identifiable is the lock screen, which looks like a sticker that you peel and you can rearrange your list of applications as you see fit. Overall, the whole experience is a bit underwhelming with the slight sluggishness and keyboard that's built slightly off.
The features of the Pantech Crossover is another area where it's a bit underwhelming. The Crossover comes with a 3 megapixel camera, which is decent but it lacks the polish of any flash. No LED flash or even Xenon flash exists, meaning that once the sun starts to head down the pictures start to become harder and harder to take. The video recording is also a bit lacking, as it begins to get choppy when moving. While the camera does offer a macro mode and autofocus, the quality leaves a bit to be desired.
The Crossover comes with other standard features such as GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. For an extra additional cost, the Crossover can also be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot, able to connect up to five devices. The Pantech Crossover is a 3G smartphone and doesn't have access to the 4G network, but for an entry level smartphone, it's expected.
The Final Verdict
Overall the Pantech Crossover is a 'Below Average' entry level smartphone. By no means does that mean it's a horrible phone, it's actually a good solid first effort by Pantech, but there are certain areas that the Crossover can improve on. While this initial offering from Pantech is a bit underwhelming, with a price tag of $70 after a 2 year contract it does look enticing. For folks looking for an affordable smartphone, the Pantech Crossover may be a good choice to go with, but overall there are other entry level smartphones that perform better.
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