Providing 4G technology for an affordable seems to be the trend these days like the Sony Ericsson Experia 4G phones. In line with this market strategy, Verizon Wireless has released its fifth Android smartphone that runs on its 4G LTE data network, the Pantech Breakout. Although it is not as cheap as the Sony Ericsson Experia Play 4G for instance, but for $50 more at $99.99 the Pantech Breakout comes with better specs. So let’s see if it can make a mark in the 4G arena.
An affordable phone like the Pantech Breakout coming with Andriod v2.3.3 Gingerbread right off the shelf is really as amazing as it sounds. You can jump from one home screen to another with relative ease. Press on the small circles hovering on the top of the screen and you get a carousel preview of the 6 other homescreens which is great. In the app drawer, instead of the boring technique of scrolling up-and-down, you now swipe through it side-to-side but the apps are still arranged alphabetically which helps you to quickly get to them. The Pantech Breakout caught us by surprise as it is capable of providing four desktop modes similar to the one found on HTC Sense UI. The modes let you keep either your current mode or start of in communication, media or empty. The desktop widgets that are made available were also pretty good. When you press one of them, you are shown the different sizes in which they can be placed on the home screen. The Pantech Breakout includes the Social Net app allowing you to sync to all of your social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. It then displays your friend’s current posts and also allows you to type a message that you want posted on your wall. For your messaging needs, there is a straightforward app just for that. Meanwhile there’s an email app as well for your POP and IMAP accounts but you can also get Gmail app to access it separately.
The Pantech Breakout comes with a 4 inch WVGA screen making it a tat bit smaller than the screens found on all the other 4G LTE smartphones by Verizon Wireless. That downgrade obviously relates to the drop in price thus making it a pretty good offering. The brightness isn’t comparable to the Motorola DROID BIONIC but otherwise reading text on this phone is not an issue as they appear crisp. Adding to this, the screen also gives accurate colors.
On the back of the phone is the 5MP autofocus camera which we find easy to operate thanks to the dedicated camera button. You also get to play with many camera functions with this camera like autofocus, white balance and color modes. But wait there’s more as you can select your preferred image resolution and also choose from 11 different screen modes. All that aside, picture quality sadly wasn’t impressive as it lacked detail and color reproduction wasn’t up to par. No flash is provided with the camera on Pantech Breakout thus pictures taken on low light scenarios turned out grainy. Meanwhile videos can be recorded at a resolution of 1280 x 720. However just as the still picture mode, the video recording mode was also disappointing. The videos lacked detail and there is also a lot of image-shake.
The Pantech Breakout is marketed as a phone capable of providing Verizon’s 4G LTE technology so that is obviously one of the features that is going to be put under the spotlight in our review. The web browser loaded complex pages and at the same time is also Flash capable. So to test the 4G speeds, we used SpeedTest.net app and we were managed to get downloads speeds up to 7Mbps and upload speeds around the region of 6Mbps which means this phone definitely proves its worth. The usual connectivity options like 3G EVDO and Wi-fi can be found on the Pantech Breakout.
The call quality we get from the Pantech Breakout is good as we could hear some good tones that didn’t have background noise from the earpiece. However, push the limits by increasing the volume and you might get some distortion. People on the other end of the line were happy with the phone’s performance too. The phone comes with a 1500mAh battery to satisfy your daily needs. With average use, the phone was capable of staying alive for 10 hours which means you might need a recharge at some point if you have a long day.
Pros and Cons
The camera on the Pantech Breakout needs a lot of improvement.
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