LAS VEGAS--Smartphones aren't really a dime a dozen. Most of them are more like several hundred dollars for one.
That's why I'm so pleased with the Burst, Pantech's new LTE smartphone for AT&T. The phone is perfect for those who want a quality product, but may not have as many dollars to spare.
The Burst will be available January 22, and with a two-year contract, it will cost $49.99. If you buy it bundled with Pantech's waterproof tablet, the Pantech Element, you can get both for about $250.
Although $49.99 is definitely a lot cheaper than other smartphones, don't feel that you're going to get shafted. I spent only a few minutes with the phone, but I was impressed by my first glance. It has a strong build-quality that doesn't feel cheap or plastic-y. The Burst comes in two colors, red and titanium, and with its two grooves on the side and textured-looking backing, you can tell a lot of thought went into its design.
The Burst runs on an Android Gingerbread 2.3.5 OS and a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. It has a 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen with a 480x800-pixel display resolution. The phone also has a VGA front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel camera in the back that shoots HD 720p video. It'll play back 1080p HD video as well. The camera has an LED flash and has zooming capabilities up to 4x.
The Burst is powered by a 1,650mAh lithium ion battery. Although battery life obviously depends on individual usage, the phone averages around 4.5 hours of talk time and 250 hours standby time.
The Pantech Burst isn't the sexiest, top-of-the-line phone out there. It wasn't built to be. Just as it was designed for a no muss, no fuss sort of user, the phone is definitely a no muss, no fuss device. The guys over at Pantech just wanted to make a simple affordable phone that doesn't lack in network speed or quality.
And shucks, I think they might have pulled it off.
To keep track of all the phones coming out of CES 2012, check out our coverage here.