Directly underneath the display is a row of three "quick-call" keys numbered 1, 2, and 3. Each number can be assigned to any contact you want, though we recommend using these quick-call keys for emergency contacts, similar to the emergency buttons on the Verizon Wireless Coupe. To assign a number, you press a quick-call key, select options, and then select Assign Contact. You can even assign a picture for photo caller ID. Though we appreciate the usefulness of having these three dedicated speed-dial keys, we found them a little uncomfortable to access. The keys are directly above the hinge bump, and they are slippery and flat to the surface.
Underneath that is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a four-way toggle, a middle OK key that doubles as the Web browser shortcut, a dedicated speakerphone key, and a Camera shortcut that leads to the Camera menu. The four-way toggle also doubles as shortcuts to a new text message, the alarm clock, the contact list, and the My Stuff menu. Under the navigation array are the Send, Clear, and End/Power keys, plus the alphanumeric keypad. The Clear key doubles as a shortcut to the calendar. We absolutely love the entire keypad and navigation array--all keys are large, well-spaced, with a raised bubblelike texture that make dialing and texting quite easy. You can also toggle an option that makes the phone beep whenever a key is pressed.
Unlike a lot of phones designed for the elderly, the Pantech Breeze is unusually full-featured for an entry-level device. Starting with the basics, the Breeze has a 800-entry phone book, with room in each entry for three numbers, an e-mail address, and an image for photo caller ID. Essentials include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, an alarm, a calendar, a notepad, a voice memo recorder, and a calculator. For slightly more advanced users, there's also text and multimedia messaging, mobile e-mail, instant messaging, a wireless Web browser, plus Bluetooth. It's also a quad-band world phone.
The Breeze also comes with a VGA camera, which is unusual with senior-citizen-focused phones. You can take photos in three different resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 176x220) and three quality settings. Photo quality was predictably blurry and pixilated, but we're surprised by how sharp the colors looked. You can even take short little video clips with the Breeze. Video resolution comes in either 176x144 or 128x96. Similarly, video quality was pretty shoddy, with a lot of blur and pixelation, but it will do for a quick shoot.
Personalization options are quite plentiful with the Breeze. Not only do you get the stock graphics and alert tones, you have the ability to shop for more via the wireless Web browser. Games include demo versions of Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Platinum Sudoku, and Platinum Solitaire. It also comes with a My-Cast Weather application. As with the graphics and sounds, you can download more games and applications if you wish.
We tested the Pantech Breeze in San Francisco using AT&T. Call quality was very good, with loud and clear voices on both ends. Our callers did hear the occasional static and hiss in the background, but it wasn't too bad. On our end, voices sounded very natural, and volume was definitely loud enough. Similarly, the speakerphone on the Breeze produced very loud volume, with some hissing in the background. On the other end, callers reported more echo and crackling than usual, but that's pretty normal for speakerphones.
The Pantech Breeze has a rated battery life 3 hours talk time and 10.4 days standby time. We were very surprised by the tested talk time of the Pantech Breeze of 11 hours and 5 minutes. According to the FCC, the Pantech Breeze has a SAR rating of 0.74 watt per kilogram.