Equipped with a QWERTY keyboard, it's only fitting that the Jest comes with several messaging options. They include text and multimedia messaging with threaded conversations, instant messaging, and e-mail. E-mail comes in two flavors--mobile e-mail, and mobile Web e-mail. Mobile e-mail is a downloadable app that lets you send and receive e-mail from a variety of providers like Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and Gmail, plus you can enter in your own POP3 or IMAP information. However, mobile e-mail does cost $5 a month. Mobile Web e-mail is free, but it's just a link to a bare bones browser interface.
For social networking fans, the Jest comes with Social Beat, a Verizon app that lets you access Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, as well as your Google Talk and Gmail accounts. Also in the Social Beat app is an RSS reader that lets you add and remove feeds from a variety of different news sources. However, you can't enter the RSS URL manually; you'll have to pick a feed from the provided list.
As for multimedia, the Jest has a pretty basic music player, with the ability to set songs on repeat or shuffle, and a variety of preset equalizer sound effects for Rock, Jazz, Classic, and more. You can customize the look of the player with different colored skins, and you can set it to Music Only Mode for when you're in an airplane and can't have a cellular signal. The player supports MP3 and WMA formats, and you can either load the music via a USB cable or via a microSD card. The Jest takes up to 16GB of removable memory. Another option is to use V Cast Music with Rhapsody. Though you can't download songs over the air, you can sync it with the desktop application and get your subscription music that way.
The 2.0-megapixel camera on the Jest can take pictures in five resolutions (1,600x1,200, 1,280x900, 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120). Other settings include six white balance presets, brightness, a self-timer, four color effects, and three shutter sounds with a silent option. There's also a video recorder, and it can only record in 176x144 resolution in either 15 seconds for MMS or an hour for storage. We were pleasantly surprised by the Jest's photo quality. Though it's not as crisp as photos taken with better cameras, images still looked sharp and not as blurry as we expected. Colors looked a little dim and muted, however.
You can customize the Jest with a variety of wallpaper and ringtones, and if you're not happy with the default options, you can download more from the Verizon store. The Jest also comes with apps like Backup Assistant, Bing Search, and VZ Navigator. There aren't any games, but again, you can download them from the Verizon store via the Web browser.
We tested the Pantech Jest in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was loud and clear for the most part, but we experienced rather harsh and blown-out voice quality at times. On our end, we heard our callers perfectly fine with not a blip of static, but we thought their voice quality was a little strained and mechanical.
Similarly, our callers said the call quality was above average, but definitely sounded like it came from a cell phone. Voice quality sounded a little coarse and a tad crackly. Speakerphone calls were quite good--callers didn't even know we were on speakerphone most of the time. Audio playback was decent, but nothing special. The mono speakers on the Jest don't do music justice, so we would recommend a headset for better sound quality.
The Pantech Jest has a rated battery life of 4.6 hours talk time and 15 hours standby time. The Jest had a talk time of 4 hours and 45 minutes in our tests. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.893 watt per kilogram.