Pantech Pocket (AT&T) review: Pantech Pocket (AT&T)

This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
MSRP: $399.99

Pantech Pocket (AT&T)

(Part #: CNETPOCKETATT) Released: Nov 22, 2011

Please visit AT&T for additional phone models.

3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good An intriguing design, a helpful take on Android, and a reliable camera make the Pantech Pocket an interesting smartphone choice for AT&T. It also has 4G HSPA+ speeds.

The Bad No camera flash and poor video playback quality are black marks against the Pocket. Small controls don't do it any favors, either. Call quality could be better.

The Bottom Line The Pantech Pocket dishes up a solid 4G Android Gingerbread experience at a wallet-friendly price, but the extra-wide frame, absent camera flash, and poor video playback quality could deter some folks.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0

Pantech and AT&T have a history of making some pretty reliable phones, including the Pantech Crossover and the Pantech Laser . In the Pantech Pocket, you see Pantech's easy-to-use Android Gingerbread skin, HSPA+ 4G speeds, and a good-quality 5-megapixel camera, all for a very reasonable $50. In an interesting twist, however, the Pocket's standout trait--its wider, shorter build--is also its Achilles' heel, since the dimensions make it awkward to grip with smaller hands. Video quality will bum out budding videographers.

A black phone with a textured, slightly rubberized finish coating the phone's rim and back, the Pocket immediately stands out for its short, squat, rounded build. Even though its 4.52-inch height makes it no more vertically challenged than the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Transform Ultra , the handset's 3-inch waistline is much ampler than most. At 0.44 inch thick, the phone steers clear of bulkiness, and at 4.4 ounces, it's light without being flyaway.

Sure, the Pantech Pocket is pocket-size. If you're Andre the Giant.

What makes the Pocket more pocket-filling than most is the 3:4 ratio of its 4-inch touch screen. This translates into an SVGA, or super-VGA, resolution of 600x800 pixels (there's support for 16 million colors.) The screen itself is bright and colorful for the size, and graphics look smooth, not jagged or pixelated.

Pantech bestowed the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system on the Pocket, then added its own touches. While there's nothing we haven't seen before from other manufacturers, Pantech's take is fairly intuitive and easy to use. The lock screen shows a circle surrounded by "spokes" of icons, each one representing an app you can open right from the lock screen. They lead to the browser, the call log, e-mail, the music player, the messaging app, and the home screen. The center of the ring conveys your battery status.

Pantech's custom interface also gives the Pocket seven customizable home screens and a pull-down navigation menu with quick access to system settings like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, sound profiles, and the alarm. There are also stylized onscreen navigation buttons for the dial pad, texting menu, browser, and app tray. One nice perk is that the extra-wide screen also begets an extra-wide virtual keyboard. Swype is installed, but isn't selected by default.

Getting back to the design, you'll find four physical buttons below the display. They call up the menu, home, back, and search. They rise above the surface and are responsive, but are a little too narrow for my tastes. On the right spine sits the Micro-USB charging port. The volume rocker is on the left, and up top are the 3.5mm headset jack and the power button. I wish Pantech had been less thrifty with the button's size. I wouldn't call it uncomfortable, but a larger or shapelier button might feel better under the fingertips.

The camera lens on the back belongs to a 5-megapixel lens, but note that there's no flash. Behind the back cover there's the microSD card slot, which comes filled with a 2GB SD card for storing apps and multimedia.

An Android Gingerbread phone, the Pocket is already equipped with Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. There's built-in support for as many contacts as your memory can support, and standards like personalized ringtones, calling groups, and photo ID. Text and multimedia messaging are also routine, as is support for multiple types of e-mail inboxes, including your corporate work address.

The Pocket's power button felt too small, especially for the smartphone's oversize shape.

The Pocket has essential apps like your calendar, clock, a calculator, a browser, and a basic music player. It happens to be fully stocked with over three full pages of apps--a bonus or detriment, depending on your take--so you'll also find a compass, a measurement converter, a document viewer, an RSS reader, a memo pad, and a weather app.

Google loads up all its Android devices with apps for Google services, so you'll be able to access maps, turn-by-turn voice navigation, Places, and YouTube, among others. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Kindle, and City ID are also in residence, as well as a sketch pad, a PC connector, a stocks app, and a voice memo app.

AT&T also gets into the game with its customary installations: Navigator, Family Map, U-verse Live TV (streaming content for $10 per month), YPmobile (Yellow Pages), AT&T Address Book, AT&T Code Scanner, and MyAT&T. Whew!

When it comes to photos, the Pocket's 5-megapixel camera proved to be a handy sidekick, taking some crisp, clear outdoor shots with good color representation. Indoor photos presented more of a challenge, especially since the camera lacks a flash. Colors were flatter, details were more blunted, and focus was harder to achieve. Still, it's a serviceable shooter, and fine for the camera's price, though I think that had Pantech put in more resources, it'd be even better.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4

    Starting at: $199.99
    4.5 stars

    Samsung's ultra HD powerhouse takes on the iPhone 6 Plus and LG G3 with some of industry's...

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus

    Starting at: $249.99
    4.5 stars

    Bigger isn't always better, and for many the idea of a smartphone with a 5.5-inch screen...

  • Samsung Galaxy S5

    Starting at: $1.00
    4.5 stars

    The Galaxy S5 has once again proven Samsung’s ability to make an attractive high-end smartphone....

  • Apple iPhone 6

    Starting at: $199.99
    4.5 stars

    It's got a bigger screen and works with Apple Pay. It lacks a battery boost, but it's...


Discuss Pantech Pocket (AT&T)

Conversation powered by Livefyre