You'll find mostly basic features in the entry-level Agent. In addition to texting and multimedia messaging, there's a calendar, an alarm clock, a calculator and a tip calculator, a world clock, a voice memo, and a unit converter. You can also switch on airplane mode. More advanced features include Bluetooth, GPS, the MetroWeb browser, and a camcorder.
MetroPCS has also preloaded some apps on the phone, such as Handmark's Pocket Express portal app, the Loopt social networking app, and a mobile IM app. There's also the typical slew of MetroPCS-branded apps, like MetroBackup, Mail@Metro, the MyMetro account management app, MetroNavigator, and Metro411.
If you install your own microSD card, you can use the built-in music player. Controls are pretty simple, but the module looks fairly attractive and easy to use, taking advantage of the phone's circular toggle as a hardware control. There's support for playlists, shuffle, and repeat. There's also an equalizer and a visualizer, both nice touches.
The camera photos are about what we expect for a 1.3-megapixel phone without a flash--a bit noisy and dull, and better snapped in sunlight than in the dark. Settings control six resolutions (1,280x960, 1,024x768, 640x480, 320x240, 176x144, 160x120), the brightness, contrast, five white balance settings, and four color effects. You can also adjust the photo quality and shutter sound.
The camcorder settings are similar to the camera settings, with the addition of being able to limit videos for MMS attachments, between 20 and 30 seconds. Video quality looked marginally better on playback than it did through the viewfinder, though movement still looked jerky and blurry. The Agent has 160MB internal memory.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900MHz) in San Francisco using the MetroPCS service. Call volume was a little low on our end, but corrected once we ratcheted up the volume. Clarity was disturbed by episodes of white noise, blips, and background echoes, though voices seemed true enough and the conversational flow was unbroken. Our callers weren't so lucky. They called the Agent's audio unpleasant to listen to, reporting that the high frequencies were cut off and made us sound like we were speaking from "within a sewer." Volumes were excessively high for our friends, which often led to distortion at higher pitches.
Speakerphone quality was quite decent on our end, and reasonably loud. Our friends pronounced it OK as well, but described it as being more of the same.
The Agent has a rated battery life of 6 hours with a standby time of 8.75 days. It has a tested talk time of 6 hours and 3 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Agent has a digital SAR of 0.56 watts/kilogram.