AT&T Quickfire doesn't burn us

We review the AT&T Quickfire with its touch-screen interface plus full QWERTY keyboard. Is it the ultimate messaging phone?

AT&T Quickfire in silver
James Martin/CNET

AT&T introduced a slew of messaging phones recently, like the Pantech Matrix, the Samsung Propel, and the Pantech Slate. But its most popular announcement by far has been the AT&T Quickfire, a touch-screen and QWERTY keyboard hybrid that promises more than just the normal messaging phone. And we had the chance to get our hands on it this week.

Despite a few design quirks, we have to say we're pretty impressed. The Quickfire is definitely the bulkiest messaging phone we've seen; it's even thicker than the T-Mobile Sidekick. We're not exactly fans of its blocky design either. But we have to give props for its nice 2.8-inch touch-screen display, and the easy-to-use QWERTY keyboard as well.

As for the touch screen, we're very impressed that it's a capacitive touch screen similar to the one used on the Apple iPhone and the T-Mobile G1, allowing us to use just a light tap of the finger for a press to register.

That doesn't mean we didn't have problems with the touch screen though. We had to be very precise and accurate when selecting something, because when we didn't, we sometimes pressed the wrong thing. Also, occasionally we had to hold a press for a much longer time than expected for the press to register. While intuitive, the touch-screen experience is certainly not as refined as it is on the iPhone.

Similarly, we were not impressed with the browser interface. Though we can drag on the screen to scroll through Web pages, there was often quite a bit of lag between when our fingers hit the screen and when the touch registered. Certainly we're impressed that the Quickfire has a full HTML browser at all (remember that the Sidekick does not), and it's on par with some of the other touch-screen phones out there, but again, it's just not as good as we wanted.

Other features of the Quickfire include a 1.3-megapixel camera, HSDPA, GPS, stereo Bluetooth, and a microSD card slot. It's available now for $99.99 with a two-year service agreement and mail-in rebate. For more details on whether we liked or disliked the Quickfire, please check out our full review!