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Pantech Flex has dual personalities (pictures)

AT&T's $50 Pantech Flex does some interesting things with Android in its rare attempt at a higher-end device.

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jessicadolcourt.jpg

Jessica Dolcourt

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1 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET

This is the Pantech Flex

Meet the $50 Pantech Flex, an Android 4.0 smartphone that gives you much to discuss.
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2 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET

This is also the Pantech Flex

You'll get much of the same Android Ice Cream Sandwich functionality with the Flex's "easy experience" option, but with less complexity. Think one home screen instead of five, and large, easy-press icons instead of the standard mode's profusion of tinier buttons.
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3 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET

Eye for design

I love Pantech's emphasis on looks, and I really enjoy the multiple angles and materials for the Flex's backing. However, its jutting edges aren't as comfortable in the hand as I'd like.
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4 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET

8-megapixel camera

This is the first 8-megapixel camera I've seen from Pantech for the U.S. Unfortunately, the Flex isn't able to meet Pantech's ambitions.
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5 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET

Profile

The Flex is fairly thin, and the power button has a grippy, textured feel you can really press.
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6 of 8 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Homescreens

Here's a closer look at the Pantech Flex's interface in the standard Ice Cream Sandwich view (left), or in the simple mode.
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7 of 8 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Notifications tray

On the left, Pantech's simple mode offers straightforward options in the notifications pull-down in a glance. On the right, you have to dig for more-detailed settings and information in the standard mode.
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8 of 8 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Apps tray

You can create new application groupings in the apps tray, which you then need to fill with apps.

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