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Panasonic GU87 (AT&T) review: Panasonic GU87 (AT&T)

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The Good Large, vibrant color display; built-in camera; infrared port; solid battery life; world phone; MMS; speakerphone.

The Bad Hit-or-miss call quality; no side volume control; speaker's sweet spot can be hard to find.

The Bottom Line AT&T's first phone with an integrated camera has its share of high-end features but loses points on usability.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8

Editors' note:
If you live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, or Chicago and use this phone with AT&T Wireless service, the company invites you to trade in your phone for one of these four newer models: the Sony Ericsson T226, the Nokia 3100, the Nokia 3200, or the Siemens C56. This does not mean that your existing phone will stop working or even have a decrease in service. The four models offered work on AT&T's expanded GSM 850 frequency in those locales, which means a wider coverage area for you.

Panasonic's first flip phone--and the first camera phone--for AT&T Wireless service has a lot going for it, not just snapshooting capabilities. Its large, vibrant color display, its world-roaming capabilities, and its built-in speakerphone provide the backbone for a solid, feature-rich mobile. But at $300 with new service, the GU87 isn't the most affordable camera phone available. Will it hold its luster once other camera phones fill out AT&T's lineup?

With its matte-silver casing and external LCD, the Panasonic GU87 is sleek and stylish. While it has a slim, 0.9-inch profile and is relatively lightweight (3.6 ounces), it's one of the longer flip phones out there; some users may find it uncomfortable to talk on a mobile of this length.

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Large load: The GU87 is one of the bigger flip phones available.

Ergonomics aside, the GU87's internal eight-line, 65,536-color display is one of the more impressive screens we've seen to date on a flip phone. However, Panasonic should have made the phone's earpiece bigger; we found ourselves having to reposition the unit to hit the listening sweet spot.

To navigate the GU87's menu, you get a four-way rocker key; in the middle of it sits an unmarked OK button that lets you select the features. You use the surrounding buttons to maneuver through the menu, as well as to send and end calls. While the backlit keypad is large and tactile, we wish there were an easy-access control for the camera to complement the quick-launch mMode button for accessing AT&T's wireless Web service. It's true that you can program a key to activate the camera, but it's not the same. We would have also appreciated controls on the side of the phone to adjust volume level during calls.

As with many other camera phones, you can snap pictures using the large internal display as your viewfinder. You can also close the phone, point it in the direction of your subject, and press the shutter-release button positioned just beneath the external LCD.

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