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Pantech is known for making low-end handsets for AT&T, like the tiny C3b and the slim and compact C120. Its most recent handset is the C150, which continues the C120's candy bar trend but with a curvier and cuter look. The C150's features are as simple as its design, with a basic VGA camera and EDGE connection speeds, but it does come with Bluetooth, which elevates it a little bit above the C120. The low-end offerings aren't for everyone, but if you just want a good cell phone that can make phone calls, then the Pantech C150 could be the right fit for you. And you just can't argue with the unbeatable price of free, as long as you sign up for a two-year service agreement with AT&T.
While the Pantech C120 seemed rather lackluster with its generic silver color scheme, the C150 has a rather attractive white plastic shell that makes it stand out in the sea of basic cell phones. Its minimalist candy bar shape follows the design's overall zen aesthetic, and we like its simple look. Measuring 4.1 by 1.7 by 0.5 inch, the C150 is pretty compact and at 2.57 ounces, it's quite lightweight too. It feels quite comfortable and solid when held in the hand. A camera sits on the back of the phone, while the volume rocker is on the left spine and the camera button is on the right. There is unfortunately no self-portrait mirror or flash. The charger jack sits on top of the phone.
Underneath the display is the navigation array that consists of two soft keys, a five-way joystick with the Clear key underneath, and the Talk and End/Power keys. In standby mode, the joystick acts as a shortcut to new text messages, the instant messenger interface, the contacts list, and the "My Stuff" menu when toggled north, east, south, and west respectively. If you press the joystick down, the Web browser will pop up. The Clear key also doubles as a shortcut to the calendar when in standby mode. The keypad is a joy to use, with plenty of space between each key, and all of them are raised above the surface for easy dialing.
For a free phone, the Pantech C150 has pretty decent features. It has an 800-contact phone book with room in each entry for three phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, and notes. You can also organize your contacts into groups, or pair them with a photo or one of 10 polyphonic ringtones for caller ID. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging for AOL, MSN, and Yahoo, an alarm clock, a calendar, a notepad, a voice memo recorder, world time, a calculator, a unit converter, and a stopwatch. On the higher end, it also has Bluetooth, access to mobile e-mail like AOL, Yahoo, or Windows Live, and a wireless Web browser with access to Media Net, AT&T's mobile Web portal.
You can personalize the C150 with wallpaper, sounds, screensavers, alert tones, and even create your own greeting that'll pop up on the main screen during standby mode. The C150 supports MP3 ringtones as well. It also comes with a variety of games, like Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Platinum Sudoku, Diner Dash, and a demo of JewelQuest, plus a weather application called My-Cast Weather. You can download more customization themes, games, ringtones, and more via Cingular's Media Net browser.
We tested the C150 in San Francisco using AT&T's service. Call quality was excellent--callers reported that our voices sounded clean and natural, with good volume. We also thought calls sounded great, with very little static and noise. The speakerphone quality was a little hollow and tinny sounding, but we still managed to hear just fine. We paired the Pantech C150 with the BlueAnt Z9 Bluetooth headset without any problems.
The C150 has a rated battery life of three hours, with 10 days standby time. It had a tested talk time of three hours and 41 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the C150 has a digital SAR rating of 0.66 watts per kilogram.