CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test phones

Pantech Caper (Verizon Wireless) - Prepaid review: Pantech Caper (Verizon Wireless) - Prepaid

Pantech Caper (Verizon Wireless) - Prepaid

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
5 min read

Pantech has long embraced the messaging phone market with its basic handsets like the Pantech Link and the Pantech Jest. The Pantech Caper is the most recent one to join the family, and it's designed specifically for Verizon Wireless's prepaid plan. It's simple and entry-level, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.


Pantech Caper (Verizon Wireless) - Prepaid

The Good

The <b>Pantech Caper</b> is a slim and compact phone with a great physical keyboard. Features include a basic 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and mobile e-mail.

The Bad

The Pantech Caper does not have very good photo quality.

The Bottom Line

The Pantech Caper is a solid messaging phone for the prepaid crowd, as long as you don't expect multimedia features.

The Pantech Caper looks like most other candy bar messaging phones. Measuring 4.4 inches long by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch, the Caper is slim, compact, and fits comfortably in the hand. We like the rounded corners and the textured surface on the back that provide a firmer grip when held. The phone does have a slightly cheap plastic feel, but that's to be expected with a handset of this caliber.

The Pantech Caper has a simple candy bar form factor.

We're pleased to see that Pantech didn't skimp on the display. The 2.6-inch screen may be small, but it shows off an impressive 262,000 colors and 220x176-pixel resolution. Graphics and icons look colorful and text is sharp. You can adjust the clock format, the menu font size, the dial fonts, and the font type. You can also change the backlight timer and the layout of the menu icons. The default is a simple list style, and when you select a menu option, you can toggle through the different apps a la Cover Flow.

The navigation array on the Caper is roomy and well organized. There are two soft keys, a center navigation toggle with a middle OK key, a speakerphone key, a Clear key, and the Send and End/Power keys on either side. The right arrow on the toggle leads to a My Shortcuts pop-up that lists up to four user-defined shortcuts on standby mode. The up, left, and down directions lead to user-defined shortcuts as well. You can set up the shortcuts within the Phone Settings.

Though the keyboard looks compact, it's actually nicely spaced. Each key is in the form of a raised bump, which we found conducive to typing by feel. The number keys are marked in red, and the Space bar is a little wider than the other keys. We also like the dedicated messaging key.

The volume rocker and voice command key are on the left spine while the 2.5mm headset jack, keyguard lock, camera key, and Micro-USB charging port are on the right. We're not normally pleased with a 2.5mm headset jack, but since the Caper does not have a music player, we'll let it pass. On the back of the phone is the camera lens and self-portrait mirror.

You won't find much in the way of features on the Pantech Caper, but that might not be a bad thing if all you want are the bare necessities. You get a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, a street address, and an IM screen name. To help you organize your contacts, you can categorize them into groups, add a photo for caller ID, and even assign different message alerts and ringtones. The Caper comes with 25 tones to choose from--you can select a silent option as well.

Like most phones, the Caper comes equipped with a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, a calculator, a tip calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a stop watch, a world clock, and a notepad. It even has something called an E-Diary, which acts as a sort of personal journal. Other features include voice commands, the Myriad mobile Web browser, and Bluetooth.

As it is a messaging phone, it's no surprise that the Caper has text and multimedia messaging. It also supports mobile IM and mobile e-mail. Mobile e-mail is a downloadable application that lets you send and receive e-mail from a variety of providers like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, and you can use your own POP or IMAP servers, too. The latest version of Mobile E-mail also supports Microsoft Exchange and Outlook Calendar Sync, so you can check your corporate e-mail, too. However, Mobile E-mail costs $5 a month under the Pay As You Go option.

The Pantech Caper has a 1.3-megapixel camera and self-portrait mirror on the back.

The Caper is definitely not a multimedia-friendly phone. You won't get a music player, for example, and there's no video support either. However, there is a simple 1.3-megapixel camera that you can use for the occasional snapshot. You have the choice of four resolutions, and settings include a self-timer, brightness, white balance, color effects, landscape or portrait capture modes, and shutter sounds (there are three sounds plus a silent option). Photo quality was quite poor. Images looked grainy and colors were muddier than we would like.

You can customize the Caper with several different wallpaper options, plus you can download more ringtone options from the Verizon Wireless store. The phone doesn't come with games and apps but you can download those from the store as well.

We tested the Pantech Caper in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality on our end was decent. We heard our callers clearly and the volume level was good as well--they didn't need to shout to get our attention. We did detect some static and hiss though, so it wasn't perfect.

On their end, callers also heard us clearly. However, they said our voice sounded harsher than usual, and very machine-like. They could definitely tell we were on a cell phone due to the telltale crackly background. It wasn't too bad since we could carry on a conversation just fine, but it wasn't as good as we would like. As for speakerphone calls, callers didn't tell much of a difference in quality, except that there was a bit more of an echo effect.

The Pantech Caper does not offer EV-DO; only 1XRTT speeds.

The Pantech Caper has a rated battery life of 4.5 hours talk time and 16.7 days standby time. According to our tests, it has a talk time of 4 hours and 12 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.92 watt per kilogram.

The Pantech Caper is a very well-designed prepaid phone, with a colorful display, great keyboard, and slim form factor. It does lack multimedia features and the photo quality is not great, but that's typical of most prepaid phones. The Caper is only $39.99, and that's without a contract, which is a good deal.


Pantech Caper (Verizon Wireless) - Prepaid

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 7