We knew it was only a matter of time before every cell phone manufacturer jumped on the thin phone bandwagon and now with its DM-P205 for Disney Mobile, Pantech has come on board as well. Yet, the DM-P205 isn't all about being thin as it offers Bluetooth, a VGA camera, a speakerphone, and voice dialing. Like the previous Disney Mobile phones, the LG DM-L200 and the Pantech DM-P100, the DM-P205 is unique because it offers features that are attractive to both parents and kids. Parents can control how the phone is used, while kids still get Bluetooth and a camera. Performance is mostly good and the price is right at $99 with service. Yet, for our money we prefer the DM-L200.
Though the DM-P205 is definitely thin, that doesn't mean it's sexy as well. Besides being practically rectangular in shape, it has a plain silver-and-black front that's almost completely flat. In other words, it's just a bit boring. Yet, as a kid-centric phone it positively shines when compared with handsets such as the Firefly. At 3.58 inches by 1.93 inches by 0.64 inch and 3.53 ounces, the DM-P205 is easily portable, and it feels comfortable when held in your hand or against your face. Also, the hinge has a sturdy construction that snaps open and closed with authority.
The 1-inch square external display is a bit small (96x96 pixels) for the phone's size, but it supports 65,000 colors and shows all the necessary information, including the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID. You can't change the backlighting time or any other options. Below the display are small stereo speakers, while the charger port sits on the phone's bottom end. Set into the phone's hinge is a single LED that flashes red and green when you receive a call.
The camera and flash sit at the top of the DM-P205's rear face, just next to the hinge and the stubby external antenna. On the whole, it's a fine location for the shooter if you remember to keep your fingers out of the way. Though there's no self-portrait mirror, you can take vanity shots with the external display when the flip is up. A camera shutter sits on the left spine just above the volume rocker. The phone's vibrant internal display supports 262,000 colors and measures 2 inches (220x176 pixels). Like most high-resolution displays, it's great for viewing photos and graphics and playing games. You can change the backlight time, the clock style, and the contrast, but the relatively small text can't be altered. The signature Disney Mobile menus are easy to understand and come in two colorful styles, one of which offers animation.
Below the display are the easy-to-use navigation controls. Though they're flat with the surface of the phone, their spacious design limits any misdials. A four-way toggle surrounds a central OK button and offers one-touch access to four applications. There are also two soft keys, a nifty dedicated speakerphone button, a camera shutter, and the Talk and End/power controls. There's a Back key too, though it's relatively small. The keypad buttons are flat with the surface of the phone, which can make it difficult to dial by feel. And while there is plenty of space between them, the individual buttons are a tad small and the backlighting is rather dim.
The DM-P205 has a small 300-contact phone book with room in each entry for four phone numbers and two e-mail addresses. You can save callers to groups and pair them with a photo or one of six ringtones (a skimpy selection no doubt). Other basic features consist of a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a voice recorder, an alarm clock, a notepad, a stopwatch, and a world clock, while Bluetooth, a speakerphone, and voice dialing round out the higher-end options. And if you're ever in need, the menu also gives direct access to customer service (or "guest services" in the Disney parlance), directory assistance, roadside assistance, and an option for checking your minute balance.
The DM-P205's VGA camera takes pictures in four resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 176x144, and 160x120) and a set of image-editing options including three quality settings, three color effects, a brightness control, a self-timer, a flash, 18 fun frames, and three shutter sounds (plus a silent option). Photo quality was about what you'd expect from a VGA camera, which is to say not great. Colors looked washed out and images were blurry.
Of course, Disney content is a big part of the DM-P205. The Entertainment portion features access to Disney (and non-Disney) ringtones, images, wallpaper, color themes, and applications. You also get access to Disney Zone, a Web portal with Disney Radio and other applications such as Disney Trivial Pursuit. Three demo games are included (Pirates II, Sudoku Deluxe, and Solitaire Deluxe), though you can download more.
Parents will find the phone's Family Center service incredibly useful in keeping track of their kids and monitoring their calls. They can control their children's phones by limiting their minutes, messaging options, and downloads, and even receive an alert when boundaries are met. They can prohibit outgoing calls to certain numbers and schedule time limits on the child's phone. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Family Center service is the Family Locator that utilizes GPS technology to keep track of the kids. Parents can even use a Family Alert that will send a message to one or all family members simultaneously. These additional services vary in cost, so check out our review of the Pantech DM-P100 for the full scoop on Disney Mobile's pricing scales.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) Pantech DM-P205 in San Francisco. As an MVNO, Disney Mobile doesn't operate its own network so it rents space from Sprint instead. Call quality was generally good. We experienced little static or feedback and had enough volume. Voices sounded natural for the most part, though there was a slight metallic tinge to some. It wasn't a significant issue but still it's one worth noting. Callers reported no big problems, though they could tell we were using a cell phone. Also, they said the DM-P205 picked up a fair amount of wind noise. The speakerphone quality was fine as were calls with Bluetooth headsets.
The Pantech DM-P205 has a rated battery life of 3.4 hours talk time and 6.25 days standby time, which is rather low. Our talk time tests had similar results, at 3 hours and 23 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the DM-P205 has a digital SAR rating of 1.4 watts per kilogram.