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Pantech Pocket first impressions, pics

The Pantech Pocket has an unusual form factor. It has a 4-inch display but it's in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The result is a phone that looks like a tablet. CNET goes hands-on with this surprisingly pocket-friendly phone.

Now playing: Watch this: Pantech Pocket (AT&T)

SAN DIEGO--While we liked what we saw of the Motorola Atrix 2, we were probably more intrigued by the Pantech Pocket, which was also announced for AT&T this week. It's a lower-end handset, yes, but its unusually wide form factor caught our eye.

Pantech Pocket has a 4-inch SVGA display with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Pantech Pocket has a 4-inch SVGA display with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Nicole Lee/CNET

Which is exactly why Pantech made it look that way. We had a closer hands-on look at the Pantech Pocket today, and one of the reasons the Pocket is wider than other Android handsets is precisely to stand out among all the rectangular black boxes that make up the Android landscape. It has a 4-inch SVGA display, but with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The result is a device that looks more like a miniature tablet than a phone. That sounds strange, but we admit we were enamored with its oddball look. Pantech has also designed the Pocket with a textured surface on the back and the sides, which adds to the handset's durability. The Pocket might not be for everyone, but its wide, rounded aesthetic left a good impression on us.

The UI is not native Android, alas, but the Pantech overlay didn't offend us. It seemed rather uncomplicated and we still navigated the menus with ease. One of the benefits of the wider display is a wider virtual keyboard, in both portrait and landscape modes. We tested the browser, and surfing around large Web sites required less scrolling as well. On the back is a 5-megapixel camera. Under the hood is a 1GHz processor, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and support for AT&T's HSPA+ "4G" network.

As you might have guessed, the Pocket isn't meant as a high-end luxury smartphone. It's more of a mid-range model for Android newcomers who want a phone that doesn't look like all the rest. At the very least, it certainly accomplishes that.