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June 30, 2011

Pantech Crossover Review

by Franz Bicar

Its been a while since I’ve reviewed a Pantech handset. So, let’s see what the new Pantech Crossover can bring to the overly saturated smartphone market.

Pantech handsets are not really know for their impressive design. The Crossover is not all that far from its predecessors. The phone is made of average grade plastic and at first glance, you will easily mistake it for a simple feature phone.

The Crossover is not really that bad. It feels okay when you hold it in your hands. Measuring 4.45 by 2.28 by 0.56 inches and weighing a reasonably light 5.15 ounces, the Crossover isn’t terribly bulky, despite the slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

At the top of the phone, you’ll see the power and function keys. A 3-megapixel camera is located at the rear. The volume keys are on the left edge of the phone, while the charging port and the dedicated camera key are on the right. The front face of the Crossover is where you’ll find the standard Android buttons (Back, Menu, Home, and Search), all situated under the 3.1-inch touchscreen.

I remembered a few years back, when the original iPhone was released, a lot of people were complaining about its on-screen touch keyboard. People wanted a physical keyboard for input. Forward to now, most, if not all, touchscreen smartphones are using an on-screen keyboard.

Pantech decided to include a sleek slide-out QWERTY keyboard with the Crossover - and it works really well too. Keys quite responsive and does not feel cramped under large hands.

Of course, Pantech also included an on-screen keyboard which shouldn’t have done anymore. Typing proved annoying due to the small buttons.

he Crossover runs Android 2.2 (Froyo) with a custom Pantech overlay. The overlay does add a bit of color to the plain-looking Android interface. The buttons are a little more finger-friendly, and the notification pane allows you to toggle your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and alarm on and off without having to dig through the settings.

The Crossover runs on a 1GHz processor that allows the phone to run smoothly with day-to-day tasks. However, there is noticeable lag when running multiple applications at once. The 320-by-480-pixel display was not very sharp, and the screen sometimes had issues registering touch input.

The Crossover’s 3-megapixel camera performed admirably, though you wouldn’t want to capture precious memories with it. Colors were represented quite well, and there are no white balance issues.

Videos, on the other hand, looks blurry. It also had difficulty picking up sound. Audio that it did capture sounded as if it were coming from a tin can.

Music playback is just as bad. It does have some features all on its own. You can rate songs in the music player, and you can skip to the next song in your playlist by shaking the device.

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