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Pantech Matrix Pro Review

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The art of skinning has been the keeping the Windows Mobile platform fresh with new paint to keep it unique and not boring. Although touch screen devices seem to be the in thing, Pantech instead relies on Windows Mobile Standard 6.1 to power the Matrix Pro. You won’t find too many fancy looking 3D animation effects due to the small real estate on the screen.  Surprisingly, they managed to keep the experience interesting with the various home screens the user can choose from. It was especially pleasing to scroll down the home screen with transition animations accompanying every selection we made when using the sliding panel theme. You can choose in the Settings menu either an analog clock, world clock, calendar, or sliding panel home screen. Each of them meticulously showcases Pantech’s time and effort to provide users a revitalizing look to the standard Windows Mobile layout. Of course, underneath it all is the same old platform we have been accustomed to; littered with menus and plenty of scrolling. The only gripe we had was the slight delay when switching the screen orientation from portrait to landscape.

Home screen - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Home screen - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Home screen - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Home screen - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

Home screen



New contact - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

New contact

As with other Windows Mobile phones, you can store as many contacts as the phone’s memory can hold. From more traditional pieces of information such as phone numbers to obscure things like children, you can put in a lot of information for a single contact.

You can add an assortment of e-mail addresses and sync over the air using Microsoft Exchange Server. There is nothing different with the messaging options when compared to other such phones. We still had a joyful experience using the QWERTY keyboard for text messages or e-mails with no problems.

Not known for its camera capabilities, the Matrix Pro is average when it comes to point and shoot images. Holding down the dedicated camera button launches the photo application which takes five seconds. The interface is not plagued with too many icons that provide a good display of what you are taking. You can change some of the options such as white balance, effects, self-timer, resolution, and quality. There are a total of four resolution settings from the smallest 480x640 option to the full 1200x1600 pixel setting. There was good detail in the images we took, but colors came out bland in both low and bright conditions. In lower lit areas, we found some of the images to come out a little bit fuzzier. After taking a photo, it took roughly over five seconds before the preview of it came up on screen with another 3 seconds to start up the camera again. We’re not sure why there is so much time needed before the preview comes up. It’ll be almost impossible to “capture the moment” with such long waits.

Outdoor samples - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Outdoor samples - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Outdoor samples - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

Outdoor samples


Strong light - Indoor samples - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Medium light - Indoor samples - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Low light - Indoor samples - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light

Indoor samples



Videos on the other hand were pixilated and choppy which is probably best suited for MMS. The main reason why they came out pixilated is because the phone can only take them at a resolution of 176x144. It does not adjust the brightness when going through different lighting conditions and we found ourselves manually changing it to get the best result. Audio quality was average at best. The Matrix Pro is a Video Share capable handset, but we were unable to test out the feature. It allows you to place a phone call while sending real time video to the other person at the same time.

There really isn’t too much to say about audio playback on the Matrix Pro. You’ll find the default Windows Media Player skin with an extra one to match the paint job found with the new home screen. The directional pad is used to play, pause, forward, or reverse a song. You’ll find the track name, artist, elapsed time, and album cover during playback. Something we liked that we saw was the integration of the media player through the home screen. Songs will continue to play if you press the end button and you’ll still be able to control it through the home screen. And just like other recent AT&T phones, additional music programs such as XM Radio, MusicID, and Pandora can be found.

Windows Media Player - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
XM Radio - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Music ID - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Pandora - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

Windows Media Player

XM Radio

Music ID

Pandora



Pantech Matrix Pro Review
One of the home screens we used incorporated a mini Windows Media Player for listening to music. You can control the player directly without having the application fully opened and running on screen. We were impressed with the audio quality from the rear speaker phone; it came out exquisite and clear without any crackling. You’ll have to use the 3.5mm adapter which fits through the proprietary connection port if you want to use your own pair of head phones. If you prefer a wireless option, it supports Bluetooth stereo connection.

Equally impressive was video playback with crisp and lag-free viewing.  Although the screen size may be small in comparison to other the touch screen phones, it still provides users a great experience. We managed to run a trailer in 320x136 H.264 format on the Matrix Pro with surprisingly smooth frame rates and good detail. The device automatically played it in landscape mode and but pressing the back button will go in portrait. No problems with sound quality as well with the phone. Unfortunately you will not able to view the video through the mini Windows Media Player on the home screen; only the audio portion from the video will continue to play. Still, we were impressed with how smooth video playback looks on the phone.


Using the device internationally for both phone calls and data will be no problems thanks to its global quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and tri-band UMTS (850/1900/2100 MHz). The Matrix Pro uses Bluetooth 2.0 which gave us no issues pairing it up with a headset or laptop for wireless file transfers. 

So far the Matrix has proved itself to be a good device in several aspects up until we checked out the web browsing experience. We really were hoping to see some kind of browser optimized for the device, but we were disappointed to only find Pocket Internet Explorer available. Anyone who has used this will understand the painful long load times accompanied with it. Images took a long time to come up on screen and scrolling was just a nightmare with it taking forever to get to the bottom of a page. You can always install an alternate application such as Opera Mobile or Skyfire for a more enjoyable experience.

Internet browser - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Internet browser - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Internet browser - Pantech Matrix Pro Review
Internet browser - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

Internet browser



Office tools - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

Office tools

IM Client - Pantech Matrix Pro Review

IM Client

Windows Mobile Standard 6.1 allows you to view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files without the ability to edit them. For travelers on the go, using AT&T Navigator will provide good turn-by-turn directions while offering plenty of local points of interests. The Matrix Pro’s IM client is powered by OZ Messenger to allow you to pick from AIM, Windows Live Messenger, or Yahoo Messenger. There is a great Voice Commander software installed as well which you can to do a variety of things from phone calls to running programs. It managed to pick up what we said without having to repeat ourselves.

The smart phone comes with 94.1 MB of storage memory and 68 MB of program memory. You can supplement the storage memory with microSD support for cards up to 32GB. The Matrix Pro is loaded with 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM which is doubled than what the Pantech Duo uses. They also bumped up the speed to 528 MHz using a Qualcomm 7201A processor. The only major time we noticed any lag was when we opened up the QWERTY to switch the display to landscape. We ran multiple programs at once and the phone managed to keep up without any obvious slowdown.

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Pantech Matrix Pro

Pantech Matrix Pro

OS: Windows Mobile Standard 6.1
view full specs
Display2.4 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (167 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm MSM7201A, Single core, 528 MHz
128 MB RAM
Size4.17 x 2.01 x 0.85 inches
(106 x 51 x 21.6 mm)
4.30 oz  (122 g)
Battery1320 mAh, 3 hours talk time

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