Pantech Crux Review

Interface and Features:

As we mentioned earlier, there are three home screens on the Crux that you can cycle though by moving your finger across the screen. The first one shows 12 shortcut icons to items such as the media center, web browser, music, message, and VZ Navigator. The second screen shows icon links to connect to your social networking, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, GMail and YouTube. But what ends up happening is that all of those (expect for YouTube) actually open the Social Beat program where you login to your sites. The YouTube link opens up the web browser and takes you to the mobile site where you can watch videos. The third homescreen allows you to add icon links on the desktop to your music files, pictures, and videos. While this is nice, we wish it would allow for adding frequently used contacts, as that would make it more functional. Regardless of which of the three homescreens you are in, there will be four static icons at the bottom for accessing the voicemail, recent calls, keypad, and contacts. As far as any user customizations, you are limited to changing the position of icons on the home screen, replacing them with another icon, and display them as shortcuts or a grid view. The only themes that come included are Misty Black and Pastel White, but all they do is change the background menu color. You can also select an image for the wallpaper, but it is only shown on the screen when the phone is locked.

When moving around through the menus and the different programs, our main complaint is that the user interface is slow to respond. We’re not expecting smartphone speeds here, but we believe that it is still slower than it should be, since you have to use to touchscreen for everything on the device.

The phonebook on the Pantech Crux allows up to 1000 contacts to be saved with multiple numbers and email addresses, picture and ringtone, IM screen name, and street address. Unfortunately, there is only enough room to store up to 99 speed dial entries, whereas most other phones allow up to 999.

One thing that is uncommon on an inexpensive phone is a 3MP camera, but don’t let that fool you as the picture quality is lacking. Images that we took outside suffered from poor color representation and looked soft and out-of-focus. Images taken inside were equally bad, especially in low light. Videos can be recorded in a maximum resolution of 640x480, but their quality is poor too, and has jerky playback at only 15fps.

Pantech Crux Sample Video:

One nice feature is the music player, as it will categorize your music by songs, playlists, artists, and genres. Album art is shown on the screen while your song is playing, and you can even minimize the player to keep the music going in the background while you use the phone for other tasks, such as sending a message. Music quality wasn’t bad considering there’s only one speaker on the back, but of course any low frequencies will not be produced. The inclusion of a 3.5mm headset jack and Stereo Bluetooth support is also a nice touch.

The web browser is also pretty basic, as would be expected, but it is HTML based instead of being WAP. Because of this, web pages are formatted correctly, but some images will not load and Flash isn’t supported. The main drawback is that most web text is unreadable without zooming in, due to the low resolution display. Even though the Crux has a touchscreen, we were disappointed that it doesn’t support touch-to-zoom in the browser, but instead you have to double-tap or use the zoom-slider across the bottom of the screen. Overall, the browser is functional enough to get you by in a pinch, but isn’t intended for hours of use.

Most other software on the Crux is pretty standard for a Verizon device, including VCast Music, VCast Video streaming, VZ Navigator for GPS guided directions, and the ability to download other programs through the media center menu. Also included is Microsoft’s Bing search, where you can perform searches on the Web, Business Directory, or VZW Media. If you do just a standard search, it will search the Web for results, where the Business Directory search is good for restaurants, shopping, hotels, and other local places, while the VZW Media search will look for matching Verizon ringtones, wallpapers, games, and programs to download.

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