Pantech Matrix Review

Introduction and Design

The evolution of text messaging has come by very far from its introduction to mobile phones. Calling someone with a device is necessary to keep in touch, but texting has become all the rage. From younger children to older adults, texting has become the silent form of communication between individuals. Although not quite as renowned when compared to other manufacturers, Pantech released the Duo last year for AT&T which was powered by the Windows Mobile Standard platform. The device itself was quite unique thanks to its dual-slider design.  Now the Pantech Matrix is set to become every text messengers dream phone with a similar design to the Duo. As this is not classified as a smart phone, the Matrix sheds its former business like software in place of a simpler interface. Pretty much anyone can pick up the device and start showing it off to friends.

The package contains:
  • Pantech Matrix
  • Charger
  • User Manual


Pantech used the same design that was used in the Duo for the sliding mechanisms for the Matrix. There is no mistake that the creators of the Matrix wanted to keep the overall dimensions relatively the same.  The phone utilizes a blue and silver color scheme which gives it a good contrast. Glossy blue plastic is used for the face and rear with silver plastic accents in between. The sliding mechanism is quite smooth for both the numeric keypad and QWERTY key board. We liked how it provides you that snap feeling when you open or close the device. It’s on the bigger size in terms of weight (4.66 oz) and size when you place it in your hand, but it feels quite durable.  The weight of the phone definitely gives you a feeling of sturdiness. Although it looks thicker than other slider phones, it does not look too bulky due to the low width (less than 2 inches wide). You will find the 2.2” screen on the Matrix to be adequate when viewing text, except when viewing in direct sunlight. However, it displays the same 65k colors on screen except for the fact that pixel count has dwindled in half to 176x220 pixels from the Duo’s 240x320. 

You can compare the Pantech Matrix with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Keys on the numeric keypad are flush with the device. Pressing on the buttons give you a tactile feel so you know you are hitting something with your finger.  There is a circular five way directional pad right underneath the screen. The left and right soft keys surround the outside of the directional pad and seem quite tiny. Individuals with larger fingers would probably need to use their fingernails or finger tip because they are placed so close to other buttons such as the send and end keys. There is a shortcut button under the left soft key which is dedicated for the music applications. On the opposite side of that are the clear and back keys.

Opening up the phone left to right will reveal the QWERTY keyboard. Buttons are slightly raised from the surface and light up visibly with a bluish color. There were no problems viewing it in complete darkness or daylight and found ourselves typing with relative ease. There are a total of three rows with the buttons spaced away evenly from one another to allow better distinction. The spacebar key is the largest and occupies the same amount of space as two regular keys.  Numbers on the QWERTY are displayed on blue keys to distinguish them.

The speaker is on the top of the phone and above the screen while the volume rocker is appropriately placed on the left side of the device. Launching the camera application can be achieved so by pressing the camera button on the right side. Unfortunately, the Matrix uses a proprietary  USB/charging port on the top right side. Fortunately, we are glad to see that the microSD slot is conveniently located on the very top which makes it easy to access. On the back is the speakerphone and 1.3 megapixel camera. Removing the blue plastic cover in the rear will give you access to the battery (920mAH) and SIM slot. As with most phones, the microphone is located at the bottom side.

Pantech Matrix Video Review:

Pantech Matrix 360 Degrees View:

Software and Features:

The Matrix uses the traditional AT&T interface for its menus which should be familiar if you’ve owned a recent phone from them. We would have liked to see newer animations to showcase the beauty of the device. Getting into the main menu will display nine icons that will give you access to the most popular applications. These include AT&T Music, Messaging,, MEdia Net, MEdia Mall, AT&T GPS, My Stuff, Address Book, and Settings. There are very minimal personalization options you can choose from the Settings menu. Wallpaper selections are limited to five choices right out of the box. You can modify the menu type from grid to list view. Same thing goes with the color scheme with your choice of white or black. Did we forget to tell you that there are only two font types to select as well? Navigating through the phone was very easy but we feel that it would benefit if more options for personalization were offered.

You can store up to 1,000 contacts on the phone itself with a home, office, mobile, and other phone numbers. Additionally you can assign a fax number, two different e-mail addresses, URL page, group, image, ringtone, address, and a memo for each contact.

Indoor shots taken with the camera came up with different results depending on lighting. Photos taken in bright lit areas were pretty clear except that colors looked washed out and on the dull side. Low lit indoor shots were blurry with colors not accurately displayed. Finally, we got the best quality with outdoor shots that had overall good detail and better representation of colors. Videos can be recorded, but they are probably best for use with MMS. The frame rate and audio were tolerable for the device, but overall detail was lacking due to the maximum 176x144 resolution. The Matrix provides a very basic camera and video interface to allow users to make some changes.

For listening to music, the Matrix comes with AT&T’s Music Player which is simplistic at its core. You can run the application by going through the menus or pressing the dedicated music button on the face of the device. Files are organized in a variety of ways from albums, artists, genres, and playlists. After making a selection, the application displays the album cover, song name, artist, and length. The directional pad is used for navigation within the player so you cause pause, fast forward, and reverse a track. Music will continue to play on the device in the background and a mini player is displayed on the home screen as well.

Audio output was quite loud thanks to the hefty speakerphone. No crackling was heard when placed on the loudest setting; but there is just not enough bass during play. We were disappointed to not find in the box a set of headphones or adapter to allow you to use your own pair. You will most likely need to contact the manufacturer or check online to find an adapter that fits into the proprietary port. Alternative is the stereo Bluetooth and a pair of wireless headphones.

Video playback on the phone is a different story. The screen is too small to really enjoy watching and colors are too bland. Video Share is supported on the device and works in the same fashion as others, but we were unable to test this feature out.

Other useful applications that comes preloaded with the Matrix are MEdia Net for web browsing, AT&T Navigator for GPS Navigation, MEdia Mall for shopping, Instant Message support (AIM, Yahoo, Windows Live), and Mobile Email. For a messaging device, the unfortunate limited email providers will probably turn away some users. It only supports specified email clients listed on the application. You’re out of luck if yours is not included in the list. On the other hand, we like how the IM client is set up on the device. It allows you to use multiple services at the same time without signing out of another. You’ll also be able to have multiple conversations and browse them within each service. In addition, it will run in the background if you exit out of everything and go back to the home screen. This is a feature not typically seen on a non-smart phone device. Seeing that this is deemed as a messaging device, there is also a Notepad application you can use to type up and save small messages. The only flaw that we found with this is that it only allows you to type up a maximum 300 characters before having to create a new one.

The Pantech Matrix is a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM phone with dual-band UMTS (850/1900 MHz). One key feature that was missing was Bluetooth 2.0 support. You will still be able to pair it up with various wireless Bluetooth headsets, but data transfers will be slower.

The device comes with 45MB of internal storage with microSD support for up to 32GB cards. We used a 4GB microSD HC card and had no trouble being read by the Matrix. We then swapped it a different card and it read it without any problems.


Phone conversations came out decent with no major background noise. We had to place the phone on the highest volume setting in order to hear our conversations and found it too difficult to hear someone when placed on low or middle setting. Speakerphone quality was superb with no crackling sounds emanating from the device when placed on the highest setting.  Others stated that our voice was clear on their end during a phone call. Reception was a little bit disappointing because we found the Matrix having usually one less bar than other AT&T phones. Testing out AT&T’s 3G network on the device was no problem in the greater New York metropolitan area. Mobile friendly sites loaded up really fast while more complex ones took up more time and found ourselves waiting a lot. Sometimes pages won’t load until the entire site has been downloaded. Generally you would start seeing some text pop up first and multimedia files after, but in some instances you have to wait until it is fully downloaded before something even loads.

We would have expected this device to have better battery life since it is not a smart phone, but the smaller battery (920 mAh) is rated for 3 hours of talk time and 240 hours of standby. Although it is rated with low numbers, we found that the battery charge to be 2/3 full after 3 days of normal use.


If anything, the biggest thing to note is the cool factor of the dual-slider design.  Not only does the phone look good, it performs perfectly as a pure messaging device. Texting can be pulled off a lot faster thanks to the QWERTY keyboard. The form factor and build quality of the Matrix is something to praise while not being a complete phone. Using the device for multimedia purposes might turn away some due to its mediocre performance. But then again, it’s all about the messaging.


  • Build Quality
  • Dual-slide design
  • Messaging
  • Speakerphone quality


  • Battery life
  • Difficult to see in direct light
  • Weak reception

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