Pantech Pursuit II Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

These days touchscreens and QWERTY keyboards have made their way into every phone segment, and Pantech helped bring them to mid-tier devices with last year’s Pursuit. This summer they have followed it up with the Pursuit II, which makes a few important changes but largely remains the same. Key features include a 2.8” QVGA touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, 2.0 megapixel camera and Bluetooth. Included with the Pantech Pursuit II you’ll find a microUSB cable and AC adapter.

Design:

When closed the Pantech Pursuit II looks pretty similar to the original Pursuit, retaining the oblong shape and good sized screen. The 2.8” resistive touchscreen display features 262k colors and is plenty bright and vivid, but does not hold up particularly well to direct sunlight. Pantech has made the change from resistive to capacitive on the Pursuit II, which greatly helps the responsiveness. The Pursuit II is quite a bit taller than the original, but overall dimensions remain the same.



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

Despite being offered in Kermet green and pink, the colors on the Pursuit II are used to accent the mostly black body and the phone has a more mature look than the rather loud Pursuit. It is tastefully done, with enough color to give the phone some personality but not enough to make the phone unusable to anyone over the age of 23.

The feel of the phone is good as well; the slider mechanism is solid and even though Pantech did not use soft touch for the battery cover, the phone is not slippery in the hands. We appreciate that Pantech ditched the touch buttons on the Pursuit for physical ones on the follow-up, quite frankly they didn’t work very well the first time around. This time they’re nice and large with a cool green or pink accent trim.


The main difference between the two Pursuits is that the original was a side-slider, whereas the latest is a portrait slide. This obviously makes the keyboard smaller, but the keys remain large enough and we were able to type without issues right out of the box. The spacebar size is our only complaint, but we’d imagine this phone will mostly find itself in the smaller hands of teenagers.


Pantech has done a nice job with the Pursuit II. It improves on many elements of the original Pursuit while retaining a quality build. Pantech strikes a good balance between youth and maturity with the less flamboyant design and we appreciate the move to a capacitive touchscreen.




Pantech Pursuit II 360-degrees View:





Interface, Software and Connectivity:

On the surface, the Pantech Pursuit II UI looks pretty similar to what we found on the Pursuit, but there are some differences. The most major is that the Pursuit II runs on the Brew Mobile Platform, which makes it more app friendly.  Of course we’re not talking iPhone or Android quality apps here. The platform runs generally smooth on the 230MHz Qualcomm processor, but as you might imagine it chokes up at times. Keep in mind that “quick” is also relative here.

There is slightly more customization with the Pursuit II as well, such as rearranging the menu items. There are three homescreens and you can also add shortcuts to left one, such as your camera or a picture, and oddly enough a shortcut to a single song or calendar event but not the music player or calendar themselves.



The phonebook is pretty straight forward and barebones. Messaging is also pretty standard with SMS and MMS support. AT&T’s Mobile Email client is installed which makes it easy to set up your IMAP or POP mail and has preconfigured settings for popular providers. One feature we do appreciate is the ability to use an onscreen T9-style keyboard if the phone is closed.


The included apps are pretty standard AT&T offerings: IM (AIM, Yahoo and MSN), YPmobile, AT&T GPS, Social Net and My AT&T. The AppCenter is used for buying more content. Unfortunately, there is nothing that is truly free available, and in general, the content is pretty lacking. Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (seriously?) all have their own menu shortcuts, but they simply launch the respective mobile sites.

The browser itself is what you would expect from a non-smartphone. It handles mobile sites just fine, if not slowly, but trying to load a complex page like PhoneArena pretty much kills it. The Pursuit II runs on AT&T’s 3G bands, but quite simply the browser is not capable of utilizing those speeds. Despite having a capacitive display there is no multitouch or double tapping on the Pursuit II.


The Pursuit II has Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR and supports the HSP 1.1, HFP 1.5, OPP, FTP, PBA, DUN, A2DP and AVRC, which is good because there is not headset jack for hands-free calling.

Camera and Multimedia:

The Pantech Pursuit II’s 2.0MP camera took respectable pictures. We weren’t expecting too much from it and indeed details could be a bit fuzzy, images were overexposed in bright light and grain and blur were issues in dark light, but the pictures turned out plenty well for digital sharing. The camcorder was unfortunately worthless with the worst quality of any phone that we can recall.




The music player isn’t awful, and lets you play your tracks in the background. The downside is that many tasks, such as viewing pictures, require the music player to be stopped. When it is running, a widget appears on the main homescreen below the clock. The video player wasn’t capable of playing any of our DivX, XviD, H.264 or MPEG-4 videos.





Performance and Conclusion:

Call quality could have been better with the Pantech Pursuit II. Callers rated us a 7.5/10, complaining that we sounded tinny and hollow. To us they sounded even worse with very poor voice quality and overall static. We called the user back from our personal phone just to make sure and they sounded much better. The battery life of the Pantech Pursuit II is quite awful. Despite having a 1000mAh battery like the original, talk time has dropped from 5 hours down to just 3. This is a large step backwards, and unfortunately in our testing we were able to drain the battery to 25% in just a few hours while we were checking out the different features of the phone.

Despite having a touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard, the Pantech Pursuit II is a run of the mill phone by today’s standards. Pantech has done a nice job by upgrading the display to capacitive and giving the Pursuit II a nice redesign and build quality, but there is little else to distinguish it from the hordes of messaging phones available these days. The call quality and battery life are our two main complaints about the Pursuit II. If you’re mainly a messenger, like the look and build quality of the phone, and don’t mind a few extra charges, we won’t stop you from picking up the Pantech Pursuit II, but if you decide on the Samsung Strive because it’s purple or the LG Neon II because it’s black we can’t really fault you either.

Pantech Pursuit II Video Review:





Pros

  • Upgraded to a capacitive display
  • Good build quality
  • Brew MP allows for some minor customization

Cons

  • Very poor battery life
  • Mediocre call quality
  • Camcorder is unusable

PhoneArena Rating:

4.0

User Rating:

8.0
1 Reviews

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