Pantech Pursuit P9020 Review

Introduction and Design

In the past year, we've seen plenty of Pantech handsets for AT&T that focused mainly on the text messaging crowd, but we have yet to experience a full touchscreen offering for AT&T. Naturally one can find a host of useful blessings that accompany a touchscreen phone – for example, it just makes the navigating experience just a tad easier on the fingers. However, as Pantech has now delved into the touchscreen game with the Pursuit P9020, it means it's also going to face some tough competition in the form of other touch-friendly handsets like the Samsung Sunburst, so let's see how does it perform.

The package contains:
Pantech Pursuit
Interactive Tutorial CD
Quick Start Guide


The Pantech Pursuit actually shares a number of design elements with the Pantech Impact. Short and stout would best describe the handset as it opts for the QWERTY landscape slider form factor. Following in the Impact's footsteps, the Pursuit is predominantly constructed out of this blue plastic that's akin for the younger generation – it actually has the same patterned design that outlines the border on the Impact. We're not particularly fond of the materials used for the handset because it does make it feel cheap overall – it was made more evident as scratches started to appear on the touchscreen after placing it in our pocket. Finally, the Pantech Pursuit definitely is packing on some weight (4.59 oz), which clearly makes it feel a bit bulky in the hand.

You can compare the Pantech Pursuit P9020 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

We were a tad disappointed with the Pursuit's display as we found the 2.8” QVGA resistive touchscreen with support for 262k colors to be lacking in quality versus the one found on the Impact. There was noticeably less detail as the Pantech Pursuit offers more real estate than the Impact, however, its resolution remained at a meager 240x320 versus the Impact's 240x400 resolution. Fortunately we were able to view the handset in even the most brightest conditions as it also provided for some decent viewing angles. For the most part, it's pretty responsive when we touched the screen, but there are other times when we noticed it taking a couple of presses to initiate.

Becoming ever more prominent among touchscreen handsets, there are touch sensitive buttons found below the display, which were responsive to the touch – you've got the send, end, and back/clear keys. The left portion of the phone houses the microSD card slot and volume rocker that's easy to press, but we would've preferred for it to be located towards the top versus squarely in the middle. The right edge is littered with many items – it includes the proprietary USB/charging port, quick menu, lock/unlock, and camera. We thought that it was rather cramped as we found ourselves fumbling to feel out the lock/unlock key.  Turning to the rear of the phone, you'll be greeted to the 2-megapixel camera with speakerphone next to it, while removing the back cover gives you access to the battery and SIM card slot.

We've never had any qualms when it came to the sliding mechanism seen on other Pantech phones for AT&T and the Pursuit continues with that trend. One of the biggest surprises was how useful and responsive we found the 4-row QWERTY keyboard. Although there's no spacing in between the rectangular buttons, they have this rounded feeling to make it easy to distinguish them. We were happy to find the typing experience to be effortless as each press is accompanied with an appropriate tactile feel.

Pantech Pursuit 9020 360 Degrees View


Navigating of course is a departure for this phone seeing that it's the first Pantech handset for AT&T to utilize a full touchscreen. The interface is pretty much what you'd expect out of any AT&T messaging phone – pretty large sized buttons that make it practically impossible to miss. Almost similar to Samsung's TouchWiz interface, the Pantech Pursuit has a similar scheme going on with three home screens. The left most houses your shortcut icons that launch specific apps, the middle one only displays the clock, and the right lets you add some favorite items such as a picture. It may not be as in-depth, but there is a slight hint of personalization such as the ability to move around your favorite items, clock options, and main menu themes – still, it doesn't compete with other eye-catching interfaces such as TouchWiz.

Packing a stellar QWERTY keyboard makes the entire messaging experience a joy. There's nothing different with the Pursuit's offering when it comes to email as you just select you provider from the list and input your settings to get it to work. Generic ones like Yahoo or Gmail are simple with automatic setup while others not listed will require additional pieces of information like server addresses. The instant messenger application is no different too as you'll have the option to use AIM, Windows Live Messenger, or Yahoo. Finally, sending messages is practically straightforward and  simple to accomplish thanks to the usable QWERTY keyboard. Moreover, there are other options for text input like the on-screen touch keypad, handwriting, and full screen handwriting. We found the latter two to be decent when it comes to recognition, but of course, it's a lengthy process for text input – it's best to stick with the physical QWERTY.

Third party apps are abundant on the handset as you'll find the typical set of AT&T included apps on the phone – MobiTV, Mobile Banking, Where, YPmobile, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Radio, Shazam, and a host of demo games that are enabled for touch. Additionally, there is a focus on social networking on the device as there are icons for MySpace and Facebook in the main menu – they actually just get you into the mobile version of the sites. However, there is the AT&T Social Net app that is powered by iSkoot and is the one stop area for all your social networking needs – it integrates Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and an RSS feed all into one neat package. Finally, the Pursuit packs all of the usual set of tools like the calculator, world clock, timer, stopwatch, and alarms.


Picture quality from the 2-megapixel shooter wasn't the best out there considering that colors were on the drab side – which was made even worse for indoor shots. Although it may be manageable for small printouts, there wasn't much detail in the photos as they looked almost muddy when viewed up close. The camera interface has received a new makeover as there are plenty of icons surrounding the border and offers you quick access to common functions like white balance, quality settings, and brightness.

With a maximum shooting resolution of 320x240, videos weren't particularly the sharpest out there, but at least their frame rate seemed pretty sufficient to suffice. Captured voices sounded a bit on the muffled side and were high pitched at times which made even normal sounding conversations seem excessive in volume.

Packing a slightly better looking music player versus previous incarnations, we were surprised to see that the Pursuit offered a shaking motion function to fast-forward a track. Needless to say that all your common items are displayed on-screen like the track name, artist, album, and playback buttons. However, we literally had to shield our ears not because it sounded too loud when set to the highest volume, but rather it was sharp in tone which seemed quite piercing. Fortunately, setting the volume down and choosing the appropriate equalizer settings made for better tunes. Its piercing sounds were still prominent though.

The Pantech Pursuit delivers a decent video watching experience. We were able to play two movie trailers, coded in MPEG-4 at 320x240 and H.264 at 320x136, without any hiccups in speed. The video flowed seamlessly through its entirety with a steady frame rate and no slowdown. Just like the experience we witnessed with music playback, you'd want to set the volume at a lower level seeing that it can be blasting to the ear at the loudest setting.

International travelers won't need to worry about voice calls with this quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM phone, while it also manages to slightly trump the Impact in data use as it offers tri-band (850/1900/2100 MHz) UMTS connectivity.

Alright, we were hoping to see this handset perform handsomely in the web browsing department, but we soon found ourselves thoroughly disappointed. There's no arguing that Opera Mini is a versatile web browser, but the scrolling and rendering experience on the Pursuit just ruins all the fun. We experienced plenty of lag and slowdown just trying to navigate on our website. Although you can opt to use the optional Mobile Web app for an alternative browsing experience, we found it to be extremely tedious in both loading times and scrolling – which makes the experience on Opera Mini slightly easier to swallow.

Out of the box, the Pantech Pursuit has 70.8MB of internal storage which you can use for various content, but you can always supplement it with a microSD card.


Calling quality was pretty good as background noise and static were kept to a minimum. On the other hand though, our callers stated that our voice sounded a bit hollow on their end, but it didn't prove to be too distracting. The sound volume out of the regular speaker was surely blasting which made even the weakest voices sound distinct. Switching to the speaker phone, voices tended to sound a little bit garbled and sharp when it was placed on the loudest setting. However, our callers did say that our voice using the speaker phone sounded shallow.

The Pantech Pursuit P9020 handled well when it came to holding a proper signal strength as we tested it out in the greater Philadelphia area – it managed to retain the same amount of bars as other AT&T phones like the iPhone.

Pantech has the phone rated for 4.8 hours of talk and 290 hours of standby time.


It was no doubt that we would eventually see Pantech pursue AT&T with a touchscreen offering. Valiant may be an understatement for the Pantech Pursuit P9020, but it definitely manages to get the job done in terms of messaging – thanks partly to its fantastic QWERTY keyboard. It may not be the best looking messaging device inside and out, but the Pantech Pursuit easily continues to be a halfway decent touchscreen offering that's sure to please anyone in the messaging crowd. However, it still lacks the polish in terms of presentation when you compare it to other similar offerings – especially in the web browsing department where touchscreen enabled phones are known to excel in.

Pantech Pursuit P9020 Video Review:


  • Responsive QWERTY keyboard
  • Some personalization options
  • Social networking integration


  • Tiny physical buttons
  • Sluggish web browsing
  • Bulky
  • Poor photo quality

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

7 Reviews

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