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printed November 23, 2014
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Review: Pantech Discover for AT&T

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Media

The Discover doesn't stray too far from the stock Android 4.0 music and video tools. The Google Play Store is, of course, available for purchasing and renting music, movies, TV shows, books, and magazines. The Discover also has a simple music player and simple video player app available, in addition to the stock YouTube app. AT&T Live TV service is available, as is the MOG service. Both are streamed over the network and require extra monthly fees.

The real star here is the stereo speaker set-up on the Discover. The audio player has a boost mode that can pump enough power into the Discover's little speakers to fill an entire room with music. It is really insane how loud these little speakers can be. The speakers work really well for watching video content, too. If you're at home, you won't have to bother with earbuds to enjoy your favorite movie.

 

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Camera

I really like the Discover's camera application. Though there's no dedicated button, the app opens quickly thanks to the lock screen shortcut.

The controls are laid out plainly enough down both the left and right sides of the screen. Perhaps my favorite control feature is a little button that lets you toggle the HDR shooting mode on and off without having to dive into the deeper menu settings. (Turning on HDR also automatically turns off the flash. Smart.)

The full settings tools let users adjust most facets of the camera's behaviors (scenes, exposure, effects, image quality, and so on) without too much fuss. The little tools can be dragged out of the menus and onto the viewfinder for easier access.

 

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Photos

The Discover has a 12.6-megapixel camera and I was quite impressed with the results. Focus was quick and sharp, exposure was accurate, and white balance was spot on most of the time. I achieved the best results when taking photos outside, but the camera app gives you enough flexibility to make sure you can get good shots inside too (if you know what you're doing). The bulk of images I captured were very good, with a few treading into "excellent" territory.

 

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Video

The Discover's video camera did a very good job of recording HD video. The 1080p footage I captured looked sharp and clean. Focus and exposure were accurate the majority of the time. The Discover is a perfect companion for capturing those moments that often pop up out of nowhere.



Gallery

The Discover uses the stock Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich gallery application. The app syncs with your online accounts for sharing and offers a decent selection of tools for modifying images after the fact. Photos can be cropped and rotated, red eye can be fixed, and a number of effects (sepia, B&W, etc.) can be applied for fun. You can also straighten images, flip them, sharpen them, and reduce bright spots.

 

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Apps

There are way too many apps on the Discover, and you can't delete any of the ones that I'd qualify as junk. There are no less than 12 AT&T-branded apps on board. That's ridiculous! Thankfully, you can "hide" some of them, which essentially means force them to not appear in the main app menu.

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth radio on the Discover can be used for the usual tasks: phone calls and music, as well as file exchange. Calls sent through my car's hands-free system were very, very good, and music sounded excellent when sent to stereo Bluetooth speakers (not that you need them, thanks to the awesome auditory powers of the Discover's stereo speakers).

Browser

The Discover includes the stock Android browser, and comes with some customizations added by AT&T. The browser has a little pop-up bar that runs along the bottom of the screen. It's mostly for social networking, as it lets you easily share whatever is on the screen to Facebook, Twitter, etc. The pop-up toolbar also includes links to Yahoo-populated Sports, News and Entertainment web sites. The rest of the browser performs as you'd expect from an Android device. It is very quick at surfing the web over AT&T's network.

 

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Clock

The Discover has its own version of the Android lock screen clock. The time is displayed in white digits in the center of the lock screen circle. Since the lock screen is a bit busy with icons, it can sometimes be hard to see the clock in a quick glance.

 

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GPS

The Discover ships with AT&T Navigator and Google Maps/Latitude on board. They behave the same on the Discover as they do on other devices, and I didn't run into any trouble using them. The GPS radio of the Discover itself was nice and quick. It often took less than 10 seconds to locate me. Accuracy was within about 25 to 30 feet, which is very good.

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