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printed September 22, 2014
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Review: Pantech Breeze IV for AT&T

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Screen

The B4's external screen is small and not very pixel-rich. It’s easy to read when indoors, but darned near impossible to read outdoors under the sun. It doesn't help that fingerprints and grime can obscure the little screen.

The internal display measures three inches across the diagonal and has 400 x 240 pixels. This is a fantastic size and resolution for a $40 flip phone. You can see individual pixels quite easily, but it still looks quite good. The LCD panel is plenty bright for indoor and outdoor use, and most elements and graphics on the screen look sharp enough.

Signal

The B4 did OK with AT&T's network, but I've seen better. It performed slightly under par when compared to other devices tested throughout the greater New York City region. It never had any trouble connecting calls, but it dropped them quite regularly. Data speeds, which are limited to a max of 3.6 Mbps, are pokey at best no matter how strong or weak the signal strength.

Sound

Phone calls sounded mediocre through the Breeze IV. The earpiece produced clean calls with decent volume. I think the earpiece should be much louder, though, especially for a device that might be used by seniors. The quality was just OK, and people I spoke to through the Breeze IV said I sounded scratchy. The speakerphone is far too quiet, and the quality drops a bit. It's all too easy to cover the speaker with your finger when holding the B4. You'll get the best results if you put it on a flat, hard surface, such as a table, desk, or countertop. Even then, however, it could be louder. Conversely, ringers and alert tones are excessively loud. You can get by setting them at 50% most of the time. The vibrate alert was all right, but not great.

Battery

For a flip phone, battery life could be much, much better. The large screen must really eat up the battery. The B4 has a rated talk time of just three hours, and that is accurate. If you regularly take pictures, play games, or do anything that keeps the screen on, the B4 might not make it through an entire day. By contrast, other flip phones we've reviewed this year last two or three days. The B4 will remain on standby for about a week, though. Bottom line, it really depends on how you use it. If you use it a lot, expect a day, if you charge it and put it in your purse for emergencies only, you'll be fine for several days.

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