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Review: Pantech Crux

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Well, the Crux at least looks good. Many of the features come in just a hair short, though. The slide-to-unlock idea is neat, but it's ultimately an unnecessary gimmick. The buttons on the side of the phone are too small and too difficult to operate. Conversely, battery life is good, network performance is solid, and voice quality actually rates above average.

The Crux's proprietary user interface is easy enough to understand and use, but gets bogged down from time to time. Pantech did do a good job at making the UI finger friendly, though. While the Crux falls a bit flat with standard email and IM, it makes up for these shortcomings with Gmail support and Google Talk support in the Social Beat application. I still find Social Beat too limited, but many users may be happy with the ability to monitor tweets and Facebook as well as join into the conversation.

The biggest disappointments are on the media side of things. The music player works, sure, but the software is getting old. I still find it hard to believe that Verizon has the gall to charge $2 for low quality over-the-air music downloads. Worse, the camera produces some of the worst images I've seen on a phone in some time. At least the browser is somewhat capable.

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Where does all this leave us? Perhaps if you're looking for a good voice phone that happens to have a little personality and a touch display, the Crux would be appropriate.

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