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printed November 28, 2014
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Review: Pantech Crossover

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Crossover may come off looking like a rugged handset at first glance. It isn't. Don't let the cropped corners, gun-metal coloring, and sci-fi design cues fool you into thinking this is a rough-and-tumble phone.

It has a good feel in the hand, but I found all the Crossover's surfaces to be a bit on the slippery side, making it hard to hold onto. Even the textured battery cover is slippery and fails to provide any grip. Despite its greasy feel, the Crossover rests comfortably in the palm. It is narrow enough to fit snugly and the quality of the materials is excellent. It is well balanced, and though the weight was a hair on the heavy side, it fits well into pockets and doesn't drag you down.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Given the size of the phone, I wouldn't blame you if you feel the Crossover's screen is a bit small. It takes up about about two-thirds of the front face of the Crossover, but leaves plenty of black bezel around it. Pantech departs a bit from the norm with its four Android control keys. Rather than use either capacitive or physical buttons, it uses both. The outer two buttons (back and search) are capacitive. The inner two controls (menu and home) are physical buttons. The two capacitive keys can be set to offer haptic feedback if you wish. The menu and home key have a decent feel to them, though they are a smidge too close to the bottom edge of the phone.

Taking a tour around the edges, we find the volume toggle on the left side. It’s too small for my tastes, but it manages to be found easily and offers excellent travel and feedback. The single-stage camera key is on the right side of the phone. Finding and using it is no problem. A hatch covering the microUSB port is positioned above the camera key. I found this hatch difficult to remove. Once it is opened, it barely moves aside enough to allow for the cable to be plugged in. You might want to play with the hatch a bit to stretch out the plastic.

My favorite two buttons are on the top corners of the Crossover. Pantech placed the power/lock key on the right shoulder of the Crossover. This button is large, protrudes the perfect amount, and has a texture that makes it easy to find. It offers excellent travel and feedback. Ditto for the key on the opposite corner, which opens a shortcut menu. The 3.5mm headset jack is nestled between these two keys.

The Crossover is hard to slide open. That’s not because the mechanics of the slider are poorly made, but because the Crossover is so slippery. Getting enough traction with your thumbs on the slick plastic is nearly impossible. This gets old quickly. The slider itself produces one of the most satisfying "thocks" I've heard in recent memory. It snaps open with authority and announces loudly that it is ready for business. It is aided by a healthy amount of spring assistance.

The QWERTY keyboard includes four rows of keys, including dedicated arrow keys, and dedicated period and comma keys. Numbers share the top row with letters, and there aren't any internet-friendly keys such as ".com", "@" or "www".

The keys are a bit too flat for my tastes, but the action is really good. They require firm pressure and offer a good "click" when pressed all the way. Typing on the keyboard -- with help from some predictive text software -- is speedy after a short adjustment period.

The microSD card port is under the battery cover. It can be accessed without removing the battery.

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