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Review: Pantech Renue for AT&T

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The Renue is no smartphone, and nowhere is it more evident than the display. The Renue's display measures 3.2 inches across the diagonal and offers 240 x 320 pixels. If you haven't looked at a feature phone recently, you'll cringe when you see the jagged edges and big pixels on the Renue's low-res display. It is certainly bright, though, and is easily read both indoors and out. Colors looked good, too.


The Renue doesn't compare well to other AT&T phones when it comes to connecting to AT&T's network. It generally held fewer bars than other AT&T phones in side-by-side comparisons, and that directly impacted the Renue's performance. Connecting calls was hit-or-miss. I had about a 60% success ratio at connecting calls on the first attempt. The Renue was also pretty good at dropping calls, even when the signal strength indicator showed three or four bars. Not good, Pantech, not good. Text messages appeared to go through the network no matter what, but using apps such as Facebook was slow-going at best.


When I was able to connect calls, they sounded good. Clarity was short of excellent, but still acceptable. The earpiece delivers a blast wave of sound that might damage your hearing if you're not careful. Setting the volume to maximum and pressing it to your ear guarantees that you'll hear your phone calls, but you'll be in pain afterwards. The speakerphone isn't quite as good. In terms of quality, it is on par with the earpiece, but the volume is sadly lacking. Even set all the way up, it was hard to hear conversations in an office with an air conditioner running. Forgot about using it effectively in a car. I had no problem hearing the phone when it rang, or when it bleeped at incoming messages. The vibrate alert was not very alert-ful, however.


I often forget how awesome non-smartphones are when it comes to battery life. The Renue can easily power its way through three days of casual use. If you're making a few phone calls a day, sending several dozen text messages, and checking your social networks, you'll really enjoy the Renue's battery life. Turning on the Bluetooth radio sapped about a half-day's life from the battery, but otherwise it goes and goes and goes.


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