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Review: Pantech Marauder for Verizon Wireless

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Here's where the Marauder really sets itself apart. The Marauder has two available modes, one is standard, and the other is sort of a beginner's mode. It's all based on Android 4.0.3, and runs smoothly thanks to a speedy dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor.

First, Standard Mode: The standard mode is a close-to-stock version of Android, though Pantech has tweaked it a bit. The best feature is probably the lock screen. There's a large ring in the center of the lock screen and it is surrounded by six apps. Drag the app you want into the circle and you go directly there. Out of the box, those apps are the phone, SMS/MMS, email, browser, camera, and the media player.

The Marauder has five home screens that can be customized with widgets, shortcuts, and apps. There is a dock at the bottom that provides access to the phone, contacts, messaging, browser, and main menu. This dock is visible across all of the home screens.

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One unique feature I really like is the ability to change the appearance of the app icons. There are two sets preloaded (Verizon hasn't said if more will become available). Basically, if you don't like the stock Android app icons, you can switch to a second set of icons, which has a bit more style. There's no real benefit other than adding your own touch to the device.

Now, on to Starter Mode: Starter Mode drastically simplifies things. In increases the size of all the icons, reduces the amount of clutter on any given screen, and makes it dead simple to make changes (add shortcuts, contacts, etc.) to the home screens.

Starter Mode drops the handy lock screen shortcuts, and disables the use of widgets entirely. It also hides the bulk of the apps installed on the device, leaving only the main communications tools available. Aside from these visible changes on the home screens, all the apps themselves behave just as they would on any Android device. In other words, all the features are still there.

Personally, I don't think it's any easier to use Starter Mode, but it is less assaulting on your brain. There's less information to process at any given time, and things (fonts) are larger and easier to read.

Starter Mode  

There's no difference in the way it performs compared to the Standard Mode. Both are extremely speedy and won't get in the way of your fast-moving fingers.

The Marauder also includes all the standard Android-based tools for customizing the phone's behavior.

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