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Hands-On: Pantech Discover for AT&T

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Jan 7, 2013, 2:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Pantech announced the Discover today, a high-end handset for AT&T. We were able to spend a few moments with it and here are our first impressions.

The Pantech Discover is Pantech's flagship device for AT&T. It offers an impressive spec list and a killer price at $50 on contract. After spending some time with it, we came away fairly impressed.

To quickly recap some of the features, it has a 4.8-inch display that runs 1280 x 720 pixels - Pantech's first HD screen for the U.S. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor. The camera has 12.6 megapixels and of course shoots 1080p HD video. Other features include LTE, NFC, WiFi, microSD card support, 3D sound, and Bluetooth.

Pantech Discover  

So what is it like to use? Well, it is probably the best phone I have seen from Pantech. Everything about it says "winner". The materials are top notch, the design is unique (enough) for this class of device, and the performance is excellent in our initial hands on tests.

The LCD panel looks great. With 1280 x 720 pixels, you've got excellent pixel density and everything looks very sharp. The brightness was quite good, though I though it was a bit on the cool side (a little blue). Suffice it to say, it is clearly the best screen on any Pantech device I've seen.

The overall design is nice. There are contours along the side that set it apart from its competitors. The curves make it easier to hold and grip, and very comfortable against your skin. The body is made of plastics, though the display is covered in an edge less glass that gives it sooth contours and no hard edges. The plastics aren't the best I've used, but they are very very good.

The volume toggle is on the left side, and I found it easy to locate and use. The directionals have excellent travel and feedback. The screen lock button is on the too, as is the headphone jack. The microUSB port is on the bottom.

The user interface is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a light user interface treatment from Pantech. It is the same software we've seen on the Flex, which lets users switch between the full Android UI and a toned down, simpler version of first time smartphone owners. The UI is quick and intuitive, and Pantech's customizations don't get in the way of usability.

One of the most impressive thing about the Discover are the speakers. I has stereo speakers that are skull-collapsingly loud. The Discover uses NXP's audio codecs with its speakers to obtain amazingly clear and intense audio. They are quite impressive.

Add in some of the feature we've come to expect from today's smartphones, such as 4G, NFC, and other connections, and you ave a great value other Pantech Discover.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.

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Jan 7, 2013, 3:09 PM

Eric question about the speakers.

Are the speakers on the side of the phone?
From the pictures it looks like they placed the speakers on the side of the phone instead of on the back.
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