Monday, November 7, 2011

Pantech (p7040p) Link Review

The looks of those pay as you go phones have never been something to brag about. Most are an older, soon to be discontinued model with limited features. Some are specific to their home network and cannot be found anywhere else except for those "unlocked" ones found when searching the internet. Most are just plain ugly and look like something from 1990. This is understandable because if you could afford $300 on a new phone, you can probably afford to have a plan with it instead of paying as you go. The Pantech Link from AT&T (goPhone) is one exception. This Blackberry looking phone doesn't require a data plan to use so you aren't going to wear the battery down staying connected all of the time either.

Looking at the specs...
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Operating Frequencies & Network Technology

North America Compatible Networks
  • 850 MHz
  • 1900 MHz
International
  • 900 MHz
  • 1800 MHz

Refer to International Services for equipment, roaming partner, pricing, and available services information.


Physical Characteristics & Battery Info

Dimensions 4.54 x 2.40 x 0.39 inches
Weight 3.21 ounces
Talk Time Up to 3 hours
Standby Time Up to 250 hours


Operating System & Manufacturer Support

Operating System
Proprietary / Vendor-Specific
Updatable - Firmware Over the Air (FOTA) Yes
Updatable - PC Cable Connection No
Updatable - Wi-Fi Connection No
Manufacturer Pantech
Detailed Technical Specs AT&T Developer Program



Browser

WAP Formatted Page Support Yes
HTML Formatted Page Support No



Camera

Rear Facing Integrated Camera Yes
Rear Camera Resolution/Zoom 1.3 Megapixel / 4x Digital
Front Facing Integrated Camera No
Front Camera Resolution/Zoom N/A
Camera Graphic Support JPEG
Video Recorder Yes



Connectivity

Bluetooth Yes / Bluetooth Headset Connect
Bluetooth Version/Streaming Audio Support Ver. 2.0 /
Data Cable Vendor-Specific
Headset Jack/Type Yes / Vendor-Specific
Infrared No
Wi-Fi No
Wi-Fi Protocols N/A
Wi-Fi Security N/A



Downloadable Content & Storefront Support

Applications AT&T AppCenter
Games AT&T AppCenter
Music Downloads AT&T Music
Ringtones AT&T AppCenter
Ringback Tones AT&T AppCenter
Wallpapers AT&T AppCenter



Global Positioning System (GPS) & Location Based Services Support

GPS Enabled Yes
GPS Technology Integrated



Interface

Primary Display Type / Size 2.4" TFT with up to 260K Colors, 320 x 240 Pixel, Internal Display
Secondary Display Type / Size N/A
Standard Keys Yes
Touch Screen Keys No
QWERTY Keyboard (Physical/Virtual) Physical



Memory

Internal Memory 128MB
Expandable Memory Support/Type/Capacity Yes / microSD / 16GB
Ringtones Max Size / Capacity 600KB / Up to available memory
Graphics Max Size / Capacity 600KB / Up to available memory
Applications Max Size / Capacity No Max / Up to available memory
Video Max Size / Capacity 600KB / Up to available memory



(specs from AT&T
http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB108854&cv=820#fbid=SsLgCj5OZ1O)


I won't be doing any reviews on internet connectivity with this phone. I got it as a gift (thanks sis!) and I'm in no position to shell out extra money for a feature I never use. I am one of those soon to be extinct individuals who uses his phone mainly for a quick text or a short conversation. I don't surf the net or care about updating my status on Facebook from my phone. I will state that this phone comes with Mobile Opera as a choice of a web browser though you have to dig to find it. AT&T wants you to use their own Mobile Web browser and is set to use it as default. The phone is capable of 3G speed so it probably works as expected.

I have had this phone for about a week and I must say I really like it. I wasn't too fond with the "Blackberry" look at first but it has grown on me. The rubberized back makes the phone easy to hold and the whole phone feels very solid. I haven't dropped it (yet) so I don't know how tough it is but I still have no scratches on the screen - even after being in a pocket with a set of keys. The keyboard, though tiny, is one of this phones' best features. The buttons are raised just enough so a person with fat fingers can text with minimal errors. I chuckle at the ".com" key and wonder if this is Pantech's doing or AT&T's. Either way, someone is pushing the user to get on the internet with this thing. The keys are backlit but not enough for an old guy with bad eyes to see very well. The few texts I have made have been error free thanks to having a prediction mode that corrects as you type. For a cheap phone this can be a texters dream.

Bluetooth worked flawlessly and I had no problems connecting it to my CallPod Dragon (http://www.callpod.com/products/dragon) earpiece. Sound quality and range over bluetooth is great. I have been told that my earpiece is clearer than using the phone normally. A slight echo was reported by call recipients when I'm not using the headset.

The camera is nothing much to speak of as is to be expected for a phone in this price range. The 1.3 mp camera is in bad need of a flash. Pictures were soft and grainy and if there is any movement involved it blurs easily. The shutter takes a second to work so it is really easy to move while taking a picrture. It does have a few cool settings such as sepia tone, black and white, and negative. In black and white mode the pictures are actually better than the regular color setting. I personally don't care if I have a camera in my phone or not. If I want to take pictures I'm usually prepared by having a real camera nearby.
It's a good thing that this phone has a memory card slot. The proprietary charging/USB interface requires a cable (not included). They go for around $5 on Amazon but I still would have liked a standard USB port like other phones use. I was able to put MP3's on the card and the phone plays them pretty well. There's no bass to speak of of course, but this phone sounds a lot less tinny than others I have seen. The volume could be louder though. I downloaded a couple of games and tried to transfer then to my phone (Java) but the phone said that the filetype isn't supported even though this phone does support Java. I have a cable coming and Pantech has a program on their website for use with the Link. Maybe this will solve the game install problem. I'll check it out when Amazon gets my cable to me.

AT&T did a spectacular job of messing up this phone with all of their addons and their icons scattered about. The phone comes with 5 games, or so it says. The games aren't actually installed. Clicking their shortcuts brings up a message telling me I have to be connected to the net to use. Huh? I'm assuming it's to download the programs and it's just another way for AT&T to entice you into getting a data plan. Their trick no worky on me! Their mobile email costs an extra $5 a month to use. Someone care to elaborate as to why since this feature is free on almost any other phone I have seen? It makes no sense to charge that much, especially when you still have to pay for data time used as well.

Battery life is good. The battery charges quickly and is easily replaceable. It's about $20 for a new one. Take that iPhone!

There are many accessories (not included) including cases, cables, screen protectors, etc. The fact that so many manufacturers are willing to supply accessories tells me that sales on this phone are doing well. I was able to order a pack of 5 screen protectors (custom fit), a data cable, and a rubber cover that that fits around the phone for extra protection. I'm still afraid of that first drop and these type of cases do wonders to protect the phone. All of these costs me a little over $10 on Amazon. Try getting all of those things for an iPhone for that price!
So far I'm pretty happy with this phone. I'm unable to find it for sale from AT&T with their contract plans but if one wanted to they could put their SIM card in and it will work. I plan on keeping this one for awhile. It's been a definite upgrade over my 5 year old Motorola Razr. Still not ready for the big time? This phone might be just for you. I have seen these given away for free or priced all of the way up to $59.95. Your pricing experience may vary. For more info on AT&T and their goPhone offerings go to http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/go-phones/index.jsp?WT.srch=1#fbid=beSiMVaNJY2

Pros: Keyboard, reception, price, battery life. Lots of accessories available
Cons: Weird Pantech Operating System, keyboard backlight, low speakerphone and music volume, AT&T's bundled junk

Update: I got the data cable and screen protectors in the mail right after I wrote this. Unfortunately the software isn't compatible with Windows 7 64-bit. It hasn't been updated in almost two years so it doesn't look like Pantech cares. As for the screen protectors, can you say bubbles?

1 comments:

Jeannie said...

Sis is happy you have the phone. Nice review. I had no idea what the phone truly did. I just knew it wasn't the cheapest and it wasn't the most expensive. I'm glad too that there are a lot of accessories for it. That'll make it fun to play with.