Review: AT&T Pantech Burst, A Budget Friendly Device Packing Some Pretty Impressive Specs (Video)

Introduction

Since Pantech and AT&T announced their budget friendly device, the Pantech Burst, it’s literally been a buzz all over the Internet.  Why you say?  Because though the device is considered a “mid-range” handset, for $50 bucks on contract, you’re getting some pretty impressive specs under the hood. If you haven’t checked out our initial hands-on, be sure to do so before you check out the review.  One clarification that Pantech’s PR have made since our initial hands-on is that the device does not house a 1.2 GHz processor but a 1.5 GHz.  AT&T’s website showed 1.2 GHz for quite some time and it seems now, they’re not even showing any processor specs at all.  You would think for a $50 dollar device sporting a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU, PR would not only get that right but they would shout it from the roof top as well.  In addition to the 1.5 GHz CPU you’ll find support for AT&”T’s LTE technology, a 4-inch Super AMOLED display at 480 x 800, a 5 meg camera with 720p recording capabilities and a front facing camera for video chatting.  The OS version of choice is Gingerbread 2.3.5 and the device comes with a generous 16 Gig’s of on-board storage and a pleasantly surprising 1650 mAh battery.

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Design

As far as the design department goes, this device isn’t going to be winning any major awards. However, keeping in mind the price point of $50 dollars, you’re not going to find a better build quality for the price.  Overall, I’d certainly use this candy bar styled device as my daily driver in addition to touting off its looks and design.  It’s no Galaxy Nexus, but it’s definitely “doable”.  The backside of the device offers an optical illusion in that it appears to be a solid brush metal finish when in fact, if you touch it, it’s only plastic.  The front side of the device is extremely reminiscent of Sprint’s Photon 4G by Motorola.  At 11 mm thick and 4.32 oz, the device isn’t bad at all for the price.  The 4-inch Super AMOLED display (480 x 800) alone is good enough to justify the thickness and weight, if you ask me.  The backside of the device resembles the Nexus S as far as camera placement and LED flash location goes.

Hardware

In the hardware dept you’ll find a solid sturdy device sporting AT&T’s 4G LTE, a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm CPU, the said Super AMOLED display, a 5 meg camera with 720p recording, a front facing camera for video chats and a 1650 mAh battery to keep it all going.  In addition to LTE, there’s further support for HSPA, UMTS, EDGE, and GPRS.

Battery

Under the hood to keep the party going all night long is a generous 1650 mAh battery.  We’d liked to have seen more juice in the battery dept to accommodate the LTE radios because we know how draining the technology can be, but what more could you ask for in a $50 dollar device?  I used the device throughout the day mostly on WiFi at home.  However, while on the go and with a single charge I was able to get around most of the day with heavy use in the Gmail dept, watching a few YouTube videos, streaming some Netflix and even rocking some music on the Amazon mp3 application.  I found I still had about 28% left before I hit the sack for the night.

Performance

Performance wise I was blown away at how snappy the device was.  It was right up there with my Galaxy S II on T-Mobile as far as snappiness goes.  There was literally no lag whatsoever and multitasking was a breeze on the device.  Check out the Quadrant scores and see what devices the Burst is beating out.  For $50 bucks this baby took multitasking pretty seriously and certainly lives up to the hype.  I was slightly disappointed that I was unable to test AT&T’s LTE network in my area and only time will tell when we finally receive it.  At best I was able to get about 1.5 to almost 4 megs down in my area regardless of what time of day it was.  Overall, you’re not going to be disappointed with how this device performs and you have that Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 dual-core 1.5 GHz CPU to thank for that.  To top it all off, Pantech added 1 Gig of RAM to the device.  Forgive me if I go on raving about how much you’re getting here for $50 bucks, but this is huge for a device like this.

Software

I was equally impressed with what you’re getting with the device software wise.  You get your typical bundle of Android applications however, Pantech has done a great job of adding a bunch of little functional applications to the mix which one would normally find themselves searching the Android Market for these third party apps such as note pads, memo pads and compasses etc.  Pantech has added their UI to Android 2.3.5 and I must say, I like it.  Like TouchWiz, I found it to be unintrusive and not quite as in your face as HTC’s Sense UI.  I especially like the additions to the notification tray as Pantech added quite a number of options for you.  Now, mostly everyone is doing that already, however, Pantech has added a second row of short cuts that will take you to quite a number of settings on your device such as Bluetooth, Tethering, Sound and Managing Apps.

Camera

The camera is nothing to rave about and it’s certainly not going to win any awards anytime soon either.  However, dare I need to say it?  What else did you expect for $50 bucks?  With that said, you definitely have your simple point and shoot.  It’s doable and takes “good enough” shots while you’re on the go.  I did find the shutter key to be slightly annoying however, simply because most users expect some type of a decent shutter sound when snapping a photo.  The Burst produces a sound that makes you feel you broke some kind of a small mechanism inside the device.  However, focusing was ok and for the most part we were able to produce the type of shot we were looking for.  Video was also less than par as it often rendered somewhat choppy footage and exhibited lag at times.  But, keep in mind the price point and none of that will matter for you.  Check out the sample shots below.

Final thoughts

As of the time of this writing, you’re not going to find a better device on the market for $50.  Just to recap, for that price, your getting specs that some of Android’s top tier devices house like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Nitro and Galaxy S II have.  That’s just simply unheard of.  We’re talk about a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU S3 Snapdragon by Qualcomm, a 4.0-inch Super AMOLED display (480 x 800), 1 Gig of RAM, a 5 meg camera, a front facing shooter, Android 2.3.5 and to top it all off, LTE radios.  I mean, what more can you ask for?  Check out some of our other photos below where the device stands side by side with a T-Mo Galaxy S II and don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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  • Anonymous

    “At 11 inches thick”
    WOW! The design is very deceiving. Looks more like 11mm thick.
    :)

    • Anonymous

      You got me man.