Pantech Laser Review

A few months ago, I posted my First Impressions on the Pantech Laser. After having it for a few months, my opinions are pretty much the same. I will go more in-depth in this post though.

HARDWARE

Responsive Touch Screen – Like I said in my first impressions, the screen is pretty responsive, for a resistive touch screen. It isn’t up to par with capacitive screens (obviously) but it is pretty good. The screen has not lost any sensitivity since I posted the first impressions. The screen seems to scratch pretty easily, so I would recommend a screen protector (I do not have one and I have a bunch of scratches). A screen protector may reduce responsiveness however.

Keyboard – I like the keyboard on the Laser. I have noticed that it is a little stiff, but I think I’ve gotten used to it. Also, I’ve noticed myself pushing multiple buttons at the same time, however that’s probably because I’m not carefully watching the keyboard as I type. I actually touch type to some degree, but I can’t completely type without looking. As I said in the first impressions, the isolated keys help very much, since they are very flat to accommodate the sliding mechanism. I really wish the keyboard had arrow keys though, because it’s kind of hard to tap right where you want to edit some text, so it’s easier to just delete everything before that point.

Battery Life – The battery life on the Laser is definitely worse than my Eternity. I get more than a day with normal usage, but I don’t usually get over 3 days on one charge. If you charge your phone overnight, then you should be fine with the battery. I usually just wait until the battery is low to fully charge it, and I have been finding myself having to charge it during the day instead of at night. Ironically, my dead battery reminded me to write this section.

Standardized Charger/USB – This is actually very nice. On my family plan, all five devices have the same charging port (three of them are Lasers, two are basic Nokia flip phones). If one of us forgets our charger, we can use someone else’s charger.

Front Buttons – Below the touchscreen, there are three physical buttons: Call Send, Back, and Call End/Power. I have noticed more than a few times my phone has turned on in my pocket. This is because these buttons are fairly easy to press. They are also not flush to the surface, so they stick out a little. When the phone is on and in my pocket (or off and the only thing in that pocket) there are no issues (the lock screen prevents accidental phone usage). Other reviews have stated that the phone unlocks in the pocket easily, but I have not found this to be the case.

Camera – The camera quality is pretty good. It will not replace a standalone camera however. In the right lighting conditions, colors come out fine, but it doesn’t seem to focus as well as a normal camera. It’s a pretty good camera for a phone. Video quality isn’t much better, and again, wont replace a standalone camera. If you would like to know more information, please leave a comment on this post.

SOFTWARE

User Interface/Operating System – I still like the UI on the Pantech Laser, even though scrolling is kind of laggy. Another annoyance with the UI is that the text can be kind of small. Being visually impaired, I wish there was a way to make the text larger, but there isn’t. The Operating System is somewhat limited as well. Many file types cannot be opened, such as HTML and TXT. Also, when viewing a photo, you cannot zoom in. You can zoom while taking a picture but not when viewing. This is a very annoying aspect of the OS. There are some other quirks, such as deleting everything in a text field when holding down the delete key.

UI Layout/OS Features – There are three separate homescreens. The first homescreen can be customized with shortcuts to applications. Unfortunately, most of the shortcuts available aren’t very useful. For example, you can have a shortcut to an individual text message, but not to the messages area. The middle screen is reserved for a clock only. It can be considered a waste of space, but some of the clock options are kind of cool. The third and last screen is for contacts. This is probably one of the more useful screens. The contacts show with the display name and picture. Tapping a contact brings an overlaid window with all call, text, and video share history with that contact. It also has shortcuts to call, text, video share, and visit the website of the contact. Sliding the keyboard open while on a homescreen brings up a grid of icons (separate from the main menu), so the homescreens cannot be accessed in landscape mode.

The main menu is the same as most feature phones. It is a standard grid of icons, but you can add as many screens as you would like. Icons can be rearranged by tapping and holding (similar to most smartphone OS’s) and an “Add” icon appears while in this mode. Links to social media sites (Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook) are included in the main menu (and cannot be deleted).

I have not tested any internet-related features as I do not have a data plan, but many AT&T bloatware services are included. Examples are ATT GPS, Mobile Video, AppCenter, ATT SocialNet, and ATT Music. This software cannot be removed (yet).

Messaging – Messaging is pretty good on the Laser. When texting, threaded texting is pretty much the only option. You can tap each message to view it in a non-threaded view. You can also choose to reply from this screen in a non-threaded style composition screen. I, and others I know who have the same phone, have noticed a few bugs however. One such bug is that sometimes new messages will appear before the last message you have sent. Here is a diagram to explain:

Notice how the text that was received later (1:30) was inserted above the text sent previously (1:20). This doesn’t happen all that often, and replying by tapping the message and tapping Reply usually fixes it, at least temporarily. There is also a separate IM client and email client. The IM client isn’t the greatest, but it does work for sending and receiving instant messages. I have not tested the mobile email application (since I don’t have a data plan) but it is the same as on other AT&T feature phones. Do not expect a smartphone-like experience from these applications.

Conclusion: This is a very nice feature phone from AT&T. It has some bugs, but overall a nice phone. It will not compare to smartphones (as it’s just a feature phone) but if you are looking for a good texting phone without a data plan, this could be a good phone for you.

If you would like to know anything else about this phone, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

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  1. #1 by flwpuhnzl60 on November 28, 2011 - 12:18 am

    This post couldnt be more correct…

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