Much like the original Pantech Pursuit (3 stars), the Pantech Pursuit II offers AT&T subscribers a solid messaging cell phone with a responsive touch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It’s a good choice for users looking to talk and text, but if you feel like surfing the Web, you’d be better served by an inexpensive smartphone.
Pursuit II Design, Call Quality, and Apps
The Pursuit II is just a touch larger than its predecessor. It measures 4 by 2.4 by .6 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.5 ounces. It’s made entirely of shiny, hard plastic, but it feels solid. The lime green accent band and details aren’t to my taste, but they add a touch of visual interest. The display is still the same 2.8-inches with 240-by-320 pixel resolution, though luckily it’s a capacitive touch screen instead of resistive this time around.
Pursuit II View SlideshowSee all (4) slides
Sliding the screen up reveals a four-row QWERTY keyboard with matte plastic keys. They’re slightly raised and easy to press, and typing long messages was a breeze. There are large physical Send, End, and Back buttons beneath the display, which are all easy to use. There are no function keys, but they aren’t necessary given the solid touch screen.
The Pursuit is a quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and dual-band HSDPA (850/1900 MHz) device with no Wi-Fi. Call quality was good overall. Voices sound full and rich in the phone’s earpiece, if just a touch fuzzy. On the other end, calls made with the phone are clear and natural, though noise cancellation is just mediocre. The speakerphone sounds clear as well, and volume levels go extremely high. Voice quality was solid over an Aliph Jawbone Icon Bluetooth headset ($99, 4 stars), though again just a bit fuzzy. Battery life was good, at 5 hours and 53 minutes of talk time.
Pursuit II Specifications
- Pursuit II Service Provider
- Pursuit II Screen Size
- 2.8 inches
- Pursuit II Screen Details
- 240-by-320, 262K-color TFT LCD capacitive touch screen
- Pursuit II Camera
- GSM, UMTS
- 850, 900, 1800, 1900
- High-Speed Data
- EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA
- Processor Speed
- 211.9 MHz
Multimedia, Camera, and Conclusions
The Pursuit II comes with quite a lot of bloatware, like many other AT&T feature phones. It’s mostly scattered throughout the main menu, amongst the rest of the phone’s apps. It’s easy to avoid, but a needless hassle. Email support can connect you to your AOL, AIM, AT&T, Gmail, or Hotmail account (along with plenty others), but it costs $5 per month (with a 30-day free trial) on top of your data plan. AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo IM accounts are also available, though messages (both incoming and outgoing) are charged as texts.
Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter “apps” are all included, but they’re really just quick links to the mobile sites. There’s also AT&T Social Net, a useful social aggregator that includes Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and RSS feeds, and runs in the background. The phone’s browser does a nice job of rendering full HTML web pages, though it isn’t terribly fast. AT&T’s Navigator is also included, which offers TeleNav-powered voice directions for $9.99 per month. There’s also the standard slew of apps, from calculator and calendar to stop watch and voice memo recorder.
The biggest problem with this phone, and most AT&T feature phones in general, is data pricing. If you plan to use any of the included web-based services, you’re looking at $15 per month for unlimited data, or $30 for unlimited messaging and data. So if you take that $15 data charge and add $5 per month for email, you’re spending $20 per month. For that amount of money, you’d be much better served by a smartphone like the iPhone 3GS ($49, 4.5 stars), paying $25 per month for 2GB of data that you can really put to good use.
There’s 217MB of free internal storage, along with a microSD card slot that accepts cards up to 32GB. No card is included, but my 32GB SanDisk card worked fine. The Pursuit II comes equipped with a great music player, but a proprietary headphone jack and no headphones in the box render it close to useless. Music sounded fine over the phone’s speaker, and over Altec Lansing BackBeat Bluetooth headphones ($99.99, 3.5 stars). I was able to play 3GP and MPEG-4 videos, which looked good on the phone’s screen, but again, this feature isn’t as useful without headphones.
The Pursuit II’s 2-megapixel camera takes decent photos. Images snapped outdoors were surprisingly sharp, though photos taken inside weren’t as good; they looked a little less focused, and blown out around lights. You can also record video, though the highest resolution is 320-by-240 pixels. Recorded videos were smooth, but looked a little dark and grainy. Images and video can be transferred via email, MMS, Bluetooth, or microSD card.
Much like the original, the Pantech Pursuit II is a good messaging device that’s held by back by bloatware, a proprietary headphone jack, and pricey data plans. If all you’re looking to do is talk and text, the Pursuit II is a fine choice. But if you plan to throw email and/or social networking into the mix, you’d be better off with an inexpensive smartphone like the iPhone 3GS or the Samsung Captivate ($49.99, 4 stars). Both cost the same amount as the Pursuit II upfront, and while you may pay a little more for data, the amount you gain in features and functionality is worth it.
If you don’t want a smartphone and are willing to drop the physical keyboard, the HTC Freestylehas a nicer screen, stronger multimedia features and an even better user interface ($99.99, 4 stars). The LG Neon II ($29.99, 3 stars), on the other hand, has a nice slide-out keyboard and works great as a music player, though its touch screen leaves much to be desired.