Dissatisfied after a year October 25, 2011
Reviewer: Rottlover "... and booklover" (USA) -
ORIGINAL REVIEW (see updates below):
This is the second Pantech phone I've had. The first one was functional and reliable, and so I didn't hesitate (much) to try this smartphone. I liked the features, and I got it during Amazon's 1c sale, so you can't beat the price (unless you can get it free). I've had it for a week.
I was upgrading from the Motorola Droid (circa 2009), which I loved. This time I opted for a phone without a physical keyboard because I'd been using Swype, which comes pre-installed on the Breakout. Because I was familiar with Android v2, the Breakout seems updated yet familiar. Some of the keys (back, home, menu) are in a different order on the Breakout, which takes some getting used to. There are seven "pages" where you can put shortcuts or widgets vs. five on the Droid. That makes organization a little more important, otherwise I'll be swiping the screen to hunt for the shortcut I want.
The pros include:
Swype (don't have to install the Beta)
mini USB input jack has a cover
power/wake button is conveniently located on the side
camera resolution is decent
voice quality is good
has voice control function that actually recognizes names in my contacts list
Speakerphone isn't very loud or clear
Battery life is disappointing, even with screen brightness turned down
Useless, unwanted apps (such as Lets Golf 2) can't be uninstalled
User guide is weak
I installed Advanced Task Killer, and after killing all apps except ATK, the following apps are restarted automatically:
My Verizon Mobile
Some of these apps are essential and I'd always want them to start up. But some aren't. I don't use Blockbuster and don't want it on my phone, but there it is, sucking down my battery life. Slacker is a personal radio, for which I don't even have an account. When you start up VZ Navigator, you see a warning:
"This application requires data usage for download and use which will be billed to your account according to your plan, feature or bundle."
Even if I decline, the app runs whether I want it or not.
City ID displays the city & state of an incoming call. Nice if you get a lot of calls from unknown callers, but I only give my cell number to family and friends.
The Breakout's not blowing me away with its awesomeness, but I'm happy with it despite these annoyances.
Edited to add:
4G range is wider than expected. The Verizon coverage map says that I'm 10+ miles outside the 4G zone, but when I'm at the dog park in the middle of town (trees around but no buildings), I get 4G. At home, only 3G as expected.
11/4/11 update: When I said the battery life is disappointing, I wasn't kidding. I charge the phone overnight and unplug it around 8am. If I don't charge it during the day, I hit 10% battery by about 8pm. This is with some light texting and maybe a call or two. It has shut off on me before 9pm due to low battery. I have the screen timeout set to 15 seconds and tried setting the screen brightness to Auto or about 1/4, but that made little difference. :/
12/26/11 update: I frequently get errors on the Pantech home page if I try to open an application too quickly after unlocking the phone. It's one of those errors that gives me the choice of waiting or force-closing the Home application. It's rather annoying. The phone is also sometimes very slow to respond to commands. I've discovered a trick to extending the battery life is to use a wallpaper other than the animated default image that comes with the phone, and turn animations off. It means not using some of the built-in features, which somewhat defeats the purpose of having a cool smartphone, but it's less frustrating than running out of juice at 6pm.
Conclusion: I might go back to using my old Droid until I'm eligible for a new phone (almost 2 years!). I definitely WON'T be buying another Pantech. I'm lowering my review from 4 stars to 3.
9/18/12 update: I'd lost the phone for several months and didn't miss it. When I found it again, I took it to Verizon to reactivate it and ask what they can do about the horrible battery life. The lady suggested I get a larger capacity (2300 mAh) battery (PN: VZW18995BATX) for $49. I figured that it was worth a try. So far, this battery is holding plenty of juice and hasn't gotten below 50% during a single day. It does make the phone thicker (it comes with its own back to accommodate its larger size), but it has eliminated my largest complaint about the phone. I'm not changing my star rating because it's an add-on, but if you've been frustrated with the battery life, it's worth considering.
2/6/13 update: I went to the Verizon store to see if one of their sales people could help configure my phone to use less power and put more apps on the SIM card rather than the core memory. She tried everything I tried and gave up. The problem is that with only 1GB RAM, there's not much room for add-on apps, many of which do not provide the option of running from the card. I ended up closing my account & taking the hit on the early termination fee in order to get a decent phone. The frustrations were too high with this Pantech.
I absolutely cannot recommend this phone for anyone who wants a *smart phone* to run add-on apps with. If you only want the basic functions and apps that come with the phone, you might not become as dissatisfied as I did. I could not find instructions for rooting it in order to remove the useless apps taking up all the storage space.
Great 4G speeds without the 4G price, but heavy compromise on functionality with low internal memory and faulty bluetooth November 10, 2011
Reviewer: Andy "-Me" (UC Berkeley, California) -
Overall an amazing phone. Inexpensive but not cheap looking or feeling, lightweight and thin, this phone is great for mobile users and those that need 4G speeds but don't want to dish out $200 just for the phone. Although battery life may be a problem, this is standard of smartphones and 4G phones especially. A few well-chosen apps like Juice Defender and the GO Launcher EX Task Manager (A must!), as well as turning off WiFi/GPS will keep the battery life sufficient for a full day of normal use such as email and texting. Rooting the phone allows greater usability and functionality (duh) and further increases battery life (no more bloatware draining the battery to auto-update). Factory software allows for mobile tethering at amazing 4G speeds (mine tested at 14mbps!).
All of these facts combined makes this phone ideal for mobile on-the-go budget users who need 4G speeds and don't want a phone weighs as brick (or have the dimensions of one; I'm still trying to understand the logic behind a phone with larger than a 4.0 inch screen...is it supposed to be a tablet replacement?).
EDIT: February 13, 2012- I'm editing this review to reflect my 5 months of usage. Although in the beginning the phone was what I wanted- 4G speeds without the 4G price- this phone has a huge long list of issues that frankly cannot be dealt with. After rooting my phone and removing the bloatware, the fact that there is only 380mb of internal memory- 300 of which is used by the system and cannot be freed- makes this phone at best a compromise. Bluetooth functionality is terrible- this phone constantly disconnects, fails to connect, or simply freezes when attempting to connect. Software updates that are pushed onto the phone (61mb...) further make the internal memory problem worse, which in turn causes the phone to freeze even more consistently. Honestly, the only thing that's good about this phone is that you can throw it at a wall and it'll just bounce right off- in other words, its a great brick of a phone. Even my Blackberry Storm/Storm II didn't freeze nearly as much as this one. Also, you need to root and then use a google app (like Barnacle Wifi) to tether it (edit from what I said before).
I've taken my review from 5 stars to 2 stars to account for these issues.
I previously had a Blackberry Storm/Storm II. I used my phone mainly for business (Calendar, Email, etc.) and quick on-the-go info (Google Maps, Movie Showtimes, Weather). I wanted more functionality out of my phone and Blackberry has an atrocious app store and even worse choice in hardware (my phone was akin to a brick in my pocket; some poor family in Africa could probably use my phone as a critical component in constructing their house), so I chose to go with an inexpensive Android-based phone with 4G Speeds: The Pantech Breakout
-Lightweight (lightest of the VW 4G phones) and thin, screen is the perfect size for a smartphone (AKA it isn't a massive monstrosity that won't fit in your pocket and cover half your face when you talk). The way I see it, I already have a tablet (IPad), why would I want to lug around another in my pocket that has less functionality?
-Amazing VW 4G speeds (14mbps!)
-BUILT IN WIRED/WIRELESS TETHERING APP FOR MOBILE USERS (4G internet anywhere you go!)
-Sturdy build, textured back of phone provides great traction for 1-hand on-the-go texting/surfing and overall construction doesn't look or feel cheap
-Built in Swype Keyboard (if you're into that)
-Incredible deal when compared to other 4G phones (~50% the price)
-Serious battery issues, but this is standard with smartphones and even worse with 4G phones. I turn off my WiFi/GPS whenever I'm not using them to save battery life, and it lasts about 15 hours of normal usage (text, email, etc.)
-Low Internal memory keeps getting in the way (~384mb of internal memory, so you have to keep transferring your apps to your SD card; however, this is also a pretty standard problem with Android phones)
-Doesn't have a dual-core processor for you developers out there (I doubt normal users need the halved battery life but the doubled multitasking capability)
-Camera is decent but not amazing
-Pantech stock software sort of sucks (Their Home app only allows 7 pages of apps, their widgets take up way too much memory, etc.)
-Bloatware out the bejesus. Let's Golf 2 and Blockbuster apps? WTF why?
To fix the CONS, I rooted my phone (just search Pantech Breakout Root on Google) and removed the bloatware (also helped with the battery problem) and downloaded a bunch of battery-saving apps (Juice Defender!)
A MUST if you want a nicer UI: GO Launcher EX (trust me, you get a better looking Home page, better widgets, task manager widget to kill apps easily from your home screen...)
Summary is at the start of the review...
Great Phone October 6, 2011
A great phone. Easy, easy, easy!!! I am in my sixties and was concerned that a smart phone would be to complicated for me. I chose this phone because I had a regular Pantech and liked it, also there was a great deal. I have not been sorry. Would buy again.
Miracle October 18, 2011
Reviewer: Zachary Schumann
This phone is pretty awesome. Fast 4G speeds and decent specs. i have had no negative experiences with this phone. Super customizable with android 2.3 Gingerbread. The processor seems to handle many many processes at once with ease. fast browsing and awesome battery life (if you set auto screen brightness). Bright and vibrant colors. very nice. and affordable. The physical shell of the phone has a very nice grippy feel to it with the textured, rugged plastic on the back. easy to hold and slim. Thats why i say "Miracle."
Great phone! September 30, 2011
Reviewer: R. Riggs (West Des Moines, Iowa) -
This is a great phone! It's easy to set up, easy to navigate and just plain easy to use. The interface is very smooth and it comes loaded with plenty of apps. You can get even more at the Android app store. We currently only have 3G in my area, so I can't rate the 4G experience, but it's still pretty fast. I'm very happy with this phone. It's a great value for the money.
Great phone October 12, 2011
Reviewer: Stephanie Stirling (Memphis) -
I just upgraded from Droid Eris to this phone.
I love the easy to use system. Also it's smaller then other 4G phones by Verizon. This phone has a great looking screen that makes wallpapers look ultra cool.
This phone also not as high priced as the other Android smart phones and I don't feel cheated at all this phone is just as good as the others and easy to use as well.
Great phone, awesome price November 23, 2011
Reviewer: Keith Russell "The Rabid Hunter" (Illinois) -
This is a great phone for only paying a penny to upgrage (much better price than the Verizon website). I'm quite happy with this.
What I like:
- 8 GB microSD card included
- One button and only one button wakes the phone up, and then you have to unlock it. Great to prevent butt dialing or accidently bringing up an application that uses data.
- Connects to WiFi to help conserve data
- Swype is a cool feature that helps texting
- Easy and very user friendly to use
- This one you can't help but still: VERIZON BLOATWARE that you cannot delete or uninstall without rooting.
- Is there a way to configure the touch screen? My wife has a hard time texting using her fingernails.
One great tip: On most all reviews for smart phones, battery is an issue. To help, download Juice Defender and turn off unnecessary functions, i.e. turn off data if you're not using it, turn off WiFi if you're not near a wireless network, etc...
Excellent value for 4g data speeds and simultaneous data&voice December 19, 2011
Reviewer: P. Nguyen (Chicago, IL USA) -
I got the Pantech Breakout on its release date, so I write this with a few months experience with the unit. I wanted to replace my long in tooth Droid Eris which still worked fine but was extremely slow. I wanted a relatively compact phone that would fit in my pocket and considered the iPhone 4/4s. After extensively trying my girlfriend's iPhone 4, I decided I did not want to give up Android's Google services integration. (esp Google Maps with Navigation). I was also intrigued by faster data speeds from LTE available in Chicagoland area. I played around with all the other available 4g LTE phones but found them all too heavy or big. The Breakout felt the easiest to pocket. Here are my impressions over past few months.
Let's get the bad stuff out first.
Weird google calendar sync issue that causes phone not to display repeating events- I believe this is an Android related issue more than phone issue. The odd thing is that repeating events displayed fine until about a month after I got phone. I tried factory reset of phone and it would fix things until the next sync event. I wonder if google changed something server side on calendar service. I read forums that seem to indicate thos problem sporatically affects different makes and models of phones using android 2.2 and higher. My old eris runs 2.1 and does not experience this. Repeat events get created fine and display on all my iOS devices, on web, and even on my WebOS devices. To get around this, I do not use repeat events. My schedule does not really have any repeating events, and I simply enter the few that do manually a few months in advance. I am not even sure other people will run into this problem, I have feeling there is something I did to my google services settings that is causing this.
Relatively small internal storage- only 390mb
Bloatware- there are a ton of useless apps pre-loaded on this phone. They chew up precious internal memory, RAM, and burn battery life.
Intermittent static crackling sounds heard through headphone jack during heavy 4g usage- I suspect this is a shielding issue combined with silicon case I use. Turning off 4g and using 3g eliminates crackling. It was so bad that I exchanged phone. Second Breakout I got was much better. If I hold second phone in weird way (think "antennagate grip") I can hear very faint rare static sound if I listen for it. Haven't heard it in normal every day use.
Main camera is slow and had no flash. Quality of images is average at best. I am used to camera slowness, but having flash would have been nice.
Now on to the GOOD:
Price: Costs around what feature phones cost.
Build quality: I was pleasantly surprised at phone's construction. It is light but does not flex or creak. Texture on back prevents slippage.
Physical buttons- nothing beats physical buttons for tactile feedback. Oldschool, but I cannot remember a time where I triggered something unintentionally on this phone. Nice change from repeatedly pounding on a virtual button that just won't register my finger.
Data- excellent speeds on LTE and faster on EVDO than most other 3g phones I have used. The ability to force 3g only highly useful to save battery life when faster LTE not needed or available.
Voice- decent quality and plenty loud. Bluetooth connection works well with my headsets and Lexus vehicles (handsfree and bluetooth audio)
Decent battery life for 4g device- once you change default settings so it is not constantly syncing every five minutes.
Simultaneous voice & data on Verizon! I am surprised more people don't mention this. Regardless of whether on 4g or 3g, this phone can hold a phone call while transferring data. Most other 4g phones on Verizon can only do this by using LTE or WIFI for data while on call. Only Thunderbolt (which apparently uses same radio baseband chips) can do simultaneous voice and data on CDMA 3g.
This is an excellent value 4g phone for anyone who can get over not having the latest and greatest multi core fire breathing phone. I find this phone rarely makes me wait, runs the apps I need, accesses data fast, and connects calls reliably. I was ready to spend hundreds more for a 4g phone, but I did not have to.
Hope this review helps anyone considering phone. Comment with any questions, and I will try to answer as I can.
Phone was super easy to root using z rush method via super 1 click. After rooting, I froze all that useless bloatware and that seemed to reduce battery usage. I only use a few critical apps so I have not bothered uninstalling the bloatware. Would rather keep close to stock in case a good OTA update gets pushed out.
worst phone ever February 2, 2012
Reviewer: A. Larson
If I could give this phone a half a star I would. The battery life on this phone is horrible. I rarely talk on it, I usually text only. Yesterday after being charged all night I sent 3 texts and after 6 hours it was out of battery. I cannot go anywhere unless I have the car charger with me. My phone locks up all the time. I have to take the battery out to get it working again. People tell me all the time that they sent me texts and I didn't respond. When I check my phone I never received them. I wouldn't advise anyone to get this phone even if it's free.
Great phone if you are not a power user December 31, 2011
The Pantech Breakout is Verizon's first inexpensive 4g phone. The specs are impressive, the 4g is fast and it works well. It has a slightly smaller screen than the more expensive phones. This is good in that it fits in your pocket a lot easier. I don't miss the size when watching videos either. When I wish I had a larger screen is when I am using the touch screen keyboard. The buttons are kind of small. Purchase a good keyboard app like SwiftKey X and it will fix all your typing errors.
The other drawback of the Breakout is all of the bloatware (applications that Verizon puts on the phone that you don't use, but they won't let you remove). This is also true of Verizon's more expensive 4g phones, but they have more memory, so it is not quite so annoying. If you want to download a lot of apps on the Breakout, you will quickly be told that you are running low on memory and that you should move apps to the SD card. The problem is, they won't let you move the bloatware to the SD card either. Hence, you are kind of stuck with the phones stock programs plus a few that you download. This is fine for the regular user. The programs that come with the phone are pretty great. Power users should look elsewhere.
The way around the bloatware is to root (this gives you permission to change all sorts of things in your phone that the manufacturer never intended) your phone. This is not a good idea for non-techies. Since the Breakout is a mid-range phone, super-techies haven't been that interested in figuring out how to root it, so it's not an easy process. Again, power-users stay away.
That said, $.01 is a great price, 4G is great technology and the Pantech works beautifully. Just figure out what you want to do with it.
Hate this phone December 27, 2011
Reviewer: andrea stieff (BALTIMORE, MD, US) -
Loved my old droid2 but it finally died. Gal at Verizon recomended this pan tech outbreak over iPhone so I bought it with my eligible upgrade. I hate this phone!!! Every time it rings I pick it up and it hangs up on the call. The battery life is horrible horrible horrible. Stupid me assumed the camera had a flash, no such luck. The quick dial favorite widgets are too temperamental ,sometimes I want to text and it calls...ugh. I tried to return it and Verizon employee convinced me to give it more time to get used to..now I can't return it and I'm not eligible for an upgrade till 2013. Hate this phone soooooo much, I may fork over the $700 for an iPhone just to have a phone that works. Save yourself the heartbreak and carefully compare features before buying this pos. just don't listen to employees who are trying to move models. Do side by side comparisons and read reviews. This phone is not worth any price..in fact I'd pay NOT To use it!!!
P.s. I would like to retract the one star and give it negative stars.
shuts down November 26, 2011
so i got this phone cause it looked good, had the keyboard features i like and it was only .01.
i have had it for 9 days and it has shut itself off 4 times.i had to pull the battery to get it operating again. i called verizon as amazon suggested and we did a hard re-set to see if it fixes the issue. don't have high hopes.it's too bad because otherwise i really like this phone.
Great Phone Value November 9, 2011
Reviewer: Homer1952 "ACE" (SE Michigan) -
Had mine for a few days & I am very impressed. I got mine at Best Buy for $30. Saw the Amazon deal later. Anyway, it is a great phone even for the extra $30. I did buy the case & a screen protector from Amazon. Much better price than BB. The case fits perfectly & the Skimomi SP is almost invisble! I had Samsung Charge ($150 at BB) for a few days, but this Pantech is better in every way, save for the super amoled screen on the charge. But I don't really miss that screen. The BO has a very good screen in it's own right. I would have liked a headphone jack protector, but no biggy. I just put a piece of black electrical tape over it.
The BO seems faster in every way compared to the Samsung Charge. The BO has a better processor, Andoid 2.3 & more RAM.
Awesome- just awesome! October 26, 2011
Reviewer: HiddenInMyHeart "Salt. Light. Love." (Hartford, CT, United States) -
Just got this phone yesterday as a replacement froma stolen Metro PCS phone. and i have not put it down yet. This is way better than i expected. Easy to use. Great looking icons. Cool preloaded apps. I cant think of a thing to downgrade this. Its cool that its not as big as the other 3G phones, too. Seriously- i love it!!!
Short Battery Life!! January 29, 2012
Reviewer: Tim Verheyn Junior "TDog14126" (Buffalo, NY USA) -
I dimmed screen, turned off GPS and turned off Wi-Fi and I am still needing to charge this phone everyday! It has a lot of apps which I guess is good. I would say avoid because of the short battery life.
Great phone, light, thin, and fast October 17, 2011
Reviewer: Justin D. Greger (Arlington, VA) -
Also has actually home and back buttons on bottom panel of phone. Fast downloads too. Averaging speeds of around 7mbps in DC.
I'd give it a ZERO...but...not an option May 22, 2013
The phone has 75% of it's memory locked in internal apps that cannot be deleted. If you update all of these apps, you are out of memory. If you don't, you will always have the "low on memory" alert since it kicks in at 70%. If you are not willing to ROOT your phone, you have no business buying this POS.
Breakout and Bloutware = useless "smartphone" May 20, 2013
With the amount of bloatware they pre install on the breakout even with a large sd card you are sol. Worst phone ever!!
piece of junk April 12, 2013
The phone is terrible unless you don't plan on downloading apps in which case you shouldn't really need a smartphone.
Memory is minimal, can't install many apps without the critical memory icon appearing in the top left corner and having it stay there until you uninstall apps, which don't include preinstalled programs that are useless, I have to limit prior text messages to 10 per conversion for memory management too.
Speaker is not a great function of the breakout either, normal calls are ok, but the volume is so low on speaker there's no point to use it.
Worst smartphone I've ever owned April 12, 2013
Reviewer: R. Young
I had an HTC phone that I really liked. Unfortunately it came to a tragic end and I needed to get a new phone in the middle of my contract. I didn't feel like shelling out $400 for a phone so I got this turd. This phone was OK for about a month. Then the battery life started to take a dive and it just went downhill from there. I live in an area with great coverage and I still get crappy voice reception. Plus it gained this awesome new feature of randomly turning off. Sometimes it reboots, most of the time it just gives me the middle finger and dies (even with a full charge). Sometimes I have to remove and replace the battery to get it to turn back on. Sometimes that doesn't work and I have to sit here and wait for it to decide that it feels like turning on when I hit the button. I did a factory reset and still had the same problem. Of course nobody is going to buy this phone now since it's outdated and I might as well talk to the wind.