Sometimes basic phones are all one really needs, and Pantech is a manufacturer that definitely understands that. Though it also makes higher-end feature phones like the Matrix and the Matrix Pro, Pantech does entry-level phones very well. A perfect example is the Pantech Breeze 2, which is the successor to the Pantech Breeze from a couple years ago. Some may dismiss it as a simple flip phone, but that is exactly what it intends to be. Its slim design, quick access keys, and a superintuitive interface means that the Breeze II is a great phone for anyone who just wants an affordable basic phone. The Pantech Breeze II is available for $19.99 with a two-year service agreement with AT&T.
Pantech wisely kept the slim and trim aesthetic of the original Breeze flip phone. Measuring 4 inches long by 2 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick, the Breeze II is wonderfully slender, and though it is rectangular, it has a subtle curvature that makes it feel good in the hand. The back has a dimpled surface for better grip as well. Weighing in at 3.4 ounces, the Breeze II certainly won't make a dent in your pocket, either.
On the front of the phone is a serviceable 1.38-inch external display. It only shows the basics like the date and time plus caller ID. Since it has 65,000 colors and has a 128x128-pixel resolution, it can also display pictures. Underneath that display are three LED indicator icons that provide visual alerts for new messages, calls, and low battery life, so you can easily check these without having to open the phone.
Flip open the phone and you'll find a bright and cheery 2.2-inch display with 260,000 colors and a 240x320-pixel resolution. Both images and text look sharp and crisp, even for such a small screen. The menu interface can be arranged in either a simple list-style "Breeze mode" or a traditional grid "Advanced mode." The "Breeze mode" also displays the menu options with larger text and removes a few customization options, so think of it more like an "easy" mode. You can adjust the clock type and greeting text on the home screen, the color themes, the font style and size, the brightness, and the backlight timer.
Like on the original Breeze, there are three "quick call" keys numbered 1 through 3 directly underneath the main display. Each number can be assigned only to contacts in your phone book, so make sure to enter in that contact in your address book prior to assigning the key. We appreciate the convenience of having these keys, but they are slightly flat to the surface and are a bit uncomfortable to access since they are located right above the bump of the phone's hinge.
The navigation array sits just underneath the aforementioned hinge, and consists of two soft keys, a round toggle with a middle select key, a dedicated voice command key, a dedicated camera key, a Call key, a Clear key, and the End/Power key. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts to a new text message, instant messaging, AT&T's online address book, mobile e-mail, and the Web browser.
The number keypad sits just below the array. All of the keys are well-spaced apart, but the keys themselves feel a little too set into the phone. Still, there's enough differentiation between each key that we could still text and dial easily.
The volume rocker is on the left, the headset/charger jack is on the right, and the camera lens is on the back. You have to remove the cover and the battery to get to the microSD card slot.
The Pantech Breeze II mimics many of the same features as the Pantech Link, the company's low-end messaging phone. For the basics, it has a 1,000-entry phone book, with room in each entry for a company name, six numbers, three e-mail addresses, five instant messenger names, a Web address, a display name, a street address, a birthday, an anniversary date, and a note. You can then organize your callers into groups and assign one of seven ringtones or eight alert tones plus a photo for caller ID.