As it is a messaging phone, it's no surprise that the Caper has text and multimedia messaging. It also supports mobile IM and mobile e-mail. Mobile e-mail is a downloadable application that lets you send and receive e-mail from a variety of providers like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, and you can use your own POP or IMAP servers, too. The latest version of Mobile E-mail also supports Microsoft Exchange and Outlook Calendar Sync, so you can check your corporate e-mail, too. However, Mobile E-mail costs $5 a month under the Pay As You Go option.
The Caper is definitely not a multimedia-friendly phone. You won't get a music player, for example, and there's no video support either. However, there is a simple 1.3-megapixel camera that you can use for the occasional snapshot. You have the choice of four resolutions, and settings include a self-timer, brightness, white balance, color effects, landscape or portrait capture modes, and shutter sounds (there are three sounds plus a silent option). Photo quality was quite poor. Images looked grainy and colors were muddier than we would like.
You can customize the Caper with several different wallpaper options, plus you can download more ringtone options from the Verizon Wireless store. The phone doesn't come with games and apps but you can download those from the store as well.
We tested the Pantech Caper in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality on our end was decent. We heard our callers clearly and the volume level was good as well--they didn't need to shout to get our attention. We did detect some static and hiss though, so it wasn't perfect.
On their end, callers also heard us clearly. However, they said our voice sounded harsher than usual, and very machine-like. They could definitely tell we were on a cell phone due to the telltale crackly background. It wasn't too bad since we could carry on a conversation just fine, but it wasn't as good as we would like. As for speakerphone calls, callers didn't tell much of a difference in quality, except that there was a bit more of an echo effect.
The Pantech Caper does not offer EV-DO; only 1XRTT speeds.
The Pantech Caper has a rated battery life of 4.5 hours talk time and 16.7 days standby time. According to our tests, it has a talk time of 4 hours and 12 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.92 watt per kilogram.
The Pantech Caper is a very well-designed prepaid phone, with a colorful display, great keyboard, and slim form factor. It does lack multimedia features and the photo quality is not great, but that's typical of most prepaid phones. The Caper is only $39.99, and that's without a contract, which is a good deal.