Pantech has long embraced the messaging phone market with its basic handsets like the Pantech Link and the Pantech Jest. The Pantech Caper is the most recent one to join the family, and it's designed specifically for Verizon Wireless's prepaid plan. It's simple and entry-level, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The Pantech Caper looks like most other candy bar messaging phones. Measuring 4.4 inches long by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch, the Caper is slim, compact, and fits comfortably in the hand. We like the rounded corners and the textured surface on the back that provide a firmer grip when held. The phone does have a slightly cheap plastic feel, but that's to be expected with a handset of this caliber.
We're pleased to see that Pantech didn't skimp on the display. The 2.6-inch screen may be small, but it shows off an impressive 262,000 colors and 220x176-pixel resolution. Graphics and icons look colorful and text is sharp. You can adjust the clock format, the menu font size, the dial fonts, and the font type. You can also change the backlight timer and the layout of the menu icons. The default is a simple list style, and when you select a menu option, you can toggle through the different apps a la Cover Flow.
The navigation array on the Caper is roomy and well organized. There are two soft keys, a center navigation toggle with a middle OK key, a speakerphone key, a Clear key, and the Send and End/Power keys on either side. The right arrow on the toggle leads to a My Shortcuts pop-up that lists up to four user-defined shortcuts on standby mode. The up, left, and down directions lead to user-defined shortcuts as well. You can set up the shortcuts within the Phone Settings.
Though the keyboard looks compact, it's actually nicely spaced. Each key is in the form of a raised bump, which we found conducive to typing by feel. The number keys are marked in red, and the Space bar is a little wider than the other keys. We also like the dedicated messaging key.
The volume rocker and voice command key are on the left spine while the 2.5mm headset jack, keyguard lock, camera key, and Micro-USB charging port are on the right. We're not normally pleased with a 2.5mm headset jack, but since the Caper does not have a music player, we'll let it pass. On the back of the phone is the camera lens and self-portrait mirror.
You won't find much in the way of features on the Pantech Caper, but that might not be a bad thing if all you want are the bare necessities. You get a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, a street address, and an IM screen name. To help you organize your contacts, you can categorize them into groups, add a photo for caller ID, and even assign different message alerts and ringtones. The Caper comes with 25 tones to choose from--you can select a silent option as well.
Like most phones, the Caper comes equipped with a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, a calculator, a tip calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a stop watch, a world clock, and a notepad. It even has something called an E-Diary, which acts as a sort of personal journal. Other features include voice commands, the Myriad mobile Web browser, and Bluetooth.