Other features of the Crux include USB mass storage, Bluetooth with A2DP streaming, GPS with support for VZ Navigator, Bing search, and a full HTML Web browser. The browser is the same one that is on other feature phones on Verizon Wireless, like the LG Octane for example. There's a URL field plus a search bar, and you can add and view favorites, view browser history, send a URL via e-mail, zoom in and out of page views, and more. Our complaint about the browser echoes the one we have about the phone--the touch screen sensitivity is such that we're constantly tapping on links we didn't mean to tap. Opening and closing windows also felt too slow and sluggish for our tastes.
The Crux supports EV-DO Rev. 0, and with that comes support for Verizon's broadband services like V Cast Video, Verizon's streaming video service, and V Cast Music with Rhapsody, Verizon's mobile music store. You can purchase and download songs over the air for $1.99, and if you have a Rhapsody subscription, you can transfer subscribed tracks over USB if you have the V Cast Music with Rhapsody app on your PC. The phone accepts up to 32GB removable memory for additional storage.
The music player on the Crux has a simple interface that is separate from V Cast, and it launches quickly without a long loading time. Songs are categorized by artist, genre, and album and you can set the phone to Airplane Mode when you're in the air and Music Only Mode when you want the phone to act solely as a music player. Settings include the usual repeat and shuffle modes, plus a few special sound effects that include SRS WOW HD, which promises wide stereo sound, and SRS CS Headphones, which promises a surround-sound experience via headphones.
The Crux has a 3-megapixel camera with a slew of settings. You can take pictures in six different resolutions, five white balance presets plus an auto mode, and four color effects. Other camera features include a self-timer, multishot, brightness, and three shutter sounds plus a silent mode. There's also Smile shot, which automatically takes a photo when someone smiles, and you can tag people's faces with Face tag and Face filter. The camcorder settings are similar, except for video-specific ones such as being able to record in three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 176x144), three quality settings, and in either a longer storage mode or a shorter MMS mode.
Picture quality was decent for a 3-megapixel camera, but it wasn't anything spectacular. Images looked sharp enough, but we wished the colors were more vibrant.
Verizon is pushing the Crux as a youth-friendly phone, which explains the heavy emphasis on social networking. It comes packaged with SocialBeat, Verizon's app that acts as a hub for all the popular social networks--Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook--plus you can configure it to receive news updates and e-mail. The Crux doesn't come with any apps, but it does come with a Millionaire 2010 game. You can get more apps, games, wallpaper, and ringtones via the Verizon store.
We tested the Pantech Crux in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was mixed. On our end, we heard our callers well for the most part, but we did encounter some static and echo. We also thought their voices sounded a little digitized and not as natural as we would like.
Similarly, callers reported that our voice sounded overly processed. They also reported a bit of noise in the background. However, the Crux has a "Noise Free" button that you can tap to help remove the extra sound. We tried this out, and indeed, callers could no longer hear any background sound during "Noise Free" mode.
When we turned on the speakerphone, they said our voice sounded very soft at first, and as the conversation went along, our voice became increasingly distorted. Callers even said our voice would cut out occasionally. On the flip side, we thought our callers sounded loud and clear on the phone's speakers.
Speaking of audio quality, we were pleasantly surprised by the sound of the music player. The bass was a little weak, but the overall quality was quite good. The SRS technology did its job in enhancing the sound quality of both the speakers and the headphones. We definitely appreciate that we could use both a 3.5mm headset jack and stereo Bluetooth to listen to music. We also like the external media keys that let us control the music without having to unlock the phone.
We were pleased with the speeds of Verizon's EV-DO Rev. 0. We loaded the CNET mobile page in just 8 seconds and downloading a 1.9MB song took around 49 seconds. We had no problems loading YouTube videos, though the quality was rather choppy.
The Pantech Crux has a rated battery life of 5.2 hours talk time and 13.5 days. Our tests reveal a talk time of 5 hours and 24 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 1.25 watts per kilogram.