If you're a bit more tech savvy, you'll appreciate the GPS with AT&T Navigator's turn-by-turn directions, stereo Bluetooth, and an array of messaging options. You get text and multimedia messaging, plus instant messaging (AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, and Windows Live), and mobile e-mail with support for a variety of Web e-mail services like Gmail and Yahoo, plus any provider with POP and IMAP access.
A particularly noteworthy feature is the HTML Web browser, which is based on Opera. You get three welcome screens (there's a main one as well as two just for Local and Popular links), the capability to view the mobile or full desktop version of a Web page, a full-screen view, and the capability to zoom in and out of Web pages easily with the volume rocker. You can even log on to your AT&T account and send bookmarks to your phone via the "Send to Mobile" feature. However, you do need to keep going back to a dedicated screen just to enter a URL, and you only get two zoom settings. You can read our review of the Pantech Reveal to get a more detailed description of the browser.
Since the Impact has 3G support, it also has access to AT&T's array of broadband services like AT&T Cellular Video, AT&T Video Share, and AT&T Mobile Music. Included with the Mobile Music application is a song ID service, XM Radio Mobile, and a music fan forum. There's also a store from which you can purchase and download songs from Napster and eMusic directly to the phone. Each song is $1.99, and that price includes a download to the PC.
The music player on the Impact is nothing we haven't seen before. The Interface is very simple and the songs are arranged by artists, albums, and genres. Settings include repeat and shuffle, and you can create and edit your own playlists. The player interface has the album art in the middle and the player controls along the bottom. The Impact supports MP3, AAC, eAAC+, AMR, and MIDI files. There's an internal memory of 80MB, but the Impact is capable of storing up to 32GB of additional storage in the form of a microSD card.
The 2.0-megapixel camera can take pictures in five resolutions (1600x1200, 1,280x1024, 1024x768, 640x480, 320x240), and three quality settings. Other settings include a self-timer, four white balance presets, four color effects, and options for a shutter sound and a timer sound. Photo quality was mediocre. Even though pictures looked quite sharp, the colors looked dull and overcast. You get a video camera, which can record in three resolutions (176x144 (MMS), 176x144, and 320x240). There's also the aforementioned Video Share mode, which you can use to send one-way live video to anyone with a compatible phone.
You can personalize the Impact with wallpaper, graphics, and alert tones. You can use your own pictures or sounds, or you can download more from AT&T's MediaMall store. The Impact also comes with a few games and applications, like MobiTV, My-Cast Weather, WikiMobile, Mobile Banking, AT&T Social Net, Loopt, Tetris, Uno, Ms. Pac-Man, and Diner Dash 2. You can get more of those from AT&T's AppStore.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE, UMTS/HSDPA 850/1900Mhz) Pantech Impact in San Francisco using AT&T Wireless. Call quality was quite good on the whole. On our end, we heard our callers very clearly without any distortion. There was a bit of background noise, but it wasn't distracting. Voice quality was good and natural.
On their end, callers reported similarly good call quality. They did report some background noise especially when we were outside, but it was minimal. They said our voice sounded natural and volume was loud enough. Speakerphone calls were good, as well, though callers said our voice did have a bit more echo in that mode.
The stereo speakers on the Impact sounded better than the mono speakers found on most phones, but the sound was still rather tinny. We definitely would use a headset for better audio quality.
We were pleased with the 3G speeds on the Impact. We managed to load a full HTML Web page like CNET's home page in around 20 seconds, and we downloaded a 1.5MB song in just 40 seconds. We streamed video from AT&T's Cellular Video with little buffering time. Video quality did seem a bit pixelated.
The Pantech Impact has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 14 days standby time. We had a rather disappointing talk time of 3 hours and 40 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.72 watt per kilogram.