Interface and apps
The Pantech Crossover ships with Android 2.2.1 with no promises that it'll be upgraded to 2.3 in the future. Still, for an entry-level smartphone, we're pleased with what Android 2.2 offers. You get the usual benefits of Android, like access to Google services like Gmail, Google Maps Navigation, Google search, and YouTube.
Pantech didn't really add a whole lot to the default Android interface. The four static icons on the home screen have a slightly different design, and are arranged in a simple row. They consist of the phone dialer, the messaging menu, the browser, and the main menu. There's also a unique lock screen that asks you to "peel off" a sticker in order to unlock the phone and you can add a widget to the home screen that acts as a digital counter of all the messages, e-mails, and phone calls you've missed.
Some of the apps that are preloaded on the Crossover include a unit converter, a data manager, a document viewer, Facebook, Twitter, Stocks, S-board (an app for sharing information in a group), YPMobile, Allsport GPS, and SketchPad. AT&T included a few of its own as well, like AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T Family Map, AT&T Mark the Spot, AT&T Navigator, and Live TV, AT&T's U-verse application that lets you watch live television and on-demand video if you happen to be a U-Verse customer. You can remove some but not all of the preloaded apps.
The Crossover has all the typical smartphone features we've grown to expect from Android. They include GPS, Bluetooth with stereo A2DP support, and Wi-Fi. It also has mobile hot-spot support for up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices, though it does cost $20 extra a month for that feature. You won't get any fancy 4G speeds here, but 3G is good enough for an entry-level phone.
Other features include a speakerphone, speed dial, voice commands, conference calls, and text and multimedia messaging. A few other standard apps include voice recording, a weather app, an RSS reader, and of course the Android Web browser. If you would rather not use Gmail, the Crossover also supports other e-mail platforms like POP3 and IMAP.
The Crossover has rudimentary multimedia features like the standard Android music player and a fairly basic 3-megapixel camera. Camera settings include four different resolutions, a shutter sound toggle, three focus modes (auto, infinity, and macro), white balance, filters, a self-timer, multishot modes, brightness, and zoom. Image quality is actually not bad for a 3-megapixel camera. Though we would've liked brighter colors, the pictures are pretty sharp. The Crossover can record video in 480p quality as well. The Crossover ships with a 2GB card though it supports up to 32GB cards.
We tested the Pantech Crossover in San Francisco using AT&T's service. Call quality was mixed. We didn't hear a lot of interference or background buzz, but callers said our voice sounded muddy. We heard our callers quite clearly however. On their end, they also said our volume was softer than they would like, and we had to speak up at times. Speakerphone calls didn't help the audio quality--we not only sounded muddy, but echo-heavy as well.
Pantech Crossover call quality sample
The Pantech Crossover has decent 3G speeds. We loaded the mobile CNET page in just 15 seconds, and the full CNET front page loaded in 1 minute and 2 seconds. YouTube videos required a few seconds buffering, and video quality was rather choppy.
The Pantech Crossover has a rated battery life of 5 hours of talk time and 15 days of standby time. According to our tests, it has a talk time of 5 hours and 25 minutes.
The Pantech Crossover's small screen is not ideal for viewing Web pages or watching video, but the phone more than makes up for it with basic smartphone features and a great physical keyboard. The Pantech Crossover is also one of a few Android phones for AT&T to have a decent keyboard, and it's affordable at only $69.99 with a new two-year service agreement.