On the left side is a volume rocker, which also doubles as a jog dial/side key for navigating the menu and for scrolling through messages. The headset/charger jack is on top, while the camera key is on the right spine. On the back is the camera lens and external speaker--there is no self-portrait mirror, however.
The Pantech Slate is slim on features as well as design, but that doesn't mean it won't please most people, especially if all you care about is texting and simple e-mail. The Slate has a simple 600-entry phone book, with room in each entry for three numbers, two e-mail addresses, and a note. You can choose to organize your contacts by caller groups, and pair them with a photo or one of 10 polyphonic ring tones for caller ID. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a notepad, a voice-memo recorder, a calculator, a stop watch, and a unit converter. More advanced users will appreciate the wireless Web browser, Bluetooth, mobile e-mail (support for Yahoo, AOL, AIM, Windows Live, AT&T Yahoo and BellSouth accounts), instant messaging (AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo Messenger), and support for MP3 ringtones.
The Pantech Slate comes with a 1.3-megapixel camera, which can take pictures in six resolutions (1,280x960, 1,024x768, 800x600, 640x480, 320x240, and 220x176), and three image-quality settings. Other camera options include five color effects, five white balance presets, multishot, a self-timer, and a shutter sound toggle. Photo quality was decent for a 1.3-megapixel camera; images didn't appear blurry and looked quite sharp. However, colors looked muted and images had an overcast quality to them. There's also a built-in camcorder. You can record videos in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96), two quality settings, and in two different lengths: a short one for multimedia messages and a longer one for storage. The Slate comes with only 20MB of internal memory, so you'll have to use your photo and video storage wisely.
You can customize the Pantech Slate with graphics and sounds for personalizing the phone's wallpaper and alert tones. The Slate comes with games and applications like Sims 2, Brain Challenge Volume 2, Ms. Pac-Man, WSOP Pro Challenge Poker, Mobile Banking, My-Cast Weather, WikiMobile, and Yellowpages.com. If you want more images, sounds, games, and applications, you can download them via AT&T's Media Mall store directly from the phone.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Pantech Slate in San Francisco using AT&T's service. We were mostly satisfied with the call quality. The signal was strong and clear, and callers could hear us just fine. Similarly, we could hear our callers loud and clear as well. However, we were sometimes plagued by the occasional static and crackling noises, so it's not perfect. On their end, callers said our voice sounded clear, but just a tad machinelike. We passed automated-calling systems with flying colors.
Speakerphone quality was decent, if somewhat distorted. Callers could hear us fine over speakerphone, but we thought they sounded a little tinny. We managed to pair the Pantech Slate with the Aliph Jawbone 2 and Bluetooth headset calls went fine.
The Slate has a rated battery life of 3 hours talk time and 10 days standby time. Our tests showed a talk time of 3 hours 21 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Slate has a digital SAR rating of 1.24 watts per kilogram.
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