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It’s Friday, a good day for cell phone reviews eh?

You can also check out our review for the Pantech Matrix Pro

I’ve got the Pantech Matrix dual slider qwerty phone for AT&T for review today, I’ve used the phone for the last week every day  doing what you would normally do with a phone… in my time with the Matrix I’ve actually come to like it very much, it’s a nice little phone that is lightweight, well made, easy to use and it’s got decent battery life as well. 

The Matrix features a dual slider with standard keypad and full qwerty keyboard that allows for quick and easy texting and emailing. It also features a video camera that you can zoom while recording, a 1.3MP still camera, Bluetooth, MP3 player and even XM radio.

For phone reviews I give them seven days of everyday use, the phone being reviewed replaces my regular phone and goes with me everywhere, if by seven days I’m not accustomed to the phone then it’s go some problems that need to be worked out. With the Matrix I had no real problems at all, after a couple days of using it I was very comfortable with it. The Pantech Matrix is really a great little phone…


First up of course we’ve got the video unboxing

Specifications:

Pantech Matrix

Cool convertible design! The Pantech Matrix is perfect for messaging. With dual slide out keypads, MP3 music player, and XM radio it will keep you entertained on the go. Snap photos on the 1.3 MP camera and go wireless with Bluetooth capabilities.

Basic Specs:

- Dual Sliding QWERTY keyboard
- Frequency GPRS/ED GE Quad-Band
- UMTS/HSDPA Dual-Band
- Dimensions 4.02" (H) x 1.97" (W) x .78" (D)
- Weight 4.66 oz.(with standard battery)
- Capacity Up to 920 mAh
- Battery Type Standard Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
- Talk Time Up to 3 Hours*
- Standby Time Up to 10 Days*
* Certain features may use more power and cause actual standby and talk time to vary.

- Integrated 1.3M CMOS Camera
- Resolution up to 1280 x 960 (1,228,800 pixels)
- Self-Timer Function (5 or 10 seconds)
- Mpeg4 Video Recording/Playing up to 15t/s (QCIF size)
- Video Share: share a live or recorded video during a call

Price: $279.99 (no contract)

You can read the Full specs at the AT&T Site HERE

Since I’m on AT&T already all I had to do was pop in my sim card and I was ready to go,  of course I threw in a microSD card as well for good measure to make sure everything worked alright.

So I charged the phone and I got a little over three hours talk time actually, and I was using my Jawbone2 BT headset with it so Bluetooth was running most of the time as well. Since I was actually using the phone for the last week I couldn’t leave it sit for ten days in stand by to check that , but if the talk time I got is any indication of the battery life then the Matrix should easily get the rated ten days.

The Matrix is  smaller than my AT&T Tilt, so it took a bit to get accustomed to it, the size and the interface that is. Since it is a dual slider I found it easier to talk on the phone if it was slid out vertically, it added more body to the phone to hold onto. The keyboard slides to the left which for me is very odd as my Tilt slides to the right, using it though was actually easy, the keys look small but I was typing on it very easily with no problems at all.

The interface is essentially the same as the Rugby that I reviewed a while back, it’s still full of AT&T Bloat and everywhere you turn they’re trying to get you to buy something, it gets annoying, really it does, why does it have to be on every single menu?  Besides that though the interface seems to work, for me it was a bit confusing coming from a Windows Mobiles Based Device, even after a week I still got lost in the navigation, but I was coming around.

Here’s a video of the interface in action, with comments along the way:

As for service I had no problems, I’m on AT&T because it works for me in my area perfectly, and I’ll be with them for some time to come I’m sure. I’ve tried two other companies and it was hard for me to even get a call in my house with them, but with AT&T I’ve got no problems with that. Call quality was very clear, everyone I spoke too said I sounded fine even through the Bluetooth connection.

The Matrix itself is a great little phone really, it feels very well made, it looks heavier than it actually is.

I had no problems pairing my Jawbone2 BT headset with it, it worked every time I turned it on.

The GPS is Assisted GPS using the AT&T’s own navigation system, so you’ll either have to subscribe to it or pay extra charges. It works fine in a pinch, but of course nothing beats a real GPS system.

The included camera is ok for stills as long as there’s enough light, and even indoors the pictures are generally decent as long as you hold the phone steady. The video recording is  a bit worse in low light or indoors though.

Here’s a sample movie taken with the Matrix:

You can see the video isn’t the greatest indoors, outdoors in brighter light is better, but not much really, and besides it’s only 15 second clips so you won’t be filming any movies with it.

and here are some sample pictures taken in both portrait and landscape modes:

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The still pictures are actually not too bad, they’re a bit fuzzy, but surprisingly good  as long as you hold the phone very still and there’s enough light. It’s not too good with close ups and dark images as you can see with the NZXT Avatar mouse and the back of my AT&T Tilt phone. The brighter ones are a bit better, and even close up they’re not too bad.

One thing that irks me about the picture system in the phone is that you can’t take pictures quickly, and this was the same for the Samsung Rugby as well. What I mean is that when you take a picture it won’t automatically save it so you can just take another picture, you’ve got to save it manually before taking the next shot. That’s fine if you want to preview every picture you take and make sure it’s ok, but what if I don’t want to preview every picture? I couldn’t find anything in the settings to change this either, like to turn preview on or off… I guess it’s more of a personal preference from using a regular camera as much as I do.

Image Gallery:

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Conclusion:
I might be a bit biased here, but I love phones with full keyboards on them, most all of my phones have had keyboards on them so I like the Matrix for including a keyboard.

The Pantech Matrix is a great little phone, call quality is excellent, as is battery life and overall usability. If you’re in the market for a new phone then I suggest you give the Matrix a try, it’s small, lightweight, and has got some great features that I’m sure anyone would appreciate.

The camera could be improved a bit, and of course getting rid of the AT&T bloat would make the phone even more enjoyable to own.

Pros:
Easy to use
QWERTY Keyboard
Well made
Quick and easy to slide either way
Excellent sound clarity 
Good battery life 

Cons:
Pictures and video not good indoors/low lighting
ATT Bloat included 

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-10-10
Performance score-9-10