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Pantech Discover: hands-on with what may be AT&T's best $49.99 Android phone

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discover hands on
discover hands on

As we noted when Pantech first announced the Discover for AT&T, it's a surprisingly high-powered phone for $49.99 on-contract. We compared it to the Galaxy S III and, well, Pantech is doing the exact same thing. In a small brochure here at AT&T's developer day, the company included a faux $150 bill to represent the money you'd save over picking Samsung's flagship. Cheeky marketing aside, it's a 4.8-inch 720p LTE smartphone running Android 4.0 with a 12.6 megapixel camera. It has two speakers for stereo that also do their level best to simulate 3D surround sound — we didn't exactly feel immersed in a sea of audio, but they were louder and less tinny than most smartphone speakers.

Pantech included a faux $150 bill in its brochure

On the software side, Pantech is including a toggle to go to "Easy Experience," which radically simplifies the Android home screen and makes it look and act like a featurephone. Most people will obviously want to stick with the standard Pantech experience, which is not aggressively different from stock Android excepting some graphical cues and a custom lockscreen. That lockscreen consists of a circle, and you drag the app into the center that you want to jump directly into. Pantech tells us that it supports Wi-Fi direct for transferring files after you tap another phone with NFC, and it also has AT&T's DriveMode settings to make it automatically reply to calls and texts when you're driving.

It will be in AT&T stores on January 11th, at which point you'll be able to find out if devilish details like battery life, speed optimizations, and other nitty gritty details live up to Pantech's $150 hype.