AT&T Pantech Duo C810 with Windows Mobile 6 Standard

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INTRODUCTION

    The latest "first" to the mobile device world is the Pantech Duo C810: the first dual-keypad device that runs Windows Mobile. Some compare it the Helio Ocean, which also has two sliding keypads. Does the dual slider have any utlility, or is it purely a novelty? How does the Duo perform in real world testing? We’ve got a thorough review for you. Read on for more!

WHAT’S HOT

      Let’s talk specs. The Pantech Duo has Bluetooth 1.2, a 416MHz Intel XScale PXA270 CPU, 128MB ROM (with ~50MB accessible), 64MB RAM, Windows Mobile 6
Standard, a 2.2" QVGA screen screen,
EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA, USB 1.2,
an external microSD slot, and a
1.3MP rear camera.

Device
Size (inches)
Weight (grams | ounces)
4.44" x 2.47" x 0.52"

132 | 4.65
4.44" x 2.27" x 0.63"

156 | 5.61
4.74" x 2.63" x 0.43"

157 | 5.53
4.33" x 2.09" x 0.59"

117 | 4.12
4.66" x 2.48" x 0.47"

130 | 4.58
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.64" x 2.36" x 0.48"

129 | 4.55
3.96" x 2.34" x 0.67"

133 | 4.76
4.68" x 2.44" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.58" x 2.42" x 0.47"

120 | 4.20
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.65"

178 | 6.28
3.92" x 2.41" x 0.60"

137 | 4.83
4.24" x 2.09" x 0.53"

117 | 4.12
4.17" x 2.00" x 0.85"

151 | 5.34
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.57" x 1.70" x 0.64"

140 | 4.94
4.88" x 2.44" x 0.53"

130 | 4.56
4.21" x 2.20" x 0.55"

120 | 4.20
4.53" x 2.47" x 0.47"

146 | 5.15
4.63" x 2.19" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.35" x 2.07" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.56" x 2.41" x 0.51"

125 | 4.41
4.44" x 2.36" x 0.55"

133 | 4.69
4.01" x 1.98" x 0.55"

124 | 4.37
8.28" x 4.67" x 1.08"

640 | 22.5
4.48" x 2.52" x 0.59"

154 | 5.43
4.17" x 2.38" x 0.68"

147 | 5.18
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.71"

165 | 5.82
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.41" x 2.28" x 0.73"

140 | 4.94
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.45"

110 | 3.88
4.56" x 2.36" x 0.70"
200 | 7.05
4.30" x 2.40" x 0.60"
120 | 4.23
4.20" x 2.30" x 0.60"
136 | 4.79
3.70" x 2.30" x 0.60"
126 | 4.44
4.48" x 2.39" x 0.51"
116 | 4.09
4.60" x 2.60" x 0.50"

134 | 4.70

4.10" x 2.10" x 0.60"
150 | 5.30
4.40" x 2.32" x 0.75"
190 | 6.70


WHAT’S IN
THE BOX

For those that missed the unboxing video, here it is again!

(all images link to higher resolution)

 

The box was one of the smallest I’ve ever seen from a carrier.

Inside the box was a user guide, getting started manual, USB cable, power cable, headphone adapter, and the device.

Come on, Pantech, we don’t like proprietary connectors!

PRODUCT FEATURES

 

    In hand, the device is petite and feels very light (at 110g, it’s on of the lightest WM devices we’ve ever tested), but it also feels quite cheap…with plastic galore. The Duo has a very glossy black and blue metallic finish which is an absolute fingerprint and scratch magnet. Also, there is an ugly dimpled surface that surrounds the screen on the phone.

 

    A bit closer to the front buttons, we have the usual Windows Mobile Standard buttons, with the addition of the lock button on the bottom. What’s annoying about the lock feature is that you have to open one of the keypads to press the star key to complete the unlock sequence. On the T-Mobile Shadow, for example, you just press the left soft key twice, and it’s unlocked without having to open the slider. Oh, and that’s not a scroll wheel you see in the center, it’s just a D-Pad. The Duo lacks a scroll wheel, much to my dismay.

 

If we open up the bottom slider, this is what it looks like. The number pad is spring assisted. Each key has a good size and is easy to press.

      If we slide open the other keyboard, which is not spring assisted and clicks in place with a magnet, we find the three rows of keys to be spaced well. The soft keys are placed way off to the right and left, but this wasn’t bothersome for me and I got used to the strange placement quickly.

The keys are backlit.

Up close, we can see that the keys are made of a rubbery plastic, which I think allow for too much give versus plastic keys.

For those of you that own an HTC Wizard/Hermes/Kaiser, you may have trouble getting used to three rows of keys instead of four.

 

 On the left side of the device, we find a volume up and down button. Again, note that ugly dimpled texture around the screen.

 

On the bottom, there is a flap that covers the syncing/charging/audio port. I found the flap especially hard to remove.

And here’s what the port looks like.

On the other side, we have a camera and Voice Command button.

 

From this view, you can really see the ultra-glossy black and blue metallic finish…

…along with the 1.3MP camera, self-portrait mirror, and speaker grill. I found the speakerphone to be loud enough, but it would distort at high volumes. Also, notice the little scratches on the battery area, from just a few days of usage.

Taking off the 1320mAh battery reveals that the SIM card is held behind the battery.

 

Where is the microSD slot, you ask? You have to slide open the number pad and flip over the device in order to gain access.

COMPARISONS

From the left we have the Treo 700wx, Samsung SGH-i620, Pantech Duo, AT&T Tilt, Samsung Blackjack, and Apple iPhone.

From the top we have the Treo 700wx, Samsung SGH-i620, Pantech Duo, AT&T Tilt, Samsung Blackjack, and Apple iPhone.

This shot should give you an idea of how thick the Duo is. Well, I’ll tell you, it’s thicker than every device in this shot, except for the Treo 700wx at the top.

SOFTWARE
 

This is the standard Home screen that comes on the Duo.

Flipping open the QWERTY keyboard causes the screen to re orient to landscape. The screen rotation on the Duo was actually pretty quick, at about one second.

Here’s an interesting-looking Home screen that came on the Duo. I didn’t like this one because it had advertisements for AT&T products on the top portion.

And here is another Home screen that comes on the device; this one has a media player at the bottom, which may be of use to some.

In the Start menu, we see the standard AT&T and Windows Mobile items.

OZ messenger is included which lets you access AIM, Yahoo!, and Live.

You also get a full version of Office Mobile with Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.

This is inside the Applications folder. A full version of Voice Command is included. You also get ClearVue for PDFs, TeleNav (which costs $5-$10 per month) for those that have an external Bluetooth GPS, and a Task Manger.

And here’s what the Task Manager looks like.

Also in the Applications menu is My-Cast weather, which is free, and MySpace mobile.

In the Games screen, we get a small handful of Java-powered games. It appeared as if all of the games here were the full versions, but don’t get excited: most of the games are cheesy, and don’t take up the full screen.

And in the Organizer, we have other standard items like Alarm and World Time.


HELP SUPPORT

    The Duo’s QWERTY keypad takes a lot of getting used to. The buttons are flat, and I can’t figure out if I should use my thumbnails or the flat part of my thums to type. Either way yields slow text entry for me, even after several days of use.

BATTERY LIFE

    The Duo has a 1320mAh battery, which is a decent size for a Smartphone / Standard device. The company rates the battery at 3 hours of talk and 10 hours of standby. The real battery test for me is whether I can get through an entire day with the screen brightness on maximum and moderate internet browsing and emailing. The Pantech Duo passed the test – on average, I’d have about 20% of battery life remaining after a typical day with the Duo.

BUGS AND WISHES

     First and foremost, this device is the thickest Windows Mobile Smartphone that I can think of. It doesn’t "feel" thick because it’s narrow, but when you look at it on a table or in comparison to other devices, you’ll agree that it needs to lose some heft.

     The Duo’s casing is covered in a very glossy metallic paint, which picks up fingerprints and little scratches way too easily. And the entire device is plastic, making it feel quite cheap (but on the bright side, it is light). And, since the Duo is essentially a three-piece sandwich (the bottom with the number pad, the center with the full keyboard, and the top with the screen), there is some wiggle action that can be found, which adds to the cheap factor. What’s with the dimpled material surrounding the screen? Who wants a rough surface on their phone? Maybe Pantech figures that the phone would make a good back scratcher, I don’t know.

     The processor is a speedy 416MHz Intel XScale, and I can confirm that programs opened quickly and multitasking was largely not a problem.

     Though the device is capable of accessing a UMTS and HSDPA signal on AT&T, not everyone has 3G networks in their area yet, so the lack of inclusion of WiFi is a downer. Also, how about some GPS?

     And it’s the other little things that really bug me. Like the proprietary connector, and the "so last year" Bluetooth 1.2, not 2.0. Also, why isn’t the QWERTY spring assisted, but the number pad is? And how about allowing for a keypad unlock sequence that actually makes sense? Finally, where in the world is the scroll wheel?

PURCHASING

    Right now, a Pantech Duo can be had for $199.99 after various mail in rebates with a new contract on the AT&T network. I expect the price of the Duo to dip down into the $100s as we approach the 2007 holiday season.


PROS


  • The first Windows Mobile device with two keypads


  • Snappy performance


  • Reasonable price

CONS


  • Thick!


  • Poor build quality


  • No GPS or WiFi


  • No scroll wheel


  • Ugly dimpled pattern around screen


  • Silly screen unlock sequence


  • QWERTY keypad is not spring-assisted


  • Proprietary connector


  • Bluetooth 1.2

Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What do these ratings mean?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    As a Windows Mobile enthusiast, I am utterly underwhelmed by the Pantech Duo. If any of you have ever used other Pantech devices, you know that they build sub-par devices in terms of build quality. Pantech devices are typically less expensive than those from Moto, Samsung, and HTC, which is fine for those looking for a simple device, but Windows Mobile is a powerful platform that should only be included in capable, high-quality devices. Perhaps for someone new to the world of Windows Mobile who doesn’t require WiFi, a scroll wheel, or an aesthetically pleasing design, this could be a good choice. But for me, and probably for you if you’re a reader of this site, the Pantech Duo is not a winner, but merely a novelty with its two keypads.

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.