AT&T Pantech Matrix PRO
The Pantech Duo, which came out at the end of 2007, was the first Windows Mobile device ever to have dual-sliding keypads. Due to build quality and a certain lack of features, we weren’t too impressed by the device and rated it low. Its successor, which AT&T is calling the Matrix PRO, evolves on the dual-slider concept with a fresh new design, the addition of GPS, plus some upgraded specifications. Is the Matrix PRO another dud, or is it deserving of your consideration? Read on for the full review!
Let’s talk specs. The Matrix PRO is running with a Qualcomm MSM7201A CPU clocking at 528MHz. It has 256MB ROM (95MB accessible) and 128MB of RAM (68MB accessible) with microSD expansion (hot-swappable). It has quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900) and triband UMTS (850/1900/2100) with HSDPA and HSUPA. It has Bluetooth 2.0, and aGPS. On the back is a 2.0MP camera with no flash or auto focus. There are two keypads – one for numbers, and one for letters, both of which are spring-assisted. Powering everything is a 1320mAh battery. For even more specs, check out PDAdb.net, or see a spec-to-spec comparison chart of the Pantech Duo and the Matrix PRO.
(all images link to larger versions)
The Matrix PRO’s design is characterized by rounded edges, smooth lines, and smooth surfaces. It’s a nice looking device. Though it’s hard to tell in the picture, the Matrix PRO’s case is a gray-aqua metallic color.
Here’s a shot of the box.
Inside the box we have a charger, sync cable, and 3.5mm headphone converter – all using Pantech’s annoying proprietary jack. Also included is a fabric pouch, plus the device and some software/reading material.
Here is the unboxing video in case you missed it.
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
The included case is made of fabric (not suede) and adds to the thickness of the device.
In hand, thanks to the smooth textures and rounded edges, the PRO feels nice, albeit quite thick. Though the screen is only QVGA resolution, the colors are vibrant on the screen.
Using your thumb to push up the screen, the number pad is revealed.
The number pad continues the rounded-edges theme, and is backlit in a light purple color.
That said, the buttons on the numeric keypad are totally flat, making it impossible to use without looking by feeling for them.
Turning the device on its side, you can reveal the QWERTY (spring-assisted) keyboard by pushing the screen upward. These keys are also backlit in purple.
The Matrix PRO’s QWERTY keyboard has improved tactile response compared to the original Pantech Duo thanks to the raised buttons, allowing for quick text entry once you get past the awkwardly placed spacebar.
Did I mention the Matrix PRO is thick? It’s as thick as 13 quarters. Yikes.
On the front of the device, we see an oversized D-Pad (which doesn’t scroll like the T-Mobile Shadow). The other buttons are generally flat, making them difficult to feel for without looking.
On the bottom of the device, we have the external microSD slot. That means you can swap cards without having to turn off the device.
On the right side of the device, we have Pantech’s cumbersome port for audio/charging/syncing.
On the left side, we have a volume up/down key, plus a Rec button. A short press on Rec will bring up the profile-switcher, and a long press will start Voice Commander.
On the back of the device, we can see the flush battery cover, plus the 2.0MP camera and speaker. Lacking for the camera is autofocus, a flash, or even self-portrait mirror.
And if we remove the battery cover, we reveal the 1320mAh battery.
Here is our hardware tour of the Matrix PRO. We also compare it with its predecessor, the Pantech Duo.
Here we have a shot comparing (from left to right) the HTC Touch HD, Touch Pro, Pantech Matrix PRO, Pantech Duo, and AT&T Tilt.
And here they are again in the reversed order, stacked. The PRO is the thickest device here.
Click onto page 2, where we’ll cover software for the Matrix Pro, plus gauge camera quality.
The default Home screen on the Matrix PRO is this sliding panel interface, which puts a lot of your phones functions right at your fingertips. To clean this up further, you can change the Home screen to "Sliding Panel" which will remove AT&T’s advertisement panel seen second from bottom here. To do that, go Start>Settings>Home Screen.
The sliding panel interface lets you flip through your messages, voicemail, notifications…then below that, you can check out your next calendar appointments, plus change the ringtone, desktop background, and profile.
The Matrix PRO allows for easy dialing from the Home screen. Just start typing the name of the person you want to call with either keypad.
Here is the first pane of the Start menu. A lot of what you see here is AT&T branded stuff.
If you slide open the keyboard, the screen will rotate, albeit a bit slowly.
When you get a call, this is what happens. You can use the phone’s slider to answer a call, or hang up. Neat.
When on a call, this is what it looks like. I found the speakerphone to be poor – even at low volumes, it would distort.
Going down the program list, we find some other entries. MobiTV is a great TV-watching service and is smooth over 3G, but costs $10 per month to use.
The Matrix PRO uses OZ messenger, which lets you access several IM services.
Included is the suite of Office Mobile 2007 apps.
If we peek inside the games folder, we find a ton of Java-based trialware.
Speaking of trialware, there is even more inside the Applications folder!
The Matrix PRO comes with Voice Commander, which does not require training. So you can say "Call Bob Jones" and it will call that person.
Here’s what Voice Commander looks like – you get a listing of the prompts right away.
The Matrix PRO also has the internet sharing application plus remote desktop. Remote desktop isn’t very usable on a QVGA screen, though for quickly accessing a document or changing a setting at home, it works. The video at the end of this page shows what Remote Desktop looks like on the Matrix PRO.
Here we are in the settings screen.
In System Info, we get a look at how much memory we’re using. Though the Matrix PRO only has 68MB of RAM, performance is snappy, even when multitasking.
In Power Management, we can change the level of display brightness. Unfortunately this is not regulated automatically with a light sensor.
In Phone settings, you can set the auto answer and auto lock functions that occur with the slide-out keypad.
When the device automatically locks when you close the slider and you press a key on the front of the device, you can either press the Unlock soft key, or slide back open a keyboard.
Pressing on the side Rec button, you can access the Quick List which lets you change profiles…
…plus access the Wireless Manager.
The Matrix PRO is a Video Share capable phone, meaning you can do one-way video conferencing with another Video Share-capable phone. There is a fee associated with this service.
In case you missed it, here is the software tour video which demonstrates some features mentioned above.
Here is an indoor shot. The lack of flash makes for a lot of noise.
Here is an outdoor shot. It had a lot of noise, and the colors were not vivid.
And this indoor shot, also buderened with noise, actually came out quite clear.
The Windows Mobile Standard operating system (non-touchscreen) is consistently better performing than the Professional (touchscreen version). The Pantech Matrix PRO, though a bit lacking in the amount of free RAM that it has, performs quite well and does great with multitasking.
The Matrix PRO has a 1320mAh battery. That said, it has great battery life. With moderate usage (several web browsing sessions, a few calls, some GPS activity), I had 45-60% battery left at the end of a day. With heavy use, expect to go one day without needing a recharge, and with light use, expect to go three days.
BUGS AND WISHES
AT&T devices are especially known to come with a lot of Java-based trialware. Meaning – programs that you can only use for several minutes before you’re asked to cough up money for the full version. With a smartphone of this type, I would have expected for there to be less trialware and more full versions.
The camera on the Matrix PRO is abysmal, suffering from noisy photos in bright lights, medium light, no light, or any kind of light that you may experience. The device lacks a flash, autofocus, or even a self portrait mirror, which makes me think that Pantech added a camera merely to satisfy those that would be deterred by its exclusion, rather than to add true value to the device. And while we’re speaking of features that the PRO lacks…where’s the WiFi? How about a light sensor to regulate screen brightness?
We dream of a world where proprietary connectors are no more. Pantech still reverts to its thick, chunky, difficult to use connector for all device functions that require a connection.
At any volume, the speakerphone is sub-par. Though the person on the other end can hear me quite well if I place the device on a table top in front of me, it is difficult for me to hear them to do distortions from the spearkphone.
Although the performance of the Matrix PRO in comparison to the Pantech DUO is admirable, the screen rotation speed is still quite slow compared to other Windows Mobile devices that have sliding keyboards.
The Matrix PRO will be available from AT&T’s website starting around February 24th. It will be sold for $179.99 with a two year contract.
- Slick design
- Dual sliding (spring-assisted) keypads
- Feels good in hand
- Vibrant screen
- Snappy performance
- Good battery life
- Hot-swappable microSD memory
- Sliding mechanism answers calls and locks device
- Very thick
- Includes a lot of java-based trialware
- Poor camera with no flash, autofocus, or self-portrait mirror
- No light sensor
- Uses a cumbersome proprietary connector
- Screen rotation is a bit slow
- Poor speakerphone
- Flat numeric keypad is impossible to use with one hand
- No WiFi
In the end, if you’re looking for a sexy and capable midrange smartphone device that excels with messaging functions, the Matrix PRO works quite well. But if you demand a more robust feature set and a higher level of capability with a touchscreen, you may want to consider the AT&T Fuze instead.