One of the great advantages of Windows Mobile is its media capabilities, and the Pantech PN-820 is no exception. It includes Windows Media 10, Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP support and a set of earbuds. So how good is it for music? Let’s find out.
Like every Windows Mobile 5.0 device that I know of, the PN-820 includes Media Player 10. As usual for Microsoft and Windows Mobile, Windows Media 10 takes a few steps forward and a couple of steps backward from Windows Media 9. I won’t go into the details here, because I covered most of them in my discussion of Windows Media on the Motorola Q and, except for the screen orientation, things are pretty much the same. I’ll just summarize by saying that I like Windows Media for the most part, especially the support for streaming from sites like tuned.mobi, but don’t like the limited codec support and the inability to create and edit playlists.
The latter problem can be remedied by getting the freeware Greatbal Playlist Manager SP, but you’ll need a different media player if you want support for other codecs.
As I mentioned, the PN-820 also includes a set of earbuds (with a microphone for using the phone). I was reluctant to use earbuds that might have been used before (who wants somebody else’s ear wax?), but I had to try them for completeness’ sake (see what I do for you readers?). Surprisingly, they actually sounded pretty decent. I haven’t used high-end earbuds, so I can’t say they’ll delight an audiophile, but I wouldn’t buy another set if I had these.
If you don’t like wires dangling from your head, the PN-820 also works with Bluetooth stereo headphones using the Bluetooth A2DP profile. I had no problems pairing it with my set and was able to control Media Player with the forward/reverse buttons. There was a slight hissing sound, but I also had that on my Motorola Q, so it’s either a problem with my headset or Bluetooth audio in general. Phone call switching was also handled well; there’s a little lag, but it wasn’t annoying.
With a 2 GB MiniSD card, you can carry as much music with you as many dedicated MP3 players, plus you can stream online music and you have built-in Bluetooth stereo support without needing a dongle. I could use the Pantech PN-820 as my only media player. Could you?