Pantech has updated its Pursuit messaging phone, releasing a new version called the Pursuit II. The Pursuit II remains an attractive, easy-to-use phone that offers a decent amount of features for anyone who isn't quite ready to step up to a smartphone, but it is missing some of the fun found on its predecessor.
Price and Availability
AT&T is offering the Pantech Pursuit II for $49.99 when you sign a new two-year service contract. That price factors in a $50 mail-in rebate which comes in the form of an AT&T promotion card, though, so you will have to pay $99.99 up front. That's a bit steep for a messaging phone, especially when you consider that AT&T is offering the iPhone 4 for the same price.
Like the original Pantech Pursuit, the new version is a slider-style phone. But where that phone had a keyboard that slid out horizontally, the Pursuit II features a vertical slider design. The result is a keyboard that's taller and narrower, but still fairly roomy for typing.
The Pursuit II also lacks the color and punch of the original Pursuit, with a more staid black design, though it does feature a splash of bright green or pink (depending on the model you choose) around the edges. The Pursuit II measures 4.0 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide and is .6 inches thick.
The touch screen display measures 2.8 inches diagonally, which feels a bit small, but is still a decent size for a messaging phone. Its resolution of 240 by 320 pixels is decent, but overall the display renders images that aren't as crisp as those seen on other phones, particularly today's smartphones.
I tested the Pantech Pursuit II in AT&T's network in and around the Boston area. Call quality varied, with decent quality on some calls and downright poor quality on others. Voices were often dim, leaving me wishing the phone's volume could go higher. I also noticed background noise and distortion on some calls.
The Pantech Pursuit II does not run a full-fledged mobile operating system, as a smartphone would. But it does have a proprietary operating system that is capable of running some apps. The phone comes with built-in social networking apps, as well as YPMobile, MobiTV, AT&T Code Scanner, and a few more. It also offers access to the AT&T AppCenter, where you can download more titles.
Missing from the Pantech Pursuit II is the unique shake feature found on its predecessor. This allowed you to control certain apps and functions by shaking the phone. It wasn't terribly practical, but it certainly was fun, and its missed here.
The Pantech Pursuit II features a full HTML browser, but viewing Web pages on the phone's smallish screen isn't the best experience. Like its predecessor, the Pursuit II doesn't support Wi-Fi wireless networks, so you'll have to rely on AT&T's 3G network for high-speed browsing.
The Pursuit II offers very good handling of text and multimedia messages, with a threaded view that makes it easy to track conversations. You also get an email app that supports a variety of services, but you will have to pay $5 a month to use it.
The Pursuit II features a 2-megapixel camera, just as its predecessor did. My test snapshots looked decent, but a bit dim. I also noticed a bit of a shutter lag when taking photos, causing me to miss out on moving subjects. The phone also captures video clips.
Music and More
The Pantech Pursuit II features basic music and video players. While they aren't particularly flashy, both of these features are easy to use. The phone does not offer access to AT&T's mobile music store, though, so you'll have to get your songs elsewhere and transfer them to the phone yourself.
The Pantech Pursuit II is a good-looking phone that's easy to use. But its price is a bit high for a phone that's just not as fun as the original.