AT&T’s 4:3 “wide-screen” Pantech Pocket gets a hands-on

If you’ve got an Android phone with a screen that’s bigger than 3.2 inches diagonally, it’s almost certain that the ratio of its vertical to horizontal pixels is about 16:9, mimicking a television screen’s shape and distinguishing high-end phones from low-end competitors like the iPhone . Pantech is bucking the trend with a new phone for AT&T, the Pocket. This 4-inch Gingerbread phone has a first-in-class 800 x 600 screen, an odd 4:3 ratio in a widescreen Android world. PCMag was on-hand at CTIA to give us a look.

Pantech claims that the non-standard screen ratio will make it easier to both read and enter text on the device, especially in portrait mode. The reporter agreed with this assessment, and noted that the extra width, while noticeable, doesn’t make the Pocket a monster to hold in your hand. Switch the phone to landscape mode and the reading advantage largely disappears, and the screen may not be ideally suited for all apps. For example, the Kindle app shows only marginally more words per line, even though it’s been modified so support the resolution. Pantech says they’re working with developers to ensure that the top 100 Android apps work with the phone.
The Pocket lines up with Pantech’s current middle-market focus in the United States, though it’s noticeably more powerful than other offerings from the company. A 1GHz single-core processor and 5-megapixel camera might have been top of the line eighteen months ago, but these days it’ll probably mean a price of $100 or less on-contract. AT&T announced the phone last week, but so far release date and pricing information are up in the air. Expect the Pantech Pocket to hit shelves in the next month or so.


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