The Pantech Burst runs Android OS 2.3.5 (Gingerbread), which is not quite the latest version of Google’s operating system for smartphones, but it’s close. At its heart is a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, which gave it a score of 3619 on the Quadrant benchmarking test, which is respectable. I found performance to be generally good, though not awe-inspiring. I didn’t experience any crashes or stability problems, though it did seem that apps took a little longer to load than they do on other devices.
Given its price, I believe that the Burst is aimed at a general consumer audience rather than at ultimate smartphone enthusiasts, so I suspect that most general consumers wouldn’t really notice the difference — especially if you’re upgrading from a standard feature phone.
The Burst is a 4G LTE smartphone, with the fast data downloads and uploads folks have come to expect from modern devices. According to the Speed Test app, results were somewhat varied across my testing. Download speeds ranged from 13323 kbps to 25720 kbps, upload speeds from 5328 kbps to 9123 kbps, and pings from 49 to 60 ms.
Call quality was unfortunately very disappointing. I experienced quite a bit of dropout, where the call is still connected but you go through periods of a few seconds each where one party can’t hear the other. Even when that wasn’t a problem, my test callers complained that I sounded like I was at the end of a very long tunnel, and didn’t sound anything like myself. Granted I was a bit sick, but three of my friends said they didn’t recognize me at all.
The rest of the communication experience was much more positive, from Facebook and Twitter to email and web browsing. Web pages loaded very quickly, thanks to the 4G network, though it was slightly painful to keep scrolling back and forth on that narrow screen when I encountered sites that weren’t formatted for simple mobile access.
All of the standard apps you’d expect are here: Calendar, Contacts, and Calculator, along with a few extras: an alarm clock app, a useful unit converter, and Handy Memo, which is a simple notepad app. There’s also a Sketch Pad app for the budding artists.
News & Weather will help you keep up with what’s happening in the world, and the Stocks app will remind you of just how well (or how poorly) your portfolio is performing these days. There’s also a Yellow Pages app in the launcher, but it’s actually a link to download the free app from the Android Market rather than something pre-installed on the phone.
There’s a generic Document Viewer app but no included Microsoft Office-compatible app, so you’ll have to find your own solution on the Android Market.
Navigational duties are more fully covered, with a digital compass app, Google Maps, Navigation, and AT&T Navigator. The AT&T FamilyMap app is also included, which is a great feature for busy moms on the go who want to digitally check in on their children’s locations.
There’s plenty of fun to be had with the Pantech Burst, and there were quite a few pre-loaded apps covering all of the major categories except for games. There is a music player for listening to your favorite tunes, the Amazon Kindle app for eBooks, a video player and YouTube, plus mSpot Movies.
I installed a few of my favorite games from the Android software store, and they looked good, sounded good, and played great. They took a little longer to load than on some of the other recent Android phones I’ve tested, but once the app was open, I didn’t experience any slowdowns or gameplay hiccups.
The Burst comes with 16GB of internal storage for holding your favorite MP3s and video. If you want more, there’s a microSD memory card slot, which can bump up the total to 48GB.
The 5 megapixel camera takes decent shots, but not great. They’re fine for sharing with your friends for everyday sorts of things, but not for really important events. Under the right conditions, you can get some good shots with vivid colors, but even in bright sunlight some of my photos came out looking rather foggy.
The 4X zoom works just fine, though there was a noticeable decrease in detail. Video capture works well enough, though only at 720p, not full HD resolution.
The Burst performed very well in this category, which I found somewhat surprising since I have come to expect 4G LTE phones to have relatively poor battery endurance. The device has a 1680 mAh battery and it performed like a champ, going almost a week before I had to recharge. Power dropped more quickly when I took a lot of photos or had marathon gaming sessions, but even then I was able to get through two and a half days of very heavy use before finally giving me a low battery warning.