The Good The Pantech Jest has a compact pocket-friendly QWERTY sliding keyboard. It has a quick access taskbar, a great display, a 2.0 megapixel camera, music player, Bluetooth stereo and social networking features. It’s free with the contract.
The Bad The Pantech Jest optical directional pad is not so sensitive and can be annoying and there is no other way to navigate the phone.
The Bottom Line The Pantech Jest is a decent messaging phone for a young social media enthusiast, but the optical pad can cause trouble.
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Small, square-shaped phone messages have long been a trend, and Pantech is one of the few phone makers that initially embraced design with phones like Reveal and Pursuit. The last one to join the family is the Pantech Jest, a compact, small tube that comes with a sliding QWERTY keyboard. It targets a young crowd of text messages with messaging, email, and social networks, and has a 2.0 megapixel camera and music player to entertain them. Our main problem with Jest is its optical pad, which we found a bit annoying. Otherwise, Jest is a decent messaging phone, available at an unbeatable price for a two-year service agreement with Verizon Wireless .
The Pantech Jest has a design similar to its AT&T cousin, the Pursuit. At 3.7 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick, it is slightly square-shaped with curved corners and rounded sides, which results in a stubby yet compact design that fits perfectly in the hand. Its front surface has a glossy reflective sheen, while the back is textured to provide a firmer grip when held. The Jest is relatively lightweight at 4.1 ounces.
The Pantech Jest has a square look.
The front of the phone has a bright and colorful 2.6-inch color display. Sporting a resolution of 320×320 pixels and 262,000 colors, Pantech has done a great job here. Animated wallpapers do pop up from the screen and the graphics and text look clean and crisp overall. You can adjust the clock format, highlight time, menu layout, common font types, menu font size, as well as the size and effects for the dial font.
Below the screen is a navigation array consisting of two touch soft keys, a circular optical keyboard, a Send key, a music player shortcut key, a Clear or Voice command key, and an End / Power key. In Idle mode, swiping to the right will pop up a “My shortcuts” pop-up containing up to four user-defined shortcuts. The optical sensor was not as responsive as we wanted it to be. We found that we needed to apply a certain amount of pressure to read our fingers, even after we had adjusted the sensitivity level to high. Sometimes we will scroll just fine, only to occasionally stop because we did not hold the panel properly. This may be helpful most of the time, but we think it can be especially annoying if you’re in a hurry.
On the left side of the spine is a 2.5mm headphone jack, volume key, and loudspeaker key, and to the right is a Micro-USB charger port, camera key, and taskbar. The Taskbar key displays the shortcut bar on the bottom line of the home screen, which corresponds to the application for dialing, favorites, call history, messaging, Verizon services, music player, photo album, contact list and tools. The microSD card slot is located at the top and the back of the camera lens and the self-portrait mirror.
The Pantech Jest has a rather small keyboard.
Jest slides open vertically to reveal the QWERTY keyboard below it. The keyboard is a bit crowded due to the small size of the phone, but the keys have a nice raised texture that still made it simple enough to type and feel. Numeric keys are highlighted in orange, and the keyboard also has shortcuts for favorites, a notepad and a new text message.
Pantech Jest has a generous 1,000-entry phone book, each with five numbers, two email addresses, a street address and a screen name for instant messaging. You can add a photo to a contact for a caller ID, and you can assign him or her a group. There are also 26 ringtones and ringtones that you can use to customize each contact.
Some of the basic features of the phone include vibration mode, loudspeaker, calculator, tooltip, calendar, alarm clock, stopwatch, world clock, notepad and electronic diary. You also get an interesting app called Self Icon that lets you create your own icons and banners using the dot matrix dot. Other features include USB storage, voice command, mobile web browser, GPS with VZ Navigator support and Bluetooth profiles for A2DP stereo, Object Push and file transfer.
Equipped with a QWERTY keyboard, Jest has only a few messaging options. These include text and multimedia messaging with streaming, instant messaging, and email. E-mail comes in two variants – mobile e-mail and mobile e-mail. Mobile email is a downloadable application that allows you to send and receive email from various providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and Gmail, plus you can enter your own POP3 or IMAP information. However, mobile email costs $ 5 a month. Email for mobile websites is free, but it is only a link to the bare bones browser interface.
For social networking fans, Jest comes with Social Beat, a Verizon application that lets you access Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, as well as your Google Talk and Gmail accounts. Social Beat also has an RSS reader that allows you to add and remove feeds from various news sources. However, you cannot enter the RSS URL manually; you will need to select a channel from the list below.
In terms of multimedia, Jest has a fairly basic music player, with the ability to tune songs for repetition or shuffle, as well as a variety of pre-installed equalizer sound effects for Rock, Jazz, Classic and more. You can customize the appearance of the player with different colored skins, and you can set it to music-only mode when you are on a plane and do not have a cellular signal. The player supports MP3 and WMA formats, and you can download music using a USB cable or via a microSD card. Jest takes up to 16GB of removable memory. Another option is to use V Cast Music with Rhapsody. While you can’t download songs live, you can sync them to your desktop application and get your subscription music this way.
The Pantech Jest has a 2.0 megapixel camera.
The Jest 2 megapixel camera can take pictures in five resolutions (1600×1200, 1,280×900, 640×480, 320×240 and 160×120). Other settings include six white balance presets, brightness, self-timer, four color effects, and three shutter sounds with a silent option. There is also a DVR, and it can only record at 176×144 resolution for 15 seconds for MMS or storage hours. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Jest photo. Although not as clear as the photos taken with better cameras, the images still looked sharp and not as blurry as we expected. However, the colors looked a bit dull and muted.
Jest makes decent photos overall, especially for a 2.0 megapixel camera.
You can customize Jest with different wallpapers and ringtones, and if you are not satisfied with the default settings, you can download more from the Verizon Store. Jest also comes with applications such as Backup Assistant, Bing Search and VZ Navigator. There are no games, but again, you can download them from the Verizon Store through a web browser.
We tested the Pantech Jest in San Francisco with Verizon Wireless. For the most part, the call quality was loud and clear, but at times we felt a rather harsh and bloated voice quality. After all, we heard that our bells were perfectly audible without static, but we thought that the quality of their voice was a little tense and mechanical.
Similarly, our callers said the call quality was above average, but it certainly sounded like it was from a mobile phone. The voice quality sounded a little rough and the crackle crackled. The calls from the speakers were pretty good – the callers didn’t even know we were talking to the speaker most of the time. The audio playback was decent, but nothing special. Mono speakers on Jest do not do the music justice, so we would recommend a headset for better sound quality.
The Pantech Jest has an estimated battery life of 4.6 hours of talk time and 15 hours of standby time. In our tests, Jest had a talk time of 4 hours and 45 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.893 watts per kilogram.