Product Review (July 2008)
Pantech - c520 Breeze Phone from AT&T

As cell phones become more powerful, the complexity of these devices increase proportionately. While many experienced cell phone users welcome this change and ask for more, there are those who want simplicity with their portable phones. In addition, many elderly folks do not want to deal with a complicated device for making phone calls. To address this need in the marketplace, AT&T Inc. and Pantech Wireless Inc. have announced the new Pantech Breeze™—a simple, easy to use cell phone even for first time cell phone users. The Breeze™ has an uncluttered look with round edges giving it an ergonomic feel and features simplified menus, a large 2.2" color display with a backlit keypad and lighted EZ One-Touch quick-call keys. These are welcome features especially as my eyes have a difficult time seeing some of the small numbers on many current cell phones. There are two softkeys just above the navigation controls to make controlling the menu functions easy. The phone also includes an external 1-inch screen, which supports a large color palette and displays the date and time or the caller ID photo with a name.

The menu interface has two modes of operation. The Breeze mode is a simplified interface with with six selections (Address Book, Messaging, My Stuff, Tools, Settings, and Phone Status) using large text on the screen. The most common features are available in this menu making it quick and easy to access. The Advanced mode changes the menu selections to icons, which for some may be more intuitive. The description for each of the icons is displayed when the icon is selected.

E-mail and Instant Messaging
Mobile email support is provided for AOL, BellSouth, Comcast, Earthlink, Juno, MindSpring, NetZero, Windows Live, and Yahoo. We only tested out AOL and Yahoo, both of which worked flawlessly. We received immediate notification of incoming emails making it a great phone for those on the go and who want to keep in touch. Unfortunately the phone does not let you enter in your own POP3 address for personal email, but this is not much of a limitation if you can use the supported email providers. The Breeze™ also supports instant messaging from AOL IM, Yahoo! Messenger and ICQ. While we didn't use this feature much, it is available. Receiving messages whether they were emails or instant messages was easy. Sending messages

Web Browsing
The Breeze™ supports web access with reasonable load times. However, we found the screen to be the biggest limitation when trying to view web pages. They certainly worked, but due to the large content it was difficult to navigate through many of the pages we looked at. This is the case with many phones on the market that have limited screen resolution. However, it was a nice feature to include on the Breeze™.

Games
The Breeze™ comes with demo versions of PAC-MAN/Ms. PAC-MAN, Tetris, Platinum Sudoku, and Platinum Solitaire. Also included is a My-Cast Weather application. The Shop Games selection will allow you to purchase more games online. A large selection of games are available and includes selections such as Games for Guys, Her Favorites, Puzzle, Casual Fun, Retro & Arcade, Sports, Trivia & Game Shows, Action & Combat, Card & Casino, Movies & TV, Adventure, and more.

Camera & Video
The built-in digital camera in the Breeze is limited to a maximum resolution of 640x480 with options for 320x240 and 176x220. Seven brightness levels can be selected when taking photos. Videos can also be taken with this camera with capture time limited to about 20 seconds. No storage chips are supported with this camera so the user is limited to the onboard memory. While the camera features are limited on the phone, it works well especially for those want to take a simple picture or video clip. We were able to use the Bluetooth connection to transfer a photo to our Motorola RAZR without having to use the cell link.

Performance
Our testing primarily took place in the Los Angeles area, but was also used for brief periods in Northern California. Our signal strength was almost always good to great and rarely did we encounter connectivity issues with the AT&T service. Only in the most remote areas such as the Big Basin Redwoods where we went camping did we lose a signal. Call performance was very good with this phone with voices loud and clear on both ends. The speaker phone also worked well in most cases with minimal echo problems. The Breeze™ is rated with a 3 hour talk time and up to 250 hours of standby time. However, we found the talk time to be significantly longer than this.

Conclusion
There is no doubt that the Breeze™ is one of the easiest phones to use and while it has a simple exterior it is packed with more advanced features for those looking to take advantage of them. The Breeze™ is a phone that many newcomers can grow into as they become more proficient at using mobile technology. Standard features include a large phone book with enough space for three numbers (cell, home, and office), picture for caller ID, and an e-mail address.
The phone also supports Bluetooth, which is an important feature especially here in California as drivers are now required to use hands-free cell phones should they decide to talk on the road. The built-in camera for photos or videos is another bonus. Email, instant messaging, and web access are added features on this phone. If you are looking for simplicity and an uncluttered user interface, the Breeze™ is the phone for you. Even though many of my colleagues jokingly referred to the Breeze™ as the "Old Man Phone", virtually everyone agreed it was one of the easiest phones they had ever used.

The Pantech Breeze is $39.99 after a two-year service agreement and a $30 mail-in rebate or $124.99 after a $30 mail-in rebate for customers who prefer to use AT&T's Pick Your Plan or Pay As You Go GoPhone® prepaid plans..

- Kevin Nakano





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Review - At a Glance


Pantech - c520 Breeze™ Phone

Technical Specs

  • Weight: 3.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.0 x 2.0 x .7 inches
  • Talk Time: Up to 3 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 10 days
  • Quad-Band World Phone - 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Bluetooth® 2.0 wireless capable
  • Edge Class 10 for rapid data transfer
  • Hearing aid compatible M3, T3
  • Warranty: One year warranty on phone and accessories
  • All talk, data & standby times depend on network configuration: 3.16 ounces

Includes

  • Battery
  • Charger
  • CD (User Manual)
  • Quick Start Guide
Pantech - Breeze Manual


Source: AT&T Loan
MSRP: $39.99 with 2-Year AT&T Contract and $30 Rebate
AT&T URL: http://www.wireless.att.com

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