The GoPhone Pantech Link was AT&T’s first prepaid offering with a vertical QWERTY keyboard, megapixel camera and music player. In comparison, the Samsung A177 and Samsung Magnet just had a VGA resolution camera, and you could forget about a music player. This phone is no longer available, but the write-up below is kept for reference.
A more interesting comparison would be between the LG Prime touch screen phone and the Link. They both have the features mentioned and choosing between them is probably a matter of taste. The Pantech Link has gotten very good reviews, with the only drawback consistently cited being its battery life. (I provide a couple of simple tips for dealing with that at the end.)
The QWERTY keyboard on the GoPhone Pantech Link has small, but raised keys in a Blackberry-style vertical layout. If you’re more used to horizontally laid-out QWERTY phones, you may at first think that the keys are a little too small, but most people seem to find them quite easy to use.
The vertical layout also makes it possible to type with one hand. The raised keys have a nice action when you press down on them, so you can feel yourself pressing each keys.
The 1.3 megapixel camera will give you a much nicer snapshot than you would get with a VGA resolution camera. You can also capture video. The camera on this phone seems to be pretty good, though it doesn’t have some of the fancy editing features on the phone itself. So you’ll have to draw those funny mustaches on your computer.
The Pantech Link can play MP3 files that you store on your phone or you can subscribe to music services like Napster Mobile for a fee. Subscription radio services are also available.
The Link offers threaded text messaging which allows you to follow the conversation.
You can send picture messages and even video messages (there may be extra charges for this).
You can check both your personal and work email on this GoPhone. Using Xpress mail, you can check Outlook, Lotus Notes which almost makes it into a Smartphone, though not quite. You can also check your Windows Live, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail.
The phone’s internal memory is only 80 MB. So, to make full use of this phone’s messaging capabilities, you really need to put in a memory storage card. The good news is that it takes cards up to 32 GB in size. The smaller 2GB and 4GB cards will work great, too and are really cheap these days.
You can take advantage of AT&T’s 3G network where available to speed up your surfing and messaging speeds.
Naturally, there is Bluetooth so you can pair it with your favorite headset or transfer files locally.
The Pantech Link is sleek, meaning thin. It measures 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.39 inches. This makes it lightweight, especially since it doesn’t need a flip phone’s hinge or a slider phone’s rails. The 2.4 inch screen has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels with 262k colors.
Battery Life – A Tip The 930 mAh battery is supposed to supply three hours of talk time and 10 days of standby time. However, many users have found the battery to drain more quickly than they expected. One thing that helps is to reduce the screen’s brightness and also reduce the amount of time before the screen dims.
Overall, the Pantech Link seems like a great GoPhone. Whether you choose it or not will depend upon whether you like the vertical layout of the QWERTY keyboard and whether you favor a fast push-button keyboard over a slower touchscreen interface. One provides speed while the other provides a larger screen for viewing.
Now that touch screen phones are more common (though not so much in the prepaid category), many people have gotten a chance to try them out. I can tell you that while some people love them, others hate them almost as fiercely. If you’re in the first group, you might want to try the LG Prime, otherwise, the Pantech Link could be your cup of tea.