Performance and Horsepower
The phone is reasonably responsive in terms of touch and CPU speed. It scores 1331 on the Quadrant benchmark, which is on par with other recent single core 1GHz phones running Qualcomm’s second gen Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 205 graphics. Dual core phones average 2,000-2,400, and last generation single core 1GHz phones hover around 1,000. We did note that the phone bogged down when playing Adobe Flash, and the Flash Player controls became slow to respond. Flash video itself streamed well up to 480p full screen mode. 720p was balky, but that’s not unusual with YouTube. Given the less than responsive Flash Player controls, this isn’t a top pick if you’re into playing Flash games on your cell phone.
Calling and Data
Though the Breakout has LTE 4G, currently the fastest form of mobile cellular data on the planet, it didn’t impress us as much as other LTE phones. Our Breakout didn’t pull in as strong a signal as measured in –db (not bars) as the Droid Bionic for 1x/3G and LTE-- granted Motorola makes top RF phones. Data speeds were half that of the Bionic and Droid Charge. Testing in the same location at the same time, the Breakout managed 8Mbps down and 1.4Mbps up according to the Speedtest.net app, while our Bionic got 16.8Mbps down and 4.3Mbps up. Ouch. If getting the fastest data speeds possible from your LTE phone is important to you, be warned. It’s certainly much faster than a 3G EV-DO Rev. A phone, but it trails LTE phones.
Call quality was just OK; we could understand callers and they could understand us, but voice on both ends lacked sharp clarity. The speakerphone is quite loud and full, and it worked well for voice calls as well as multimedia.
The phone has Verizon's mobile hotspot feature, and it can act as a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 clients (don't expect great data speeds if you try to serve 10 laptops, tablets and other clients though).
The smartphone has a VGA video chat camera above the display and a rear 5 megapixel autofocus camera with no flash. Photos looked a little bit washed out and the shutter isn’t the fastest, but video recorded at 720p looked decent, which is to say comparable to many 5MP camera phones.
The Breakout has a 1500 mAh Lithium Ion battery. That’s a healthy capacity for a 3G phone, but a little light for 4G LTE. LTE phones don’t have long battery life when used in an LTE coverage area with LTE turned on. It’s a power-hungry technology, and the Breakout, like most LTE phones, will need daily charging with moderate use. If you stream Netflix for an hour over LTE or tune in to NFL Mobile videos, you’ll need to charge it mid-day or buy a spare battery.
We're happy to see Pantech move up in the market, and the Breakout is a solid mid-range Android smartphone with LTE. Though the phone sometimes lags a bit and 4G LTE speeds don't match top dog phones like the Bionic, it is currently one third the price with contract. The phone has a sharp display, runs Gingerbread and has dual cameras. But you make a few sacrifices for the price. If your budget is extremely tight but you don't want to start a new contract with older 3G technology, the Pantech Breakout is a tempting choice. Keep in mind that the cost of service is much more expensive than the handset price over two years, and we recommend getting the best phone you can afford since you'll have to live with it for two years (or pay full retail to upgrade mid-contract). Shop around, and you might find the HTC Thunderbolt, Droid Charge and even the Bionic for $99 to $199.
Price: $99 with 2 year contract, $359 without contract
Websites: www.verizonwireless.com, www.pantech.com
The Motorola Droid Bionic and Pantech Breakout.