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Pantech Burst

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: AT&T
Manufacturer: Pantech
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What's hot: Very affordable LTE 4G Android smartphone that's fast all around. Sharp display.

What's not: No word when it will get Ice Cream Sandwich (Android OS 4.0).


Reviewed January 26, 2012 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

The Pantech Burst is a surprisingly good Android smartphone for only $50 with an ATT contract. The phone has 4G LTE and HSPA+, a 4" Super AMOLED display and a fast dual core CPU. For that price don't expect a wildly thin or stylish phone, but the Burst isn't homely by any means. The phone runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with some light UI customizations by Pantech (at CES the manufacturer said the Burst and Element would get ICS, but didn't say when). AT&T currently (Jan. 2012) offers a package deal if you wish to buy both the Pantech Element Android tablet and the Burst phone for $250 total (with two 2 year contracts, keep in mind).

Pantech Burst

The smartphone, like most all smartphones today, has a plastic casing. It feels good in hand compared to today's super-sized smartphones with even larger displays. The back is faux brushed metal plastic and the front has curvier corners than Samsung's Android smartphones. The power button and 3.5mm stereo jack are up top and the micro USB port is in the center of the right side. The volume controls are on the left side and the speaker is on the back near the top where it's less likely to be blocked by your hand. The phone weighs 4.32 ounces.

Pantech Burst

The Super AMOLED display is very bright with strong contrast. It's a great looking 4" panel running at 800 x 480. You'll get slightly higher resolution from the HTC Vivid and 720p from the LG Nitro HD, but the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy S II Skyrocket run at the same resolution. Colors are fairly accurate and color saturation isn't over the top like some of Samsung's older Super AMOLED displays.

The Burst is a solid phone that doesn't look or feel cheap, and we're impressed with its speed. An early AT&T marketing video said the phone runs on a 1.2GHz CPU, and our unit runs on a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM6680 CPU with Adreno 220 graphics (the same CPU used in AT&T's other LTE phones) that Quadrant and AnTuTu report as 1.5GHz. We reached out to Pantech for CPU speed clarification, but they never replied. Benchmark numbers are as good as the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and faster than the HTC Vivid. The Burst scored a very good Quadrant number of 3226 and a multi-thread Linkpack score of 87. AnTuTu scored the Pantech Burst at 6388 (higher than the Skyrocket). Not bad for a budget priced phone!

Pantech Burst


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The phone has 16 gigs of internal storage with 12.3 gigs available for your use. There's a microSD card slot under the back door for further storage expansion.


Pantech Burst

Quadrant: 3226
AnTuTu: 6388
Sunspider: 2869
Linpack multi-thread: 87

LG Nitro HD

Quadrant: 2400
AnTuTu: 6393
Sunspider: 2869
Linpack multi-thread: 75

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

Quadrant: 3346
AnTuTu: 5367
Sunspider: 2878
Linpack multi-thread: 82

We're also pleased with the Burst's voice quality and data speeds on AT&T's LTE network. Voice is clear and full on both ends, and the speakerphone is adequate. To our ear, it sounds as good as the excellent Samsung Galaxy S II and Skyrocket on AT&T, and better than the HTC Vivid and LG Nitro LTE Android smartphones.

Data speeds on AT&T's LTE network in the Dallas metroplex were, as always, good. The phone averaged 17Mbps down and 11Mbps up according to the app. Reception is identical to AT&T's other LTE phones, all of which use the same Qualcomm chipset and radio. AT&T is far behind Verizon Wireless for LTE deployment, but they're moving quickly and have 26 major markets covered with more to come in 2012. The Burst has triband 3G with HSPA+ 4G that works in the US on AT&T and overseas on the 2100MHz band. It has the usual quad band GSM/EDGE and is a world phone.

The 5 megapixel rear camera takes decent shots with nice colors and white balance though it's a little soft on details. There's a front camera for video chat, and the usual WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS that works with Google Maps and Navigation as well as AT&T Navigator and AT&T Family Maps.

Battery life in LTE coverage areas is OK but not stellar. The 1650 mAh battery lasted us until the evening with moderate use, but the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket lasted us several hours longer. Battery life isn't abysmal, but this is a phone that will have a nightly date with the charger in LTE coverage areas. AT&T claims up to 4.5 hours of talk time, and that was on target in our tests.

Pantech Burst

Pantech Burst

Pantech Burst Video Review



AT&T continues to be aggressive with their LTE 4G phone pricing, likely to combat Verizon Wireless' lineup of lovely high end Android smartphones and currently larger LTE footprint. The Pantech Burst is a great phone for the price, and you're not making major concessions by buying a "cheap" phone. It has a sharp 4" Super AMOLED display with no visible color fringing, a fast CPU, ample internal storage and a decent though not stellar camera. Voice quality is very good, LTE speeds are excellent and the phone is a manageable size. If you're dying to upgrade to a fast Android smartphone with LTE but are on a tight budget, the Pantech Burst is well worth a look. Our only caution is that while Pantech said at the CES trade show that the Burst will get ICS at some point, they didn't say when.

Price: $50 with a 2 year contract



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Display: 4" capacitive multi-touch display. Resolution: 800 x 480, supports both portrait and landscape modes via accelerometer.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 1650 mAh. Claimed talk time: up to 4.5 hours.

Performance: Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core CPU (our test apps show it as a 1.5GHz MSM6680 CPU with Adreno 220 graphics). 16 gigs internal storage.

Size: 4.989 x 2.746 x 0.45 inches. Weight: 4.32 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band, with triband 3G/HSPA+ on the 850/1900/2100MHz bands), LTE 4G.

Camera: 1.3MP front camera and 5MP rear camera with LED flash that can shoot 720p video.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.

Software: Android OS 2.3.5 Gingerbread. Standard suite of Google apps including Maps, Navigation, Search, YouTube, email, gmail and web browser with Adobe Flash. AT&T software: AT&T Navigator, Family Maps, Code Scanner, myAT&T, Movies, Live TV and Yellow Pages Mobile. Other apps: PC Suite Mobile, S-Board, Qik Lite, RSS Reader, Sketch Pad and MS Office document viewer.

Expansion: 1 SDHC microSD card slot.


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