Connected: Pantech Burst a bargain with features aplenty

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Most of the time when I review a cell phone, you'll find me talking about the cool, new features because it keeps you on the edge of what's out there. But when you go to buy your phone, you often disregard the features because your most important purchasing factor often is the price of the device.

For the Pantech Burst, I'll talk about the cool features as always, but I will start with the bargain-basement price: 99 cents when you make a two-year commitment to use the AT&T Network.

At that low price, the Burst could be one of the best bargains on the shelf (or Internet). It's a fast smartphone with high speed 4G Internet connectivity, and it comes with many of the features that are high profile on other phones.

Weighing in at 4.32 ounces, the Burst is fairly light. Despite its larger than average size, it fits easily into a pocket without making you wish it weren't there.

Its case is plastic, another nonsurprise in these days of phones made of plastic that look like aluminum, but the Burst doesn't try to emulate the look of a metal case. The Plexiglas face only lets a thin strip of solid-colored plastic show around the edges, and the back cover has a wood-grain.

It's obvious that Pantech is not trying to make you think it's wood (the way clock radios attempted to look in the 1970s). Instead, the company gives you the choice of a very plastic-looking Ruby Red or Titanium color body. The grain is for aesthetics. In Pantech language, Titanium means black plastic -- so even though they were not trying to fool your eyes, they're trying to make it sound like it's metal, presumably when you're ordering your phone.

The Burst sports a 5 megapixel camera on the back, which is capable of also capturing 720p HD video. There's an LED flash as well, something that I've noticed recently is lacking on some low-priced devices. There's also a lower resolution camera on the face, so you can have your video chats with friends and family around the globe.

Speaking of around the globe, the Burst is quad-band, meaning it works on a number of network types, making it possible for you to go abroad and use it.

With a standard 16 gigabytes of internal storage, the Burst also allows you to insert a micro-SD card up to 32gigabytes. You should have plenty of room for your daily photos and, if you don't mind switching out micro-SD cards, you'll also have room for a significant video library.

The AT&T Network allows you to use the Burst as a wireless hot spot for up to eight devices, so you can connect your laptop to the Internet (and perhaps the laptops of several friends) when you are on the road. With 4G LTE speeds, you should get pretty good response, as long as you and your friends are not trying to download videos concurrently.

Pantech has equipped the Burst with that same smart start page as they put in their Pocket smartphone, where you can go directly to various applications with a single wipe of your finger on its screen. That's one of the handiest interfaces I've seen on any smartphones.

But I wish the body didn't slide off counters as easily as it does. Falling off counters is a trait the Burst shares with Apple's iPhone.

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Follow David Radin on Twitter @dradin, or learn more at www.megabyteminute.com.


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