Jan 07 AT 12:56 PM Nick Gray 22 Comments

AT&T Pantech Discover to deliver high-end specs at a budget price on January 11


Typically, when we talk about a phone with a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor, 13 megapixel camera, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, NFC, 2100 mAh battery and a 4.8-inch 720p display, you’d expect a $200 device with two-year contract from one of the major carriers. But Pantech is looking to change things up a bit. The new Pantech Discover was unveiled today at CES and is scheduled to debut on AT&T on January 11 for $50 with a new two-year contract.

While we praise Pantech for delivering a decently spec’d phone at an amazing price, we have a few issues consumers should be aware of. The Pantech Discover is launching with Android 4.0 and Pantech’s own custom skin. Yes, Android 4.0 is a great iteration of Android, but it’s two versions behind the curve. On top of that, Pantech’s custom launcher doesn’t appear to be optimized for Android 4.0; you can clearly see the their developers are relying on Android’s action overflow API in order to display a menu button next to the on-screen buttons. Most consumers could care less, but it’s the little details like these that show how committed a company is to delivering the best possible user experience.

Would any of you recommend the Pantech Discover to a friend who’s looking for an entry-level Android phone?

Show Press Release
AT&T’s Second Smartphone to Feature “Easy Experience” Mode Provides Robust Multimedia Entertainment

DALLAS, Jan. 7, 2013 — Kicking off 2013 with one of Pantech’s most impressive Android smartphones to date, AT&T* announces the Pantech Discoverâ„¢, available for $49.99** with a two-year agreement, in all AT&T channels beginning Jan. 11. Pantech Discover will be the first AT&T smartphone pre-loaded with the AT&T DriveMode® application, an app designed to help prevent texting while driving.

A 4G LTE smartphone, the sleek Discover boasts a large 4.8-inch HD display (1280 x 720) and an impressive 12.6-megapixel camera with 4X zoom, as well as the ability to record and playback video in HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) at 30 frames per second. The Discover’s dual 3D surround sound speakers provide a rich audio experience, ideal for listening to music and watching movies, while the built-in near field communication (NFC) technology allows users to share content, read smart tags, or pay for goods and services right from their phone. Packed with high tech features for an affordable price, the Discover provides tremendous value, fast data speeds, and high performance to entertainment seekers and business professionals alike.

The Discover features AT&T DriveMode®, an app that helps curb texting and driving. The app can be set-up to automatically send a customizable reply to incoming messages once a vehicle starts moving 25 mph. The auto-reply message is similar to an “out-of-office alert” and can reply to texts, emails and wireless callers letting your friends know that you are driving and unable to respond. The app will automatically send all calls directly to voicemail; however, the user has the option to create an “allow list” or it can also be turned off manually at any time if the user needs to make a call immediately. ***

“The Pantech Discover combines a feature-packed experience — complete with a 12.6-megapixel camera and HD display — with a cost-effective price point, giving AT&T customers yet another strong option in our 4G LTE portfolio,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president- Devices, AT&T. “AT&T is dedicated to educating customers about the dangers of texting while driving and providing real solutions to help prevent the behavior. With DriveMode pre-loaded on the Discover, we hope that users will be less likely to text and drive.”

First announced for AT&T on the Pantech Flex in September 2012, Pantech’s exclusive Easy Experience and Standard Experience modes, are also available on the Discover. The Easy Experience mode prioritizes customers’ apps on the home screen in a clearly organized and easy-to-read format. Customers can easily switch between Easy Experience and the Standard Experience, a classic Android format available for users who prefer to access Discover’s wide range of features — social media, video, email — in a highly customizable interface.

In addition, the Discover is a great option for business users as it comes with full VPN and EAS support plus device encryption for secure access to corporate email and intranets. Its 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 16 GB on-board memory plus SwiftKey app allow for maximum efficiency, while its 2,100 mAh battery makes it easier to be productive all day.

“Pantech is taking 2013 by storm with the launch of Discover,” said Gary Cherner, vice president of marketing and sales at Pantech. “By launching products at very competitive price points, Pantech is continuing to prove that high quality smartphones don’t need to come with a high price tag.”

AT&T customers have access to the nation’s largest 4G network****, covering more than 285 million people. AT&T has two 4G networks that work together for customers, LTE and HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul. That means AT&T customers are able to enjoy a widespread, ultra-fast and consistent 4G experience on their compatible device as they move in and out of LTE areas. With other carriers, when you travel outside of their LTE coverage area, you may be on a much slower 3G network.

More information on the Pantech Discover can be found at http://www.pantechusa.com/Discover.

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • CaptainDoug

    So close. I think the hardware design is great. It’s only 5.28 x 2.7 x .36. Great form factor for a 4.8″ device. That curve is pretty attractive too. On screen keys are great. Has a microSd slot. The battery is good enough. Sounds great right? However, it has no flash and comes with ICS. Are you kidding? No flash and a year old OS?!? 4.1 would’ve been fine. but 4.0? Ugh.

    • DB04000

      who says it doesn’t have camera flash?? FYI I have acquaintances working at Pantech and I’ve seen with my own eyes it has a perfectly well working flash!! So be sure to know your facts before writing false rumors. Your words might make bad impression on the whole company

      • CaptainDoug

        PhoneArena said it didn’t. I have since held the phone and yeah, it has flash. Sorry I didn’t correct my post. I actually love the phone. Also, it’s only $400 off contract. That’s a steal.

  • Nate B.

    Nobody would buy this really. I know everything can’t be top of the line but I sometimes wonder what the hell companies are thinking.

  • David Sumner

    This should be sold as a Prepaid phone for like $200 off contract…Nobody should be stuck for 2 years with a phone that is running dated software and standard specs (with the exception of the 13MP camera)..

    • hurric

      many people don’t care or even know the latest specs and the price point is what they see and care about first so this phone will cater to those..e.g. my dad

    • redraider133

      Well every phone other than the nexus is running dated software as none are on 4.2 yet. This has specs on par with most devices on other carriers.

  • redraider133

    I think this will sell alright to those looking for real high end specs for pretty cheap. I mean for those who visit sites like these, most likely wouldn’t buy it, I think these high end( ICS or later devices) is what android needs for budget devices because even though it’s on ICS, it will still probably run pretty well, or at least well enough for those on a budget, rather than most devices that are stuck on GB.

  • GRAW

    People will buy it. It has it’s flaws, but everything does. I’d expect much less for $50 so I’m sure others will be surprised.

  • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

    What I don’t understand is that they put the work in to deliver good hardware specs at a decent price, but they skimp on the software? Since they are already creating their custom skin, why wouldn’t they just create it on the latest version of Android? That wouldn’t cost them more money, unless they’d lose all of the development time/money they had spent working on this, which seems unlikely.

    • redraider133

      You have to take into account phones take usually 12-18 months to develop and get out so when this phone was in development and being tested, JB wasn’t out or just recently out and if they went and waited to go back and retest everything with jb it would have taken probably at least another 6 months or so. This way they can release it and then spend less time working on an update for the phone.

      • ibap

        Another argument for the carriers to keep out of the way on the update front. If the user could update, and then go back if they didn’t like the behavior, that would take a lot of the angst out of the release date.

      • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

        I am taking that into account. But forging ahead with sub-standard software doesn’t seem like the right move. It shouldn’t be a complete re-working for them anyways. Why move ahead with something that you know is likely to fail just because it is going to save you some time?

  • GE918

    Not interested!

    • Voliam

      I continue to wonder why people down vote comments like yours (and Cole’s below). It’s one thing to discredit a product sight unseen, but to say you wouldn’t buy it deserves a down vote? You should have just said “I agree”- that always seems to get multiple thumbs-up.

  • Co1e


  • Paul

    I would recommend it, especially if they’re looking for cheap. The specs alone should allow it to play games and the latest apps for the next year or so. Not bad for $50. It’s not $300 Galaxy Note II (with 2 year agreement) but it’ll hold its own. Power users like me would rather something a little different, but why not let me my wife or Mom use something like this. I consider anything Android 4.0+ to be ok. But I do wish they’d at the very least chosen to go with Stock Android 4.0. Oh well, price is right, specs are good.

  • Jorge Eslava

    The only way this could apeal to those of us who care about specs and software is if it got support from developers so it could run the latest version of Android.

    • donger


  • Nathan D.

    Unless you can root it and put a custom rom on it then sure why not, but if you are not doing that, then I can’t recommend this one.

  • Alex

    Pantech released source code. Custom Roms will be coming soon enough.