One of the best things about the Crossover's design is the selection -- and positioning -- of the side buttons. Pantech incorporated two of them into the top corners of the phone. The power / lock button is on the top right corner, a perfect place for us to press it without much hassle. It sits close to where your index finger naturally settles when gripping the phone, so it's all the more easy to actuate. On the opposite corner there's a function key that opens up a clever shortcut menu on the phone, and a dedicated camera button.
On the front, the Crossover offers a 3.1-inch display with a meager HVGA
480x320 resolution, which doesn't surprise us much considering its entry-level status. We were pleasantly surprised by how it looked, though; there was only slight pixelation experienced as we moved closer to the screen, and the colors are still bright and deep enough to see normally. It could be difficult to transition to for anyone who's used an HD-quality screen such as qHD
or Retina Display
before, but first-time smartphone buyers probably won't express much disappointment here. Our only issue with the screen is that the colors get almost completely washed out when viewed in the sunlight. Our ability to do anything on the screen was highly diminished outside because we simply couldn't see it. The capacitive digitizer is responsive enough, but there were occasions in which we had to swipe the screen several times to get our intended result (such as unlocking the screen).
Four standard Android buttons occupy the front and keep the screen from getting lonely. With two small physical keys sandwiched by two larger touch-sensitive ones, it flows nicely with the phone's angular theme. These capacitive touch buttons, back and search, carry a much heavier focus and emphasis than the other two when considering how much more real estate is being taken up by them. Overall, we felt the phone was designed rather solidly on the outside. The keyboard slider was weighted properly, slid out smoothly with only minimal (but not too
minimal) force, and wasn't loose at all when it was open.
The Crossover is outfitted with a 600MHz ARM v6-compatible processor, par for the course for most entry-level devices on AT&T's Android lineup; we didn't have high expectations for the CPU going into the review, but it was exciting at first when we noticed there was little to no slowing in order to perform normal tasks. However, after a few attempts to push the limits of the phone by throwing processor-intensive tasks at it -- most notably multitasking -- we could tell this tiny CPU just doesn't have the muscle to do more than the simple everyday stuff. Everything slowed to a crawl constantly, and the phone even put up a white flag and rebooted at one point. On two separate occasions, the digitizer froze up entirely for a couple minutes.
Beyond that, the other specs are typical of a less expensive Android phone and don't leave much in the way of surprises: Android 2.2.1, 512MB RAM, 500MB internal memory (with 2GB microSD included), HSPA support at a max of 7.2 Mbps, 1500 mAh battery and 3 megapixel camera. We were also excited to see AT&T following through with its promise of allowing sideloaded apps on its new entries to the Android lineup.
The Crossover's battery life is on the high end of most Android phones. Considering the 1500 mAh battery is a decent size for a smartphone and it's not powering state-of-the-art equipment, it lasts almost the entire day on moderate use. The rated talk time is 5 hours, but we got a lot more; we checked emails, surfed the web, texted, made calls, and even streamed the Engadget Podcast from our dedicated app, and the battery still made it a full 12 hours before it died. Our phone calls were clear with only a small amount of fuzz, and the speakerphone was wonderful to use because of the large grill on the back. Our only gripe was that when listening to the aforementioned podcast or other audio, the music came through great but voices had a tinny or echoey sound.