In terms of connectivity the Duo has the bases covered, as it comes with AT&T's Xpress Mail, which you can use to configure Microsoft Outlook for both personal and corporate e-mail accounts. Setting up the former is almost effortless, and we had no trouble using it with a Comcast account.
Windows Mobile also supports Direct Push e-mail with Microsoft Exchange, and if your organization doesn't support the feature you have the option of using Xpress Mail if you download and install a redirector application on your PC. AIM, Windows Live and Yahoo instant messaging services come preinstalled.
|The AT&T Pantech Duo C180 with numeric keypad.|
To help you make prodigious use of a 3G data connection, the Duo includes lots of options for mobile streaming of multimedia content. You can use AT&T Mobile Music to purchase and download music from Napster and eMusic, as well as stream 25 channels of XM Radio to the device (for an $8.99 monthly charge). For video, AT&T's Cellular Video feature offers news, sports, and weather clips from the likes of CNN, ESPN, Fox and NBC.
You can of course transfer your own music and video to the Duo for playback in Windows Media Player. One minor nit we found is that for some reason, the volume controls on the Duo's upper left edge that control call and overall system volume don't serve the same function in Media Player (you must instead use the D-pad).
To connect headphones to the Duo you must use the same mini-USB connector the device uses for charging and synching. Fortunately, the Duo includes the adapter that converts it to a standard 3.5mm audio jack, but its use monopolizes the port and prevents you from charging or synching at the same time (and we can also envision losing the adapter it before too long). The Duo's Bluetooth support includes the A2DP profile for wireless stereo headphones.
On the underside of the Duo resides the lens for the phone's 1.3 megapixel camera which lacks a flash, but does include a self-portrait mirror. 1.3 megapixels is nothing to write home about these days, and while the pictures we took weren't especially sharp, they did exhibit better color saturation than most phone-based cameras we've looked at. The camera can also record MPEG4 video at up to 320 x 240 resolution.
The Duo will set you back $299.99 with a two-year contract, which ain't cheap Ultimately we wish the Pantech Duo had built-in Wi-Fi and that a little more attention had been paid to the physical design of the keypad and keyboard. But in spite of these weaknesses, we think most people will find the phone capable and versatile traveling companion.
Adapted from SmartPhoneToday.com.
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