Pantech is getting in on the big-screen phone game with its just announced 4.8-inch Discover for AT&T's 4G LTE network. The smartphone, which hits Jan. 11 for $49.99, features a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution display and impressive 12.6-megapixel rear-facing camera. Spec-wise, that puts the Discover just ahead of AT&T's Editors' Choice Award-winning $49.99 HTC One VX, which features a 4.5-inch, 960 x 540 display and 5-megapixel shooter.
Powered by a 1.5-GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM 8960 processor and packing 16GB of onboard storage and a microSD card slot, the Discover is shaping up to be quite a contender in the budget-friendly Android phone space. Measuring 5.3 x 2.7 x 0.36 inches and weighing 4.76 ounces, the Discover is a hair larger and slightly heavier than One VX, which comes in at 5.2 x 2.6 x 0.36 inches and weighs 4.4 ounces.
Pantech has equipped the Discover with an NFC chip for making mobile payments and sharing media between compatible NFC devices, as well as Dual 3D surround sound audio. The Discover also comes loaded with Pantech's Easy Experience mode, which allows first-time smartphone users to access their most frequently used apps and content from the phone's home screen.
Unfortunately, the Discover doesn't ship with Google's latest Android Jelly Bean operating system; it will run the older Android Ice Cream Sandwich instead. As with HTC's One VX, Pantech's decision to use ICS means the Discover won't offer such popular features as Google Now and offline voice typing at launch.
Beyond its exceptional, for its price-point, specs, the Pantech Discover is also the first phone to pack AT&T DriveMode app. When driving a car above 25 miles per hour, the app will automatically send a custom autoreply message. Incoming calls can also be set to automatically forward calls to voicemail, although an "allow list" can be setup to let calls from important numbers through.
Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions of the Pantech Discover live from CES 2013.