Indeed, the Pantech Pocket — which, ironically, is the least likely smartphone to actually fit into your pocket — sports a 4-inch SVGA (800 x 600) display and boasts an aspect ratio of 4:3. It’s bright enough, but isn’t as color-saturated as an AMOLED panel. The premise behind this screen is that you’ll have a better app viewing experience, a wider keyboard and more screen real estate for reading e-books and surfing the web. We found that the Pocket was great for digesting content, but unfortunately this comes at the expense of comfort. Holding the phone was an incredibly awkward experience in almost every way, whether we were making a call or just trying to maintain a solid grip on the device. And we’ll warn you up front: putting the handset up to your ear invokes the feeling that it’s trying to eat your entire face.
Let’s go line by line. Brightness has nothing to do with color saturation. OLED displays are known for over saturated colors and the Pantech Pocket not having overblown colors might be a good thing. In terms of a better app viewing experience the only way this would be the case is if apps were developed specifically for a 800×600 screen. I don’t see this happening. The wider keyboard in portrait mode will definitely be a plus. On a smartphone with a wide aspect ratio the keyboard in landscape mode takes up more than half the screen making it almost unusable. On the other hand portrait is too narrow. A 4-inch 4:3 might be ideal for heavy texters who don’t need or want a physical keyboard—those who text in multiple languages. Next, screen real estate. 800×600 cannot simply be more. Compared to 960×540, it is not. Compared to 800×480, it is.
The iPad also has a 4:3 aspect ratio but it is 9.7 inches big so we’re almost always holding it with two hands. The 4-inch Pantech Pocket is small enough to wield with just one hand, but it seems the more squarish screen doesn’t imbue it with magical properties like it does with the iPad. I have a biggish face so it’ll take something the size of an iPad to make me feel like it’s trying eat my face, but folks with smallish faces it might be wise to try out the Pantech Pocket first.