The Huawei Pinnacle 2( at Amazon) is a little bit misleading; it's less of a sequel than it is a late-night rerun. It's basically the same phone as the original Pinnacle, with a slightly different look. Now, the Pinnacle wasn't a great phone a year ago, and the Pinnacle 2 isn't a great phone today. But for just $59, it gets you unlimited access to talk and text on MetroPCS for $40 per month, and the physical QWERTY keyboard makes it a solid choice for texters. So considering the carrier's lack of other feature phones, the Pinnacle 2 may not be great, but it's good enough.
Design and Call QualityThe Pinnacle 2 measures 4.51 by 2.39 by 0.47 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.63 ounces. It's very comfortable to hold and handle, and its slightly larger size means room for a bigger keyboard than the original. The phone is made entirely of glossy black plastic, save for a shiny, plastic silver ring around the front. The cheap materials attract a lot of fingerprints, but the phone itself feels solid.Our Experts Have Tested 61 Products in the Mobile Phones Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
The 2.4-inch display features 320-by-240 pixel resolution. It's sharp enough, but it would have been nice to see something a little bigger or higher-res than the original. Below the display are some simple function keys, and below that is a four-row, BlackBerry-style QWERTY keyboard. It's a decent keyboard, so I can't complain too much. That said, compared with the original Pinnacle, it's actually a significant step down. The keys, while raised and angled, are all crowded on top of each other, so it's easy to press the wrong letter when you're typing, especially if you have fat fingers like I do. But it's still much easier to type on than a number pad, so you'll get your money's worth if you're buying this phone to text.
The Pinnacle 2 is a tri-band 2G 1xRTT (850/1700/1900 MHz) CDMA device with no Wi-Fi. The phone is 2G only, as MetroPCS lacks a 3G data network. The carrier has 4G LTE, but only some of its smartphones operate on it. Slow data aside, $40 per month gets you unlimited talk, text, and Web data. That makes it a great deal, provided you live in a MetroPCS coverage area and can put up with the slow internet speeds.
Call quality is mediocre. Voices sound low and digitized in the phone's earpiece, but loud and distorted on the other end. The speakerphone is far too low to hear outdoors, or even in the car. Calls sounded fine through a Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset( at Amazon), but there's no voice dialing. Battery life was average at 6 hours, 27 minutes of talk time.
User Interface, Multimedia, and ConclusionsThe Pinnacle 2 has the same simple user interface as other MetroPCS feature phones. The home screen links you to the main menu, apps, and widgets. The main menu has all your standard features, like call logs, contacts, messages, a music player, settings, and tools. Apps pulls up icons of all your Web-based applications on the phone's home screen, and Widgets gives you quick access to a clock, calendar, music player, and weather info, all displayed on top of your home screen.
Email and IM clients are included for most standard accounts, and both worked fine. The Obigo 5.0 Web browser can read WAP sites, but it's frustratingly slow. If you're interested in Web access, you're better off with a smartphone, which will give you much greater access to the Internet for the same monthly price.
The Pinnacle 2 has 30MB of free internal memory. There's also an empty microSD under the battery cover that worked with my 32 and 64GB SanDisk cards. The phone plays MP3, M4A, and WAV music files, but you need to place them in a specific folder it generates on the microSD card. Music sounded okay through a pair of wired 3.5mm headphones, but a bit of fuzz and hiss came through, especially between tracks. Quality was disappointingly tinny over Bluetooth. Video playback is virtually nonexistent. The phone struggled to play QVGA files, and audio didn't work.
The 1.3-megapixel camera doesn't seem to be improved from the phone's first incarnation. There's still no flash or auto-focus, and photos look dark and blurry. You can record video this time around, but it's tiny, choppy, and extremely low resolution. Don't buy this phone for the camera.
The Huawei Pinnacle 2 is an average phone at best, but it's the only texting phone available from MetroPCS right now. If you prefer sending messages to making phone calls it'll do, but there isn't much of a reason to recommend it other than by default. Your other option, the Huawei Verge, is an utterly barebones feature phone that's only good for talking. Considering you don't have to pay for an additional data plan, it might be worth it to look into getting a smartphone. It'll cost the same $40 per month, but will expand your capabilities dramatically. A good place to start is the LG Motion 4G( at Amazon), which gets you a lot more power, performance, and features for just a little extra money up front.
The Huawei Pinnacle 2 is an inexpensive texting phone that isn't a standout, but it's the only texting phone for MetroPCS, so it's good enough.
Sign up for Race to 5G newsletter to get our top mobile tech stories delivered right to your inbox.
Your subscription has been confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox!Sign up for other newsletters