Hands-On With The Chubby Virgin Mobile Helio Ocean 2

We had a chance to go hands-on with the freshly announced Helio Ocean 2 today and boy is it chunky.

In an age where most manufacturers strive for a thin and compact form factor, Pantech--the manufacturer behind the Helio Ocean 2--has chosen a longer and wider design. The Ocean 2 measures a chubby 4.7 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches while the original Ocean measured just 4.3 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches. That's fat, and we think the company could have improved the phone's thickness by eliminating the alphanumeric slider and adding a resistive touchscreen instead. Thankfully, Pantech did improve on the software side, though.

We like the added support for Google Talk and full Microsoft Exchange support inside the IM and e-mail menu. Moreover, we love the one-touch access to an integrated social network page that combines feeds from networks like Facebook and Twitter. When you're ready to open another Web site in its full HTML browser, you can simply hit the Menu button and launch a new tab; this is a feature that wasn't available in the original Ocean.

At $149.99 on Virgin Mobile, the Helio Ocean 2 is priced fairly, especially considering that you can get unlimited voice and data for $79.99 per month. You'll also get 512MB (Virgin Mobile originally told us 2GB) of storage with a microSD expansion slot, as well as a full 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to tunes or watching movies. The phone has all of the basics like Bluetooth, a 2MP camera with video recording, and 3G EV-DO speeds covered, too.
Overall, all of the bases are covered with the Helio Ocean 2. It's loaded with features and seemed to perform well during our brief hands on. We just wish it was thinner and more compact.

Hit up our video for a quick overview of the Helio Ocean 2 and standby for our full review shortly.