Thoughts on Sprint's New Upstage Music Phone

You’ve probaly read about Sprint’s new exclusive music phone the Samsung M620, AKA the Upstage. I managed to score an invitation to be a part of Phase III of Sprint’s Ambassador Program which gives some lucky bloggers a free Sprint phone and 6 months of all-you-can-eat service. I’ve only been using the M620 for a few days now so I don’t have any definitive conclusions about the device yet, but I’d still like to share some of my thoughts on this very unique device.

The M620 is the first mobile phone to have a split personality of sorts - it’s a regular phone with a numeric keypad on one side and a music phone with touch sensitive controls on the other side. So far the touch sensitive controls, albeit cool, have been a bit difficult for me to get used to. I found that turning up the sensitivty from 4 to 5 made it easier for me to control. On the other hand, one of the other members of Chip Chick has been playing with it and doesn’t seem to find it as difficult to use as I do. When I first took the M620 out of the box I was impressed with its very skinny form factor, as a matter of fact the upstage makes the RaZr look like it should consider enrolling in Jenny Craig. And overall, I think the phone’s design is really sexy - even if it does have two faces. Speaking of the two faces, at first I thought that the small display on the keypad side would annoy me, but I find myself mostly using the music side with the larger display. When you need to punch in text or numbers you have to press the flip button located on the side of the phone and then physically flip the phone and use the keypad. Before receiving the phone, I had read about how this works and I initially thought that that must be very irritating. But in practice it is actually not that bad.

The selling point for the Upstage is that it is supposed to be the ultimate music phone. So far the Sprint Music Store has become addictive, being able to preview music files before you buy and download them is really sweet. Once your purchase a track, the files download quickly - as quickly as when I download a track from iTunes on my home PC. So far I’ve been playing music off of the speakers. The result is in no way a hi-fi audio experience, but it does a decent job. I’ve yet to listen to tunes through headphones so I can’t comment on the quality. I’m relieved that the Upstage comes with a standard 3.5mm jack so that when I do get around to listening to music via headphones, I’ll be able to use the headphones of my choice.

As I continue to use the phone, I’ll be posting more of my thoughts. In the meantime I’d say that the Upstage seems to be the best choice for music lovers who use Sprint. Is it worth switching to Sprint though? That remains to be seen.

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