Creating a musicphone in this post-iPhone landscape is a difficult proposition. You used to get the obvious comparisons to the iPod and now you have to contend with what some folks are calling the “bestest iPod in the whole wide world and even in China! (TM)”. It’s enough to make a carrier cry.
But Sprint knows that it has to keep releasing phones and it knows that it might as well drop some good ones, with good features, and let the folks without $600 to spend on a robot dropping with a touchscreen pick from a wider pool. Enter the Muziq.
The Muziq is a standard flip phone with a MicroSD slot and front music controls. The music controls have vibration feedback, a newish feature that’s already making waves in the LG Prada. It runs on Sprint’s CDMA EV-DO network and offers Power Vision downloads along with downloads from Sprint’s music store.
The coolest feature, however, and the one it shares with its older cousin, the Fusic, is the FM transmitter. The Muziq lets you send music from the phone to any car or in-home radio. This feature adds a bit of cool to an otherwise plain-Jane music phone and might be a welcome addition during long drives or bouts of Russian Roulette in some sweat-fly besotted Cambodian bordello. Just imagine the thrill of the latest Fergie single blasting out of a scratchy Coby transistor radio while you and your soul stare down the abyss!
Otherwise, this is just a phone. It supports Bluetooth stereo and will soon be able to connect to Pandora Mobile which, like Pandora, creates a live playlist based on your preferences. It has a 1.3-megapixel camera with flash and runs for about 10 hours on one charge, 4 if you’re making calls. It includes a long cable for connecting standard headphones to the phone’s tiny headset port. It will cost $99 (with 2-year contract and after rebate, BTW) when it is officially available on July 15.
The player supports playlists and will pause the music when a call comes in. It can also be set to shuffle all of your songs. It remembers which song you paused it at but going back to your playlist after restarting the phone loses all place information, so you might not want to listen to audiobooks on this old boy.
There are lots of musicphones out there. There’s the 5300 — quite nice — and the Chocolate — urm… — and the UpStage and even the vaunted iPhone. All are good in their own way, and none of them will win the Blue Ribbon at the County Fair for best music-playing cellphone. If you need something now and you want to play music, however, the Muziq is a safe bet.