I was very impressed with the Sprint Upstage, also known as Samsung M620 or F300 when I first saw it at CeBIT. I managed to score a unit of my own to play, and so far it’s been a pleasant experience.
Samsung and Sprint have done a great job keeping the Upstage in the price range of $150, considering how featured packed it is. First of all, it’s the first of its kind, a doctor Jekyll and Hyde kinda phone – if you will. On one side is a large screen for watching TV or videos. There a pseudo scroll wheel that doesn’t scroll in the traditional sense. It lacks any tactile feedback and does not rotate, and it’s sensitive to the touch of your finger when you slide your thumb up and down or side ways. So out of the box, don’t expect the Upstage to act and feel like your iPod.
The biggest complaint I have with the Upstage is scrolling through my list of songs; my fingers can only take so many flicks before they get really tired. An average 2GB microSD card will hold up to 400 songs, so if you can imagine, flicking, flicking and more flicking just to get to song number 312. Since the keypad is on the flipside, so don’t count on using it to jump around. The second biggest complaint has to be the menu system. Again, you need to do a lot flicking around to get around. Samsung tease us with numbers on the left hand side, but there’s no way to easily select via pressing the dial pad.
Ok, so I’ve vented; now on to the good stuff. At first glance, it’s a beautiful handset and sexy in everyway. The sound quality from the internal speaker is as good can be, in a quiet setting. The screen size is adequately large enough to watch short clips. It’s thin and very light weight. Similar to the iPod, there’s a hardware lock button. There’s one minor inconvenience that I didn’t mention above is the “flip button”. You need to press it in order to flip from one side to the other. This requires a little bit of getting use to. But after a few dozen or so times, it becomes second nature.
Side loading music via the microSD slot is a nice feature – which saves you a bundle of cash if you already have a large collection of music. The only catch is – the system MUST reload all your music every time you want to view your entire list of songs. This took around 2 or 3 seconds for 205 songs. Again, don’t expect the Upstage to act and feel like the iPod. Keep your expectations in check or you’ll be sorely disappointed.
I didn’t have any problems pairing the Upstage with my Bluetooth ety8 Stereo Wireless Headset. However, when attempting to connect, it never connects. I’ll need to look into this later.
I give the Sprint Upstage 3/5 stars, based on the rough hands on experience. Perhaps I’ll be more inspired to write a more detailed review after the event.
Ok, I need to run and see other cool stuff here at CTIA Wireless.
NOTE: I called the Upstage, "Upstart" in the video. Oops.
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