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printed October 25, 2014
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Review: Samsung Craft

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The Samsung Craft should be a multimedia powerhouse, especially with streaming and downloadable content that takes advantage of the LTE network. Instead, it’s a sad also-ran device that doesn’t offer any compelling content, and completely fails in some important areas.

For music, MetroPCS offers an over-the-air music store. I tried downloading songs and ran into repeated errors. Worst of all, every time I got an error message, the phone charged me for a song download anyway, with no way to recover my track after the download was cancelled half way. If this weren’t a loaner unit, I’m sure I’d be on the phone with customer support trying to recover my lost cash.

I did manage to download one song successfully, but I was not able to play it. The music player on board did not see the song, even though it did appear in my music library. So, until these bugs are worked out, avoid the music store and sideload your own tracks.

Of course, you’ll need a microSD card. Humorously, MetroPCS includes a 2GB card with the Craft, but fills it completely with a copy of J.J. Abrams recent “Star Trek” movie. The card is actually locked, so you can’t write to it or erase the movie. In other words, the Craft doesn’t actually come with a microSD card, it just comes with a copy of “Star Trek.” You can copy the movie to your own hard drive, but you can’t delete it. You just need to buy a new card.

MetroPCS also includes a streaming video service filled with snack sized video clips. You can’t piece together a complete episode of any show, but there is enough to ruin the episode of “The Event” that you have sitting on your DVR (trust me, I know). Frankly, this service is an embarrassment. The content is awful. Nobody wants to watch 3 minute bursts of television shows. The quality is terrible. Videos playback very choppy, with a framerate hovering below 10 fps, I’d guess. It can’t compare to any of the competition, from AT&T and Verizon’s MediaFLO mobile TV service features to Hulu or Netflix apps on other smartphones like the iPhone.

I expected much more from the first LTE phone, and I think MetroPCS needed to provide some content to justify using the faster network. But it’s clear that there is no better content available on this carrier, and the phone’s performance, whether it’s a network issue or a hardware problem, isn’t up to snuff for true video and multimedia fans.

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