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Review: Samsung Flight II

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The Samsung Flight II uses an unusual music player app from AT&T. When you first open the music player, you're prompted to sign up for a subscription service. At first, I couldn't figure out if I needed to pay a monthly fee to play my music, or if the fee was only tied to the streaming music channels that AT&T offers. I tried reading through the end user license agreement (EULA), but it is impossible to read on the Flight II's screen. AT&T reps confirmed the fee only applies to streaming music, but the average consumer might not understand this. Further, every time you open the music player, it asks if you want to subscribe or if you want to use the trial player. The trial player let you play the music you sideloaded to the phone, but again this isn't clear. To make things worse, every time I selected the trial player, I had to click through a brief tutorial on how to play music. It was just an abysmal experience all around. This is the first time I've ever seen this, even on a feature phone, and I can't help but feel like AT&T is tricking me into signing up for a sub-par streaming service, when I only want to play the music I loaded onto my own microSD card.

The music player had no trouble finding the tracks I copied to the microSD card, and the player worked just fine. The player app was very confusing to use. I would tap a song in the music library and it would start playing, but the Now Playing screen would not appear. I tried tapping every button on screen, but nothing brought up the playback controls. Tapping the song name again would start the track from the beginning. Eventually, the library backed up to the opening AT&T Music screen on its own, where playback controls and album artwork appear at the top. Tapping that picture took me back to the music player itself.

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The music player offers some download services to accompany your music or help you find new tunes. While playing a song from your own library, the player can download music lyrics or an artist bio. This only worked for the most popular artists I loaded. Newer and more obscure artists (Die Antwoord or Caroline Chocolate Drops, for instance) would not offer any extra information or lyrics. You can also buy music from the AT&T Music store to download over the air. Finally, there is a streaming music service from AT&T. The streaming music quality was very poor and tracks often cut out in the middle.

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