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Review: Pantech Crux

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Verizon's marriage to its ugly, ancient music software needs to end sooner rather than later. The Crux is mated to Verizon's ghastly media player, but can at least access the Rhapsody download service (as long as you don't mind paying a wallet-thumping $2 per song).

The media player itself has the same horrid search and playback functions as other Verizon feature phones, but it does pack a few surprises.

First, it has some sound processing software on board in the form of wowHD. The wowHD software can be turned on or off, and set for the external speaker or headphones. I can't really tell you what it does other than provide some much needed shaping and volume boost to the sound. In fact, be careful. The volume boost for the speakerphone makes it loud enough to set off car alarms. Music playback through headphones sounds really, really good. Music playback through stereo Bluetooth headphones was surprisingly good, too.

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The music player still lacks advanced controls, such as a user-adjustable EQ, but the external media keys make it much more useful to use. If the phone is in your pocket, you can easily reach in a pause your tunes instead of being forced to dig the phone out of your pocket, unlock it, open the media player, and then pause it.

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