Review: LG Muziq
Putting the Muziq and Fusic side by side shows just how different they truly are. The Muziq is thinner, wider, and longer than the Fusic, but because it loses the external antenna, the Muziq feels like it has a smaller overall footprint. Gone is the white-ish plastic with interchangeable color panels. Instead you'll find a glossy, black form that sort of resembles the Black Obelisk from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dark. Mysterious. Full of wonder...maybe. Where the Fusic had some serious Fischer Price overtones, the Muziq is classier and more elegant.
Its thin form and slightly rounded edges make the Muziq easy to hold in your hand. It feels lightweight and comfortable. It is weighted very evenly, and when holding it open it is well balanced. Because the whole phone is covered with a smooth glossy exterior shell, it slips into and out of your jeans pockets very easily (unless you're pulling some serious 80s-esque Jordache action). As nice as this exterior shell is, it has a propensity for attracting (anyone...anyone...Bueller?): smudges. Both the front and the back show fingeroil grime readily. But the Muziq is certainly not alone in this regard.
Comparing the front of both phones, the Muziq has a larger exterior screen than the Fusic that is placed lower on the phone. The camera has also been moved from the back to the front. The physical music control buttons on the Fusic are replaced with a touch-capacitance control pad instead. When you use the new circular music control pad, the Muziq sends micro vibration pulses through the phone. This lets you know that you've pushed the buttons, which light up with red icons when the keypad is unlocked. The control pad is surrounded with a silver ridge to keep your thumb on target. The pad itself is smooth, though, and unless you are looking at it, it can be hard to tell exactly where your thumb is. Every now and then I found myself hitting the play/pause button, rather than the fast-forward button.
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Digging your finger nails under the headset jack and power port covers on the right side of the phone is easy enough. The headset jack accepts 2.5mm headsets only, meaning it isn't compatible with regular headphones. Inserting and retrieving microSD cards was not an issue. The camera and music buttons are also found on the right side of the phone, but are oddly placed on the top half of the phone. This isn't a problem when the phone is closed. Using them is easy. But when open, they are up out of easy reach. Luckily, these buttons are duplicated on the interior keypad. Duplicating the buttons seems to be a waste of effort, though. Why not just make the ones on the side of the phone more usable?
Similarly, the volume rocker on the left is also placed on the top half of the phone. Adjusting the volume with the phone closed is a snap. But when open, it is practically unusable - and i don't think we've described volume keys like that before. You have to reach your finger way up to reach it. It feels awkward and unnatural.
The battery cover is easy to remove and replace, and the battery slips in and out of its berth without issue. There is a small hump/bulge along the bottom of the Muziq where the antenna is located. It is barely noticeable when you hold the phone in your hand, but is visible if you look at it from the side.
When you open up the Muziq, you are greeted with a completely different interior when compared to the Fusic. The display is larger and set into a black frame. The keypad is vastly changed. Where the Fusic has individual white buttons set into a silvery background, the Muziq has one large, black keypad that is smooth save for some ridges to separate the keys from one another. This is a welcome improvement. The keys are larger, easier to press, and provide better feedback to let you know that they've been pressed. Each one has just the right amount of travel and "click." It is also a comfortable size, neither too large or too small for easy and quick text or number entry.
In all, the Muziq is more attractive than the Fusic, and interacting with the keypad is a lot easier. These are major improvements. There are still a few fumbles, though.
Our on-the-scene report from the CTIA trade show in Orlando. New phones from Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Helio, HTC, Alcatel, Motorola and Pantech.
Hands-on with the Sony Ericsson K850, Nokia 8600 and 6500 Slide, 6500 Classic, LG Muziq, and BlackBerry Curve.
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