Review: LG Muziq
The Muziq's forte should be its namesake: playing music. Alas, aside from its name, there is not all that much setting the Muziq apart from the crowded field of music-playing phones.
With the Muziq closed or open, pressing and holding the music key on the side of the phone will launch the music player. It automatically jumps into the first song in your playlist. With the phone closed, you can use the touch-capacitance D-pad on the front of the phone to jump tracks. Hitting it up and down lets you see the preceding and next songs and you can scroll up or down to whichever track you like. The left and right D-pad buttons let you jump to the preceding or next track without reviewing what it will be first. The center of the D-pad is the play/pause button. From the front screen, you can see what track is playing and a green progress bar lets you see how far along the track is, but no timer shows you the actual timing of the song. Nor is album art visible here. Without a timer or album art, there is a lot of dead white space on the front screen when playing music. By contrast, the recently reviewed Motorola RAZR Maxx Ve lets you see a timer and album art on the exterior screen while playing music.
You do have more options with the Muziq open. Jumping into the Music application, it opens the Sprint Music Store and player. The two applications are separated by a tab across the top of the screen that lets you switch between the player and the store quickly. Finding and downloading songs from the music store was relatively quick and easy. (I do wish that "metal" was its own category and not folded under "rock", but this is a problem across all music stores I've encountered.) Searching for and finding music to buy from the Sprint Music Store was fairly easy.
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The songs are automatically downloaded to your main library, where you can choose to add them to playlists and such. Playing songs when in the player will show album art (if it is downloaded from the store) and a countdown timer along with the music controls. Everything is basic and simple, and perhaps that's the problem. Other players offer a much richer and nicer music player environment than Sprint's. You can pause, repeat and shuffle songs, but there is no equalizer. Tracks under the "artist" heading are listed alphabetically rather than by album. Sprint's player is a very simple design that uses a plain white background. This is a minor quibble, to be sure, but looks count for something.
Unless you have headphones plugged in, the music is automatically played through the speaker. Sound quality of downloaded tracks is good through this speaker. You also have the ability to download full MP3 files to your home PC. For $0.99, you get both phone and PC downloads. Sprint is definitely not skimping on value.
Music flowing to stereo Bluetooth headphones sounded good and was loud enough to be heard over the din in a loud coffee shop. Incoming calls pause the music, which resumes if you ignore the call or after the call is completed. You can choose the send the music player to the background, which means you can listen to your music while completing other tasks with the phone, such as sending text messages. The Muziq won't let you use Sprint's On Demand or WAP Web portal while listening to music, though. Same goes for the camera or video camera. Applications like Gmail's Java app did run without pausing the music player.
One stand-out feature of the Muziq is its FM transmitter. This lets you wirelessly transmit music from the Muziq to any FM radio. Though it was difficult to find a free frequency in the metro NYC area, we eventually found ourselves listening to music from the Muziq on our car stereo. Quality wasn't fantastic, but it worked.
In all, listening to music with the Muziq was fairly hum-drum. A phone that is named for the very thing it does should at least do that thing in a way that separates it from the crowd. The lack of a standard headphone jack, graphic equalizer and advanced music playing options makes the Muziq an average music player, though at least with Sprint's music phones you can complete (a limited number of) other tasks while listening to your tunes.
Hands-on with the Sony Ericsson K850, Nokia 8600 and 6500 Slide, 6500 Classic, LG Muziq, and BlackBerry Curve.
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