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Review: Casio G'zOne Brigade

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Like all Verizon Wireless 3G feature phones, the Casio G'zOne Brigade uses the problematic V Cast Music Store for music and videos. You can buy music from the store, but it's a fairly dismal experience. Tracks cost $2 on average, twice what you'll pay on better devices like the Motorola Droid or on other carriers' music stores, like Sprint's Music Store. The V Cast Store interface is slow and unpleasant, and downloads were even worse. A 2MB song, at a reduced bitrate quality, mind you, took minutes to download, including plenty of stalls and stops in the download process. If you want an album, you'll have to go song by song and download one at a time.

For music playback, the situation is just as bad. The phone can't search all the files on a microSD card, you have to place them in the proper folder to be found. Once loaded, playback was pretty good, at least through the built in speaker. That was the only way I could listen out of the box, since the phone doesn't come with wired headphones and the audio port is a substandard 2.5mm jack, not the standard 3.5mm that most music phones use. At least the phone paired easily with my Bluetooth stereo speakers, but playing music through stereo Bluetooth headphones was a hodge podge of stops and starts.

This is a real disappointment with this device. There is a dedicated button for music playback, so music should be a much more developed feature. Plus, with its waterproof shell, it would be cool to have a waterproof music player on hand, perhaps with waterproof earbuds to go with it.

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