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There are so many slick phones out there right now that it is hard to decide on the right phone. For some, it will boil down to features. For others, it will be price that serves as the determining factor. Others will have to see if the latest and greatest phone actually has service where they live to avoid purchasing a beautiful paper weight.

Many users are drawn to an eye catching design, and LG has been producing some beautiful designs as of late. Sprint users never did get a version of the ‘Chocolate,’ but now they get an exclusive on a design that might be even nicer – the Muziq.

Picture the Chocolate combined with a Flip Phone design and you have a sense of the Muziq. To see all the features that LG packs into this stylish phone – just read on for a full review. Cell phone exclusives may drive us crazy – think iPhone and ATT – but if you are a subscriber and your carrier gets a great phone before anyone else – it can be terrific to be the first one on the block with something unique that stands out from the crowd.

The LG Muziq stands out from the crowded, popular Flip Phone crowd in a few areas. The following are the highlights and specs from the company web site:

Highlights

Instant wireless downloads from the Sprint Music Store
Advanced Stereo Bluetooth
Sprint Music Store enabled
Sprint TVSM enabled
Slim and Fashionable Design
Speakerphone
Built-in Camera
Web and Email Capable
Bluetooth Wireless Technology
External display
GPS enabled
Expandable memory card slot
Voice-activated dialing
Broadband-like speeds where available

Sprint Music Store Enabled
Download stereo-quality tracks instantly to your wireless phone or PC. Choose from thousands of artists in virtually every genre, and listen wherever you go.

64 MB MicroSD card
Store data on the included 64MB removable memory card. Up to 4GB cards supported, 4GB card must be purchased separately.

KEY FEATURES
* Music Player with External Touch Controls
* Bluetooth Capable
* 1.3 Megapixel Camera and Camcorder
* Built-In FM Transmitter
* microSD(tm) Memory Port
* Multitasking Capability

MULTIMEDIA
* Music Player with External Touch Controls and Vibration Feedback (supports MP3, MP4, 3G2, 3GP, AAC, AMR, MID, QCP, 3GPP, PMD, M4V, M4A, KOZ)
* FM Transmitter (88.1 – 107.9 MHz) – transmit music (up to 10 ft.) to car stereo or other FM receiver
* Stereo Sound via Headset, Bluetooth, or FM Transmitter
* Sprint Music StoreSM – download and play full-length songs†
* Multitasking – run multiple apps simultaneously (e.g. playing music in background)
* Streaming Media – access premium channels for music, radio, TV†
* On Demand 2.2 – enhanced, customized content (sports, weather, news, movies)†
* microSD Memory Port for Extra Storage*
* 3D Graphics Support for Gaming

*64MB microSD card + SD adapter included. Phone supports up to a 4GB memory card (sold separately).

BLUETOOTH (V1.1)
* Supported Profiles: headset, hands-free (v1.0), dial-up networking, object push, basic printing, advanced audio distribution, audio/video remote control, file transfer, phone book access
* Save up to 20 Bluetooth Pairings
* Bluetooth Stereo Headset Support for Listening to Music*
* Send Contacts and Calendar Events via Bluetooth
* Print User-Generated Pictures via Bluetooth

*Accessories sold separately.

CAMERA/VIDEO
* 1.3 Megapixel Camera and Camcorder with Flash/Video Light
* Camera Resolutions: 1280×960 (default), 640×480, 320×240 Pixels
* Video Resolutions: 144×176 (default), 96×128 Pixels
* Video Length: 20 Sec. (video mail) or 2 Hr. (long video)*
* Video Ringtones and Screen Savers
* Zoom: Up to 15 Steps**
* Customizable Shutter/Cue Sound***, Brightness***, White Balance***, Color Tone***, Quality***, Self-Timer, Image Enhancer
* Self-Portrait Capability with Flip Closed
* Print Photos to a PictBridge Printer via USB

*Depends on unused internal and external (microSD card) memory.
**Varies by image resolution. Default camera setting of 1280×960 pixels does not support zoom function.
***Available in both video and camera modes.

VOICE/AUDIO
* One-Touch Speakerphone*
* Speaker-Independent Speech Recognition
* Music Composer – create ringtones using different instruments or by humming a melody
* Voice Memos (up to 10 min.)
* Music Ringer Support (clips from hit songs)**†
* 30 Unique Ringtones + Vibrate and Silent Modes
* Set Voice Memos as Ringtones
* TTY/TDD Support
* Hearing Aid Compatible (M4T4-Rating)

*Speakerphone feature is only available while a call is in progress.
**Not assignable from microSD card.

MOBILE MEDIA
* POP3 E-Mail Client†
* SMS Voice Messaging†
* Text Messaging†
* Picture MailSM – share photos and videos†
* Mobile Web†
* Web-Based Instant Messaging†
* Java(tm) 2.0 Support for Content Downloads†

TOOLS and DATA
* USB Mass Storage – transfer files between microSD card* and PC
* Tools: Alarm Clock, Calculator, Scheduler, Notepad, World Clock, Ez Tip Calculator
* Speed Dial (98 entries + 1 voicemail default)
* FOTA Capable – upgrade firmware over the air†
* Phone Book with 500 Contacts – each stores 5 numbers, 3 e-mail addresses, and a picture ID**
* Wireless Backup for Contacts†
* TeleNav GPS Navigator(tm) Capable – voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions***

*Requires USB cable and microSD card (included).
**Dependent on photos stored in your album.
***Subscription required.

GENERAL
* Slim, Stylish Design with Internal Antenna
* Colors: Black
* Simultaneous and Autonomous GPS

Technology
CDMA

Frequency
1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA (Digital Dual-Band)

Data Transmission
High-Speed EVDO†

Dimensions
3.80′ (H) x 1.94′ (W) x 0.61′ (D)

Weight
3.14 oz.

Display
Internal LCD: 262K Color TFT, 176 x 220 Pixels, 11 Lines
External LCD: 262K Color TFT, 128 x 160 Pixels, 10 Lines

Standard Battery
800 mAh Li-Ion

Talk Time
Up to 4.0 Hours*

Standby Time
Up to 12 Days*

ACCESSORIES
* Standard Li-Ion Battery*
* AC Travel Charger*
* 3.5mm Stereo Headset Adapter with Mic*
* USB Cable*
* 64MB microSD Card*
* SD Adapter*
* Music Manager CD*
* Bluetooth Headset
* Bluetooth Stereo Headset
* Bluetooth Stereo Speakers
* Portable Stereo Speakers
* Headset
* Stereo Headset
* Vehicle Power Charger
* Carrying Case This is a phone that will particularly appeal to younger users – (like the Upstage the Sprint still has the exclusive on from Samsung.) With that in mind, I enlisted, once again, the discriminating testing of my 12 year old to help me analyze this phone.

Design:

The Muziq is a basic Flip design with a couple of interesting additions. When the phone is closed, you immediately notice the almost lacquered looking finish. There is a large color screen on the front and directly underneath sits a music navigation pad (very reminiscent of the Chocolate.) The navigation pad is touch sensitive (more on that later) but it was pretty easy to operate and navigate.

On top of the screen sits the requisite camera lens and flash. Speaking of the camera, LG included a 1.3 mega pixel camera with zoom and flash. A 2.0 or 3.2 mega pixel camera would have certainly offered better image quality – but I do understand that compromises need to be made somewhere.

Along the left hand side is the proprietary charger jack. Along the right is the proprietary headset jack (adapter for 3.5 mm headphones is included.) Also along the right hand side is a slot for a Micro SD card. My test unit came with a 64MB card and an SD adapter for easy attachment to my PC.

There are dedicated external keys along the side of the top of the phone for Music and the Camera (on the right hand side) and Volume (on the left hand side.)

When the phone is opened, the standard keypad has a ‘Speaker’ key above it to the left and a ‘Camera’ key to the right. Above the key pad in the center is a nicely designed D-Pad.

My daughter’s view was that ‘ It is very sleek. It reminds me a lot of the phone the Chocolate. They both have around the same exterior features, but instead of sliding up like the Chocolate, the Muziq flips. The music control pad located on the front is pretty awesome’.

The Muziq as a Phone:

The Phone features are pretty basic on the Muziq (which is not necessarily a bad thing.) Making and answering calls is very straightforward. The Muziq can store 500 contacts and 98 speed dials which should satisfy most user’s needs.

The one button speaker phone is a great feature. The Muziq has Sprint’s Voice Command program built in – which is a very good voice recognition/voice dialing program.

Over 30 ringtones are built into the Muziq and they sounded loud and clear. You can also assign ring tones that you buy or even MP3’s on the phone to serve as Ring Tones – so every caller can be customized with their own, unique ring tone.

The Most important feature of any phone is the Call Quality and here, the Muziq shines. Calls were very clear on both ends. I rarely encountered static and when listening to calls on the other end there were no issues to speak of – which for a cell phone is a very good thing.

Music on the Muziq :

Clearly (by the name alone) it is easy to tell that this phone was called the Muziq for a reason. The music features of the Muziq are robust. Music can be played without opening the phone – just unlock it and hit play on the external music pad. All your music can be navigated through and played through the external controls.

Opening the phone gives you access to all the music features of this phone. The Sprint music store is among the best of the major Cell Providers. It was easy to navigate through the store and the $.99 price was fair. Music can be stored on the Micro SD card (the bigger the card, the more music you can fit.)

Playlists were easy to create and navigate. Most importantly, sound quality was great – as my daughter said: ‘Sometimes I even forget that I am listening to my phone. I think it is my ipod.’ What greater compliment can a 12 year old give?

Sprint’s included Music Manage is one of the better music management software applications. It was pretty easy and straightforward to transfer music from the PC to the phone or the Micro SD card. It was also very easy to purchase music from the Music Manager program for both the PC and the Muziq.

For me, one of the nicest music features is actually part of the ‘Music’ features is found in the ‘Power Vision’ services of the phone – namely, streaming music. Sprint has its own Music stations that stream beautifully over their fast EvDO network and there is also the availability of subscribing the Sirius Satellite radio. Throw in Bluetooth Stereo (which I will discuss below) and this just about perfect for me.

Additional Music Features:

The Muziq offers some unique music features not found on other phones. One is the ability to compose a melody. You can hum a tune into the microphone and then use that as a ring tone. You can then ‘arrange’ your melody with instruments and rhythms. You can also use the keyboard to input a melody.

Additionally, the Muziq comes with a built in FM transmitter. Frequency can be adjusted along the FM spectrum. So, let’s say you were in your car and wanted to listen to your music over the car’s FM radio – just start playing your music, select the FM frequency and turn the transmitter on – who needs an external Satellite radio?

Camera features :

The Muziq offers a pretty basic 1.3 mega pixel camera. Image quality was OK – above average for a 1.3 camera – but image stability was another thing. I found that the phone had to be held pretty steady to capture an image without blurring. As my daughter noted :’It takes fantastic pictures when you correctly capture them.’ Where the Muziq does excel is with the ease with which you can send your images via MMS, Email or uploading to Sprint’s Picture album program on the web.
<
r/> Bluetooth:

Happily, the Muziq supports A2DP – which is streaming Bluetooth stereo. That means that if you pair your Muziq with a good set of Bluetooth Stereo Headphones you can listen to you music in stereo without wires – a great feature. This works with music on the Micro SD card as well as streaming music from the Power Vision service.

Bluetooth headsets paired easily and sounded great with the Muziq.

Games:

The Muziq can access Sprint’s game download service and there were hundreds of games to choose from. Some are monthly subscriptions and some are just one time fee downloads. Games loaded reasonably fast and were easy to play using the keys and the D-pad of the phone. The screen made the games look great.

Power Vision:

I my estimation, Sprint has the best multi-media content offered by any of the major Cell Providers. From streaming music, to Sprint TV which allowed me to watch favorite episodes of TV shows as well as news, sports, weather and movies – there is a lot to like about the Power Vision service.

Navigation was easy on the Muziq and the combination of the network speed and phone speed made for a very high quality of streaming multi-media content. Now, you are still watching on a tiny screen – but the image quality was actually quite good.

Over all Conclusions:

The Muziq, by LG is a full featured, nicely designed and constructed Multi-Media phone. Music is definitely its forte with the ability to buy, download, play and stream music all from the phone itself. As a phone, it was easy to use and had good call quality. Sprint’s EvDO network is fast and reliable – as long as you have service in your area. Add in a decent camera, games and video playback and you have a pretty full featured phone.

While Email and web browsing are supported and included, they are not the strengths of this phone. If you are looking for a BlackBerry – this is not the phone for you. If, however, like most users, you want a good, easy to operate phone with strong music features – this would be a great choice for you. At $99.00 in Sprint stores and $79.00 at www.sprint.com you can save about $400 over the cost of an iPhone and have Stereo Bluetooth and Streaming Satellite radio and Live TV feeds – not bad at all!

Final Grade: A-

Pros: Nice design, good build quality, great screen, terrific music features

Cons: Camera is not the strong feature of this phone, proprietary jacks mean you have to carry adapters with you

The LG Muziq is available from www.sprint.com and in many stores and from many on line retailers for $99.00 or less with a two year agreement. Power Vision services add $15.00 – $25.00 to the basic plan costs.

Written by Gary