I spent my whole weekend playing with Sprint's new Samsung Instinct. Why? 'Cause you can't get it yet (it goes on sale June 20) and I wanted to be able to tell you all about it. So what's my opinion so far? Instinct's a good phone - maybe even very good. It does more than iPhone (for now) but it's not as responsive or fun to use as Apple's baby. Why? Two reasons: 1. Multitouch display. Instinct's touchscreen is really pretty good, but it's no iPhone. 2. iPhone's Web and Email apps, in particular, are way better than Instinct's. Then again, if you care about GPS, video recording, MMS, or voice command, iPhone's gonna leave you cold. Well, the current one will ... ask me again in an hour or so.
Does Instinct have flaws? Yes. A few bugs that hopefully Sprint will get worked out before June 20? Yup. But will it make you happy if you're committed to Sprint and want a flashy touchscreen phone with just about every feature under the sun? Yeah, I think it will ...
First off, there are a bunch of Instinct videos here on the site, covering the handet's many, many features. More videos coming soon, too. And thanks for watching them - one of the vids got bumped to YouTube's home page this morning ;-)
Second, I'm getting ALL of your emails and questions ... and believe me, there are a ton of 'em ... and working on answers. I've already shot off an Email to Sprint PR asking about IM and custom ringtone support (right now Instinct has neither), so as soon as I hear back I'll post the answers right here.
Okay, all that said ... what are my impressions after a weekend with Instinct?
- Responsive user interface
- Touchscreen is quite responsive ... Unless you compare it to iPhone
- Virtual QWERTY board works pretty well in widescreen mode
- Handwriting recognition seems pretty good. I have lousy handwriting, so it's hard for me to tell ... LOL
- Good sound quality on calls and loud ringtones and speakerphone
- Music sounds good via 3.5mm headphone jack
- GREAT GPS and navigation system
- Nice implementation of Web and location-based widgets: Weather, Movie Listings, etc.
- "Speech-to-Action" voice command system works well
- Battery life seems decent, at the least -- I used it all day Saturday and used every feature I could find almost constantly for about six hours ... battery ran out in the evening
- Comes with extra battery and charger
- EV-DO Rev. A should bring fast Web speeds
- Email client is easy to set up, and can handle Outlook Email and embedded URLs
- Sideloaded MP4 videos look great on widescreen
- Bluetooth file transfer is supported, and it worked like a charm for sending an AAC music file from my Mac to the phone.
- No user-created ringtone support
- No IM client
- No HTML Email support
- Contact sync is supported but calendar sync is not
- Camera is so-so; No flash or auto-focus
- Music player didn't read all ID tags
- Video player only supports mp4, and not all mp4 CODECS
When I Bluetoothed a photo from my Mac to Instinct it worked but I couldn't find the photo on the handset. Seriously - I looked and looked but could not find it. I tried it again and the phone asked, "File already exists, do you want to overwrite?" That confirmed that the transfer worked, right? I overwrote anyway and it seemed to work again and I still couldn't find it. Could well be because I'm clueless. But, you know, maybe not.
Wildcards (i.e. It's too soon to tell)
Sprint told me (and all of us media folks) that they're still fine-tuning their Rev. A data network, so hopefully this will be fixed in the next few days: Current data speeds are NOT what I expected from EV-DO Rev. A.
Visual Voicemail is not working yet -- again, Sprint told us it'll be a few days.
Streaming video from YouTube and Sprint TV was mediocre quality. Yup, Sprint told us they're tuning the network for that, too.
When I paired Instinct with my Mac I got a dialogue box confirming Phone as Modem support. But I haven't tried it yet.
I downloaded a few JAVA apps, including OperaMini, and they installed and launched successfully. But none of them actually worked. GMail ran but had no interface for input. OperaMini launched and loaded NYTimes.com once - and looked pretty good doing it, too - and then crashed. Haven't been able to get it running again since.
More soon. Unless iPhone 3G comes out today. Then I might have to take an Instinct break to cover the new iPhone. Then I'll make them fight it out with each other, Kimbo Slice-style. And then I'll post the video to the site.