Last week Sprint announced the availability of LG Muziq (LX-570), the successor to last year’s Fusic. To begin with, the main feature that sets this phone apart from others is the built-in FM transmitter, which allows broadcasting
music muziq to your car stereo wirelessly! We’ve been messing with the phone for about a week and we have been pleased with its overall performance.
LG LX-570 Specifications:
- Provider: Sprint (1.9GHz/800MHz CDMA)
- Form Factor: Flip Phone w/ external controls
- Dimensions: 3.80H x 1.94W x 0.61D (inches)
- Weight / Battery: 3.14 oz / 4hrs talk-time
- Screens: Internal 176×220 | External 128×160
- Camera: 1.3 mega pixel camera w/ flash
- Storage: microSD up to 4GB (64MB included)
- Others: Bluetooth v1.1 | Multitasking Capable
- Special: FM Transmitter (88.1-107.9 MHz)
- Price: $80 via Sprint w/ New Plan
LG Muziq Body: 3.5/5 stars
The Muziq is a major improvement, when compared to its bulky predecessor the Fusic. The LX-570 is slim, compact, easy to hold, shiny, and lightweight. The Muziq shares a similar appearance with the LG VX8600 Chocolate flip-phone. Now for the drawback, the phone’s glossy finish attracts TONs of fingerprints and dust. The keypad’s buttons are nice and large for easy typing, however since they are flat typing without looking at the device becomes difficult. We also hated the fact that the volume toggle and camera buttons (side keys) were awkwardly placed on the upper portion of the phone, besides the screen, making them hard to reach. Finally the power port (also the data port) can be found on the left, while the microSD slot and the 2.5mm headphone jack are on the right.
Music Playback: 4/5 stars
You’d expect a phone called the “Muziq” to have a set of stereo speakers, but for some reason it doesn’t. After formatting the microSD card and loading about a 100 songs, the phone was able to get right into playing songs within a few seconds. The external display didn’t display album art, but showed the song name and artist. The main problem we found was that the UI for browsing through your songs was not exactly well developed. All songs are lined up in one long alphabetical list. (no search function) Since I had a 100 songs, it would take a 100 clicks to get to the last one. Although the phone allows sorting by albums, it’s still a mess. Sprint seriously needs to develop a new UI which is something like the ones available on most Verizon phones today. This means a decent search function as well as the ability to browse by albums, artists, genres, and songs neatly. The online music store has a large selection of music and songs can be purchased over the air for just $.99!
Displays: 4/5 stars
Both the inner and outer displays are decent. The inner screen’s resolution (176×220 pixels) could have been higher, but doesn’t look bad. The outer screen is excellent mainly because it is much larger than the external displays found on most flip-phones. One thing we didn’t like was that we couldn’t find a way to reduce or increase the screen’s brightness.
Speakers: 3/5 stars
Once again for a phone that’s called the Muziq, you’d expect it to have a set of built-in stereo speakers (it doesn’t) . The quality is decent, however it begins to crack at loud levels. The speaker preformed pretty well during voice calls. The speakers aren’t the greatest for music, but if you use a set of bluetooth stereo headsets or even a wired one using the included stereo headset adapter, quality isn’t a problem.
Digital Camera: 4/5 stars
Although most phones will have a 2.0 megapixel camera by the end of this year, the Muziq still has a 1.3MP one. The photo quality was mediocre since the image was a bit blurry and colors were washed out. The camcorder allows recording clips of unlimited length (limited by the storage space), however only clips under 20 second can be mailed. The phone also has a neat little LED light which can be enabled while recording video clips. (same light flashes for photos) The camera and camcorder have a set common set of light filters, color tones. Self portraits can be taken via the external screen.
Interface: 5/5 stars
Ignoring the music playback portion of the UI, the rest works smoothly. Although the original “Sprint” theme enabled when the phone is first turned on looks horrendously ugly, the included “LG” theme is a lifesaver. The colors, fonts, text size, and icons all look great. The menus load up smoothly and quickly without any delay. The interfaces for the browser, call history, messaging, contacts, and settings are neatly laid out as well.
MicroSD and Sync: 5/5 stars
The microSD storage works like a charm and access to the card is easy. In addition as a BONUS the LX-570 supports the use of 4GB microSD cards, while most phones on the market still are limited to 2GB. When the included USB data cable is plugged in a menu pops up on the Muziq prompting to either Sync Music, become a Mass Storage device (a thumbdrive!), or function as a Modem. Sprint also bundles a CD with some software and drivers for Windows in case the phone isn’t recognized by your computer when connected. Syncing music with Windows Media Player 11 worked perfectly. Mac OS X users will need to directly transfer music to the microSD card using a SD card reader. Deals: 2GB microSD just $20
Bluetooth: 3/5 stars
While most phones being released today are now using Bluetooth v2.0, the Muziq is still using v1.1. (not even v1.2) Despite this it successfully paired with the Samsung WEP200, a Lexus IS250’s built-in handsfree system, and a HP dv6500t laptop. In addition it also supports the use of wireless stereo headsets. The only problem we had was that getting the devices to pair was a bit confusing. Unlike normal bluetooth phones and devices the Muziq first requires adding a found device to a “trusted list.” Then only after this can the two devices be paired by entering a pin.
FM Transmitter: 4/5 stars
To clarify for those who didn’t read the “FM” portion, the LG Muziq has a FM transmitter not a FM tuner. This means that you can broadcast the music on your phone to radios, however you will NOT have the ability to tune into your favorite stations. The most common use of this feature is to play your phone’s music through your car’s stereo. If you plan to do this a lot, you should probably purchase a car charger since battery life will drop drastically. The transmission feature works as advertised. Only annoyance we found was trying to find a clear frequency to broadcast on because it required us to go through multiple menus to try each station. (Once it’s set there won’t be any more hassle.) Transmission quality was clear and it worked best when within 5ft range of the radio.
External Controls: 5/5 stars
The touch sensitive buttons work as well. To activate the controls the keypad lock must be deactivated by holding down the camera button. Once activated, when a touch-sensitive button is pressed the phone vibrates providing feedback to the user. When playing music The red backlight is bright and the buttons are clearly visible. Only problem is that it takes a bit of getting used to since you keep hitting the wrong button when trying to navigate.
Email Client: 5/5 stars
We added this new category because this was one of the first phones we’ve seen of this price range to include a built-in push email client. Setup is extremely easy for average users since the phone already knows all the mail servers for AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo!, and Gmail, therefore only requiring a username and password. POP and IMAP users may enter their server information and login. The simple email client loads only a small amount of text/links. You will still need to get to a computer to view any images or other media. Accounts can be setup to push new messages to your phone as they reach your inbox or to be manually checked. The client also supports replying and sending new messages consisting of only plain text.
Sprint bundles a good amount of accessories along with the phone and the charger. They include a USB data cable for syncing music and other files, A adapter with a microphone for use with standard headsets, and a 64MB microSD card and SD adapter. The phone’s signal strength was also impressive and was one of the better ones we’ve had in a while (It maintained at least 2 bars in places where we usually get disconnected). The phone has a contact backup feature which is now becoming quite common for new phones. We were instantly able to retrieve all the contacts from a previous Sprint phone we had instantly from their network (Only downside is the $2/month). Another bonus with this phone is the ability to use J2ME apps. This allows access to a ton of free applications such as Google Earth, Gmail, GPS Navigators, Pandora, and thousands more!
Overall in a sentence this phone is pretty good for the price you pay, but isn’t exactly the best music player. Even cheaper phones from other service providers like Verizon have better playback interfaces. Also unless you really need a phone that’s got a built in FM transmitter, there are plenty of better phones available. I’d personally purchase a better phone and then buy a cheap FM transmitter to go along with it. This phone is now available from Sprint.com for $79 with a new 2 year contract and after a $50 Mail in Rebate. It’s a good deal considering the included a microSD card, USB cable, and headset adapter.