Until now, that is. After a long hiatus, it looks like Sprint and LG have come together at last with the brand-new LG Muziq. It comes with a built-in FM transmitter, a 1.3-megapixel camera, EV-DO support, and a microSD card slot, as well as access to Sprint multimedia content including Sprint TV, the Sprint Music Store, and streaming music from Pandora. We also like that we could multitask applications while listening to the music. A slender and easy-to-use phone, there were a few design issues that we could've done without (such as thin keys on the side and the touch-sensitive music controls), but the LG Muziq is overall a quality music phone with excellent performance. The LG Muziq will be available for a very affordable $99 with a two-year service agreement with Sprint.
As far as sequels go, the LG Muziq is far more than just a Fusic II. Featuring a much more streamlined design, the Muziq has discarded the white-and-navy color scheme of the Fusic in favor of a glossy black exterior and glowing red music player controls similar to those of the LG Chocolate. At 1.94 inches wide, 3.8 inches long, 0.61 inch deep, and weighing in at 3.14 ounces, the LG Muziq is a slender and lightweight phone that feels comfortable in the hand and cradles nicely next to the ear. The overall design is rectangular, with clean lines and a smooth finish that's unfortunately prone to fingerprint smudges. We're happy to see a vibrant 262,000-color 1.3-inch diagonal external screen on the LG Muziq. Not only does it display the customary date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID info, it also acts as a camera viewfinder, and it will show the currently playing track whenever the music player is activated. It also supports photo caller ID, which is a nice touch.
The camera lens, flash, and status LED sits above the display, while the music player controls are beneath it. The music player controls are circular, much like the LG Fusic and the Sanyo M1, but they are touch-sensitive, which is similar to the controls on the Chocolate. We're generally not fans of electrostatic touch keys like these because there's always a danger of accidentally pressing a key unless you have a key guard lock. For the Muziq, there are options to either activate or deactivate the key guard lock, so that allows for some flexibility. Another downside to electrostatic touch keys is the lack of tactile feedback, but the Muziq solves this problem with a slight haptic feedback whenever you touch the music player controls. We really appreciate this innovation, as it helped us be aware of when we've actually pressed a key. So while we're not entirely sold on the touch-sensitive music player controls (we still prefer real tactile feedback), we do like the key guard lock options, and we prefer the haptic feedback over nothing at all. Rounding out the phone's exterior are the volume rocker and charger jack on the left spine, while the right spine is home to a music player key, a camera key, a headset jack, and a microSD card slot. Even though all the side keys are raised above the surface, they seem a little too thin for our liking.
Flip open the phone and you're presented with a lovely, 2.2-inch-diagonal TFT display with 262,000 colors as well. The display is bright and colorful, though the graphics seemed a little washed out. The menu interface is well-laid-out and easy to understand. When the Muziq theme interface is activated, there's even a row of onscreen program shortcuts on the main display that lead you to the Main Menu, Sprint's On Demand service (complete with a little dialog pop-up box of the latest news and weather information), the music player, and the messaging application. You can change the font size of text messages, browser text, plus notepad text. You can also adjust the backlight time.
The navigation controls on the LG Muziq are pretty spacious. There are two soft keys, a circular four-way toggle with a center menu/OK key, the Talk and End controls, a back button, and a speakerphone key that also doubles as a voice command shortcut key, plus a dedicated camera key. When the Muziq theme interface is not being used (say, if you were using the Sprint or LG theme interface instead), the toggle doubles as shortcuts to four user-defined features. The alphanumeric keypad is quite spacious as well, and even though both the keypad and the controls are nearly flush with the phone's surface, there are slight delineating bumps in between each key that help with dialing by feel.
The LG Muziq has a pretty impressive feature set to go along with its stylish good looks. But before we address its multimedia capabilities, we'll start off with the basics. The LG Muziq's phone book stores around 500 contacts, which is a little skimpy for a phone like this. Each entry has room for five phone numbers, e-mail and Web addresses, and a memo. You can save callers to groups or pair them with a photo or any of 31 polyphonic ringtones. Other essentials include text and multimedia messaging, a vibrate mode, an alarm clock, a calculator, a scheduler, a notepad, and a world clock. There are also a number of higher-end features including a wireless Web browser, voice memo recording, voice commands and dialing, mass USB storage, e-mail, instant messaging, a speakerphone, stereo Bluetooth, a memory card manager, EV-DO support, and a music composer so you can create your own ringtones. The LG Muziq is also Sprint's first phone that allows use of a 4GB microSD card, which is great for storing music and image files.