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Instinct's calendar syncing put to the test

We put a Samsung Instinct through its paces to test the new Outlook calendar syncing.

Now sync your calendar on the Instinct. Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

I know that it's been a while, but I did promise you last month that I would report back on my experience with the Samsung Instinct's new calendar syncing ability. I apologize for the wait, but the holidays and CES prevented me from getting an activated Instinct handset from Sprint.

Fortunately, the wait proved to be the worst thing about the experience as the new feature worked pretty much as promised. Once a review model arrived, I had to download three software updates, which took about 20 minutes, but they loaded without incident or a missed connection.

After installing the updates and syncing the phone with my CNET OWA (Outlook Web Access) e-mail, a new "work calendar" update button appeared under the calendar menu. Pressing that button synced the Instinct and my Outlook calendar in just a few seconds. The data connection cut out on my first try, but the second attempt brought success. All of my current appointments then appeared under their appropriate day with the correct time, location, and description. To get back to the calendar from the main menu, I could choose either the calendar or e-mail icons.

As Sprint promised, I was able to create a new appointment on the Instinct, which then synced back to my PC automatically. Also, I could get meeting reminders, accept or decline new appointments, and edit or delete current meetings right on the phone. Any edits made on the Instinct synced back to my PC in just a few seconds; the reverse process took a bit longer. Yet, it was a satisfying experience on the whole.

Still, there were a few quirks. If I made a change to one instance of a recurring meeting, it applied only to that specific meeting. I didn't have the option of applying it to every meeting in the series. What's more, I could get only daily and monthly views--weekly views were not a possibility.

The Instinct defaults to separate personal and work calendars, but you don't have to use them. There's nothing to stop you from entering all events, personal or otherwise, under your work calendar. In any case, that probably is your best bet considering the calendar syncing function works only with Microsoft Exchange Server 2000, 2003, and 2007 accounts and IBM Lotus Notes. Calendars through IMAP4 e-mail services like Hotmail, AOL, or Yahoo are not supported.