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CNET First Look
Samsung Suede with Muve MusicCNET scrutinizes the Suede -is it worthy of inaugurating Cricket's novel all-you-can-eat music plan?
-Hi, I'm Jessica Dolcourt from CNET taking a second look at the Samsung Suede. This is a new phone for Cricket Wireless and I first checked out the Suede at CES, which CNET was so impressed with that it nominated it for the Best of CES Award in the Service Category, and that was for one particular feature. That feature is Muve Music. This is a combination of music software and a special monthly plan. For $55 a month, you get unlimited talk, text, web, and e-mail. That's pretty standard with Cricket. But you also get unlimited music downloads, ring tones, ringback tones, and a song identification app with Shazam. There's this music button right here, and this is the button that opens the Muve Music home screen. That's where you see all of your tunes that you can play. You'll find more hits or playlists by genre. The library on Muve Music is fairly well stocked, thanks to all these deals that Cricket made with US music labels, but note that you won't find every title under the sun. There's also a social aspect to Muve as well, and if you feel like sharing your zeal or maybe even your hatred for a certain song, then you can. Since the songs are all downloads and they're not music streams, they basically live on a specially configured Muve Music micro SD card. There's a 4-gigabyte version that comes with the phone and it reserves 1 gigabyte for your own personal use. Cricket does plan to sell an 8-gigabyte version as well if that's just not enough space for you. But be forewarned that the Muve Music System will not work if you've got a standard mirco SD card in. And also, song and file types aren't MP3s, and that keeps you from transferring the songs to your computer or to other MP3 players because you don't really own the songs. What you do is you rent them as long as you pay your phone bill. The Muve Music interface itself is pretty easy to get around, but I did have some complaints with usability. There are several functions that take too many steps to get to. The playlist could be a lot easier to manage. Also, the whole thing is a little bit slow and there is an annoying beep when you transition between songs. As for the rest of the phone, I find the design fairly unremarkable. There's this 3-inch capacitive touchscreen, but it's really too small for comfortably typing and moving around. I really wish also that Samsung would just go ahead and kill TouchWiz 2.0 because that interface is slow, it's clunky, and the widget trays are, frankly, outdated. The 3-megapixel camera however was pretty good and there were some nice on-screen controls. Call quality was pretty good on this phone as well. It was very strong and the Suede surprised me with one of the best speaker phones that I've ever heard. Muve Music though is what really shines on this phone. There are some growing pains ahead, but it's still a really unique and compelling feature. I do wish that it was shipping on a better and more interesting phone, but I really can't complain about the call quality. The Suede is priced at $199 retail but without a contract, and you can get it for $99 for a limited time. Muve Music costs a very reasonable $55 a month. I'm Jessica Dolcourt. If you have this phone, tell me what you think about the Samsung Suede with Muve Music for Cricket Wireless.