Sprint is spending a lot of money in attempts to slay the iPhone and give AT&T a run for their money. And while we may all snicker over how closely their new posterboy the Samsung Instinct resembles the iPhone, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sprint has worked closely with Samsung to put a sleek iPhonesque UI over a pocketable handset that can handle video, stream TV, and offer turn-by-turn GPS.
So what did the reviewers think?
The Instinct's touch screen dominates its real estate. With support for 262,000 colours and a 432,240-pixel resolution, the display is positively gorgeous. Colours popped, graphics were vibrant, and text was crisp. Indeed, it's one of the better displays we've seen in a while...but [it]can look rather cramped...
The result is a lucid, logical interface. It's not as pretty as the iPhone's, but it allows the user to quickly use e-mail, Web browsing, GPS navigation and text messaging; watch videos, live TV and photos; and listen to music and online radio.
Wall Street Journal
The touch system on the Instinct is more like that on an ancient ATM than a cutting-edge gadget, even though it has a gimmicky feedback mechanism that gives you a tiny vibration-jolt when you press an icon.
Above all else, the Samsung Instinct made phone calls that sounded great..crisp and clean, with no static or drop-outs in our test period. Reception was a steady three bars in lower Manhattan, which seemed a bit low, but this didn't affect calling, messaging or data, so we didn't let it bother us.
Messaging is a mixed bag, with the Instinct falling a little more on the corporate side than the consumer. SMS, MMS and email are all supported, with the latter playing nicely with webmail, POP/IMAP and Exchange accounts, but there's no instant messaging client and only plain-text, not HTML emails are viewable. Attachments can be sent with outgoing email, but not opened from incoming messages.
Samsung and Sprint borrowed liberally from the iPhone playbook when it came to look and feel. But the comparison itself isn't fair: The iPhone is a software platform that is growing every day, soon to have a host of applications that put it squarely in the smartphone category along with BlackBerry, Palm and Windows Mobile. The Samsung Instinct will never be mistaken for a smartphone.