The UpStage is an ultra-thin 2.57-ounce handset that comes in a stylish black and measures in at 4.07″ x 1.73″ x 0.37″. In terms of aesthetics, the it lives up to the best of both worlds as far as the convergence of phones and music players go. Its telephone side resembles a trendy, candy bar-style phone; while the flipside actually looks like an MP3 player. The UpStage’s phone display is quite standard – there’s a toggle key with an OK/menu button in the center. Around the toggle are two soft keys, a Camera Key, Back Key and Talk and End/Power Keys. The buttons lie flat to the surface, plus, consumers won’t have to worry about leaving greasy fingerprint marks on the keypad or exterior, which has a no-gloss, matte finish to it.
On the MP3/Main LCD side, users can admire a large, 2.1-inch TFT LCD screen. Below the screen is a touch-sensitive navigation pad with control zones for “Menu,” “Back,” “End,” Track Forward and Back, and a center Play/Pause button.
On the right side is a “Flip” button that allows users to switch from the phone to the MP3 player side. (Consumers can operate only one side of the UpStage at a time.) Above the Flip Key is sliding button that can lock exterior key functions so users don’t make any unwanted actions, like accidentally calling someone while the phone is in a purse or pocket. Below the Flip Key is a microSD card slot, handy for the 64 MB memory card that comes with the phone package. And on the opposite side panel is a Volume Control, Reset Key and a Charger Port, which also serves as a Headset Jack.
The UpStage’s internal antenna is located in the bottom half of the handset. There is a carrying hole on the top left corner to attach a hand strap or cell phone charm.
For first time users, the touch-activated pad takes some getting used to. Samsung notes that circular movements, like that one would use on an iPod, will not work on the UpStage. However, light tapping for moving horizontally or vertically through screen choices seems to work best. Additionally, short swipes move the highlighted menu choice over or up one selection, while a long wipe moves it two choices. A long swipe and a pause will scroll through the icons continuously until the finger is lifted.
What also may take time to learn is remembering which side of the phone bears which functions, however, the UpStage does a good job of prompting users to flip the phone during use. One scenario where the flipping habit could become annoying could be when typing text on the keypad becomes necessary. Since users can only view features like the Sprint Music Store or the Internet on the Music Side, they would have to activate the Flip Key, turn the phone over, type their email or search query, and then flip the phone back over. The UpStage also gives the option to type using a “Virtual Keypad” that is controlled by the touch-sensitive navigation pad.
The easy-to-follow menu interface can be changed from Icon View to a List View. Users can customize their display settings between two colors – white and black – change text sizes and choose from six wallpapers that come with the phone.
Out of the box, the Samsung UpStage comes with an Extended Battery Wallet, Travel Charger, 3.5 mm Headset Adaptor, 64 MB microSD Memory Card, Sprint Music Manager Software, and User Guide. A novel feature of the UpStage is its protective case, which doubles as an extended battery pack. The phone’s pre-installed Lithium-Polymer battery provides about 2.5 hours of continuous talk time. When the handset is stored into its battery wallet/protective case, talk and music listening time extends to 6.5 hours of talk time or 16 hours of listening to music. One downside is that the internal battery compartment isn’t readily accessible to consumers, so if it suddenly dies, they’ll have to send in the entire phone to Sprint customer service.
A point of convenience in the UpStage is that it comes with a 3.5 mm headset adaptor that can plug in traditional headphones to listen to tunes on the go. Activate the phone’s Airplane Mode (which turns off the phone’s ability to receive calls and access the Internet) and consumers can listen to their MP3 collection during flights.
The UpStage uses the high-speed EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) broadband network for streaming media and speedy downloads. Faster bandwidth is a good necessity for the UpStage, which has access to the Sprint Power Vision Network for downloading various video clips, games, sounds and music.
The UpStage also offers a microSD slot for up to 2 GB of external storage. Audio
Audio quality on the UpStage seems to be best while using headphones or stereo headset for listening to songs or music videos. Its single speaker is located on top portion of the Phone Side, so if travelers are using the MP3 player or watching videos without a headset, the sound will be pointed in the opposite direction. Without headphones, sound quality will likely improve if they hold the UpStage upright in their hand as opposed to laying it flat on a table. In conjunction with the UpStage’s release, Sprint Music Store is now offering downloads for 99 cents per song – a steal compared to Verizon’s VCAST where customers pay $1.99 per full-length song. With Sprint’s Mobile Podcasting Services, users can also have RSS distributed audio content sent to their phone.
The UpStage’s dual-band network provides superior call quality and fewer dropped calls. Access to the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) 800 and 1900 MHz network is standard for more recent phones and essentially allows more subscribers to share the airwaves.
Other audio features include Speakerphone, Three-Way Calling, Voice-Activated Dialing, and Voice Memo Recording with the ability to store up to 10, 1-minute long memos. It has a continuous talk time about 2.5 hours and 6.5 hours when connected with its external battery wallet/protective case.
In addition to silent and vibrate modes, the UpStage comes with 29 ringtones and melodies. More are available for download from Sprint.
Sprint Power Vision gives users wireless access to the Internet for sending email, instant messages and joining chatrooms.
Text input options include “Auto-Capital” for automatic capitalization of words, “Display Cand.” for the phone to display suggested words from its dictionary as typed, “Used word Dic.” for inputing new words into the phone’s database of words, dual language for English and Spanish and “Insert Space,” which can automatically add a space after each word.
With SMS text messaging, preset messages can be created with up to 160 characters and sent to as many as 10 recipients at once. Additional forms of messaging include picture and 30-second video messages, Web-based email and instant messaging with AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! messenger. Internet
EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) technology gives the UpStage high-speed data connectivity for downloading media content from Sprint services straight to the phone.
Wireless access to the Web puts customers in touch with email, instant messaging, chatrooms and news headlines. The phone can also be used as a modem to connect a laptop or desktop computer to the Internet via the Sprint National Network.
The UpStage carries 70 MB of in
ternal shared memory and comes with a 64 MB microSD card for its external card slot. For users who with a larger appetite, the UpStage can accommodate memory cards up to 2 GB, which is ample storage space for a music phone.
Its standard sized phone book can store 500 entries, each entry with an option to add up to five phone numbers, email and Web addresses, notes and nicknames. For added personalization, users can add photo ID, custom ringtones and designation as “Family,” “Friend,” “Colleague” or “VIPs.” The UpStage can store 98 one-touch speed dial entries, plus one preprogrammed entry for voicemail.
With built-in Bluetooth 2.0 technology, connecting to Bluetooth-enabled headsets, handsfree devices and compatible printers offers a more flexible and convenient way to get more out of the UpStage through wireless information exchange. One of the more interesting Bluetooth features of the phone is a voice caller ID that tells who is calling if listening to music on the other side of the phone.
To pair headsets and handsfree devices, Headset Profile (HSP) and Handsfree Profile (HFP) can be enabled for use within a 10-meter or 30-feet distance from the phone. The UpStage also supports Basic Printing Profile (BPP) for wirelessly sending text, emails, vCards and images to printers without needing printer-specific drivers; Dial-Up Networking (DUN) for a wireless Internet connection; Object-Push Profile (OPP) for virtual business cards; File Transfer Protocol (FTP); audio/video remote control (AVRCP); and Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) for transferring MP3 music to a Bluetooth headset or car radio.
Samsung UpStage (M620) Features
* Sprint Music Manager, powered by Smith Micro, gives users the power to quickly and simply transfer, or “sideload,” unprotected songs from a PC to the handset via a USB cable
* Provided on an enclosed CD-ROM, Music Manager also allows songs to be managed on the PC through an intuitive interface
* Advanced Stereo Bluetooth 2.0 with Bluetooth caller ID enables the user to identify callers with a spoken voice while they listen to music
* UpStage by Samsung gives users the power to multitask with the ability to play music in background mode while also using the phone for text messaging, playing games or surfing the Internet
Samsung UpStage (M620) Specs
Network: CDMA 800 / 1900
Form Factor: Dual Face
Dimensions: 104 x 44 x 9 mm
Weight: 73 g
Navigation: Touchpad / 5-Way Keypad
Battery Type: Li-Ion
Talk Time: 6.30
Standby Time: Unknown
Memory: 100.0 MB
Expandable Memory: microSD / TransFlash
Main Screen: 262000 colors (TFT)
176 x 220 px
External Screen: No
Camera: 1.3 MP / Flash / Zoom / Video Recorder
MP3 Player: Sprint Music Store / Sprint Music Manager
FM Radio: No
Wallpapers: 176 x 220 px
Screen Savers: 176 x 220 px
Ring Tones: MP3
Streaming Multimedia: Sprint TV
Predictive Text: T9
Phonebook Capacity: Unknown
To-Do List: Yes
Voice Commands: Yes
Bluetooth: 2.0 (A2DP / DUN / HFP / HSF / OPP / SPP)
Infrared Port: No
High-Speed Data: cdma2000 1xEV-DO
PC Sync: Wireless Backup