We've spent some quality time the past few days with the Samsung Vitality from Cricket Communications, and we've come away pleasantly surprised. With the Vitality, you've got a mid-level Android smartphone that's light, thin and surprisingly quick. It's running Android 2.3.4 with the stock user interface, with an 800MHz processor pushing a 3.5-inch display at 320x480 resolution. There's a 3.2MP camera on the back. A dual-core, high-megapixel, high-end phone this is not.
But the raw specs aren't the shining features of the Vitality. Can you believe, unlimited everything for just $65?
Youtube link for mobile viewing
No, the shining features of the Vitality are the Muve Music service, and Cricket's all-encompassing data/voice/music plans.
Let's get back to the hardware for a second. The phone itself will run around $200
on contract (update: That's outright -- Cricket doesn't do contracts) when it's released later this month. It's a pretty basic candy bar design, with four physical buttons below the display. The volume rocker's on the left-hand bezel, along with the microSD card. Yes, it's external. No removing the battery. That's a nice touch.
The right-hand bezel houses the power button and Muve button. And that's your first indication that the Vitality indeed is a music phone. The Muve button has two functions. A short press takes you to music play screen, a long press takes you to the Muve home screen.
The Muve Music experience was surprisingly good. I usually prefer to just drag and drop folders onto a storage card and sort things out myself, but Muve does a nice job of presenting and organizing the music that you download to the phone. And the downloading process is simple, too -- just a couple taps. You'll do all your downloading over Cricket's 3G network -- there's Wifi on the phone, but it doesn't work with Muve. While it's certainly not as fast as Wifi, it wasn't horrible, either.
As you'll see in the video above, Muve is an easy-to-use music service. But what really makes it shine is that Cricket's made the billing process as simple as can be. Actually, there is no billing. No per-song fee. You pay $65 a month for unlimited voice calls. And unlimited data. And unlimited Muve Music. And for our money, it doesn't get much better than that.