Samsung Juke review

The Samsung Juke is a tiny, tiny phone. It’s a good phone, too. Hell, it’s a great phone. The call quality for such a small phone is impressive. If you’re looking for a great, pocketable phone that’s capable of making and receiving calls reliably, this is a great option at $99 with 2-year contract.

Problem is, the Juke’s being marketed as a music phone and as a music phone, it’s merely adequate. The most glaring omission from a feature standpoint is the lack of over-the-air V Cast music downloads. You’ll have to use your computer to download the music first and then transfer your songs to the phone using a USB cable. You’ll get 2GB of storage to play with, which would hopefully be enough for most people, but there’s no way to expand that because there’s nowhere to put a card slot on such a tiny phone.

Another quirk is that when flipping the phone open from the closed position, the phone will be upside down. And if you have the phone open and you want to listen to music, you have to close it again and turn it sideways. I found myself holding the closed phone in my hand and always trying to push the screen to the right to get it to open. You have to push it to the left and the force by which it flips open often made me feel as if I were about to drop it. This might be something that you’d get used to after awhile but it’s definitely not intuitive at first.

Lack of over-the-air music and the weird upside-down thing aside, the Juke performs admirably at as a phone. Call quality is very good and the battery is an impressive 3.5 hours talk time and 250 hours standby (I mistakenly said 500 hours in the above video — that’s for the extended battery). The speakerphone is okay, not great, and I was able to pair three different Bluetooth headsets without any problems. There’s also a VGA camera (photos only, no video), a smallish scroll wheel, a somewhat above-average keypad (especially given the size of the device), and a decent (albeit tiny) 262,000-color 1.5-inch display.

All in all, it seems like the Juke is suffering from an identity crisis. If it had been positioned as a regular old cell phone that just happened to play music that you transferred from your computer, it’d be a good deal for a good phone. But since it’s positioned as a music-centric phone, the lack of 3G and direct-to-device downloads coupled with the limited storage capacity makes it somewhat of an underachiever.

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