Sprint Samsung SPH-M610

So I’m in the Sprint Ambassador program, which means they send me phones a couple of times a year, with a free unlimited account to use them with. I like Sprint for this, even though I stopped paying my other phone bill out of brokeness and they’ve sent it to collections. (Dear Sprint: I swear I’ll pay the bill as soon as I can.)

The phone they’ve given me most recently is the titular Spring Samsung SPH-M610. I actually like it. It’s not really a futurephone in any way, but it’s a perfectly useful cellular phone with a decent built-in camera. I especially like the fact that it works as a Bluetooth-connected modem with my MacBook Pro, straight out of the box: just set it up in your Networking panel and it runs like butter. It’s pretty fast, and it’s been a lifesaver a couple of times.

There are only two things, in fact, that I don’t like about it: 1) the ringer isn’t loud enough, and b) it uses a proprietary jack not only for power and USB, but also for wired headphone — you can’t just plug a 2.5mm headphone into it. Since I don’t like my Bluetooth headphone very much, and I have a really nice wired headphone I use when driving or when I need my hands, this is sort of a problem.

Other than that, I can actually recommend it as a low-end cellphone (as opposed to some multi-Benjamin rig like the iPhone or the Ocean or what-have-you). It’s thin and light, with a rubberized skin that keeps it from slipping out of your hand (I’ve only dropped it once or twice, and it survived with no ill effects). The software is pretty straightforward and easy-to-use, though I wish there were an easier way to turn Bluetooth on and off than to go through a couple of menus. The battery life is good — I usually need to charge it once every four or five days, unless I forget to turn the Bluetooth off after modem surfing, in which case it’s about two to three days.

I think I’ll probably keep this phone until Sprint sends me a new one. After a few years, I got sick of my Treo 650. I never used the smartphone features, and it was just too big and bulky and fugly and useless as a modem (or even with a Bluetooth headset). Unless I get one of the new Samsungs like my friend Matt has — which have dual QWERTY/keypad sliders — I’m not going to bother with anything more hardcore. I just don’t see the point, frankly…at least until cellphones and UMPCs finally just converge for good.

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