Click to viewSprint's Instinct is so special the carrier is holding its own super special event. Unfortunately, it hasn't quite finished baking, so the full feature set wasn't entirely ready to go—we had to visit different "stations" to check out each feature individually to keep us from diving too deep. The iPhone-challenging visual voicemail, for instance, ain't quite live. Plus, it locked up when I was messing around with the music store, and needed a hard reset for the more money shot voice command features, which still didn't quite work (or finding a McDonald's is just too much). And the web browser doesn't, um, touch mobile Safari, at least not in its present state.
There's no accelerometer and website viewing is landscape only (conversely, navigation is portrait only). No pinching or pulling, either, you tap a zoom button multiple times to get the level you want. Bleh. It tries to make up for being less dynamic with a mode that lets you pan through a site by moving the phone around, using the camera as the sensor. But, it didn't quite work, at least not for Giz, which loaded painfully slow, despite the 3G connection.
Haptic feedback has a lighter touch than the Voyager, though when you scroll through a list, it does this weird undulating vibration wave throughout the entire phone, which is both neat and slightly unnerving. Since it's so beta (dare I say buggy?), it's hard to gauge its true iPhone-killing potential right now, but we'll be keeping our eye on it. (Props to Dave Zatz for letting us jack his iPhone for the size-off.)