While David Pogue needlessly defends his humorous style of gadget review to insignificant, humorless bloggers, Mossberg is sticking to the serious, oh-so-very serious business at hand. And that business is kicking the living optimism out of the innovative, but overwhelmingly imperfect Samsung Upstage.
Also, his stage presence has improved dramatically, no small thanks to a little intro with Mossberg's image, name, jingle, and improved lighting. This is a brave new world, and Mossberg is diving in: Godfather says, all your base are below to us, gadget video bloggers. I won't lie, it's not entertaining like Pogue's work. But the added polish pushes the main Mossberg "thang" across: Blistering Authority that makes the gadget makers feel like the Mossy Professor is taking them to G-school.
The phone is doomed from paragraph 2, but basically the meat is this: He hates the 2.5 hours of talk time and 7 hours of music playback, as well as the trouble with flipping between front and back. The phone's UI is two faced, like the LCD setup. It promises that two sets of controls will make for dedicated music and phone controls, but in the end, it just feels like you've two sets of controls to contend for your attention.
Comparing it to an LG phone, it fares well. But what doesn't? (Like saying your mother in law is far more beautiful than swine, this is really an insult formed as a compliment.) And compared to the iPod Nano, the Samsung phone eats shit. I find these comparisons to be a bit confusing when a Sony Ericsson W810 from Cingular or a Sprint Fusic might have been better matches.
I think this phone's sophisticated design is meant for a technophile, not your typical WSJ reader. But as written to his audience, his arguments are bulletproof, the Upstage has no escape, and I barely have any writing material.
I suppose he's flexing his mental facilities after some people called his Apple TV review a soft verdict. (I didn't think so — the scoop called for a classic review, straight up, and that's what he delivered.)
Samsung and Sprint deserve credit for a good try with the UpStage. But it doesn't quite cut it.