What if AT&T's 3G network hasn't come to your neck of the woods but you still want the web browsing/touchscreen/GPS whizziness of Apple's iPhone 3G?
Samsung's Instinct has all that and more. It runs on Sprint's EV-DO Rev.A network, which is more widely available. It's priced at $130 with a two-year contract--less than the 8GB iPhone's new $199 price tag--but it only includes 2GB of memory (upgradable to 8GB online for $60 to $70).
No, Instinct doesn't have that je ne sais quoi that appeals to Apple fans. But it's cool enough for the rest of us and includes features the iPhone doesn't, such as voice dialing, video capture, more robust messaging and live TV. Sprint also claims its plans are priced better or more fully featured than AT&T's ($100 a month gets you "Simply Everything"). But phone bundle values can be very subjective. Which is more important to you: phone TV or more standard memory?
Instinct easily surrenders its utility to your touch, and its landscape-oriented virtual keyboard beats iPhone's--or any cell phone keypad. Even TV looks great on its 3.1-inch diagonal display. Each of its two batteries is rated for 5.75 hours of talking--but turn on TV or stream music and who knows?
GPS is a bit slow and clunky but still offers turn-by-turn voice navigation, encapsulated directions and traffic reports. TomTom won't be threatened, but, worst case, you'll always have a map of everywhere in your pocket.
The real technological tour de force is Instinct's 2 megapixel camera/camcorder that takes snapshots or videos even in low light without a flash. E-mailing the resulting Quicktime objects could be easier, though. It's tied to Sprint's very limited Picture Mail website, which for some reason doesn't work in Firefox, Opera or Safari. Eventually, you'll figure out how to send these objects as simple e-mail attachments.