Samsung’s lavish press launch for the Jet made it look like it was going to be the phone of the century. Once the smoke lifted, the result was a phone that seemed rather plain and totally uninspiring. With a 5-megapixel camera, it looks rather dated compared to Samsung models that come with 8 or 12-megapixels. The phone has an Active Matrix OLED display, but then again, so does almost every recent Samsung phone.
So what makes the Jet so special? Well, according to Samsung it’s the speed – hence the reason it gets its name, Jet. The phone has an 800MHz ‘Application Processor’, which sounds incredibly quick. To put things into context, the new iPhone 3G S has a 600MHz processor and the Toshiba TG01 an even faster 1GHz processor. The Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the Toshiba is considered to be state-of-the-art, so for a humble non-smartphone, 800MHz is incredible.
But is it in reality? Not really. Sure, there’s little in the way of lagging as you jump around the menus, especially when the animated transitions introduce their own delay anyway. When you start up the new web browser (which allows you to jump between multiple windows), you can scroll around quickly, but not so fast that you’re going to be shouting ‘Wow!’. Entering text, using the on-screen keypad or the handwriting recognition mode is fast too, but the small screen makes using the virtual keyboard in landscape mode a bit tricky.
In fact, there’s no real sign of the benefit that a 800MHz processor gives, and perhaps anyone who understands a bit about computing will know that there’s more to speed than the clock speed – just like there’s more to the performance of an engine than BHP.
However, you don’t really need to care much about the innards of the phone once you’ve got one, and you can instead focus on what it can do, at a price that’s priced competitively in the mid-range phone market.
The phone has a reflective metallic finish on the back that shimmers in the light, although it looks like a late addition to the design. It has a large, bright and very vivid OLED screen, proper call and end buttons (with a back-up key in the middle) and a perfectly acceptable camera. It also has the latest TouchWiz user interface complete with widgets that can be placed on any one of three home screens (scrolled left and right with your finger). Plus the screen is capacitive so it’s entirely finger controlled, with no need for a stylus. Amen.
The Jet also has GPS, Wi-Fi, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a decent media player – with video playback possibly benefiting from the extra speed (except other Samsung handsets can play video too without delays, so I’m not convinced here either).
Samsung has tried to standardise its user interface with the TouchWiz look and feel, including many similar applications and menus on the I8910 HD, which uses Nokia’s Series 60 user interface. Although the I8910 has a slower processor, it has more features; from a larger display to HD video recording and it certainly doesn’t seem slower when it matters (again proving my earlier point).
The Jet is considerably smaller than a I8910, which isn’t surprising considering it has a 3.1-inch screen as against 3.7-inch. Where the Jet excels is with the web browser, which is an improvement on the I8910, especially when working with multiple web pages. You can also use touchscreen gestures to doperate functions, even when the phone is locked.
The Jet also supports the ‘fake call’ feature, first seen on the Tocco Ultra Edition, allowing you to make the phone ring (after a short delay from when you hold a volume key) and get the phone to play a pre-recorded audio clip. Something for personal security, according to Samsung, but probably more useful for getting out of boring meetings.
All in all, this is a well-featured touchscreen phone that doesn’t have to be well endowed with features to still have appeal, but small fingers are definitely going to be a plus.
Samsung is hyping this phone up because of its ‘800MHz Application Processor’, but that doesn’t really mean much in the real world; the fact is, no Samsung phone released this year is slow! This phone has impressive functionality, and equally impressive battery performance (five hours talktime on 3G, or eight on 2G). It also has an all-new web browser that manages multiple windows, a decent 5-megapixel camera and an amazing AM-OLED screen. The downside is that the small screen makes using your finger to enter text a bit awkward.