I’ve been looking forward to putting the Samsung Jet through its paces ever since I first saw a prototype of it in action several months ago.
At first glance, the Jet looks almost identical to Nokia’s popular 5800 XpressMusic device. It beats its Nokia rival in several key areas — mainly its sheer good looks — but falls down a little in other areas.
What must be said upfront is that this is a sexy-looking phone. The first thing that catches your eye is the Jet’s ultra-bright active-matrix OLED screen. It’s quite simply the best display I’ve seen in a mobile device (beating even the iPhone 3G) and serves up stunning 3D-like graphics.
The resolution on the 3,1-inch-wide, 480dpi screen is a stunning 480×800 pixels. On-screen video playback — a wide range of video formats is supported — is a sight to behold.
The 110g Jet, which Samsung is careful not to call a smartphone — it doesn’t support all the back-office features you’d expect in a top-end business phone — is also blazingly fast (hence the name, I guess).
The phone, which ships with an 8GB microSD card, has a slick design, with three buttons below the touch screen, a call button, hang-up and power-on/off button and a general-purpose selection button similar to the iPhone’s.
The Jet has a powerful hardware spec: it has integrated Wi-Fi, GPS receiver; high-quality, 5-megapixel digital camera with dual-LED flash and face and smile detection, geo-tagging and blink detection in the software; and an FM radio.
The 3G aerial supports 3,6Mbit/s high-speed packet access — we’d have preferred at least 7,2Mbit/s for tethering with a PC.
We didn’t have a chance to test the battery life, but Samsung claims the OLED screen uses 40% less power than equivalently sized LCDs. Talk time on 3G is up to 300 minutes; on 2G up to 492 minutes.
The feature of the Jet that Samsung appears most proud of is its 3D-like software interface. There’s no doubt it’s candy for the eyes. You can flip between three customisable home screens, much you can on the new HTC Hero (though the Hero has seven such screens). And you can install widgets and access services like Gmail, YouTube and Facebook via an auto-hiding side panel.
While the interface is gorgeous to look at, we found it a little clunky compared to other modern touch-screen devices, especially higher end devices like the Hero and the iPhone.
It was sometimes unresponsive to finger gestures, requiring me to press fairly hard on the screen to get it to do something. This isn’t a fault of the phone’s hardware, but rather how the software was designed. Perhaps a firmware upgrade will address this. It’s not a reason not to look at this phone, but new users may find it a little frustrating.
Like most Korean-made phones, the Jet is too noisy. Koreans seem to love their cellphones making gimmicky sound effects, but Samsung would be well advised to minimise these beeps and whirrs on phones it sells to other parts of the world. They’re more annoying than cute.
If you’re looking for a business phone, this is not the one to get. But if you need a fun touch-screen phone to use over weekends, we think Samsung probably has the best device out there right now.
For a mid-range touch-screen phone, the Jet is slightly on the pricey side, though. It costs R5 999 prepaid. It is also available on contract from MTN, Vodacom and Cell C. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral