i-mate JAMA 201

Slim and lightweight smartphone

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i-mate JAMA 201
  • i-mate JAMA 201
  • i-mate JAMA 201
  • i-mate JAMA 201
  • Expert Rating

    2.75 / 5

Pros

  • Lightweight frame, rubberised finish, comfortable and tactile keypad

Cons

  • No 3G connectivity, tri-band and not quad-band GSM, Bluetooth 1.2, USB 1.2, mediocre camera, slow processor

Bottom Line

The JAMA 201 boasts an excellent design and the keyboard and controls make it a pleasure to use, but the lack of features will turn many away.

Would you buy this?

Featuring a slim and light frame but still managing to boast a full QWERTY keyboard, the i-mate JAMA 201's design will definitely turn some heads. The black, rubber-style soft finish and well-implemented controls make this a slick device, but the lack of 3G connectivity hinders its appeal, as do the limited features on offer.

The design of the JAMA 201 is clearly its strong point. It feels comfortable to hold in your hand and, measuring just 14mm thick, slides easily into any shirt pocket. It's definitely one of the more stylish smartphones to feature a full QWERTY keyboard.

The keyboard itself is comfortable to type on thanks to keys that are raised and well spaced to prevent accidental keystrokes. Tactile response is excellent, with each key clicking when pressed. We were able to churn out reasonable speeds when typing messages and e-mails. Our only complaint with the controls is the rather disappointing five-way navigational pad — navigating using the up and down directions is a hit and miss affair thanks to the thin design of the pad.

The display is reasonable, but not outstanding. The JAMA 201 runs the Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition, so it's not a touch-screen device. The display has a fairly mediocre viewing angle and tends to reflect direct sunlight quite poorly, so some users maybe left squinting at times. On the other hand, text is crisp, video content is displayed quite well and the screen is bright and clear enough to make it suitable for general day-to-day use.

Although the JAMA 201 hasn't been designed to compete at the top end of the market, this doesn't excuse its lack of connectivity features. It's a standard, tri-band GSM phone with EDGE support — the lack of 3G means those after a handset to use for mobile Internet are best advised to look elsewhere. The fact that this is a tri-band phone and not quad-band also means it won't work in the US, so keep this in mind if you are a frequent business traveller.

In addition, there's Bluetooth but it is only the 1.2 protocol rather than the faster 2.0 version (and there is no A2DP profile); Wi-Fi and GPS are also notable omissions. A standard mini-USB connection handles charging and synchronisation, though strangely this uses the 1.2 protocol, meaning it's somewhat slower than the USB 2.0 interface found on most new phones. A two-megapixel camera is present, but it has no flash, autofocus or self-portrait mirror and looks considerably dated when compared to recent competing models (and the images produced are in the same boat). A microSD card slot allows extra memory, but there is no card included in the sales package and the slot location beneath the battery is an annoyance.

For general use, the JAMA 201 and Windows Mobile OS work well, but it does seem sluggish at times, especially when running multiple applications. Part of this is perhaps due to the specifications — the 300MHz Samsung processor certainly isn't inspiring, nor is the 128MB ROM and 64MB RAM.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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