So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Sliding backlit keyboard, Screen flips into landscape mode automatically, HSDPA capable, Generous features list, microSD card slot
- Bluetooth only 1.2, Proprietary USB and headphone jack, Slider isn't smooth, Sluggish performance
The JASJAM is a fair device with a generous features list, but a slow processor and chunky size dampen its appeal.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
Exclusively available on Telstra's Next-G network, the i-mate JASJAM is an HSDPA capable smart phone that features a slide-out keyboard, built in Wi-Fi, a 2 megapixel camera and memory expansion via a microSD card slot. A somewhat similar unit to the K-Jam with updated features, the JASJAM packs in plenty, buts its bulky size may be a hindrance to some.
The JASJAM performs well for voice calls, but like most smart phones it doesn't sound as good as regular handsets do, and the ring tone volume is a little too soft. That being said, the hands free speakerphone works well. Being a quad-band GSM, 3G, and HSDPA smart phone, there is a front mounted VGA camera for video calls.
Running the Windows Mobile 5 OS, the JASJAM naturally includes Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger and document viewers for opening Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, as well as PDFs. Both 3G/HSDPA connectivity and Wi-Fi (not to mention the convenient slide out keyboard) make the unit an excellent push email device. It's easy to configure for mail servers that run Microsoft Exchange 2003, while you can also use standard POP3 email accounts including Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.
Bluetooth and infrared are both included, but we were disappointed to see that Bluetooth is only the 1.2 protocol and not the newer 2.0 - there's no support for Bluetooth Stereo A2DP either. Thankfully, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/a is present.
Photos taken with the included 2 megapixel camera are decent, but far from sharp or vibrant. Despite a light, night time photography isn't the best. Photos can be taken at resolutions from 160x120 up to 1600x1200 and the camera has a range of options including sepia and negative effects, a two or 10 second self-timer and the ability to adjust white balance. There is also a video camera, which captures clips at resolutions up to 352x288, but the quality is below average.
The JASJAM supports a wide range of file formats, most playable through Windows Media player. These include MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC and AMR files. Users can also assign most files for use as ring tones. Unfortunately, the media support is let down by a proprietary USB headphone jack instead of the standard 3.5mm, so you'll need an adapter for standard headphones. The included headphones offer low quality audio and the external speakers aren't really adequate for music playback either
The JASJAM is powered by a 400MHz Samsung processor, 128MB of flash ROM, and 64MB of RAM - specifications which aren't really up to speed of some newer devices. We experienced sluggish performance, especially when running multiple applications, and general speeds were a little slow.
The best feature of the JASJAM is undoubtedly the keyboard. It's an excellent size and the keys are large enough to type comfortably on. The only negative is the fact that sliding it out isn't as smooth as we would have liked, as the slider isn't spring operated. In low light conditions, the keyboard also has an attractive blue backlight, so we had no issues typing messages in the dark. Although the slide out keyboard layout is certainly enticing for heavy email users, it also makes the JASJAM a pretty bulky unit, measuring 112.5mm x 58mm x 21.95mm and weighing a hefty 176 g.
The JASJAM's 2.8in, 240x320 pixel display conveniently flips into landscape mode when the keyboard is slid out, and is bright and clear. Its viewing angle isn't the best, and the screen suffers in direct sunlight, but it's adequate for most uses. The stylus sits in a strange place in the bottom right corner and extends when it's removed. For general use, the JASJAM's side-mounted scroll wheel is certainly an excellent help.
Battery life is reasonable, but definitely not outstanding. The JASJAM offers up to five hours of talk time and up to 200 hours of standby time. We found ourselves charging the unit every second night, although if you use multimedia features like the camera, or music playback, then you'll most likely have to power up every night.
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