This is the phone that its manufacturers claim is ‘smarter than smartphone’. Nice line, but does it have what it takes to kick devices such as the iPhone and Palm Pre where it hurts?
First and foremost, there are things the Samsung Jet definitely has that set it ahead of the competition. But there are still lessons the competition can teach Samsung. But not very many.
To begin with, the ‘Jet’ or the S8000 if you want to be specific, can certainly claim the ‘smarter than smart’ title because of its 800Mhz application processor, reckoned to be the fastest for any touch handset currently on the market. This is certainly faster than the iPhone 3G S, which comes with a 600Mhz processor and has attracted more than its fair share of hype.
But speed isn’t the real stand-out feature. The stand-out feature is the Jet’s AMOLED ultra-brilliant display. Normally I’m not phased by claims about high-definition (HD) screens, but this display is outstandingly bright, adding a vivid clarity to pictures or apps as you whirr through them.
The touchscreen phone is optimised for use with social-media sites such as YouTube, Flickr and Facebook, and the ability to configure these apps to your taste requires little effort.
Where this device is streets ahead of the iPhone and other touchscreen smartphones is its five-megapixel camera and all the tools that come with it. With the Apple iPhone you are still pointing and clicking and the ability to record is years old.
But with the Jet you are in effect taking Samsung’s legacy in the area of digital photography, combining it with the manufacture of OLED HD TV screens, and in one move you have a very sophisticated social-media sharing device. The sophisticated camera comes with dual LED flash and excellent face-tracking technology.
It has all the embellishments you’d expect from a fully functioning digital camera, from ISO to anti-shake, blink detection, exposure setting, resolution and white balance. The video-camera function even comes with a slow-motion feature. Brilliant! The phone also provides a video-editing function, so the kind of content you can upload to Facebook and YouTube is mind-boggling.
The Jet comes in two versions – a 6GB or 8GB storage device.
As an internet phone the Jet is not the iPhone and very few phones have achieved the simplicity that Apple has for web browsing. However, that said, the Jet comes close. While I haven’t gotten my hands on the Nokia N97 yet, the Samsung device provides a very intuitive web experience and its accelerometer allows you to flip pages to view in landscape. With a built-in ad blocker, the Jet works perfectly and intuitively for hardcore web surfers.
Where it excels beyond the iPhone is its one-finger zoom, which allows you to zoom in and out of websites and photos with one finger. With the iPhone you have to do a pinching motion.
Connectivity-wise the device is HSDPA – capable of speeds of 3.6Mbps – as well as EDGE and GPRS. But aside from cell mobility, what astute phone buyers are looking for today is interconnection with Wi-Fi so they can use the social apps without getting bill shock. The Wi-Fi function works quite easily, hit a button and you’re on (depending of course on whether you need to input a WEP key). Perfect.
Another pre-requisite for me is Bluetooth. I’m a driver and Bluetooth headsets are vital. What doesn’t help sometimes is how difficult it is to connect the headset with the phone and notable manufacturers should be shot for making it so tricky. Not so with the Jet; it automatically searches for devices in proximity and gets configuring pretty instantly.
The device comes with Google Maps and a GPS transmitter, and users are able to create geo-tags around their images.
All in all, this discreet little device packs a powerful punch. It is more sophisticated than the iPhone in terms of camera technology, screen technology and additional features perfect for this social-media age. Where it doesn’t compete with the iPhone is an applications marketplace, but my sources tell me to keep an eye on what Samsung unveils later this year.
Is it an iPhone killer? The only place it falls down on is 16GB of storage compared with the iPhone 3G S’s 32GB of storage. Otherwise, the advanced display technology and sophisticated camera experience should show Apple and other manufacturers the direction they should be heading in. In other words, with a Samsung Jet you won’t miss out on anything.
Samsung Jet will be available from €139 on bill pay in Vodafone and The Carphone Warehouse from 1 July. Samsung Jet will be available in all other channels from 1 August.
By John Kennedy