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The Jet shows Samsung's innovative side

The Samsung Jet is a powerful multimedia phone with decent performance and a few welcome user interface upgrades. But don't mistake it for a smartphone.

Last month we got a sneak preview of the new Samsung Omnia 2 and Samsung Jet. Though only the Omnia 2 is set to come to a U.S. carrier (Verizon Wireless), it was the Jet that arrived on my desk first for a review. As a touch-screen phone with a focus on multimedia, the Jet largely resembles comparable Samsung phones, but it offers a few unique design elements like a hexagonal menu button and an attractive design on its rear face.

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Most of the standard features like the music player, 5-megapixel camera, and personal organizer are nothing new, but the Jet does offer a few things unseen on previous Samsung phone. This first is an upgrade to Samsung's signature TouchWiz interface. TouchWiz 2.0 offers a number of improvements including a three-page menu design for both the home screen and the main menu and a unique interface for accessing media features.

The Jet also uses its accelerometer in new ways. The Motion Gate feature lets you control various phone functions by flipping, tapping, and twisting the phone. That's all pretty cool, but we especially liked the new Speaker Call feature that automatically routes calls to the speakerphone when you remove the Jet from your ear and place it flat on a surface.

The HTML Web browser gets a welcome upgrade of its own. Thanks to Samsung's new Dolfin browser, we now can zoom in on a page by tapping the display and swiping our finger. It's makes for a better experience than using the magnifying glass controls on other Samsung touch screens.

Though most of the new features aren't perfect, they are more than welcome. We always berate Samsung for producing too many handsets that resemble each other, so we're glad to see some real innovation. The Jet isn't a speakerphone, but feature are plentiful, and performance was mostly satisfactory. You'll have to buy it unlocked in the United States for around $525, and it's not optimized for U.S. 3G networks. Check out our Jet review for the full story.