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I-mate Jamin

I-mate is out to follow up on its hit of a smart phone, the Jam, with its improved I-mate Jamin. Read our First Take to see what's new.

I-mate Jamin

The I-mate Jam was an unexpected hit with smart-phone fanatics, earning an average 8.5 user rating. You loved it for its small form factor, its suite of productivity tools, and the overall ability to do so much with one device. Now, the company has come out with its successor, the I-mate Jamin. The smart phone has gone through a bit of a makeover, shedding its silver casing for a sleek black, and it includes a couple of exciting additions, such as a 2-megapixel camera. At the time of this writing, no U.S. carrier has picked up the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) I-mate Jamin, which means you could be paying more than a pretty penny for an unlocked version--around $549. The device is expected to be available in April.

Upside: Although the I-mate Jamin resembles a PDA, the smart phone is still relatively small and compact (4.2 by 2.3 by 0.7 inches; 5.3 ounces), so it won't feel too uncomfortable using it as a phone. At the same time, its larger stature--compared with the size a regular cell phone--allows for a bigger touch screen (2.8 inches diagonal with support for 64,000 colors, as well as a 240x320-pixel resolution) and, thus, better viewing. While we're on the topic of visuals, the Jamin comes equipped with a 2-megapixel camera--a first for a smart phone--so you should enjoy higher-resolution pictures. You can also use it to record video. For more multimedia fun, you get Windows Media Player 10 Mobile so that you can listen to tunes (AMR, AAC, WAV, WMA, and MP3), as well as view album art and access content from subscription services, such as Napster To Go.

For your work needs, the I-mate Jamin runs Windows Mobile 5 and comes with 128MB of ROM, 64MB of RAM, and an SDIO expansion slot. And we're just pleased as punch to see that I-mate added Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) to the Jamin--a feature that was lacking in the Jam--along with EDGE support. Bluetooth is also on board.

Downside: Although the I-mate Jamin runs Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC edition with the full Mobile Office suite, the lack of a keyboard will keep users from taking full advantage of the e-mail capabilities and some of the productivity apps. That said, you can always invest in a Bluetooth keyboard to pair with the Bluetooth-enabled Jamin and fire off e-mails that way. As we mentioned, price will be a sticking point with some. We're hoping one of the major GSM carriers, such as Cingular or T-Mobile, picks it up; otherwise, your wallet's going to take a hit.

Outlook: With the success of the I-mate Jam, we think the I-mate Jamin will be just as popular, especially with the addition of Wi-Fi and a 2-megapixel camera. However, it's going to face some stiff competition from the current crop of Windows Mobile 5 smart phones coming out, such as the T-Mobile MDA. We hope to get a unit into our hands soon, so check back for a full review.

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