Small form factor design with a touch screen/stylus as the input method of choice is very much in vogue in the smartphone arena these days. The two previous models we looked at -- the O2 Atom Exec and the HP iPAQ rw6828 -- both used this look, so we weren't surprised to pull the i-mate JAMin out of its box only to discover that it looks almost identical to the O2 and HP offerings.
With dimensions of 108mm by 58mm by 18.2mm and a weight of 150g, the JAMin is 10g heavier and slightly larger than the Atom Exec and the rw6828, but you'll struggle to notice the extra weight during everyday use.
Like the Atom Exec, the JAMin offers up a matte black finish that's pretty much immune to fingerprints and much less vulnerable to scratching than the glossy finish found on the original Atom. The plastic chassis is coated in a thin rubber layer, which makes it easy to grip and difficult to drop accidentally.
The motto of O2's design department is undoubtedly "less is more", as the overall layout of the JAMin is distinctly uncluttered. On the front there's a five-way directional pad, "Accept" and "End" calling buttons, a Start menu quick launch button, an "OK" button and two soft keys whose functions change depending on the software application you're running.
On the left there's a camera button, a button to launch the "Communications Manager" (used to enable/disable the various wireless connectivity features) and a handy slider to adjust volume levels on the fly. The Comms manager button doubles as a voice record button when it's held down.
Up top is a full-size SD slot, while on the right you'll find a power button and an Infrared sensor. Predictably, a USB connector and a 2.5mm headphone jack are located on the bottom of the device.
Like most recent smartphones, the JAMin runs Windows Mobile 5.0 Phone Edition, and thus comes bundled with handy office productivity applications including Microsoft's Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It's also got an extensive array of messaging capabilities, including push e-mail, which you can enable by following our recent DIY guide.
Internally, when compared to the O2 and HP offerings referred to above, the JAMin appears significantly underpowered. It uses a 200MHz processor, which pales in comparison to the Atom Exec's 520MHz chip and the rw6828's 416MHz chip. Memory-wise, the 128MB flash memory and 64MB RAM boasted by the JAMin is identical to that of the rw6828, although the Atom Exec offers up 64MB more flash memory (which equates to increased file storage space).