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i-mate JASJAM review: i-mate JASJAM

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The Good Uses Next G data network. 2-megapixel camera. Quad-band GSM. Easy to use sliding keyboard.

The Bad Next G coverage doesn't include Foxtel. Large and chunky unit.

The Bottom Line The JASJAM offers a familiar i-mate smartphone experience with the added bonus of Next G connectivity.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.2 Overall

Review Sections

Design
The i-Mate JASJAM is essentially the i-mate rebranded version of the Dopod 838 Pro with a few different localisation quirks. As HTC, the OEM manufacturer of the JASJAM/838 Pro no longer manufactures phones for i-mate, it's probably the last locally available HTC phone you'll see that isn't under the Dopod banner.

The other phone that the JASJAM resembles is the i-mate K-JAM; while each phone has a slightly different keyboard layout, they've got the same sliding side-mounted keyboard arrangement, and identical front button layouts. As with the K-JAM, the JASJAM is a pretty bulky little phone unit, measuring in at 112.5 by 58 by 22mm and with a carrying weight of 176 grams. Given that smartphones are normally pitched at the business user, it'll slip into a jacket pocket with only the slightest bulge, but the same can't be said of a pair of tight stubbies or an A-line skirt pocket.

Features
The JASJAM runs off a 400MHz Samsung processor, with 128MB of onboard ROM and 64MB of RAM; this can be supplemented with microSD cards which slot in the bottom left hand corner of the phone. It's a Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone, so it's natively got access to Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and the ability to act in a Blackberry-like fashion from an Exchange server. It was commented on in the Dopod review, and we'll restate it here; while the ability to plug a 2-megapixel camera into the JASJAM is all well and good, it's probably not a feature that's going to endear it to your IT purchasing department if you're looking at it from an enterprise buying position.

The JASJAM's 2.8-inch 320x320 pixel display has good clarity and in a similar fashion to the K-JAM, flips into landscape mode when the keyboard is slid out. The stylus sits next to the bottom-mounted USB port, and is an extending model that's just small enough to roll away and hide under a notebook, as we discovered during testing. Thankfully we found our stylus, eventually -- navigating touchscreen menus with your digits is a pain, even with the help of the JASJAM's side-mounted scroll wheel.

On the connectivity front, the JASJAM offers Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/a), Bluetooth, quad-band GSM, 3G (UMTS), EDGE and HSDPA. It's that last factor that's important to the JASJAM's offering locally, as it's a Telstra exclusive within Australia on the HSDPA-enabled Next G network. Infrared is also offered as a connectivity option -- does anyone really care any more about infrared? Answers on the back of a postcards to somewhere else, please.

Performance
The JASJAM's 1300mAh battery is rated by i-mate as being good for 4-5 hours of talk time and up to 200 hours standby time; we found it necessary to recharge the unit on average just over every two days with fairly heavy usage, including the battery-draining Wi-Fi option. For a smartphone, this places the JASJAM in average territory, but given that they're units that are designed to synchronise with other data sources on a frequent basis, the lack of a real long-term battery probably isn't too much of a problem.

We also tested the JASJAM's ability to work on the Next G network with mixed results. If you're just looking for a quick data portal through to your e-mail and for Web access, then there's not too much wrong with how the JASJAM uses Next G, presuming you can stomach the rather painful excess data charges that Telstra's very fond of. Where the JASJAM will lose appeal on a personal, as opposed to enterprise level is that it's not capable (at the time of writing) of plugging into the value added services of the Next G platform -- most notably the mobile Foxtel offering. Tastes vary, but from what we've seen of mobile Foxtel, and given the add-on price it entails, we'd say you're not missing that much.

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