Product: Samsung S8000 Jet
System Specifications: 3.1-inch AMOLED screen, 800Mhz application processor, 5MP camera, TOUCHWIZ 2.0 GUI, 3.5mm audio jack, video player, music player, WiFi
Price: Price varies on contact
SAMSUNG IS CATEGORISING the Jet mobile phone as a mid-range device, despite being its fastest phone to date. At its heart is the Qualcomm MSM6246 chipset, with a separate 800Mhz application processor that appears to be powerful enough for what it has to deal with.
The Jet's 3.1-inch AMOLED full touchscreen is very clear and bright, almost beyond belief when seen up close. Comparing the screen with many other handset displays around, the Jet really stands head and shoulders over the masses. It is almost as if you are viewing an HDTV display, only on a mobile phone. Where it really excels is in some forms of video playback. Samsung has said the WVGA AMOLED screen has four times the resolution of a regular WQVGA quality screen seen in common handsets, all of which holds water when the phone is put though its paces.
Samsung has a very easy to use GUI called Touchwiz running on top of its proprietary mobile OS. The Jet features the second generation of this interface, which was first seen on Samsung's Tocco F480 from mid-2008.
The proprietary platform Samsung uses to run its phones is rather basic, with neither any outstanding features nor any major flaws - it's just bland. It isn't inherently as feature-rich as other mobile operating systems such as Android or even Windows Phone; it just does what it says on the tin and runs the handset. This in itself does make it rather useful, as it just gets on with the job rather than attempting to impress with fancy features.
Touchwiz 2.0 has its own quick-start menu, in the form of a six-sided 3D rotating dice, which lists the most frequently used applications. Unlike other quick-start menus it's not really easy to find and was only accidentally launched while trying to run the camera app. This is solely because the button for launching the spinning dice is hidden alongside the camera button on the handset's side. A better way to start the 3D dice would have been from the three dimensional dice button, located on the phone's front in between the send and end-call keys.
Samsung also has its own bespoke web browser built into the Jet, called Dolphin. Although this sounds somewhat fishy it actually works rather well, even with its maximum of five web pages opened at once. There's a nice browser feature in that URLs can be dragged onto one of the three desktops or to the widget launch bar, where in both instances it actually becomes a widget. This enables quick launching of websites and it is darn useful.
It's also possible to download multiple items at once with this browser, thanks to its robustness and the phone's fast processor. Dolphin's ad blocking seems to work well, making it one of the browser's good qualities. Overall, the browser is a rather no-frills surfing tool. It's supposed to have a one finger zoom capability, but we weren't able to get this working consistently.
The phone's accelerometer is fully integrated and is used for controlling applications in the handset, which is a feature we'd like to see in more phones. Shaking the mobile more than three times quickly ends the application that's running, while double-tapping the phone launches an application, or pauses then resumes the music or video that's playing. Snapping or tilting the phone sharply to the left rewinds the media playing or goes back to the last track, while snapping or tilting it to the right fast forwards or moves on to the next track. We suspect a particularly rocky train ride or an average journey on the London Underground might affect these controls in the Jet, if they are too sensitive.
The Samsung Jet has a five megapixel camera, which does take a nice shot. The camera has a good array of features, from dual power LED flash to Geotagging but we feel the MP rating doesn't fully match the Jet. As the phone is the fastest in Samsung's portfolio and has a truly outstanding screen, we think an 8MP or even 10MP camera would not have been out of place.
Video and audio playback on the phone is one of its key features, according to Samsung. We had a different experience than what the company advertised. One of the widgets or quick links to a website on the Jet is Youtube, but it plays rather badly in widescreen mode on the phone and even over WiFi. The picture was distorted and jerky to say the least, such that the only real way to watch video being streamed is in a small window in portrait mode. DivX and XviD content plays extremely well, though, with 5.1 sound being recognised and heard if encoded. With this type of video the AMOLED screen is shown off to its fullest ability, with bright, vivid, distinct colours shining through. But don't expect this phone to overstep its boundaries and address better video playback. The Jet isn't able to play 720p or other HD formats, other than those encoded in DivX or XviD, despite Samsung touting the Jet's "HD-like" playback ability.
In our battery tests the Samsung Jet was able to last a decent amount of time before dying, all thanks to the proximity sensors and the intelligent way the phone's screen blacks out when a call is connected. The phone was able to last for six hours and twenty minutes worth of calls before passing out through lack of power. This we feel is a good overall time, especially when it has to haul around the 800Mhz application processor and a screen of that calibre.
It's a good phone with a vivid, colourful and crystal clear display with a powerful separate processor for running the applications. But it needs an outstanding quality or requirement to really utilise the fast CPU rather than just the OS and its apps, as surely those alone couldn't warrant all that processing power. This could very well be great for HD video decoding or video encoding. But it does seem a shame that, with all this power under the hood, there aren't any really demanding applications on the phone to drive it fully. On the whole, it's a fast, basic phone with a good simple OS and GUI, and it has an excellent screen. µ
The Good: AMOLED screen, powerful processor.
The Bad: 5 megapixel camera when it should be higher.
The Ugly: Lacking that something really special to warrant the 800Mhz processor.