Click here to watch our hands-on video of the Samsung Jet.
The Samsung Jet is a truly impressive looking handset, with a beautiful AMOLED touch-screen that produces top-notch visuals.
The user interface is simple to navigate and the 3D cube menu is a novel way of moving around the screens. We applaud the zoom function but the widget shortcuts did little to speed things up.
The Jet has a whole host of software on board – illustrated by the need for three home screens. However, the lack of an available application store may put some people off.
The handset performed expertly in most areas. The touch-screen is the best we have seen so far from Samsung, although there are still a few lags – particularly when using GPS and Google Maps.
Battery life was average.
The Samsung Jet is an exceptional handset, particularly when you take into account the price. However, as an ‘iPhone killer’ it can’t compete.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:55:10 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
The AMOLED screen sparkles and enriches everything from viewing your photos to watching your movies.
The on-board GPS left us reeling and nervous to use it for anything more than a rough ?guestimate? to your exact location.
Describing a new flagship handset as being ‘better than the iPhone’ is a bold statement, but it’s one that Samsung’s general manager of UK Mobile wasn’t afraid to make. At the time, the Samsung Jet boasted the fastest processor found on a mobile (the Toshiba TG01 has since surpassed it) as well as an eye-catching design, so perhaps it wasn’t as overzealous as it first sounded.
The first thing that struck us about the Samsung Jet is how streamlined it is. Coupled with a jet-black finish, we can only assume this is where it takes its name. Turn the handset over and you’ll detect a subtle ruby coloured undercurrent that glints as it catches the light. The touch-screen, while not as big as the iPhone’s, (the Jet measures 3.1-inches compared to Apple’s 3.5 inches) dominates proceedings, not least because the AMOLED display simply sparkles. With no keypad, it is also the sole means of navigating your way around the phone’s software. As mentioned, the Samsung Jet houses a powerful 800MHz processor that should in theory, aid the handset in its ability to provide a truly tactile experience. Samsung has also updated its TouchWiz user interface (UI). The results are mixed. We think, overall, it is Samsung’s best touch-screen to date despite a couple of lags on one or two features (more of which later).
Underneath the screen is a minimalist panel consisting of a call key, call end key and a hexagonal centre key, which can be used to administer the menu page. Something about this button that’s pretty cool is that you can press it at any time, no matter what function you are in, while pressing it a second time will return you to said function. There are three menu screens – giving you some indication of the amount of software at your disposal – that can be accessed with a swipe of a finger. Three is also the magic number when it comes to home screens. The widget bar, which is becoming standard for Samsung’s touch-screen range, allows you to customise each screen using the drag and drop approach. However, while pressing a widget once in the bar on the Tocco Ultra Edition will select it, the Jet requires a further press – otherwise it only places the widget in the centre of the screen. Ultimately this makes you question how effective the shortcut inspired widget system is. That said, we applaud Samsung for enabling you to place the same widget on multiple home screens.The array of widgets is pretty extensive, with Samsung covering all social networking bases with Facebook, YouTube and even MySpace present and correct. Streaming videos via YouTube was a seamless experience. An average three minute clip took a couple of seconds to buffer before starting, but this is just as long as you’d expect when using your PC or Mac. With both HSDPA and Wi-Fi on board you should secure a satisfying experience, as long as you’re not half way up a mountain in the middle of nowhere.
On the right hand side of the handset is the screen lock key as well as a multipurpose key. This key, although essentially one button, is actually divided into two as half of it is slightly raised. This is the dedicated camera key, while the lower part of the button will access Samsung’s new 3D cube interface. Comparisons between this and LG’s S-Class user interface are inevitable. However, while LG’s cube could only rotate left to right and vice versa, Samsung’s can be rotated rather impressively in absolutely any direction you wish. It looks great and is a cracking way of demonstrating the Jet’s prowess. Of course, ultimately there is a purpose to be served here, with each side of the cube representing a particular function on the phone. What real benefit this serves in comparison to getting there via the menu or even the widget system is open to some debate, but it looks great.As mentioned, the Jet lives up to its name with rapid web browsing. You can also open up five web pages at any one time, and this form of multitasking didn’t have a detrimental affect on the speed of the experience. Samsung has embedded its own browser into the Jet, known as the Dolfin, which includes some nifty touches. For one, you can click on the icon next to the address bar and choose from a Google or text search, while a built-in ad-blocker means you won’t be bombarded with the latest hair products or car insurance. However, our favourite addition was the one finger zoom that enables you to hold a single digit on the screen and then simply slide up to zoom in, or down to zoom out. It’s a slick process, and a refreshingly different approach to Apple’s pinch and pull method.
The built-in accelerometers mean content can be viewed either in landscape or portrait form. This is great for browsing the web and photos, but it also makes a huge difference when texting – turning the handset horizontally will automatically fire up a virtual QWERTY keypad. We’re pleased to say that this led to a pleasant typing experience, with the keys switching between lower and upper case depending on whether you are starting a new sentence.The accelerometers also come into play when viewing any video you have on the device. Film visuals sparkle thanks to the AMOLED screen and this is obviously something Samsung is keen to push following the launch of its movie store earlier this year. One slight drawback, and we feel uber-hypocritical saying this, but due to the 3.5mm headset port being at the top of the device – something we have been championing manufacturers to do as it makes it easier to unplug your headphones when in your pocket – the port is affectively on the side of the phone when in landscape mode, so your headphones will have to bend around the device. Long term, this could damage them, though as there is no way around this other than via a Bluetooth headset, we feel bad even bringing it up.While we applaud the option of using your own headphones, one thing we did notice when doing so, is that the radio quality suffers. It’s not awful, but the reception is much better when using the accompanying headphones. It’s a nice touch to be able to record from the radio. We’re still not sure of the legal ramifications of such a feature, but as manufacturers continue to include it in their repertoire we assume that it’s above board. You can also identify a track from the airwaves before being prompted to buy it. However, , though tracks were identified without any trouble when using our Vodafone SIM card, when we tried to purchase them we were simply taken to Vodafone’s Music Store, rather than to that specific track.
The five-megapixel camera is packed full of different scene modes, ranging from ‘sports’ to ‘firework’, which implement a various shutter speeds. In truth, it’s hard to decipher any difference with some of the modes, but that’s not to say the results aren’t good. The LED flash helps to achieve some fair quality snaps in both low light and night time conditions. Samsung has also treated us to both smile recognition and blink detection. While the former worked a treat, the latter was far more hit and miss. The Jet is also fitted with an excellent video camera that can record at 30fps, which equates (approximately) to DVD quality. You can record in slow motion, which is another welcome addition, though you are forced to do so in a much smaller size screen, something we can only assume is down to a technical issue.One of the biggest drawbacks to the Samsung Jet was the poor navigational experience. Even when we switched the GPS on, our location was a good few streets away and while we earlier applauded the responsiveness of the touch-screen, swiping your way around Google Maps was a much delayed process.
The Samsung Jet is a handset that the Korean manufacturer can be very proud of. It’s packed with features and has exquisite looks, all of which are available at an appealing price. However, if you’re going to bill a handset as being ‘better than the iPhone’, then it needs to be judged accordingly and ultimately it doesn’t measure up. Apple’s creation still exceeds the Jet in terms of its touch-screen and certainly its mapping and navigating credentials. The lack of available application store may also deter some at a time when apps are enjoying monumental popularity. A worthy addition to the mobile market, but sadly not a pacesetter.