"The Blackjack II is an attractive, feature rich phone, but it doesn't fully deliver."on by heartattackedx
Pros Attractive design, light weight, QEWRTY keypad, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G, etc.
Cons Windows Mobile 6, sluggish at times, hard to get fix on GPS, camera quality, etc.
About 2 months ago my friend dropped my iPhone, cracking the screen and making it difficult to use (unless I wanted cuts). I used the phone until about a week and a half ago, when the cracked glass actually started falling out. So, while waiting for my friend to pay me back to get a new iPhone (and waiting for the iPhone 3G due out in 2008), I ran to the nearest AT&T Corporate store to purchase a phone until the new iPhone comes out.
The phone caught my eye was the Tilt, but the store said they were all out of it, and for it's price point I might as well get a new iPhone (which I loved). Now, I might get stricken down for being so in love with the iPhone, but read the full thing to get where i'm coming from.
I asked the sales representative about the Blackjack II, I was curious if it had been released yet. He told me it had not been officially released, but they were selling them. He brought one out, let me take a look at it, and then told me the price. The phone was $199 with a $100 dollar mail-in rebate, price after MIR being $99 (with a 2 YR contract, and data plan). After briefly using the phone in the store, I thought why not.
I purchased it, and took it home to begin playing with it.
Upon first impression, I loved the design. The keyboard was extremely easy to use (given i've never used a tactile QWERTY keyboard, and the small keys), the screen was beautiful, and the phone was extremely light! I'm not too big a fan of the plastic casing, seems kind of cheap. Also, it gets fingerprints like crazy!
SYNCHRONIZATION and BLUETOOTH
When I turned it on, the first thing I did was try to sync it through Bluetooth to my computer (being an Apple Powerbook G4). To my surprise, the phone did not support any services of syncing, file pushing / browsing, with my laptop. I was kind of disappointed considering the software cannot be installed on a Mac either. So, I have no way of really syncing my contacts, calendar, music, etc. The only possible way of doing this is to either purchase a separate program (Missing Sync for OSX for $39.99) or a MicroSD Card.
I wasn't too disappointed at this point, just a little let down, so I pushed forward. Windows Mobile 6 seems to have taken away the Internet Sharing application for tethering to a laptop, but with a little Google search I was able to tether my laptop through the USB cable that came with the phone. This was a definite plus, except that I don't want to pay the extra 10 - 20 bucks a month to get a tethering plan through AT&T, haha. =] But if this is something you might use, it was extremely fast with 3G, and was easy enough to set up.
After charging the phone, it was time to go to work. My job has a lot of downtime and gives me a lot of opportunity to get to know my phones.
On my way to work I called a few people and the call quality was excellent. The phone as great call quality, very crisp and great volume. Getting to speakerphone, however, is a pain in the ass (more on this later) and not worth it. The quality is not the best with speakerphone. Often times it sounded like the person on the other end was loudly mumbling, if that makes sense, ha. But besides this, call quality was excellent.
At work the first thing I did was start text messaging. The keyboard is extremely well for being a QWERTY keypad. The layout of the buttons and the use of the period, comma, and question mark keys came in very handy compared to the layout of the Blackberry Curve, which I also tried out and was terrible. Overall, text messaging was a good experience on the Blackjack. Sending MMS were easy enough, and fast. Setting up my GMail account was easy as well, and worked pretty good.
I started to take a few pictures at my work, and realized that the camera on this thing is by far one of the worst i've ever used on a phone. I usually LOVE Samsung's picture quality, but this phone is absolutely terrible. My previous phones include: Sony Ericcson W600i, Samsung Sync, Samsung D807, Blackberry Curve 8310, and the iPhone. All of these phones have exceptional photo quality, the Blackberry Curve and iPhone especially. Color on the Blackjack II's pictures are washed out and faded, and they often times are not sharp or crisp at all. Not to mention, you have to have an extremely steady hand to get it to be not completely blurry. I have a steady hand, but they still come out not sharp at all. Video quality, however, was extremely well for being a phone. Seems like it has a high FPS, good color, brightness, etc. Not as grainy as other phones.
The next thing I did was use the internet. This phone is fast! Just like when I had tethered to my laptop, speeds were really incredible while using 3G. I'm used to EDGE on the Curve, or the iPhone, so this was pleasant. Although, browsing was no where near as enjoyable as the iPhone. I downloaded Google Maps, Windows Live Search, and a few other things directly to the phone at great speed and precision. Viewing mobile.myspace.com was good too, loaded quickly. But, the browser is what lacks in the phone (more on this in the Windows Mobile section..)
After downloaded Google Maps and Windows Live Search, I wanted to check out the GPS! Immediately ran into problems when the GPS could not get a fix, no matter where I was! I went outside, I went inside, I tried it at home, at work, in the car, etc. The GPS always said "Unable to find current location at this time." When it did find it, it was within 1200 - 1700 meters of where I was, which isn't a big deal to me. I mean, I loved Maps on the iPhone, it was simple, looked good, and got me where I wanted. So, Google Maps with no GPS will due just fine, but for people looking for a serious GPS, I wouldn't say this would be your best bet. Maybe with TeleNav Navigator and an extra 10 bucks a month, yes, but who wants that?
Battery life was pretty good. I didn't really time it, but the phone was at about 20% at the end of my work shift (intensive use of phone!). Which was a little better than my iPhone.
WINDOWS MOBILE 6
Now we go to the biggest disappointment on the phone.. Windows Mobile 6.
I know a lot of people are probably really into Windows Mobile 6, but I am definitely not a fan. It's not an Apple vs. PC thing, I just can't get into it. Coming from something as simple, and great working, as an iPhone, WM6 just doesn't deliver.
How I explain this is simple.. Everything on WM6 takes twice as many steps to do as on my iPhone. I like to be able to do things quickly, and with precision. WM6 is slow at times (could be the BJ II processor?) and it takes too many steps to do anything. Sending a text message on the iPhone was as simple as going to Text, and clicking new. With a touch screen, that's 2 taps of the finger! With WM6, you have to go to Messaging, Messages, press the Menu button, and go to new. That's 4 steps with a jog wheel, and it's kind of annoying. That's one example, but it's like that with a lot of things in the phone. Turning speakerphone on, holding a call, changing settings, etc.
Another big disappointment was the browser. Going from an iPhone full HTML browser to the IE on the BJ II was disappointment. I got annoyed with browsing websites like that at work. It just doesn't cut it for me.
However, I really do like that I can download 3rd party applications, themes, homescreens, MP3 ringtones, and edit a lot of stuff on the phone. But i'd rather have the ease of use and simplicity of my iPhone.
What I say to everyone is this.. the Blackjack II and WM6, although have a lot more features, customization, etc. than the iPhone, everything on my iPhone worked perfectly. The features it did have were perfected, simple, and stunning. The BJ II and WM6 have a lot of cool features and customization, but it's hard to use and the features are lackluster and sub-par.
This review was written with somewhat a comparison / bias, seeing as I loved my iPhone, and this phone is just a replacement until the 3G iPhone makes it's way onto the market. It's a good phone, it was the best option for me until the new iPhone comes out, but if this were my phone until my 2YR Contract was up, I would hate the thing.
I gave it a 6 because it's a good phone, but nothing more.
If you thought this was a helpful review, but I left something out, please let me know and i'll try to answer any questions that I can. =]
Pros Design, GPS, 3G, Email, Keyboard
Cons Finger print prone, scroll wheel, IE, no voice
Summary I've had this phone for about a week. I got it with 2 year contract for $150 with unlimited data plan (needed.) By the way I think this is one of the few smartphones you can get with insurance.
This is a very well designed phone, the keyboard is one of the best I've used among new phones. great feel, the only downside is the fixed shortcut keys at the bottom all leading to AT&T applications. The scroll wheel is nice in moderation but does feel a bit loose. The high gloss does attract fingerprints and smudges easily but they can be wiped off...I love how it still feels like a phone in the hand. I do wish they had added a voice activation feature and of course I wish AT&T would get over themselves and include WiFi. However, the screen is BEAUTIFUL! I love the color and detail.
I have windows xp and syncing was easy. Setting up bluetooth sync was also straight forward and syncing with windows media player was also very easy.
In my opinion call quality was great, as long as its not on speakerphone, not that it was horrible, just annoying, then again it may have been the process to turning it on that left me with a sour taste. Still sounded great with 2 bluetooth headsets.
This was the hardest thing on the phone, after about 5 minutes I had it up and working with no problems, just do your research before setting it up. The keyboard makes it so easy to type out messages I'm starting to do it more often. This is also where Windows Mobile has an edge over the iphone, i think its much more business oriented and makes sense where it needs to, but a simpler setup is always great.
As others noted the camera itself is weak, but the video function is somehow incredible, whatever Samsung did there was really good. I wish there was a flash for dark situations.
IE is not my favorite mobile browser and of course this is where the iphones "real" browser is incredible, but man do the pages load fast on this thing, I mean really fast. I haven't had a page download for more than 30 seconds yet.
I was worried about this having read some other reviews, but after I downloaded Google Maps it worked fine. It takes a long time to first connect to satellites, but after about1-2 minutes I consistently held 4-8 satellites. It is very accurate, more so than another reviewers experience. I just wish they hadn't locked the assisted part of the GPS so it would catch quicker. And telenavs a joke, I'm not gonna spend $150 and then $10 per month on top of that for a 2.4 inch GPS, but google maps is great for quick searches in hostile places.
Now i know this is a smartphone but i thought the media was pretty good on this phone. Music sounded great and streaming video turned out great ans smooth even fullscreen. Movies on my card were a little choppy at times but not so bad I couldn't watch, and av sync was very good.
I like that they integrated the extended battery this time and it shows, I got about 2.5 days with this with the following use.
Constant email over 3G
About 1hour of internet
90 minutes of media
1.5 hours talk time
45 minutes GPS
and a LOT of playing around.
Windows Mobile 6
I enjoy the windows mobile OS but do see how it can be complicated for some. I wish it didnt take as many actions to do some things but it also requires less for others. All I can say is that the phone does a great job with what it has to work with, I found it to be very snappy, as long as you clear your task manager about once or twice a day.
Overall I would say this is a great entry level smartphone with some great features for the price. If you're very business oriented go for a blackberry, if you're media oriented go for the iPhone, but if you want a well rounded smartphone, this is it.
"Hate this phone!"on by hn2008
Pros Full key board, light weight, Bluetooth, Email
Cons Please see my list below :(
Summary I have actually stopped people on the street if I see them carrying the Blackjack II and so far, 5 out of 7 people hated it. At first I thought it was me but I now know, I am not the only one. I do not like many things about the phone such as:
1.Speakerphone. It is hard to hear and you have to talk in the front of the phone and listen from the back of the phone to hear the other person.
2.Calendar feature. If you I have it set up as month view and click on a specific date to see what I have going on for that day when I click back it wont take me back to monthly view. Also, when I set up reminders for the calendar events. Say I set it to go off 15 mins before 10. It will go off 15 mins before 10 .I will have to click okay to have it stop ringing and then 5 mins later it will do it again and then once more. I thought it was a setting issue but it doesn?t happen on all my calendar events??
3. If you are on aim you have the option to have the phone vibrate when you receive an instant message. This option does not work. I tried bringing the phone into AT&T and have talked to Samsung. My phone is under warranty but neither will do anything about it because it is ?not a well known issue? If you have a blackjack II please complain to AT&T and Samsung so it becomes a ?well known issue? Also there is a delay in the instant messages. I timed it once and it was a 7 min delay from when the person sent me a message to when I actually received it.
4. I travel a lot and when I am at the airports, I like to see what is going on in the news. The Internet feature is great but the articles do not fit on the page properly. So I have to scroll to the right to finish a sentence then scroll back to the left and down to continue to read the article then it starts all over again with scrolling to the right.
5. Your headset and charger have the same outlet. So you cannot charge your phone while listening to music or talking on the phone using a headset.
6. The phone volume is on the side and does not lock when you lock the phone. In other words when my phone is in my purse the volume either goes up to where its way too loud or all the way down low to where I cant hear anything. Great!
7. I haven?t had too much problem with the battery. The only thing is that the alert that the battery is low goes off way too soon. My battery has been dying since 9/16/08 at 4pm and its 9/17/08 at 9am and the phone is still working fine. In between today and yesterday I have talked on the phone for 30+ mins, have done some texting, and have been on aim all morning.
8. You are able to watch TV and or movies on the phone. But I noticed that if you do the phone freezes. I have attempted to watch music videos off the AT&T link and half way through the video, my phone freezes. What?s the point of having this if it doesn?t work properly.
9. I hate and understand at the same time but I hate it when I am on an application such as google maps. I?m driving and my phone locks the application is no longer up and running (google) and it?s a pain to have to go back into the different screens to bring it back up. And even though it should be on the page that it was on before it takes a while to open it back up. This is to save battery life from what I am told.
10. Because the phone works off the network and has the sim card in it. If my phone goes off line (which it does at least 4 times a week) I have to re program my phone to not show my contacts from the sim card so it doesn?t show doubles.
11. Offline. When the network goes offline. I have to turn off my wireless capabilities and turn it back on again (which also sets # 10 to show doubles.) just so I can access the Internet or aim.
12. Changing the set up of the main screen is limited. They have a few options for you but all of them suck! I have a really cute background and most of the options cover the background and if it shows the background then you have to go into all screens to get into the application you want. There really is no win/win situation here. If there was a way to create your own Id be willing to pay just so I can have it the way I like. Another thing is the size of the applications and profiles. They are either way too big or way too small and unfortunately, there is only large or small.
12. Keys are too small. I love the full keyboard but they keys are too small. I am a fairly petite person and my fingers are a tad to big for the keys.
I hope that is it. I am sure there is more but these are the things that bug me the most about this phone. I do not recommend this phone to anyone. I have had it for 9 months and have not hated a phone as much as I do this one. I am willing to pay $400 for another phone by either switching carriers or getting something like the iphone or blackberry. But this time I will be smart and really do my research and go into the stores to check out the phone features and reviews. I hope this review helps you!
Pros Solid signal, fast internet, professional apps, GPS, 3G, perfect size
Cons No WiFi, scroll wheel a little imprecise, WM6, glossy exterior
Summary This is a great starter smartphone for anyone looking to climb the corporate ladder or just get more organized. The size is really great because it's thin enough to slide into a pants pocket or inside a suit jacket without appearing bulky. Plus, it is the perfect width so that you can still type with one hand is necessary. The screen is a good size and bright. It can be a little tough to see in the sun, but I haven't found a smartphone that isn't. The glossy cover looks nice when you first get it then 10 seconds of handling it will leave it covered in fingerprints, not a dealbreaker by any means but if you're really vain about your phone's appearance you may want to stay away. It isn't as slick as some people say, I've never felt like I was holding a "bar of soap", it could just use a little improvement.
WM6 gets a lot of bad feedback and it crashed a few times the first day when IE had problems connecting, but since then I haven't had a single problem. Even with IE mobile webpages display quickly. The Office apps are nice when you need to make a quick edit. It syncs with Outlook flawlessly and even has a great Automatic feature that changes your ringer to vibrate when your Outlook calendar says you're busy (a great feature for anyone who attends a lot of meetings and forgets to put the phone on silent).
The battery like is exceptional, I charge mine every night and I haven't seen it lose a single bar yet even with heavy surfing and emailing. They keys are very easy to use, I haven't had a mistake yet. I can't attest to the bluetooth as my PC adapter hasn't arrived yet, but I'm confident it'll work just fine. Finally, the GPS is a nice feature and you don't have to subscribe to Telenav (which is a ripoff in my opinion) instead just download Google maps. It's a little imprecise in less urban areas, but it works great in downtown Chicago. Very handy for finding the nearest coffee shop or fast food place in neighborhoods you're not familiar with.
Pros Design alot better then BlackJack. Wheel. Numbers right next to each other. Fast connection. Applicaitons work great. Video is just awesome. Bluetooth. Keyboard easy to use. Battery Life.
Cons Wheel can feel loose. Finger smudges. Camera only good with still life. While talking without speakerphone, it is a bit quiet. ActiveSync.
Summary This phone in my oppinion is amazing. Compared to the BlackJack, it is a great improvement. You can do pretty much anything thats on a computer. Texting and surfing the internet is easy and simple. It's fast too. Streaming music is also amazing. The video recording is very good and the quality is good enough to be put on YouTube. Probably the most annoying thing though is ActiveSync. Everytime I plug it in, it would sometimes restart the computer giving me an error message. Also the camera isn't good at capturing things moving. And the phone shows finger smudges pretty easily. But besides those things, the phone is one of my best purchases ever.