Like many of us, I receive copious emails every day. In fact, it often becomes difficult to actually get anything done when I am spending all of my time checking, deleting, and responding to emails from individuals and those pesky list servers (especially when multiple people forward me the same email). Because I’m in college, I typically sleep later than most working adults, meaning that by the time I get out of bed in the morning, I often have fifteen or twenty emails from “real world” – people who start their day at a reasonable hour. Thus, I eventually decided that I needed a way to keep up with my correspondence in a more convenient way – rather than having to track down a Wi-Fi station every hour to make sure my inbox doesn’t become too flooded. Because I hate to be like everyone else, I decided not to purchase an iPhone (the touch screen also makes me uncomfortable) and I wanted a phone with 3G coverage for a reasonable price which, for me, ruled out anything Blackberry. Eventually, I settled on the Samsung Jack smartphone. What follows is a non-techie review of what it does well and what it does not, which should give you a better idea of whether or not to purchase this phone based on what you’re looking for.
On the Plus Side
1) The phone’s design is certainly a highlight. It seems like Samsung did their best Blackberry Curve impression with this one, which is not a bad thing at all (though most people assume that I am holding a Curve when they see it). In the end, though, the Jack feels good in my hand and is not at all awkward. It is also not very big, but I have had no problems typing with the keys as they are slightly raised and easy to work with. I keep the phone in my pocket, where it fits very nicely.
2) The Jack’s battery life has been a pleasant surprise. The specs claim 7 hours, but I can usually get it to last 9 or 10 (though without constant activity). This has been a huge plus and only a few times has it run out of charge when I still needed it. I should note that this is not the busiest time of year for me as far as email goes, but the phone has impressed nonetheless.
3) The calendar application has been very handy. I am one who swears by the “write it down… cross it out” philosophy, but the Jack has helped me clean that up a little bit (and it was getting somewhat unruly). I doubt that this is a special feature in any way, but it’s an application that I’ve liked a lot.
4) The camera (3.2 mega pixels) is stellar and makes a huge difference in picture quality versus the typical 2.0 mega camera phones. I’m not a big picture person myself, but my friends (who are) have been very impressed. Again, I do not think this is a big difference compared to competitor phones, but know that if you purchase the Jack, you will get this feature built- in.
5) Finally, perhaps the most exciting aspect for me is Microsoft Office Mobile. The funny part is that I am an Apple product fan traditionally, but the ability to open Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents that are attached to emails is a very big time-saver for me. At the very least, it allows the user to review documents on- the- go and, for the more ambitious, to edit them from the phone. If you’re looking for a way to increase productivity, this is a huge plus.
1) For whatever reason, Gmail will not download its mobile app on the Jack. I’ve looked online, and it seems that this is not just a problem with my phone. It has not affected me because the email is still pushed from Gmail to the phone (and I can view the “normal” Gmail site on my web browser), but this may be annoying for some.
2) If you’re looking to watch videos or stream multimedia, this is not the phone for you. While the Jack can do these things, the screen is small and doing so uses up a ton of data. For me, this is not a huge consideration, but if it is, the iPhone might be the way to go.
Clearly, I have been pleased with the Jack (there are more pluses than minuses above). It is not a perfect phone, but I would recommend it to those looking to boost productivity, especially if a QWERTY keyboard is a necessity for you. It has been worth my investment so far, and I have no complaints.