Samsung BlackJack

Samsung's BlackJack is a utilitarian PDA-phone which has some consumer-friendly features that aim to balance its workhorse disposition.


7.8
CNET Rating
7.3
User Rating

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The BlackJack (or i600N series as we found under the battery) is the first 3G PDA-phone we've seen from Samsung, successor to the GSM-only i320N from last year. We got to play with a BlackJack on the Cingular network at CES 2007 in Las Vegas earlier this year, but in Australia it will be on the Optus, Vodafone and Telstra (Next G) networks, with slight variations and customisations across the range.

Design
Compared to PDA-phones such as the extra-large Dopod 808 Pro, the BlackJack weighs in relatively lightly at 105 grams with the standard battery attached, and measures a thin 11.8mm. Its bright 2.3-inch screen has a QVGA resolution (320x240 pixels) and is landscape-oriented. The BlackJack doesn't have a touch-sensitive screen or stylus; a 4-way directional button, softkeys and a thumbwheel take care of navigation.

Beneath the BlackJack's screen is a QWERTY keypad with a dedicated button for each letter, in contrast to some dual-key QWERTY layouts we've seen like on the BlackBerry Pearl and Sony Ericsson M600i. The BlackJack keypad will be too cramped for those with big thumbs and we found ourselves occasionally hitting the wrong letter by accident as they're so close.

The BlackJack, as its name suggests, is entirely black, bar the silver nav-key and camera mirror on the rear. Samsung also differentiates the number keys on the BlackJack's keypad with grey buttons rather than black. With special characters sharing the limited button space, it's a cluttered-looking but functional keypad.

Features
The BlackJack runs the smartphone version of Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0, which enables push e-mail -- the instantaneous sending of e-mail to your mobile device -- and synchronisation of contacts, calendar and tasks with Outlook or Entourage. You need to have an e-mail account on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 (with Service Pack 2) at your work or home office to get this working, though.

Unfortunately the BlackJack doesn't let you edit Office documents; however, you can view formats like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF. That's not to say there's a shortage of applications on the BlackJack. You'll find Internet Explorer for Web browsing, an RSS reader for online news, Solitaire and Bubble Breaker games and a range of organisation apps like notepad, stopwatch, convertor, voice recorder and world clock.

Like the Palm Treo 750, the BlackJack supports high-speed downloads up to 1.8Mbps over 3G, subject to network limitations, but it's not all about business with the BlackJack. Windows Media Player 10 Mobile is onboard to provide some entertainment during downtime. Supported music and video file formats are limited, but still include MP3, WMA and WMV. Third-party applications can be installed for some other formats.

A 1.3-megapixel camera on the back takes stills and up to one hour of sound-enabled video at a time. There's a microSD card slot on the side which supports cards up to 512MB; otherwise there's 35MB to 42MB of user accessible internal memory and 128MB of flash ROM.

Performance
As a messaging device -- the splash screen when you turn the BlackJack on says "The Utra Messaging" -- the drawback is the cramped keypad. We found we often hit two buttons accidentally and couldn't type as fast as we'd have liked. Practice helps and those with small fingers or long fingernails shouldn't have as much of problem.

For $899 outright, Samsung has customised the BlackJackt, BlackJacko and BlackJackv for Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, respectively. The Vodafone and Optus versions have dual cameras and support Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), whereas the Telstra Next G version has a single camera on the back and no Wi-Fi.

All versions support high-speed downloads up to 1.8Mbps, but this is subject to network capability (Optus hasn't rolled out HSDPA 1.8 yet, for instance).

We were sent the Wi-Fi-less BlackJackt for review so we can't vouch for the battery performance over wireless LAN. We managed three to four days between charges with occasional use of e-mail, SMS, calls and organiser features. Samsung provides an additional long life battery in the Telstra pack and an additional standard battery with the other sales packs.

As a mobile device aimed at business users looking for a balance of work and play, the BlackJack delivers the goods. Provided you get used to the keypad, it performs well as a phone, PDA and messaging device with just a handful of little quirks that deviate from an otherwise solid package.

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Awisha posted a comment   

The Good:Clear screen, easy to use, easy to use buttons, no confusion.

The Bad:No instruction manual in box..

This is by far the best phone i have ever had. It is a near perfect phone and i would recommend it to anyone!!

PJAY
1
Rating
 

PJAY posted a review   

The Good:Works as a paperweight

The Bad:Reception, Keypad, Screen, Battery Life, pretty much everything.

This is the worst joke for a phone that I have ever used. Its constant need to be attached to a charging device means that the word mobile should not be used in association with this thing. If you have large fingers forget trying to operate these very poorly designed little buttons, entering a phone number can take minutes instead of seconds. When you do get to answer a call without it hanging up it takes several seconds to respond. If you do leave a major center, you should take a pigeon if you want help, because this phone will not have any reception. Constant problems with blue tooth connection to car kit. The screen is so bad that you cant read numbers on it outside. Replaced with Ericcson Z750i, which is fantastic.

 

babe posted a comment   

this phone is mad. ive had it for a few weeks now and its just awesome. love it.

PeteMck
8
Rating
 

PeteMck posted a review   

CORRECTION. The SD card slot can support up to 2GB.. not 512MB.

criticvery
1
Rating
 

criticvery posted a review   

The Good:-

The Bad:just look at it and it tells you all the cons worst of all no mac support

Its an ugly blackberry wannabe

brisbizuser
8
Rating
 

brisbizuser posted a review   

The Good:Light weight, WiFi, 3G, Full synch to Outlook, Voice command, Using 2Gb Micro SD card

The Bad:Bigger screen would be better..get rid of the Samsung nameplate and less border around the screen. No upgrade to Windows Mobile 6. Should be bundled with Window Mobile Office software

Have had the phone now for a few weeks and am very happy with it. Was easy to set up for Telstra (even though it was not a Telstra phone. Just log onto the Telstra site and it automatically sends the settings to the phone for WAP and MMS. Operating system can be a bit slow at times, especially compared to TReo Palm software

hank
9
Rating
 

hank posted a review   

if you have tried other pda's and want one that is a great pohne and manage you contact list and sync your outlook don't go past this

Moey
10
Rating
 

Moey posted a review   

The Good:Light weight, stable OS, great screen, love the keyboard. Easy to use. No problem with Macintosh if you use Missing Sync third party software.

The Bad:hands free will cost extra it has been out sourced.

Works well for emails with good qwerty after a little practice. Where it fails the grade is having NO voice command in the phone. Samsung paying attention to changing state laws to hands free.
Excellent phone for the things that you do everyday rather than once in a blue moon.
Has 99% of what I want
Can anybody tell me how to setup the i600 version for Telstra MMS, WAP and WWW access?

akdean
9
Rating
 

akdean posted a review   

The Good:Great battery life

The Bad:- small letters in display makes reading difficult in poor light
- very dry SMS symbols. Could use a few emoticons

Has 99% of what I want
Can anybody tell me how to setup the i600 version for Telstra MMS, WAP and WWW access?

rhill310
10
Rating
 

rhill310 posted a review   

i have a question and i need an answer. Can the Samsung i607 blackjack use a 4GB Micro SDHC card??


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User Reviews / Comments  Samsung BlackJack

  • Awisha

    Awisha

    "This is by far the best phone i have ever had. It is a near perfect phone and i would recommend it to anyone!!"

  • PJAY

    PJAY

    Rating1

    "This is the worst joke for a phone that I have ever used. Its constant need to be attached to a charging device means that the word mobile should not be used in association with this thing. If you ..."

  • babe

    babe

    "this phone is mad. ive had it for a few weeks now and its just awesome. love it."

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