i-mate JASJAR

i-mate JASJAR

Summary: Despite its unsavoury aesthetics, the JASJAR is an ideal companion for the mobile professional.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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Despite its unsavoury aesthetics, the JASJAR is an ideal companion for the mobile professional that needs to input large amounts of data on the go.

Inspiron 6400 Design
If portability, aesthetics, and usability of phone functions are of significant importance to you when purchasing a PDA, you may as well close this browser window now. The JASJAR is not for the stylish teen or those with simple needs; it's a business tool designed specifically for mobile professionals. For most, one look at the device is sure to be a dead giveaway of this fact -- it's an eye-sore, to be frank.

It weighs 285g and measures 81mm by 127.7mm by 25mm; given the fact that it's equipped with a 62-key QWERTY keyboard and swivelling touch screen, we're unsure whether to call it a miniaturised laptop PC or a smartphone. Regardless, one great aspect of this design is that data entry ranks among the best we've seen from a device of this size. Punching out long e-mails and word documents is extremely comfortable, thanks to the relatively large keys.

In addition to the keypad, data can also be inputted using the stylus and 3.6-inch touchscreen. Yet pulling out the stylus when you only need to accomplish a simple task can be a chore, so there's also a number of handy shortcut keys. Volume, camera, voice dial, calling and power buttons all make an appearance and, thankfully, they're all located in logical positions.

The swivelling screen allows the device to be closed with the screen facing either internally or externally. The former provides protection against scratching, but if you plan to use the phone feature you'll want to have the screen facing outwards, as the speaker and microphone are located here. It's also worth noting that the JASJAR will automatically switch between portrait and landscape modes depending on the position of the screen.

Although the device's form factor makes it an ideal portable workstation, the opposite can be said for using it as your everyday phone. The shape makes it uncomfortable to hold, while its size means you'll probably prefer to carry it in a shoulder bag -- and out of ear-shot -- rather than in a jeans pocket. That is, unless you want to look like you've had thigh implants. Those that don't have issues with toting a Bluetooth headset may cope with using the device as a full-time phone, but we have a feeling that many will pass on this proposition.

If you do decide to carry it around in your briefcase, you needn't worry about the device falling to pieces. Durability is one of the JASJAR's strong points; it's constructed using a confluence of metal and a hard plastic, which is fairly difficult to scratch.

Features
One of the most impressive aspects of the JASJAR is its 3G network support, as smartphones aren't commonly 3G-capable. The device also sports tri-band GSM/GPRS (900/1800/1900) connectivity, 802.11b Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Infrared, making it easily the most connected PDA/smartphone device we've encountered.

It's got two integrated cameras -- one 1.3-megapixel offering (with flash/focus light) on the back, and a secondary CIF (352x288) camera on the front for video conferencing. The second camera complements the 3G connectivity option nicely, as it provides a compelling application for making use of the additional bandwidth provided by a 3G network.

If you're not impressed yet, you will be when you hear that the device's 3.6-inch display boasts a resolution of 640x480. There's plenty of screen space to work with, and we didn't have any issues reading the display while outdoors.

Under the hood is a powerful set of components, including a speedy 520MHz Intel processor, 64MB of RAM and 128MB of flash ROM. Ã, Should you require more space to store your files, there's also an SD expansion slot.

Like most current smartphones, the JASJAR runs Windows Mobile 5.0, and thus comes bundled with pocket versions of Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), Outlook, Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger. Your files and tasks can be synchronised with your desktop PC using ActiveSync, which also allows you to install any third-party Java applications.

Of course, push e-mail is supported as well. If your JASJAR isn't updated to include this feature, be sure to check out our DIY guide on the subject for detailed information on how to do this yourself.

Performance
We apologise for labouring the point, but we must re-iterate that we found the JASJAR to be unsuitable for use as a primary mobile phone. Unless you're comfortable using a Bluetooth headset, you'll soon tire of the device's size, weight and unorthodox design.

Trigger happy photographers will also be disappointed with the JASJAR, as the 1.3-megapixel camera produces fairly grainy shots. We were happy with the inclusion of a focus assist light, which is handy for when you're shooting in a dimly lit room. Even so, the pictures are nothing compared to that offered by other phone cameras such as the Sony Ericsson K800i.

Now that we've got that off our chest, let's discuss the reasons why you would want to purchase this device. For a start, its huge keypad and screen make it a pleasure to work with no matter where you are. Even if you're in a darkened room, the red keyboard backlight will soon light up to save the day. Typing up lengthy documents and e-mails is a breeze, and if you slot in a 3G sim card you're able to access the internet at entry-level broadband speeds. In fact, the slew of bundled Windows Mobile 5.0 applications makes it possible to run your business almost entirely on the go, without ever having to plant yourself at a desk.

We found the processor and RAM to be adequate, and there's little delay when loading up applications. The JASJAR's battery provides around eight hours of talk time (slightly less if you're on 3G) and around 250 hours of standby time.

Despite its unsavoury aesthetics, the JASJAR is an ideal companion for the mobile professional that needs to input large amounts of data on the go.

i-mate JASJAR
Company: i-mate
RRP: AU$1,699

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There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topic: Mobility

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3 comments
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  • the JASJAM is even better!!

    i-mate are about to release the JASJAM this month (in Aust at least). Already being/been released in Germany, UK under other names such as Tytn, Vario..

    The JasJaM is significantly smaller, has a slide-out keyboard, 2Mpix camera. It is virtually same size as the current JaMin - but has 3G. Screen is 2.8", 320 x 240. All the usual bells & whistles; Bluetooth, Wifi. I think a 300MHz Samsung proc.
    So it has MOST of the advantages of the JasJam, but in a much smaller package and you COULD happily use it as a phone!
    Also, we trialed some JasJars recently, and user feedback was that it was likely the swivel screen would break over time!
    Expansys have them available to pre-order for over $1600, but I expect street price will soon settle down to around $1500.
    Can't wait!!!
    anonymous
  • Fully agree with the review

    Yup, it is exactly what I wanted! A mobile office with a 3G internet connection. I use a BT headset most of the time anyway, so the odd shape and heaviness is not an issue for myself.

    The build seems solid (to answer the other comment) and I think it will last at least as long as my Sony Clie which also has a swivel screen.

    Slight gripes (from a very satisifed customer):

    I cannot see the red symbols on the keys at all in normal room daylight. I just cover the light sensor to light up the keyboard though!

    A caller id screen on the back would be a real boon too, I must say. It is awkward having to open it to see the caller.

    You cannot assign rig-tones to individual Contacts! If I could do that, the above would not be a real issue. Those people I don't want to talk to normally have distinctive (and funny) ring-tones!
    anonymous
  • I regret Investing In IMATE JasJar

    I purchased my JasJar phone in Dec 2006, within 4 months of usage the battery has started failing.
    A fully charged phone restarts in 10minutes of usage. The battery back is exactly 10minutes.
    I gave it for servicing, (My dealer is one hour drive from my house and my office) two weeks I stayed without a phone, following which I was told that your phone is working fine and it was a software problem, I was too sure that this was not the reason and I was right. I brought my phone home charged it completely within 5 minutes it stopped working.
    If this is what I paid 42,000/- (INR) for then I don%u2019t think it is worth even a single penny. Kindly arrange to either replace my phone or else return my money.

    In summary:
    %u2022 I pay 42000 (INR) to get an IMATE JASJAR
    %u2022 4months Battery backup fails
    %u2022 I loose business since I am unable to take calls
    %u2022 I gave it for battery replacement and get it back without a new battery
    %u2022 Now I have to take out time travel 40km again to and fro to get this thing checked.
    %u2022 Finally I pay 42000/- (INR) to go through all this.
    anonymous