Samsung BlackJack II for At&t (SGH-i617)
A Smartphone at a Smart Price
At $99.99, after a $100.00 mail-in rebate, the Samsung Blackjack II from AT&T is a great deal on a fine 3G phone. (At time of writing AT&T is running a very attractive add-on option package for $79.00. This includes the phone, a Jabra BT4051 Bluetooth Headset and a black fitted case. This deal must include a new 2 year contract. Available in Black, Red, Blue, or Pink with a 2.0 MegaPixel Camera/camcorder, Windows Mobile 6.0 software, and a very usable QWERTY keyboard, this is a powerful and reasonably priced Smartphone for those who need one. Since I did not review the original Samsung Blackjack I cannot compare the two. After testing I can say this version is a very good value.
In the Box
Samsung BlackJack II
A/C Travel Charger
Getting Started CD
Getting Started User Guide
Setting up the Samsung Blackjack II is like any other phone. The Blackjack II weighs in at 3.2 ounces and measures 4.4 by 2.3 by .4 and has a good solid feel. I did find the shiny Black version I received for testing shows smudges quickly due to its slick surface. The On/Off button on top of phone on the right side is well placed. Locking the Blackjack II is easy. Simply press and hold the END key. Locking made it safe to stuff the Blackjack II in a pocket with other items. Dont do this if the pocket has keys or other metal objects in it. To unlock the phone press the Power On/Off button. A message shows on the screen that asks you to press the asterisk key.
The QWERTY Keyboard is very functional for my needs. I will never be a two thumbs text message speedster on any phone. The front Jog Wheel includes a circle that can be rotated to move you through lists and menu functions. That worked most of the time but seemed to skip occasionally. For the most part I stuck to using the Up, Down. Left, Right functions that I am used to when using a wheel. The addition of dedicated function keys for the Camera/Zoom, Media Net, Cellular Video, Symbols, Silent, and Mail make the Blackjack II simpler to work with.
I used the included USB cable and Microsoft Active Sync to move videos and photos to and from the Blackjack II to or from the Lenovo ThinkPad loaner. This was easy once I go the hang of it. It did seem a little barebones to me. I also synced and listened to music and basic audiblebooks.
I paired the Blackjack II with the Jaybird 200 Stereo Headset The phone and headset paired fine with both left and right earpieces sounding great. Hands free did not work for me. This could be an issue with the headset as the Genius Headset worked fine in handsfree when I tested it with the Blackjack II.
Internal memory flash memory is ample for this use. External memory card specs say use up to 4 Gig Micro SD card but AT&T offers up to an 8 Gig Card in their accessory listings for the Blackjack II. Check this out before going beyond the 4 Gig size. There is easy external access to the slot for insertion of the Micro SD memory. I was able to use an adaptor to connect a one gig card to my PC and add, delete and view photos and videos.
Most any E-mail account can be setup in the Blackjack II. Instant massaging options included AOL, Yahoo!, & Windows Live Messenger. I set up my e-mail and all worked fine. IM with my daughter in Phoenix was fast and simple.
Battery as per Samsung - not tested here
Battery talk time up to 7 hours
Battery standby up to 14 days
Camera - Photos
The 2.0 Megapixel camera produced reasonably good results using Auto setting . Outdoor results were mostly good. Depending on available light an indoor photo could be fine, fair or way too white. See photos and video on Flickr The 4x Digital zoom was not enough. The camera options were more than adequate for a phone camera. They include: Brightness adjustment, Multi-shot, self timer, shoots at 1600x1200, 640x480, 320x240,176x144.
Camera - Video - MPEG4,H.263,WMV
Video was fair to good.
The included Video Share service (not available in all locations) will allow you to share your live or recorded videos. The other party must accept the sharing offer. You both will need 3G service and an iSim card in each phone according to the AT&T specs.
The wired headset connector is USB proprietary so you will need to purchase the optional headset that fits the connection or use Bluetooth. AT&T Mobile music worked well with Windows Media Player 10. Satellite Radio was clear. As was the speakerphone function. Voice Mail sounded fine. Conversations on the phone were very clear.
AT&T Media Net or Internet explorer
I used the Blackjack II Internet capability to check the weather during the last two hurricanes. This kept me up to date when away from cable connections and was very helpful. Service was seamless.
I understand from a Blackjack FAQ that the latest software upgrade adds voice recognition. I like the Blackjack II. I found it comfortable to work with and easy to understand.It is a Smartphone that gives you a broad range of features at an affordable cost.
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