First Looks: Samsung Jet S8000

Launch SRP: S$698

Touching the Jet

Touching the Jet

Samsung's mobile phone strategy has always been about innovation and design. With the proliferation of touchscreen devices in recent months, it's clear to all that the future lies in the human touch. Timed to coincide with CommunicAsia 2009, Samsung has unveiled its latest touchscreen device, the Samsung Jet (S8000).

Going Cubic

As we unpacked the engineering unit that arrived in our labs, we were faced with a sense of deja vu. The Jet is what one might call a simple and unassuming device, with a 3.1-inch screen that occupies the majority of the front panel. It just about passes off as a lightweight device, with just the right amount of girth for a comfortable grip in our hands and easy to reach buttons along the sides.

On the right profile, lies the Camera button, and beside it, is the button that leads you to the Jet's Media Gate and Motion Gate functions. These features are the nifty innovations that Samsung has employed to give it the edge in the touchscreen market.

Media Gate is essentially a cubic-styled interface that links you to six core multimedia functions within the device. This includes the Photo Album, Music Player, Video Player, FM Radio, Games and Internet, which are all placed on a six-sided cube user interface. This does come off as a useful feature, since you won't be required to access multiple menus within the user interface, just to hit that Play button on your music playlist.

The other main draw on the Gate stems from its Motion Gate function that utilizes a series of motion sensor such as flipping or snapping the phone in either directions to access two preset functions. This is somewhat similar to Sony Ericsson's Walkman devices which also utilize the shake motion to switch songs.

The Jet recognizes either left or right motions to skip ahead or back track to different songs. Double tapping on the device will also lead to specific actions on the device, such as activating the camera shutter and giving it three seconds to react, autofocus, and snap an image.

The Wizard of Touch

Building upon the success of its TouchWiz user interface that was introduced on the popular Samsung Omnia, the Jet sports the updated TouchWiz 2.0 UI that feels slightly faster and snappier, even for an engineering unit.

Beyond all the software and UI features, the Jet also managed to amaze us with its repertoire of connectivity options that includes Wi-Fi and HSDPA speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. But if all these new-fangled web-centric features aren't your cup of tea, then it's good to know that the Jet does fulfill much on the multimedia aspect.

This includes a 5-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm audio jack, and as mentioned, a 3.1-inch screen, but more importantly, a WVGA AMOLED screen for great screen clarity and brightness. To round off all that's great on the Jet, the device will come in two variants, with 2GB and 8GB of storage respectively.

The Jet isn't what one might call a smartphone under the Windows Mobile or Symbian OS that the Korean chaebol is known to adopt. But it is packed to the brim with features that rivals what a smartphone can do.

We'll be bringing in more details about the actual performance, price and availability of the final retail model when we get it so keep checking

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