Samsung touts the Jet as a mobile phone that's faster than a speeding bullet, but it left us with the feeling we were creeping along on a lawnmower. Bright and vivid it may be, but the resistive touchscreen requires a firm touch, and the user interface is confusing in places. The Jet has a huge amount going for it, but, without a fun-to-use interface, it ends up providing a frustrating experience.
You can grab the Jet from free on a £20-per-month contract, or for around £320 unlocked and SIM-free.
Speedy does it
Speed and responsiveness are the two most important features for a touchscreen, so we had high hopes for the Jet, which Samsung claims to be the fastest full-touch handset in the world. But we weren't blown away by the Jet's speed.
For example, when we swiped a finger to switch between home screens, the transition wasn't any faster or smoother than we've seen on other touchscreen phones, and was far less smooth than a top-of-the-range touchscreen device like the iPhone 3GS. There's a split-second delay between the swipe and the change, the widgets each take a moment to appear on the screen, and the speed of the transition doesn't match the speed at which you swipe your finger.
Applications like the Web browser load up very quickly -- as they do on most phones at this level -- but we didn't find rendering particularly fast. Our favourite site, CNET UK, took 15 seconds to load on the Jet over Wi-Fi, compared to 4 seconds on the 3GS. The Jet invites the comparison by calling itself the world's fastest touchscreen phone, but we cut it some slack -- it is much less expensive than the iPhone -- and also compared it to a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. The 5800 took 10 seconds to load the site -- 5 less than the Jet.
Even subtracting the 2 seconds that it took both the Jet and the 5800 to load the Flash elements on the page -- the fancy-pants iPhone doesn't support Flash -- the Jet we tested proved far from the fastest phone for browsing the Web.
Everyday tasks like starting a new text message, opening the Web browser and viewing contacts don't feel any faster on the Jet than on the 5800. The Jet's 800MHz processor may make a difference when you're running several applications at once and making big demands on the processor, but we weren't able to prove it in our tests. A speedy processor means little if the operating system doesn't take advantage of it, and the Jet just didn't impress us in the real world.
Resistive is futile
The Jet also suffers from a resistive touchscreen, which feels rather squishy and requires pressure to make it respond. As a result, it seems less responsive than a capacitive touchscreen. We prefer the touchscreen on Samsung's budget phone, the Tocco Lite. We usually needed to use a fingernail, rather than a fingertip, to get the Jet to respond. The Tocco Lite shows that a resistive touchscreen can be decent, even on the cheap, so we're disappointed that Samsung hasn't managed to achieve the same with the pricier Jet.
The Jet's AMOLED screen is gorgeously bright and vivid, though. Web sites look great, although scrolling and zooming tends to be jittery. Zooming works by holding down a finger and sliding it up and down. That's an innovative idea, and it does away with screen-hogging zoom controls, but it means you can only zoom in on the centre of a page.
Samsung's version of the Symbian operating system is much better-looking than the version Nokia uses on the 5800, but it's confusing and too convoluted at times. For example, when we couldn't connect to a Web page, the error message was: 'Failed to connect to DPS. No response from AP.' That's not much help, even for mobile-phone experts.