i-mate K-JAM GSM/GPRS Pocket PC/Mobile Phone
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The i-mate K-Jam combines phone and PDA into one compact stylish unit, removing the need to carry two separate products. E-mails and text messages can be quickly and easily typed with the built-in QWERTY keyboard which conveniently slides out from the unit when needed. Quad-band connectivity and GSM/GPRS/EDGE have all been included in the i-mate K-Jam along with Bluetooth to enable connection to the latest headsets and accessories. The i-mate K-Jam benefits from having the latest Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0, which includes updated versions of Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Media Centre and now features Pocket PowerPoint. i-mate have also been able to include WiFi and a 1.3 Megapixel camera in the K-Jam to complete the package, which means you just need to carry this one product for all needs.
Top customer reviews
The main reason why I had bought this nice piece of kit was that i got fed up of carrying around 2 pieces of hardware (i had a IPaq as well as a mobile phone). I must admit I was initially concerned that it would be too large and bulky. But in actual fact, it is only slightly thicker than my PDA.
hidden in a corner is a telescopic sylus which is functional but may be too little for some people. I use my pen with the lid on which just works fine.
Weighing in at 160g it's heavier than most phones but considering how much is packed in this thing it's surprising it's not heavier. The PDA runs at about 200mhz processor speed which is fairly fast for the average user with some added applications. As i've overloaded mine with add ons like windowblinds to make it look better, and additional calenders, it still works fine but a little laggy at times. Other standard software includes a built in calender, tasks, notes and mail which can all sync with your computer. You can even connect your email to retrieve your Google/yahoo/hotmail if you want. It's easy and you can keep up to date with your mail on the move. It also has windows media so you can view videos stored on an SD card of all sorts of music.
Running Windows Mobile 5 it's already got pocket Word and Excel so that you can edit your files on the move. But that's all i'd suggest using it for. Reading small scale files and minor editing otherwise it'll give you a headache since the screen is a bitty (but relatively substantial) 6x4cm screen. The screen is very clear but as with all PDA's i'd suggest getting a screen protector.
The internal memory is pretty small and if you're thinking of adding on software, i'd definitely invest in an additional mini SD card. there you can install and save games on, pictures, emails etc. I've got games like tennis, golf, soccer, crosswords, Arevale (an RPG game) and they all work just fine with no lag and it will keep you busy at would-be boring moments at the bus stop.
Connectivity is excellent with the Vario capable of accessing wifi & bluetooth. It was very easy to connect to the internet using wifi. If you're out and about it can be a little fiddly connecting to public wifi hotspots but nonetheless very useful. Connecting at home should be a doddle if you don't have any security settings (if not why not - you're network isnt secure!). All you need to do is turn wifi on and you're set. the phone will pick up the signal all by itself. Internet explorer is handy to check up or surf the net with on the move but navigating can be a little fiddly. Download speeds aren't too bad considering but remember to just be a little patient - i think with Broadband becoming standard for most of us, waiting for a PDA to load amazon can be comparatively slow.
If you are new to PDA's then you can sync with your outlook email, inbox, calender and tasks as well as notes if you want to by connecting the phone to your computer. You can do this by using the wires supplied or if you've got a laptop with infrared, then you can connect and sync without using wires at all.
The talk time is reported to be 3 hours and standby time is 200 hours, but what does that really mean? In actual fact if you're an average user on the phone and like to surf the net & play games occasionally, then you're basically looking at charging every 2 days on average. I have read in some reviews that the phone signal strength is poor sometimes but i've never had any problems (however i do live near the local city centre). I couldn's say what it's like further out though but even on the move, i've never really had any problems. I was also initially worried about the embarassment of having a brick to my head when answering the phone but it's really not that big as other phones with music players are just as thick. Alternatively most hardcore phone users get a bluetooth headset anyway for answering calls.
The slide out keyboard is very easy to use. when you slide out the keyboard whilst the phone is switched on, then the screen will automatically switch from portrait view to landscape which is very convenient. This makes viewing the internet that little more clearer with the extra width. It also obviously makes texting a breeze and quick too. The keys are well spread out so even those with larger than average hands shoudn't have any problems.
The phone does come with a headphone/microphone set which is useful but basic. it's bright white so not very subtle but it does the job. When you're listening to music and a call comes in, if you select to take the call, the music cuts out which is very handy and the reverse happens when you end the call. The headphones have a volume and answer call button which is good but they're not the best quality. The problem i found is that you can't replace the headphones realistically as the headjack is not standard 3.5mm but 2.5mm- very annoying. However if you're that into music you can get bluetooth headphones now.
The phone comes with a case too but it's a clip on. I got paranoid about this as it's not a cheap piece of hardware so changed case to one that is more secure around the belt but the case supplied does it's job.
If you want the usefulness of a pda, access to music, internet and phone all rolled into one and don't mind the slightly extra weight compared to most other phones, then this is for you. It's packed with all sorts of good standard applications for keeping you busy on the move and keeping you up to date. you may find you'll want to add loads of extras to the pda but bear in mind that as it's a hybrid, it has it's limits - one of which is the processor speed. If you want something faster but with the same functionality, look for this phones younger brother. For Tmobile it is the MDA Vario 2 which has a 400mhz processor speed.
- Handwriting recognition works really well
- Slide-out keyboard is perfect for high-speed thumbing
- Wi-Fi instantly connects with my home network allowing web browsing, instant messaging and e-mail communication
- Initial set-up and configuration is very easy
- It is pretty quick even with a number of programmes running
- Larger memory capacity - installed all Tube and London maps and still plenty of space - Mini SD card will really only be needed for music and movies
- Quality of speaker could be improved
- Form factor and placement of buttons make one-handed operation slightly awkward - a jog like on the P910i would have been really nice.
- In many cases there is no option to take one step back to the previous screen or menu (more of a WM5 issue to be fair)
- Some software packages (e.g. TomTom Navigator 5) do not work on WM5.
- If you are running Lotus Notes you will have to wait for the version of XTNDCONNECT that works on WM5 - Beta version expected next week.
- The included earphones and mic look and feel very cheap
- Car kits are not yet available
- Can't get Skype to work
None of these lowlights in any way detract from the sheer usefulness of the device in day-to-day circumstances. There are a number of detailed reviews on the web but if you have any doubts about getting one, my advice is to just go for it.
*What's in the box?*
MDA Vario Smartphone
Two Stilii (or 2 stylus'!)
Adhesive Screen Protector.
Stereo Headset (with in-line volume control)
2 CD Roms (Microsoft and T-Mobile software)
Sim Card (of course)
Huge thick manual
Very impressed - to say the least. I charged it up (took about 45 minutes) and then started playing. It doesn't feel too plasticy and light (once the battery is in). The 'dimpled' effect on the back gives it great grip. Obviously it's a bit bigger than your average mobile - but the rounded styling reduces the visual size.
I had a quick play with the stylus - I need to admit here that this was the first time I've ever used a stylus. The MDA Vario comes with two - they are telescopic so if you've only got dinky hands you can shrink it down to size!
After playing with the stylus I had a play with the keyboard.
I was worried that my clumsy fingers would end up hitting several keys at once - but nope, they are well spaced and raised.
The keyboard pulls out easily and the stylus slots into the back of the handset and moulds nicely to fit in with the shape.
The blue-lit keys of the keyboard are reminiscent of my SPV C500, as are the flashing power/Bluetooth lights at the top.
*Ease of Use / Performance:*
If you've had an MS Smartphone before then this phone is dead easy. If not then you might take a little while to get used to the UI, but it doesn't take long.
I've had a blast on Word Mobile and Excel Mobile and they look and feel just like their bigger brother on the PC (obviously with less functionality - fonts for example.) The Camera is as easy as pressing a button, turning the 'flash' on is simply a case of selecting yes for it.
By far the most impressive thing was the WiFi set up. It literally took less than a minute to get on my home network - that's a good 20 minutes quicker than it took with my PC!!!
The screen has a great viewing angle - sunlight doesn't deem it useless as in so many other phones. You can adjust the brightness and I was surprised that it was only on 50% by default as it was so bright.
*In a nutshell - a year on:*
A great smartie that is easier to use than I imagined. It's been a joy to play with and I have spent many an hour looking fpr third party software to install and fiddle with.
If you want a mobile you can use to take notes in meetings AND have fun with - then you can't go far wrong with this. The WiFi is a great novelty for me as I don't have to spend any money of GPRS whilst I'm at home to check my e-mail!
Sometimes it runs slow/crashes - but only if I've left several applications running at the same time.
Most recent customer reviews
its been ok, not suffered much freezing etc but its outdated by todays standards.Read more
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