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Lightning Round: Samsung BlackJack II

Illustration for article titled Lightning Round: Samsung BlackJack II

The Gadget: The Samsung BlackJack II, a Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone with 3G, GPS and faster hardware.

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The Price: $149 with two-year contract.

The Verdict: There's not much about this in terms of general speed and build that we haven't said already in the first hands-on, but here are the things we didn't cover. The 3G is super speedy and pulls down emails and web pages like a champ. Sound quality is on par with other Windows Mobile phones (namely, it's good), and its battery is also much improved over the BJ1, lasting over the weekend on one charge—with us making a handful of calls and doing a little web browsing and Google mapping. The GPS is pretty awesome when used with the free Google Maps, but has a bit of trouble getting a signal around my apartment. It's fine when you're out on the road, even though you're not really supposed to be using this while driving. For this amount of performance (speediness) and functionality (GPS, 3G), the BlackJack 2 is a pretty good deal at $149. If you're a fan of the BlackJack platform, this isn't a revolutionary improvement, but it's definitely a solid evolutionary one. [AT&T]

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DISCUSSION

Reasons I regret buying my Blackjack 2 (I used my phone from 2/08-5/16/08):

1) Battery life stinks...sometimes I even had to charge my phone multiple times in a day to keep it from dying

2) The car chargers stink. I had to replace my GO Tip about every 10 days or so (I went through 3 before both AT&T and Radio Shack stopped carrying them)

3) The internet browser directs you directly to the mobile sites and you can't have more than one page up at a time (like the IPhone).

4) The phone's capability to load things is so slow that being on the 3G network isn't really an advantage over the IPhone.

5) Telenav (the reason I got the phone) is often is down for maintanance on Saturday afternoons (the time that I often actually want to use it). In addition, it struggles when you are moving and sometimes it can take 15+ min. to figure out where you're at, even when you are parked (it's acually faster to park and get on the internet use Yahoo local to find out where you are going, and then type in the intersection of where you are on Yahoo maps).

Plus Telenav is $10/month. Google's triangulation stuff on the IPhone is free.

6) My charging port broke, and Samsung refused to fix it at any price and AT&T wants me to pay $280 to replace it. I was not by any means rough on the phone (the worst thing I did was when it fell off of a chair once...and apparently talking in the rain — it was not otherwise exposed to water in any way/shape or form other than by me talking in Seattle rain [the light stuff that comes down all the time out here], and they call that enough to void the waranty).

Right now I am using a $15 Go Phone from Target (the internet and typing is a pain but the battery lasts 3+ days between charges) until the new IPhones come out...and then I'll either buy one of those or get someone that's upgrading's cast-off.