I know, I’ve found my “next phone” many times over the past few years, only to be disappointed each time. But I am not giving up, and now the device that has caught my attention is the new Samsung BlackJack.
This device has a pretty sleek form factor, it’s narrower than the Treo, the Nokia E61/62, and most BlackBerry devices (several reviewers find the form factor similar to that of the Motorola Q). It also features a scroll wheel, the one feature that BlackBerry got right and that Treo and the others failed to implement.
The BlackJack runs Windows Mobile 5, it’s a quad-band GSM device with 3G support (it supports UMTS/HSDPA/EDGE/GPRS data connectivity), and initial data performance numbers are very impressive. Reviewers like the audio quality and phone volume (always a problem with Treo). The device supports Bluetooth 2, but no WiFi. It also features a 1.3-megapixal camera, which I’d rather not have.
So, nice form factor, decent screen (although it can’t compare to the E62), Windows Mobile (in my experience faster than Symbian but slower than Palm), decent keyboard, quad-band GSM and great data connectivity but no WiFi … humm, not perfect, but it definitely sounds like I need to take a look at it.
If you have any experience with this device, please share!

12 thoughts

  1. Hi Ben,
    I am also planning to get one BlackJack. I have now a HTC Wizard (http://wiki.xda-developers.com/index.php?pagename=HTC_Wizard) with Windows Mobile 5. I am very happy with Windows Mobile but device is not the best one. It is also German Vodafone device with QWERTZ keyboard and this is problem now in USA and I really want to change it.
    I have already check BlackJack and I like it so far. But I am not sure about Cingular network which I have real trouble for coverage etc. in Maryland.
    What I know about Samsung is the sound quality which is amazing. MicroSD expansion is also must have in a Windows Mobile device and BlackJack has it. I use my Windows Mobile device as also a Navigation device but there must be a big MicroSD card to get the software. There would be a better camera but I think it is acceptable when you think other features.
    You can see also CNet Review in this page: http://reviews.cnet.com/Samsung_BlackJack/4505-6452_7-32143267.html

  2. Have you looked at the new SE models – W950i and P990 in particular ?
    I’m getting the latter shortly after a play in the shop and my wife has the former and loves it.
    I’ve always liked touchscreens, and if it can read my handwriting, yours should be fine šŸ™‚

  3. Tom, yes, I mentioned the 990 on this blog a long time ago. I loved that device, but it is not quad-band. For some stupid reason, SE released an I version with 3 bands supported and an A version with three bands supported, instead of a single quad-band. That killed it for me.
    Paulius, the Nokia N series does not have a QWERTY keyboard as far as I know, it is the E series that does. if a new E comes out I will definitley try it.
    — Ben

  4. Tom, that is because there are just 2 bands used throughout Europe, and all phones support them. There are also 2 bands used in the US (a different two, of course). European tri-band phones support the 2 European bands and the primary one used in the US, but for optimum coverage you really must have all 4 bands supported. Most vendors are in fact only producing quad-band phones these days (including Nokia in their E series), which is what bugs me about the Nokia P series.
    — Ben

  5. Did you notice that it runs the Smartphone version of Windows Mobile, you will not be able to edit documents or spreadsheets like you would on the full WM. Not sure if that is a concern…

  6. You may want to hold off for a month or so on that Blackjack – I spoke with a Cingular rep today about replacing my iPaq 6515 (which died today). The 6515 isn’t available any more, so I was looking at alternatives, and when I asked the rep about it his advice was to "steer clear of it and hold off for a month or so".. The reason why is that Cingular is getting ready to release "a bunch" of new PDA phones during this Christmas season. Nothing like waiting til the last minute, right?
    Anywho, let us know how it goes, I’m interested in hearing how you like it.
    Oh, and ditto on the scroll wheel thing.. Why is that not universal yet?

  7. I bought a E900 a couple of months ago, which is my first Samsung phone. I am not really happy with it, being an ex-sonyEricsson user. Here’s why:
    -Battery life is poor: the battery only lasts one day if you make a couple of calls, not very handy if you are on the road. It seems that way with all samsung phones
    -Call signal: It’s vibrating OR making sound, not both!
    -No voice dialing
    Be sure to check these things with your phone. If you like to have a smartphone, try a Qtek. (myqtek.com) These are pretty neat.

  8. Jorrit,
    I already commented on the lack of voice dial and poor battery life in the follow-up post.
    As for vibrating/ring, this device does seem to do both at once.
    — Ben

  9. I owned a Blackjack for about three hours. I spent the whole time trying to get Activesync to work with my company-supplied computer.
    After 45 minutes on the phone with Cingulat level 1 nad level 2 support, they switched me to Samsung level 2, who eventually put me throught to level 3. Still no joy. After 1 1/2 hours on the phone with Samsung the level three guy finally fessed up that under Windows mobile 5.0, Activesync absolutely will not work with McAfee, which is our corporate standard. We are also using the Aventail VPN, although that did not come up during the conversation. This seems to be a microsoft issue, but nevertheless, disqualifies the phone for me.
    Too bad, because it seemed like a nice phone. I was looking forward to using it – streaming video and music; XM radio off the web, etc. Ah well, back to my god-forsaken Treo, bugs and all.
    If anyone has overcome this problem, I’m all ears.

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