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Old 09-28-2005, 04:00 PM
Jon Westfall
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Default The i-Mate JasJar Reviewed

<img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-reviewtitle.jpg" /><br /><br /><b>Product Category:</b> Pocket PC Phone Edition<br /><b>Manufacturer:</b> <a href="http://www.clubimate.com">i-mate</a><br /><b>Where to Buy:</b> <a href="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=buy+jasjar&btnG=Google+Search">Various online retailers</a><br /><b>Price:</b> Approx. $1000.00 USD<br /><b>System Requirements:</b> ActiveSync 4.0<br /><b>Specifications:</b> 520 MHz Intel processor, VGA Screen, QWERTY keypad, 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz GSM/GPRS/WCDMA, 128 MB ROM, 64 MB RAM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth.<br /><br /><b>Pros:</b>
  • <li>Amazingly useful keyboard &amp; form factor;<br /><li>Good speed &amp; processing ability;<br /><li>Everything you need - VGA, phone, Wi-Fi, keyboard.
<b>Cons:</b>
  • <li>Battery Life;<br /><li>GSM reception can be spotty;<br /><li>Price.
<b>Summary:</b><br />It's no secret that I've been dying to get a Universal since they were announced. However, with that anticipation came a dread that I'd fall into the same situation as before: A device that looked good on paper, but was mediocre in person. Fortunately, the i-mate JasJar lives up to its hype: An ultra-usable, nicely-portable, mouth-watering PPC that could easily live in my ever changing gadget bag for years!<br /><br />Read on for the full review!<!><br /><PAGEBREAK><br /><span><b>It's All In The Presentation</b></span><br />I've been waiting for a long time to get my hands on a Universal, so when the review unit came, it didn't take long for me to bust out the digital camera and start with the pictures. If you find yourself hungry for more screenshots, take a look at my <a href="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/jasjargallery/index.html">JasJar Screenshot Gallery </a> for over 50 screenshots of this device in action. <br /><br />Upon opening the box, you'll find the usual array of PPC paraphernalia including:
  • <li>Manual &amp; Quick Start Guide w/ CD<br /><li>Slip Case<br /><li>USB Cable &amp; AC Charger<br /><li>Headphones<br /><li>i-mate (of course!).
The Pictures below show the outside &amp; inside of the box.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-boxcollage.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 1: The box on the outside, inside, and the various manuals laid out.</i> <br /><br />The unit is nicely laid out, with the hinge that we've all seen a thousand pictures of being quite sturdy, yet easy to manipulate. The call send/end buttons on the hinge can be somewhat problematic though - especially when using the phone up to your ear. More than once I accidentally hung up on a caller or put them on hold by pressing the button with my shoulder as I cradled phone between shoulder and head. The unit also features a SDIO-compatible SD card slot. The slot returns to the bottom of the unit, as it was in the original HTC Wallaby. I never really cared for it there, as a downward facing card easily shoots out if slightly pressed. I lost an SD card for 6 months once with my T-Mobile Pocket PC, so be forewarned - you don't want to accidentally press the card in causing rapid ejection!<br /><br />The quality of the unit is second to none. Nothing feels cheap or plastic, even though there is very little metal on the exterior of the device. I was skeptical about the usability of the keyboard, however, this device's keys are big enough for even my large hands. I got a surprising amount of work done by keyboard press in landscape mode. The JasJar also features an HTC written SIP known as Phone Pad that allows T9 predictive text entry from a familiar 1-9 phone keypad – a nice quick way to enter text when using the phone in the classic PPC way - portrait mode and stylus.<br /><br />Finally, a note about memory. If you're using the device stock, you'll find about 23 or so MB of storage memory available to you after i-mate installs its preloaded content following a hard-reset. Most of us are familiar with using memory cards and have them on hand, but this is still a bit small for this device. One ray of hope though - the diligent individuals over at xda-developer's forums have been working to modify the extended ROM and remove programs that not all may want. If you're comfortable with modifying the ROM, they will probably have a solution for you very soon. <br /><br /><span><b>Sizing It Up</b></span><br />The very name Pocket PC suggests oh-so-subtly that the device is able to fit into your pocket. Since the Universal is high on features, many have also assumed it's high on size as well. For you, my dear readers, I've provided the following size comparison shots. As you'll see, this thing isn't as big as some have said, yet it is a pocket full.<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-sidebyside.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 2: From left to right: Motorola Mpx220 Smartphone, Dell Axim x50v, HP iPAQ 6315, Jasjar, Viewsonic V36.</i> <br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-collage.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 3: From top to bottom: Mpx220, Axim, iPAQ, Jasjar,V36.</i> <br /><br />Another hot item of debate with this Pocket PC is the VGA screen. Indeed, this is the first Pocket PC Phone Edition to have VGA, and the comparison shots to the QVGA iPAQ 6315 screen and VGA Axim x50v show you what kind of brightness and clarity you can expect from this screen. It is easily the most beautiful Pocket PC display I've ever used. For those of you who find the smaller text difficult to read, Windows Mobile 5 also allows you to change the default text size. To see all five sizes, see the <a href="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/jasjargallery/index.html"> Screen Shot Gallery </a> screen shots!<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-sidebysidescr.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 4: The Axim, Jasjar, &amp; iPAQ on the Today Screen. While the iPAQ looks washed out and the Axim slightly dim, the JasJar looks pretty nice.</i> <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-jjvsaxim.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 5: Axim &amp; JasJar displaying a lake picture taken earlier that day.</i> <br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><span><b>Peer Pressure: Benchmarks</b></span><br />If the following benchmarks look vaguely familiar to you, then chances are you've read Jason's Axim x51v review. As he and I were working on these reviews at the same time (and using each other's benchmark tests), he was gracious enough to let me link to his. Otherwise, you could have seen eerily similar graphs and just assumed they were his. <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/x51v-benchmark-overall.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 6: While it looks like the old "under-powered PPC Phone" story again, I can tell you that this device is quicker than these numbers let on. While the Axim is faster on paper, between screen draws and the device adjusting its speed on the fly, the JasJar seems quicker to the tap.</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/x51v-benchmark-cpuindex.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 7: For a processor that is substantially slower, the JasJar doesn't do too badly in the CPU index. Perhaps here is where my "quicker to the tap" originates.</i><br /><br /><span><b>A Picture Is Worth A Thousand...</b></span><br />One of the nice features of the JasJar is the integrated 1.3 megapixel camera. Finally, a camera that takes fairly decent pictures. I'm not ready to throw out my Kodak dx7590 over here, but as you can see from the samples below, the camera doesn't do a half bad job.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-samplepic1.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 8: Rocks &amp; Water - <a href="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-pic053.jpg">Kodak Comparison. </a></i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-samplepic2.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 9: Ideal Workplace - <a href="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-pic051.jpg">Kodak Comparison. </a></i><br /><PAGEBREAK> <br /><span><b>The Average Day</b></span><br />On Tuesdays &amp; Thursdays, my life becomes extremely complicated this semester. Anyone who has ever been a graduate student knows how the schedules can go from light to demanding in a heartbeat. And, if you've ever been a graduate student and part-time systems administrator for a web hosting company, you know that a light schedule isn't easy to come by. The JasJar accompanied me on my daily rounds this week:<br /><br /><b>7:30 AM</b><br />Depart home, i-mate fully charged. My Activesync peak time is set to 7 AM - 9 PM today, and the device will check for email every ten minutes to keep me current, and on top of any emergencies I must take care of. After driving an hour and 10 minute commute to school, I take the i-mate out and check my mail. The keyboard really shines in this moment as I'm able to browse mail, move it to folders, reply, and delete all without taking out the stylus. With, as Ed calls it, my e-mail triage out of the way, I head to class.<br /><br /><b>9:30 AM</b><br />Graduate developmental psychology - today is a round-table discussion on neurological development from conception to 1 year old. Previously, I had taken all the discussion questions from the class and compiled them into one post in my inbox through Outlook. Unfortunately, I had closed Outlook too quickly and it didn't get synced up to my Exchange server! Already using the i-mate, I connected to the school's LEAP-authenticated wireless network (I needed these quick - GPRS wouldn't do!) and used Outlook Mobile Access (some of the emails were older than three days, so my Activesync copies wouldn't do) to find the emails and get the questions:<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-wlanset3.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 10: WLAN Utility - LEAP Menu.</i><br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-oma.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 11: Outlook Mobile Access in PIE Landscape. </i><br /><br />Ah, disaster avoided. However, I'm starting to feel a bit congested - allergies or am I getting a small cold... :roll: <br /><br /><b>10:45 - 11:00</b><br />And Jon's off... I have 15 minutes to get in my car, drive a few miles to a satellite campus, get into the building, get my laptop set up, and teach my intro Psych class to 130 waiting students. On top of it, I'm not feeling well and I've found while idly surfing in my developmental class that T-Mobile Easy Pay hasn't easily paid my bill this month! Time in the car isn't wasted as I call T-Mobile and pay my bill, and browse emailed trouble tickets for my server admin job during walks from classroom to classroom. For being a diligent sys admin, what do I get? Thankfully no major problems - however I could do without some of the less important email I seem to be plagued with (censored - we're rated PG here!):<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-intelemail.jpg" /> <br /><i> Figure 12: Warning: not for the faint of heart - useless, ever-present spam!</i><br /><br /><b>12:15</b><br />Class is over and I'm feeling pretty beat. Text my fiancée to ask if she needs anything at the drugstore - I'm going to grab some Dayquil and fight off this bug. More email triage, ensuring I won't have 50 new e-mails in my inbox when I finally get to my office.<br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><b>1:00 </b><br />Back at the office, I set up the laptop and connect Outlook to server to pull the, thanks to the i-mate, small amount of email to my Inbox. Pop a few Dayquil and adjust the text size on my i-mate to a larger size since my eyes feel a bit tired. However, this doesn't do me too much good though - I collapse on my office floor for a two hour nap around 2 PM. Have a class at 4:15...<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-textsize.jpg" /> <br /><i>Figure 13: See the effects of changing the size in the <a href="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/jasjargallery/index.html"> Screen Shot Gallery. </a></i><br /><br /><b>4:00 </b><br />Wake up, brush off, grab i-mate for note taking and head off to graduate social psychology. We're discussing beliefs and social norms - thanks to the Dayquil and nap, I'm awake. If I hadn't had the i-mate though, I would have spent easily another half hour catching up on emails that were dispatched this morning in five minute triage sessions. i-mate should consider changing its slogan to "It gets you more sleep"...<br /><br /><b>6:45</b><br />Class is over, return to office with i-mate, upload notes. While in class I used the i-mate to email my instructor my discussion questions directly, thus saving some paper and time. Now I work on some reading while I wait for my fiancée to return from her spanish class...<br /><br /><b>9:00</b><br />Leave campus, head home. On the way, stop at McDonalds and view the score of the White Sox - Indians game while eating a cheeseburger. I love the loading bar in PIE - makes progress seem like progress a lot more than a waving flag...<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/westfall-jjreview-loadppct.jpg" /> <br /><i> Figure 14: Ultra Nice loading bar in PIE. </i><br /><br /><b>10:45</b><br />Home finally, the i-mate now tells me it has only 17% battery life left. Not bad considering what I've put it through today. However, I expect I would have had to do a late-day recharge if I'd used Wi-Fi a bit more intensely or paired my Bluetooth Headset with it all day. Thankfully, unlike my x50v, this device can be used and charge off of USB at the same time.<br /><br />One last note that I have to point out about the JasJar - the GSM reception can be really spotty if you live in what T-Mobile calls "fair" territory on its coverage maps. I can keep a signal and make/receive calls if I keep the unit out in the open at home. However, if I put it in my pocket or obstruct the antenna, I lose signal. One bright spot here - the unit does have jacks for external WCDMA and GSM antennas, so you could always use one of those to boost your signal.<br /><PAGEBREAK> <br /><span><b>Conclusions</b></span><br />In the end, this device has been very impressive to review. Even with its shorter-than-desired battery life and less-than-average signal strength, I find that the usability and feature set of the JasJar to more than make up for its shortcomings. It is simply the easiest to use PPC I have ever used. Regardless, if you're doing anything from simple email checking &amp; text web page surfing, to terminal service administering and document editing, the JasJar won't leave you wanting for much more.<br /><br /><i> Jon Westfall is a full-time Graduate Student in Cognitive Psychology, a full-time system administrator for a small web-hosting company, and a full-time technology enthusiast. While not devoting 300% of himself to his hobbies &amp; work, Jon enjoys spending time with his fiancée Karey and various geek and non-geek friends around the Northern Ohio Area.</i>
 
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:28 PM
Phillip Dyson
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Great article Jon. Sometimes a "day in the life" usage articles are more than mere academic reviews.

2 questions:

1. I've been told that ActiveSync4 no longer even gives you the option for category filtering (albeit limited) on the desktop. Has this feature been moved to the ActiveSync settings on the device itself? What kind of settings are available on the device? (okay thats 2 questions)

2. Given that UMTS is not very prevalent in the US (at reasonable prices anyway), do you feel that the JasJar is still a good buy for someone in the states? Espcially given its premium price. Sure there are other aspects of the Universal that make it a great device, but the high speed wireless seems to be unusable.

thanks again
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:34 PM
Menneisyys
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Quote:
Figure 13: See the effects of changing the size in the Screen Shot Gallery.
Much as there're some screenshots that do show for example Messaging screens with different font sizes, does the Settings/System/Screen/Text Size have more effect of the generic font size than in WM2003SE? That is, for example, can it enlarge Start Menu fonts, Messenger fonts etc, which would be very important in native VGA mode (in SE, these were the biggest problems in using native VGA)? In SE, it has very limited effect.

Quote:
the comparison shots to the QVGA iPAQ 6315 screen and VGA Axim x50v show you what kind of brightness and clarity you can expect from this screen. It is easily the most beautiful Pocket PC display I've ever used.
Could you also post a comparison shot with an image that has even more 'warmer' colors? It'd be great to see more comparison shots as the other reviews don't show shots like them. This photo could be very good for comparison, as used for example here to compare the x50v to the Pocket Loox 720 and the 4150 (or, more generally, here).
 
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:42 PM
Jon Westfall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys
can it enlarge Start Menu fonts, Messenger fonts etc, which would be very important in native VGA mode (in SE, these were the biggest problems in using native VGA)? In SE, it has very limited effect.
It doesn't effect the start menu, or some of the other text. Looks like the enlarging of text is limited to entries in programs, not necessarily the programs themselves. I'll run a few more tests on this later since I still have the review unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys
Could you also post a comparison shot with an image that has even more 'warmer' colors?
Sure, if I get a chance later, I'll take a few more comparison shots with the photos you've linked to.
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:46 PM
Jon Westfall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sojourner753
1. I've been told that ActiveSync4 no longer even gives you the option for category filtering (albeit limited) on the desktop. Has this feature been moved to the ActiveSync settings on the device itself? What kind of settings are available on the device? (okay thats 2 questions)
I'll take a look later when I have a few minutes (I'm off to work here in about 15 minutes, back home later tonight). I still haven't explored all of AS 4's new screens, or the device's activesync settings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sojourner753
2. Given that UMTS is not very prevalent in the US (at reasonable prices anyway), do you feel that the JasJar is still a good buy for someone in the states? Espcially given its premium price. Sure there are other aspects of the Universal that make it a great device, but the high speed wireless seems to be unusable.

thanks again
In my opinion, the usability of the JasJar outweighs the UMTS issue. I find that anywhere I'm going to be doing serious work has accessible WiFi already (My house, my office, various points on campus, restaurants even), so 95% of the time, I'll be in a WiFi hotspot. The other 5% of the time, plain old GPRS doesn't suit me too badly - for simple tasks in terminal services, the slow connection isn't too much of a bother. I'd say, if you like the layout of the device, have the $, and have WiFi around you, then go for the Universal.
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:48 PM
Menneisyys
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Westfall
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys
can it enlarge Start Menu fonts, Messenger fonts etc, which would be very important in native VGA mode (in SE, these were the biggest problems in using native VGA)? In SE, it has very limited effect.
It doesn't effect the start menu, or some of the other text. Looks like the enlarging of text is limited to entries in programs, not necessarily the programs themselves.
Thanks; then, it has the same (mostly, non-existing) effect than in WM2003SE. That's very bad news for native VGA users...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Westfall
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys
Could you also post a comparison shot with an image that has even more 'warmer' colors?
Sure, if I get a chance later, I'll take a few more comparison shots with the photos you've linked to.
Thanks, that'd be great :approve: (BTW, could you make these shots with less ambient light to reduce glare/reflection?)
 
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:55 PM
Jon Westfall
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Had a couple of free minutes before I ran out the door: The text size only effects entries in programs (i.e. text on the today screen, messaging, etc..) not the start menu font or the programs / settings fonts. Users with poor eyes will have to be accustomed to finding the icon they want...

And as far as I can see on the device, there are no contact / calendar filtering settings for what gets transferred over Activesync. You can filter your contacts in the Contacts App by category, however. I'll play more with Desktop Activesync later today.

Jon.
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:18 PM
adamz
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It sounds like you skipped breakfast and lunch and had dinner at McDonalds. Maybe that's why you're not feeling well.
 
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Old 09-28-2005, 09:04 PM
Jon Westfall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamz
It sounds like you skipped breakfast and lunch and had dinner at McDonalds. Maybe that's why you're not feeling well.
If I recall, breakfast that day consisted of Pop Tarts &amp; Banana, lunch consisted of a sandwhich, yogurt, fruit, and a snack. Don't think that did it to me, although the McDonalds probably didn't help
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Old 09-28-2005, 09:16 PM
saru83
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Well, AWESOME review "Jon Westfall", i enjoyed reading it :alfdance:
 
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