BlackJack II SGH-i617 – First Impressions

The Easter holiday delayed the delivery by a few days, but never mind, my new unlocked BlackJack II is here! I’ve had it for less than 12hrs but I wanted to post my first impressions of the device.

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•    Looks great. The glossy black body is more stylish and “hip” than the original BlackJack. The new design is less functional, loosing out to the original’s superior grip and ruggedness, but with competitors like the iPhone and Nokia N95 8GB around it was a necessary change.

•    Build quality is top notch. No flexing , creaking or general crapness to be found. Very impressed.

•    The new scroll wheel is surprisingly good. It feels more natural and easy-to-use than the side-mounted scrollwheel. Windows Mobile needs the softkeys, and having the scroll wheel between them means it gets used all the time, not just when scrolling through websites. Needs adjustment options, as I find it a bit slow.

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•    Screen is fabulous. I’m running it on the default 3 setting, but there are two settings above.

•    Keyboard is just as good as before. Many people say the keys on the BlackJack are too thin but it has never bothered me.

•    I like that they ditched the stupid two-key design for the numberpad. Just made things confusing. I would have preferred the numberkeys to appear on the right side of the keyboard, since the Fn key (which you use to access the numbers when typing) is on the left, things can get a bit cramped over there.
•    Love that you can hold a letter and the symbol on that key will be typed.

•    BJII feels faster than the old model, and it doesn’t bog down with lots of apps open thanks to the generous amount of memory.

•    Love that it is tri-band HSDPA. The previous model was released in two variants, the i600 (2100mhz) and the i607 (850Mhz), which meant I couldn’t but the cheaper one from the USA. This time I could, and I got it for a ridiculous AU$330 delivered. The i600 was $799 for the brief period it was available here.

•    BJII has a massive 1700mAh battery, almost twice the capacity of the original. The BJ had pretty poor battery life, and I easily ran the battery flat before the day was out. Hopefully this one will make it through the day like the N95 8GB I have been using has.

•    I need to find a decent browser. I have been spoiled by the N95 browser which is absolutely fantastic, and going back to IE is just pathetic. Slow page loads, rubbish rendering and total lack of features.

•    Working on “unlocking” the GPS functionality. I have sat. nav integrated into my car now (DIY 😉 but would be nice to get Google Maps going with the GPS.

•    No WiFi, but I don’t think I have used WiFi on my phone in over a year, and almost all the phones I have used in that time have had it (Samsung i600,  HTC Universal, Sony Ericsson P1i, Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8GB). May be of importance to some, especially if you travel overseas a (international data prices, ouch!).

•    Included accessories are a bit light, you only get a charger and a USB cable in the box. No microSD card, headphone adaptor or even headphones! Will be trying out some A2DP headphones to see if they work any better with this phone than they have with my others.

I’ll post my experience with the BlackJack II a few weeks from now, but after it’s first day of use I’m very happy with it 😀


About the Author

Mitchell Oke
Mitchell is a video producer and director working with Australia's leading motoring news sites and car companies. He's always on the go with a camera in hand. With a Bachelor of Creative Technology (Digital Video Production), Mitchell's worked for News Limited, CarAdvice.com and as a freelancer for many years.