While I really like my Shadow I needed to do some testing of a landscape app, and get a feel for 3G performance (I' was used to it in Australia but have yet to experience it here in the US) so I now have a wine red Samsung BlackJack II (aka i617) with an AT&T pre-paid SIM in.
First let me get a little rant at AT&T out of the way. I don’t mind pre-paid SIMs. I use them a lot when traveling. The initial purchase and setup was really slick and painless. But the fact I can’t get data on the cheaper plans is annoying as I have to sign up to a monthly renewal and more annoying in order to upgrade from the penny a Kb to unlimited data I can only reset it for the second month. If I didn’t want to try out their 3G service I’d have paid the unlock fee instead and stuck my T-Mobile SIM in.
Anyway, back to the phone.
First impressions are really great. It feels solid and robust, speakers are good, the screen is clear, camera – though only 2MP – is adequate. After the Shadow the full keyboard will take some getting used to. I prefer it to the Dash/Excalibur though.
I like the fact the BJII includes GPS (though you do need to jump through some hoops to enable it for apps other than the built-in ones), and of course the speed of the 3G data (I’ll like it a lot more when the unlimited kicks in). I really don’t understand why the decided to not include WiFi of any sort in this device though – in the office I get very poor signal coverage so WiFi is a must… so this phone becomes a paperweight.
So what were the first things I installed? TinyTwitter, Windows Live Search and (once I’d sorted out the GPS) Navizon.
The early experience has really been improved by the MyBlackjack2 and MoDoCo BJII forums – you should really pay them a visit if you’ve got one of these devices (or plan to)
Oh, and apparently there is a MicroSD WiFi card that would solve my connectivity complaint… but despite early announcements I can’t find anyone who actually admits to stocking it!
As I don’t plan to switch to AT&T just yet my Shadow will be the day to day phone, but the BJ II will be getting a good workout in the weeks to come… The other thing that would negate this being a day to day phone is the non-standard charge/data connection. Mini-USB works really well on the Shadow and not having one on the Blackjack II is a real negative for me.