Samsung Jet S8003

Several days before Raya I decided to splurge a bit. I went on a (sort of) online shopping spree, and bought this baby:

Samsung Jet S8003
(image from

The ads says that it’s smarter than a smartphone. Some reviews really love this phone while some others hates it. But I’ve yet to find a review from an actual owner, so I think I’ll give one.

I bought this phone based on it’s multimedia capability. It has a gorgeous 3.1 inches AMOLED screen which screams “WATCH ME AND DROOL!” everytime I play videos on it. Not to mention it has one of the highest resolution to date (800×480) and supporting 16 million colors. Like I said, drool.

Up to now, it managed to handle all AVI videos that I have downloaded from the Net without any additional re-encoding. WMVs, however, are a mixed bunch. I guess it doesn’t natively support WMV9 video codec, since the audio came out okay.

Next, would be the camera. I like to snap pictures, and I like my camera to be on the ready anywhere I go. Which is why I would like a decent camera bundled with my phone, so I don’t need to carry two devices all the time. Prior to Jet I was using Sony Ericsson c902, which have a 5 megapixel camera. The camera is powerful, but the post-processing somehow makes the images seem washed out, but the image size is still around 2 mb. Which is why I am putting 5mp as the max I would go for the time being. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, and if I’m going for megapixels, I would at least go for a point and shoot, or better yet, DSLR.

Jet, too is bundled with a 5mp camera. Comparing head to head with C902, both have it’s advantage and disadvantages. Being a Cybershot phone, C902 is not skimpy with capabilities and features. Jet’s not a bad cameraphone either, with similar specs. The main difference that I consider is the Panorama shot and the flash.

C902‘s Panorama shooting method is simple, shoot a scene from left to right, and the camera stitches them up to a single wide angle photo. On Jet, this is even simpler and more flexible. First you choose which way you want to pan and shoot, and snap the first picture. Then just pan the camera to the desired direction and the camera will snap the other photos by itself. For this, Jet wins.

On the flash side, I guess it’s a tie. The flash on C902 is a bit on the weaker side, but for close-ups and medium close-ups, it’s prefect. Jet, however, can light up my room with its flash from pitch darkness to decently lit. That’s what you get with dual led. However, if the subject is too close, then the image will be overexposed.

Both have macro mode, but in C902 , you need to select the mode manually while Jet does it automatically. This may be a boon or bane to some, but for me, for now it just works.

Samsung Jet runs on a proprietary TouchWiz 2 OS, which has its pros and cons. Pros, is that it’s more stable on Jet than any other, since it’s developed for the phone, IMHO. And it can always take full advantage of the 800MHz processor (more on that later). It’s however limited in the sense of expansion. It’s hard to find J2ME apps that supports 800×480 touchscreen, and mostly they have limited functionality.

I mentioned the 800 Mhz  processor, and seriously, it does feel fast, but not fast enough. Iphone 3G S feels fast because of tight integration of the OS, making the experience smooth. Things are different on Jet, causing the 800MHz to feel underused. It’s also using dynamic speed, so the speed actually ranges from 800 Mhz to about 600 or 700, I think. The RAM allocated for Java and Widgets are also limited, after a while it does seem cramped.

Yes, you read me right, there’s Widgets in the Jet. In fact, it’s one of the Jet‘s marketing points. Funny though, because in real life, only a handful of the available widgets are actually useful and practical. Others, congests your screen, since some of them annoyingly big. Maybe this will change once the apps or widgets store starts to roll out more stuff for Jet, but for the time being, It’s not too useful. And to add salt to injuries, there’s a limit as how many widgets you can load onto the phone.

For business usage, there’s not much in the offering, but it does support email and better yet, Exchange Activesync. The email works fine, with minor problem regarding the setup (you need to key in everything manually, there’s no preset of the major email providers) and the certificate confirmation issue. As for Exchange Activesync, as far as I know, it works, but I cannot confirm on how well it does since my company email resides in the network. Since the phone do not support VPN, I cannot access the Exchange Server.

If anybody is thinking about this phone but worried if it’s going to be stolen, fret not. Or fret less. Jet has this security function that sends the new number when the SIM card is switched. It can send to up to 2 numbers, and it’s supposed to be transparent (the new user didn’t know it’s sent. Or maybe a notice is sent? Need to test that one). This helps when somebody sold your beloved phone and you can track or inform the new (and maybe innocent) user.

In the ad and most reviews I read before buying this phone, it mentions about GPS functions. While it’s not entirely a lie, it’s not entirely true either. For one thing, Asians will get S8003 unit, while the European counterparts will get S8000. S8000 features a turn-by-turn navigation software, called Route 66, in addition to the preinstalled Google Maps, while S8003 only have Google Maps.

This is part of why I said it’s a lie. To have full functionality of Route 66, you need to pay. Converted to RM, it costs about RM200 per year. Less than RM 1 per day, if you use it every day, but consider a standalone GPS unit for better satellite reception, and service. While it’s possible to hack the phone to activate the navigation, you still need to buy the service for turn-by turn navigation. Maps and voices are free though, and there’s even Malay voice available for download.

For those who used C902 may know that its body is made of metal for most of its structural part, giving it the strength, durability, and of course, weight. I mean, C902 is an thin overweight phone. Jet, however, is all plastic. And it feels, and it shows. This is both good and bad. The good, is that it is light, and holding it in the hand for prolonged period of watching movies or web browsing won’t take a toll on the hand. On the other hand, some of the parts, the back cover, especially, feels like it can break easily. Samsung, however had covered this flaw by putting a unique design on the back plate. It’s reflective nature gives a distinctive look, while being a fingerprint magnet, although not as bad as the screen.

The battery included is a 1100mAh LI-ion battery, said to be able to last ranging from a day to 4 days. My unit had an issue with the battery and since I had only repaired it recently, I cannot comment much on this. But I managed to shoot almost 200 photos, made a couple of calls, SMSes and a 2 hour long movie session with a single charge. I guess the movie took most of the juice, but that’s not bad in my opinion. Will update once I’ve checked my unit thoroughly.

PC Connectivity is my biggest grudge. Since I found MyPhoneExplorer for Sony Ericsson phones, I haven’t found any other PC-Phone software to match it. It’s biggest flaw which is also the reason I cannot use it now is that it ONLY supports Sony Ericsson‘s UIQ phone OS.

Samsung’s offering in this department is the New PC Studio, which in my opinion looks nicer than Nokia‘s and Sony‘s. It can also sync your Outlook contacts, tasks, memos and calendars onto the phone, which is a time saver. Mimicking the phone, it has its own desktops, where you can set up your own display of modules it have, alongside those the presets. For instance, the Organizer Stage (it calls each display a Stage) shows the Calendar, Tasks and Memos while the Communicator Stage shows Contacts.

The NPS has what other phone software has, but lacks in implementation. I’m not sure if the limitations are from the software or the phone, but it is annoying. For instance, you cannot connect to the software if your phone is not on the Home screen, in Idle mode. No, not even pop-ups. And to connect to the net, it will disconnect your phone, and reconnects as a modem. This takes more time and chances of a message coming in and interrupts the connection is there. Furthermore, if your connected to the NPS, you cannot access most of the functions on the phone. Not even reading your SMS. If one does come in when you’re connected, you need to manually sync the Message Manager. It should automatically update, but it doesn’t.

Did I mention that up to the current writing you cannot manually flash your firmware, even with the NPS? Maybe you can with S8000, but for Asian’s S8003, you need to do it at the service center. Bummer.

I really-really hope that all phone makers could learn from MyPhoneExplorer.

Samsung Jet is a good phone, depending on what you want from it. If you want a multimedia phone, with gorgeous screen and a sexy body, then you’re not far off with this one. Of course you can still opt for Iphone but bear in mind that this is at least RM500 cheaper than Iphone and supports many available codecs. However the vast availability of Iphone apps may be worth the extra price tag.

As a smartphone, it’s nowhere near any Blackberry, WinMo, HTC or even PocketPC offering. The nearest it can go is the PDF and Office file reader, and the Exchange Activesync. So if you’re a power user with a business mind, stay away from this phone. If the screen is still making you drool, you can opt for Samsung Omnia II. Same resolution, but Windows Mobile 6.5‘s limitation of 65k colors makes the display a bit castrated, and the Omnia HD‘s lower resolution is a huge drawback in this matter.


3 responses to “Samsung Jet S8003”

  1. aku pernah pakai samsung (d600). lama dulu. sampai jahanam kena pijak (ter). skarang aku pakai SE. nothing wrong cuma when it comes to data transfer (pc-phone-pc sync) aku lebih suka SE. semudah a-b-c. whereas samsung, ada sikit gampang.
    itu pengalaman saya.

  2. I managed to download 2 widgets and then it locked. I cannot delete the widgets and I cannot download anymore.

  3. pye : Yup.SE memang best bab connection to pc, particularly pasal MyPhoneExplorer. tapi kalau nak dibandingkan Samsung punya NPS dgn SE punya PC Suite, PC Suite SE lagi stabil dan sempoi.

    r4i : that's what many users have complained. kind of weird, considering that's one of their marketing point.